Mike Tomlin Tuesday: I am not into the hypotheticals

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles ChargersPhoto by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

With no more press conferences from Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin in the foreseeable future, we’ll look back at some of interesting quotes from the 2019 season

Once again, it doesn’t seem like a Tuesday unless we are graced with words from Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin from his weekly press conference. Since we aren’t expected to hear from coach Tomlin until the NFL draft in April, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting quotes Tomlin has given us this past season.

We’ve experienced several “Throwback Tomlin Tuesday” quotes so far this off-season. So far we have re-lived the following:

A nose guard is like Blockbuster video
We weren’t ready for prime time tonight
So that’s how you lay an egg
We’ve got to make plays
I’m not a doctor
We’re excited infusing him into the fold
You have to work in concert as a football team
The competitor in all of us is a little bit pissed off
It feels really good to handle our business
Obviously, the night was not perfect
Why would I sign up for that?

As we continue through the 2019 season, let’s go back to Coach Tomlin’s weekly press conference leading into the Steelers Week 6 game in Los Angeles against the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. With Devlin Hodges seeing his first regular-season NFL action the previous game and a high possibility of starting the upcoming week, questions about the young quarterback dominated the press conference.

The first question Tomlin fielded about Hodges what about his overall impressions after seeing him in action.

“Really, no different than my impressions that I have had throughout this process,” Tomlin replied. “Most of which I have expressed to you guys. He has an awareness and savvy, or moxie, about him that is beyond his experience. It was evident in Latrobe, he carried it in the preseason stadiums and now he has given us a little insight that he is capable of carrying it in the regular season stadiums. It is all positive. Obviously, he lacks a lot of experience in the things that go with experience, but I like his demeanor. I like his steady eddy attitude and approach to it. I think that is an asset to him and us in the present circumstance.”

While Hodges’ “moxie” did help him in his first start and in other circumstances for the Steelers in 2019, it was only able to carry him so far as he was replaced in Week 16 by Mason Rudolph. Unfortunately, Rudolph suffered a season-ending injury which brought Hodges back into the game where he finished up the rest of the season.

Tomlin was also asked about if he had any past circumstances to help him in dealing with an inexperienced quarterback making his first start.

“I have been in this thing long enough that it is all pretty much a re-run to me. The last time we were out to play the Chargers, they were in San Diego and I think we were with our fourth quarterback that Monday night game. If you are thankful enough to do this job long enough, it all becomes a re-run in some form or fashion.”

The game to which Coach Tomlin was referring to was Week 5 of 2015 when the Steelers defeated the chargers 24-20 with Michael Vick at quarterback. For those who may not recall, it is the game where Le’Veon Bell scored a touchdown as time expired for the victory. Even though Vick was not even in camp to start the 2015 season, he did bring a lot of experience to the table as a former first overall draft pick.

Another question posed to Tomlin was if he possibly imagined having to start a quarterback who was in camp who didn’t initially make the 53-man roster. For this response, Tomlin was very brief.

“I am not into the hypotheticals.”

As much as Tomlin downplayed having to go so low on the depth chart at the quarterback position, he was able to bring it back to close the press conference. At a time when it was rumored the Washington Redskins were interested in Tomlin to fill their head-coaching position, one reporter dared ask him about his thoughts on the process.

“Guys, I am the head coach of a 1-4 football team that is going on the road to play a hall of fame caliber quarterback with my third quarterback. You think I am worried about anything this week other than that?”

The Steelers had a lot stacked against them going into Week 6. Starting to season 1-4 and having to go with a player at quarterback who didn’t even make the roster to begin the year, to say they faced a tough situation would be an understatement. Hoping to gain some momentum for their bye week, the entire team stepped up in order to help secure the victory.

The NFL officially announces the expansion of the 2020 playoffs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit LionsPhoto by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images

Fourteen teams will qualify for the postseason, with only one team per conference receiving a bye.

In a move many believed was already official with the passing of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL announced the 2020 postseason will expand from 12 to 14 teams.

The expanded format will add one more Wildcard team in each conference. The seventh seed will now be paired with the number two seed, giving two extra games in Wildcard weekend. As part of the announcement, the NFL stated there will be three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10.

The NFL announced the additional games will be aired on CBS and NBC. Additionally, Nickelodeon will have a separate live telecast aimed at younger viewers.

With the new format, earning the top stop in the conference will now be more important than ever as they will be the only team receiving a bye. Since the NFL expanded to 12 playoff teams in 1990, all teams playing on Wildcard weekend were guaranteed to go on the road in the Divisional round. In the new format, one team per conference will host a playoff game both weekends unless all three road teams are victorious.

Had this playoff format been introduced earlier, the Steelers would have benefited greatly. In fact, the last four seasons the Steelers failed to make the playoffs they would have qualified as the seventh seed. According to NFL.com‘s Kevin Patra, only the 1990 Dallas Cowboys would have made the playoffs with a losing record if the league would have expanded to 14 teams instead of 12.

While some fans might be hesitant of another team making the playoffs at first, I’m sure after several seasons it will become just an afterthought. Personally, I’m looking forward to three straight games on back-to-back days this January.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

A Letter From the Editor: Every Super Bowl run requires some magic, will the Steelers have it?

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in “win now” mode, but they also need some magic on their side if they want to claim a 7th Lombardi trophy.

If you have social media, and were following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ many platforms, you knew about how the team re-aired Super Bowl 43 in its entirety Sunday to the enjoyment of the vast Steelers fan base.

I watched, and was enthralled as if the game was just last season. James Harrison’s interception return for a touchdown at the end of the half is still the greatest play in Super Bowl history, and it gives me chills every time I see it.

This got me thinking about the Steelers’ last two championships. Both in 2005 and 2009, the Steelers didn’t just have a great team, a great team bond and tremendous defenses, they also had a lot of, we’ll call it, “magic” on their side.

Think of the 2005 playoffs…

Think of the 2009 playoffs…

You get the drift, and I could go on with both of these seasons and how both of those teams seemed to be a team of destiny in one way or another. There was more to it than just the typical X’s and O’s.

When you think about it even further, almost every Super Bowl champion, not just those six Steelers teams who have stood atop the mountain at the end of the season, has had some of this magic to help them hoist the Lombardi trophy as the confetti falls.

Will this upcoming team have that magic? Will they have the players capable of stepping up when it matters the most?

Ben Roethlisberger’s health, and rightfully so, is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but it always has been. Even before his elbow injury, there was a pretty good chance Roethlisberger would miss some time throughout the season. Maybe it was a twisted ankle, a banged up shoulder or a concussion, Roethlisberger rarely plays all 16 games in a season.

That is a fact.

But if Roethlisberger is healthy, and stays healthy, does the offense have the firepower to go out and win a game in the 4th quarter when they need a drive to win? Does a mix of Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster have that Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El, Nate Washington and Willie Parker feel to it?

That certainly is debatable, but those Super Bowl champion players certainly had the knack for the big play, for creating that “magic”.

What about the defense? Everyone is excited about the potential this defense has heading into 2020, but can they actually bring the propensity to get the key turnover again next season, as they did in 2019? Can T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Devin Bush, Bud Dupree, Terrell Edmunds, Steven Nelson, Joe Haden and Cameron Heyward compare to those defenses of Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, James Farrior, Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark and Aaron Smith?

Again, it is debatable, but the players who have a ring were able to make the big play when it mattered the most.

This “magic” is not something which can be predicted, but more so what is expected. There have been seasons where if Roethlisberger and the offense need a drive in the 4th quarter for a game-winning field goal, it was a lock. Then there were times when the same scenario felt as if it was an insurmountable mountain to climb.

Every Super Bowl team has had this “magic”, but will the Steelers have it in 2020? Only time will tell…

Todd McShay’s latest 2-round mock has the Steelers going QB in Round 2

Washington v Oregon StatePhoto by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers actually take a QB in Round 2? And if so, would they take this particular QB?!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made strategic moves in free agency which have given them some much needed flexibility with the 2020 NFL Draft quickly approaching at the end of April.

No longer does the team need the best player at a specific position, but can now go after the best playmaker on the board when they pick No. 49 in the second round with their top pick. With that said, predicting what position the Steelers will target, and what prospect best fits their system at that pick, is a difficult task.

This is where the so-called experts come in. ESPN’s NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay’s just released his latest mock draft which is a complete two round mock up of how things will play out when the picks start flying off the board. Being a two-round mock draft means Steelers fans get to complain about who McShay has them slotted to select.

And this pick will certainly ruffle some feathers, just take a look who he has the Steelers taking at No. 49:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Ben Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger, and last season showed us that the other quarterbacks in Pittsburgh’s system aren’t the future. Eason has some developing to do, but there’s no denying his raw arm strength and terrific measurables. Learning behind Roethlisberger for a season could help him find success at the next level.

This pick would likely go over Steelers Nation like a lead balloon, but there are many who are reading this who dont know much about Eason at all. If you fall into that category, check out the information below from his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

His elite size and arm talent are reminiscent of Carson Palmer, but issues with pocket poise and getting through progressions cleanly are more reminiscent of Brock Osweiler. Eason is fun to watch when he’s ripping throws around the field and taking deep play-action shots, but a lack of mobility inside and outside the pocket is troubling, considering his ineffectiveness when pressured. He’s relatively inexperienced and should continue to develop from the pocket, but poise is hard to fix, and handling exotic blitz packages is not a given. He’s a pro-style, play-action-based quarterback with average starter potential and an average backup floor.

Strengths

  • Strapping pocket-passer prototype
  • Has frame and arm strength to excite evaluators
  • Accuracy is his working default on most throws
  • Can step and rip it between two levels of defenders
  • Velocity helps mitigate average anticipation
  • Arm strength to challenge secondary anywhere on field
  • Deep-ball accuracy on play-action shots
  • Alters trajectory to outpace trailing coverage deep
  • Big hands secure the football through contact
  • Willing to hold and throw through edge pressure
  • Disguises screen intentions

Weaknesses

  • Deep dropbacks hurt his pass protection
  • Setup for quick outs and slants takes too long
  • Inconsistent timing on intermediate throws
  • Needs to trust the route runner and avert gaze early on
  • Was highly ineffective under duress
  • Fails to expedite his process when pressure mounts
  • Shows tendency to drop eyes and panic against the interior blitz
  • Below-average escapability and running talent
  • Takes sacks rather than getting rid of the ball
  • Needs to improve footwork and discipline for full-field reads
  • Circles up and out of the pocket if half-field reads aren’t open

What would you think if the Steelers selected Eason with their top pick? Do you feel he could be the quarterback of the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Why the Steelers do not need to add another running back to their 2020 roster

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore RavensPhoto by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

It’s an unpopular opinion, but I believe running back is a position of luxury and not need for the Steelers in the 2020 draft

The NFL draft is less than a month away! Of course, it is the season for mock drafts, discussion of team needs, and all kinds of debates dealing with who the Steelers should take to enhance their 2020 squad. With no first-round draft pick for the first time since 1967, Steelers’ fans have to dig deep with their discussion of who the first player will be selected in the 2020 NFL draft.

There are a wide variety of positions fans feel the Steelers should go with their first overall pick, but a lot of people are beginning to come around to the notion of actually taking the best player available. On the flip side, there are still some that are stuck on certain positions the Steelers should take with their top pick. While I have a list of positions I feel the Steelers should enhance at some point in the draft, I trust that they have a firm idea of what they want to do with that topic when the time comes.

Still, I see an awful lot of chatter both and Behind The Steel Curtain and on social media about how the Steelers HAVE to take a running back in round two. While I’ve noted on several podcasts how this idea baffles me, I would go as far to say is that I don’t even feel the Steelers need to take a running back in the 2020 draft at all.

Yes, the running game was pretty terrible for the Steelers in 2019. But, I think the “pretty terrible” notation could be designated for pretty much the entire offense for the season. While every aspect of the offense may not have been as bad as what it seemed, it was not what Steelers’ fans have grown accustomed to and therefore was a major disappointment. Yes, it was also the first time since 1967 where the Steelers did not have a 500-yard rusher. So if the running game was that bad, why am I thinking the Steelers don’t need to look at the position as their number one choice to draft come the last weekend in April?

For me it is simple: I don’t feel the problems the Steelers had with the running game in 2019 had everything to do with the person carrying the ball.

James Conner led the Steelers in rushing with 464 yards on 116 attempts for an average of 4.0 yards per carry. Unfortunately, he only appeared in 10 games in 2019. Rookie Benny Snell Jr. was close behind Conner with 426 yards on 108 carries for an average of 3.94 yards per carry. While the rushing yards look terrible, the yards per attempt were honestly not all that bad. The biggest problem with either player racking up too many yards was due to the fact 2019 was by far the lowest rushing attempts by a player to lead the Steelers in a 16-game season. The only year that came anywhere close was 2012 when Jonathan Dwyer had the most carries for the Steelers with 156 in a season which also saw Isaac Redman with 110 attempts. Otherwise, it is a fairly rare occasion for the Steelers player who lead the team in rushing attempts to be below 200 as it has only happened seven times in 41 seasons in which the NFL played 16 regular-season games.

Of course, one of the biggest reasons fans feel the Steelers need an upgrade at running back is the durability of James Conner. Had he played more than 10 games, he obviously would have had more than 119 carries. It’s pretty hard to argue against this point.

But what about Benny Snell who was just behind Conner? Snell missed three games in 2019, and it was very unfortunate that they were also two of the same games Conner missed. As for the third game, Conner came back too early against the Cleveland Browns and only had five carries on 13 offensive snaps.

There were four games in which Snell played when Conner was out, two of which he started. In all four games, Snell had 293 yards on 71 carries for an average of 4.13 yards per carry. The other four starts at running back in 2019 went to Jaylen Samuels. Only seeing double-digit carries in two games the whole season, Samuels is much more of a receiving threat out of the backfield. But the Steelers probably are not too easy to forget his performance in Week 15 of 2018 against the New England Patriots when he ran for 142 yards. Or maybe they are.

The other two running backs from Steelers roster in 2019 were Trey Edmunds, who had the longest rush on this season, and Kerrith Whyte Jr. who had the highest yards per carry average for the Steelers in 2019 at 5.1 Y/A.

When it comes to 2020, the Steelers already have five running backs which finished the season on the roster in 2019. While it is highly unlikely all five of them will make the roster in 2020, having another running back simply means another one of these players will most likely be let go come September.

If the Steelers are going to draft a running back in 2020, it would need to be of the game-changing variety. And will there be a game changer-available at the 49th overall pick? It is highly questionable. But if the Steelers use their top pick on a running back and both James Conner and Benny Snell Jr show their capabilities to start the season, it might be difficult for the rookie to even find many offensive snaps. While it would be a good problem to have, there are other positions which also need upgrades for depth as well.

Personally, I’m not ready to give up on the 2018 Pro Bowl rusher at this point. Yes, he has a history of injuries. But I’m also optimistic about Snell, especially looking at his 91 yards on 19 carries from Week 17. Why? When it comes to offense, it all starts with a quarterback. And with the quarterback play the Steelers had in 2019, it’s really hard to evaluate everything else. Were the receivers weak because of quarterback play? Or the tight ends? Even the offensive line has been thought it will improve with the return of Ben Roethlisberger. But for some reason, many believe that the running backs show no sign of hope. Forget that the threat of a passing game will keep teams from crowding the line of scrimmage and actually open up holes. The perceived lack of production by the running backs is completely on them.

In the age of the NFL when high-priced running backs are not something teams are looking to invest in, constantly refreshing young running backs on their rookie contracts is a good philosophy. Do the Steelers want to do that this year, or would it be better in 2021 if they move on from James Conner? What if Conner has another Pro Bowl season and is deserving of another contract? Throwing another running back in the mix, particularly with a high draft pick, is not going to help answer these questions.

I am a firm believer that the Steelers need to take the best player available on their board when it is their turn to pick with the 17th choice of the second round. If the Steelers believe they can get a game-changing running back as their best option, I can live with it. Even while writing this piece I’ve come around a little more to the idea should the right player be there and other positions are not. But to say that is the direction they have to be looking I don’t feel helps them as much in 2020 as maybe some other places.

Even if the Steelers do decide to draft a running back high in 2020, I’ll still cheer loud and strong for said player on game day. I guess I trust more in the Steelers’ opinion of their running back room than those of us outside the organization. Maybe I have too much faith in the players the Steelers already have on their roster. I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks exactly the team’s mentality.

Jameis Winston or Jalen Hurts, which QB would Steelers fans prefer?

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v OklahomaPhoto by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Jameis Winston is the established veteran, but is Jalen Hurts worth the investment?

The biggest question mark facing the future of the Steelers franchise is who will take the reins once Ben Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame career comes to an end. While the Steelers don’t have to make a decision at QB this year, I don’t think Kevin Colbert wants to get caught with Mason Rudolph or Duck Hodges again in the event Roethlisberger is unable to perform for one reason or another.

Two names have prominently been bounced around among Pittsburgh Steelers fans across the world wide web.

For top overall draft pick, and ex-Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston, and former Oklahoma Qb Jalen Hurts.

In Winston the Steelers would be getting the proven commodity. While he is a talented thrower, and he would fit the Steelers system quite seamlessly, there are his detractors, namely being careless with the football. But that’s where the fit lies. Winston taking a year or two to learn from a future Hall of Famer could see him become a solid QB again when he comes out the other side.

Don’t get it twisted. If Jameis Winston wants to play in the NFL again it’s going to be on a contract that fits into the teams cap situation. The deal however won’t be more than two years, but if Jameis can prove he’s worthy of the opportunity and Ben does indeed retire at his contract’s expiration I don’t see why he couldn’t receive a second deal.

And then there’s Jalen Hurts. The Alabama turned Oklahoma signal caller has a championship pedigree, a strong arm and the best mobility of any QB in the 2020 draft class. Hurts’ biggest detractors are tendencies to force the ball into tough matchups, and taking off with the ball instead of climbing the pocket and keeping his eyes down field. Those issues again can be fixed by sitting behind someone like Roethlisberger for a couple seasons before taking over.

The biggest pro in drafting Hurts, over signing Winston, is the 4-year deal mixed with the low 3rd round price tag. The biggest pro in signing Winston over Hurts is that you already know you have a starting capable QB.

The biggest con in signing Winston over drafting Hurts is he could leave a year after the projected 2-year deal to play elsewhere and the team is left with no one than their current depth chart at the position. But the con in drafting Hurts is that he could never develop into a NFL caliber thrower.

So what do you think? Do you want the Steelers to sign Jameis Winston or spend a draft pick on Jalen Hurts? Or do you think the team should hold off on a QB all together? Let us know in the comments below!

Chase Claypool: A budding new draft romance for Pittsburgh Steelers fans?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Camping World Bowl - Notre Dame v Iowa StatePhoto by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Steelers fans sometimes have a wandering eye and often lust after various prospects as the NFL Draft approaches each spring. It would appear that Chase Claypool, the big, rugged receiver out of Notre Dame, is their latest draft crush.

The Steelers draft fan is a bit of a fickle mistress—some would say she has a wandering eye.

Not long ago, she was playing the field and sending out indicators of interest to Jalen Hurts, the handsome Oklahoma quarterback and possible heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger, as well as J.K. Dobbins, the smokin’ hot running back out of Ohio State who could easily make her forget about the on-again, off-again, love/hate romance with Le’Veon Bell.

But when it comes to the insatiable Steelers draft fan, she’s always on the prowl for someone new, and just who is the potential new suitor in her life? How about Chase Claypool, the big, rugged receiver out of Notre Dame?

Yes, despite some perfectly fine receivers at home to choose from in JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson, whenever Claypool’s name is mentioned, the Steelers draft fan’s eyes just light up. “If he was there at 49, you better believe I’d take a shot at that fella,” she’s often heard whispering to her friends whenever Pittsburgh’s needs in the 2020 NFL Draft are discussed.

Let’s take a look at this mystery hunk, shall we?

According to Chase’s Wikipedia Page, he was born in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. A weird sounding hometown, yes, but if he’s from Canada, he’s surely nice and courteous—every Steelers draft fan loves a gentleman.

As per College Football Reference, Claypool played four years at South Bend and increased his production each season, from five to 29 to 50 to 66 receptions for 1,037 years in his senior year. Ambitious, a climber, someone who is never satisfied where he is—no wonder Steelers draft fan suddenly has her eye on him.

When you pore over Chase’s post-Combine NFL.com Draft Profile, you see that, for starters, he’s 6’4” and 238 pounds, physical attributes that draw comparisons to Miles Boykin, a former college teammate and a current member of the Baltimore Ravens.

How fast is Claypool? 4.42 in the 40. How strong? 19 reps in the bench press. I don’t know about you, but those sound like the traits of a hunter and gatherer.

What else does NFL.com say about Claypool? “Strong competitive nature.” That’s hot. “Presents a sizable target with an expansive catch radius.” Finally, Big Ben might have his big red zone soulmate.

What else? “Pancake maker with nasty demeanor as run blocker.” Step back! Now I see Steelers draft fan’s infatuation—nothing she desires more than a receiver who loves to block.

There are some unflattering traits, such as “Pedestrian release to challenge press” and “Not a natural technician as a ball-catcher.” Also, according to his draft profile, “Claypool doesn’t have shake to get much separation underneath,” but who says Steelers draft fan wants him to go anywhere? She’s changed receivers before, and she’ll do it again!

What about his social media activity? After all, if there’s one thing that turns Steelers draft fan off, it’s a man who runs his mouth, doesn’t listen and makes it all about him.

If we go to his Twitter page, we see that, on March 5, Claypool went live on some video chat service called Yoke. Oh no, a brand furthering-type—I can see Steelers draft fan quickly losing interest.

Receivers, they’re all alike.

But wait a second, did you see the pancake block Claypool laid on some poor beta defender back in 2017? Steelers draft fan just noticed, and now she can’t stop giggling like a schoolgirl.

As of now, Claypool is projected to be available when the Steelers make their move with the 49th pick (Round 2) of the 2020 NFL Draft, but will he still be available? You know how it is with draft fans, the second other draft fans start noticing a player, that player becomes much more attractive and begins to draw attention from all around. Maybe that’s why it was no surprise that draft guru Mel Kiper had the Packers taking Claypool at the end of Round 1 in his latest mock draft.

Steelers draft fan is clearly smitten with Claypool, but she may now have company.

Chase Claypool, quite possibly the new man in Steelers draft fan’s life. Is this the start of something special or just a fleeting infatuation?

Podcast: What does a “win now” approach look like for the Steelers in the draft?

In the latest episode of “Steelers Q&A” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The Steelers have made a splash in free agency with a “win now” approach. What does that same strategy look like in the draft? Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo as they wade through the Steelers news of the day. As always, you will be asked to participate in the live chat.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Q&A Show. On this show Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo break down all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • With the draft in less than a month, will the Steelers strategy be more of “win now” or build towards the future?
  • Week in Review
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Bryan Davis and Tony Defeo, of BTSC, walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Did the new CBA help the Steelers more than other NFL teams?

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York JetsPhoto by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) helped the Steelers more than any other NFL team.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Is it possible the new CBA signed just days before the start of the new league year helped the Steelers more than other teams?

Tim Benz: Two ways that a new CBA rule may help the Steelers

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

An element of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement should benefit the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Well, it’s going to benefit every NFL team. But based on the Steelers’ current roster construction, recent offseason moves and potential plans for the draft, it may help them more than most.

At least in 2020.

According to the new CBA, game day rosters are going to expand from 46 players to 48 players. Obviously, all NFL coaches will be happy with the additional flexibility, as will some fringe players on the roster who at least get to put on a uniform and run out of the tunnel, even if they don’t get on the field on game day.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


Mark Madden: Will Antonio Brown play another NFL snap?

By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians, ex of this parish, issued a hard “no” on the possibility of Antonio Brown playing for his team: “I just know him, and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”

Arians’ most damning words: “I just know him.”

After what’s transpired since Brown left the Steelers after the 2018 season, everyone knows him.

At 31, Brown should have a few good years left. But it’s hard to envision a scenario in which any NFL team sees Brown as even remotely employable now that Tom Brady has forsaken him.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Steelers continue to be positive members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping where the need is strong

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

Last season T.J. Watt made a commitment to do more in the Pittsburgh community, to give back to those that need it the most.

And he did it by teaming with 412 Food Rescue, a Pittsburgh based organization that was founded as a response to the disconnect between food waste, hunger and environmental sustainability. The organization works with local distributors and mom and pop stores, chain restaurants to urban farms, to provide to those who are food insecure and since its inception, 412 Food Rescue has provided over seven million pounds of food surplus, resulting in more than 5.7 million meals provided.

With so many in the Pittsburgh area suffering from food insecurity these days as a result of the impact of COVID-19, Watt knew he needed to step up. Last November, on an off day, Watt went with the staff of 412 Food Rescue and took boxes and boxes of food to organizations and senior housing, providing the necessities for hundreds in the community.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • BTSC articles you may have missed…

Steelers make the XFL signings official

Steelers make the Eric Ebron signing official

Grading the franchise tagging of Bud Dupree

A Mock Draft to keep you busy this Tuesday

The latest NFL Power Rankings have been released


  • Social Media Madness

Steelers officially announce the signing of tight end Eric Ebron

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee TitansJim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The details of the two-year contract had already been released, but until the Steelers announced the signing it was not yet official

Ten days after it was initially reported Eric Ebron was signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, all the parts of the contract process have come together for the Steelers to finally make the official announcement.

The amount of time it was taking for the Steelers to make the announcement about the signing of Eric Ebron began to be a little concerning after the XFL signings became official. Missing the final five games of 2019 with an ankle injury which required surgery, the only concern was the Steelers getting an adequate physical with the constraints facing all of the NFL during the coronavirus pandemic. With the Steelers making the announcement today, it appears all is well and Ebron is officially a member of the black and gold.

Ebron was the 10th overall draft pick in 2014 by the Detroit Lions. After 4 years in Detroit in which he totaled 11 touchdowns on 186 receptions, Ebron spent the last two years playing for the Indianapolis Colts. In his first season in Indianapolis, Ebron earned a Pro Bowl selection after scoring 13 touchdowns on 66 receptions. With the return of Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle from injury, Ebron‘s numbers decreased in 2019 to 3 touchdowns on 31 receptions in 11 games played.

Almost a week after it was reported tight end Eric Ebron was signing with the Steelers on a two-year deal worth $12 million, the specific amount of the contract and how they implicate the salary cap were made available. Ebron will earn a $1 million salary in 2020 along with a $5 million signing bonus with a $5.5 million base salary in 2021 with a $550k roster bonus.

The exact number on the contract for Ebron is quite team friendly for the Steelers when it comes to how it is distributed. After the expected $1 million base salary, Ebron was given a $5 million signing bonus. When working this out for his salary for 2020, it is evenly split as he will earn $6 million for the 2020 season and the other $6 million in the form of $5.5 million base salary and a $500k roster bonus for 2021.

With the signing bonus being split up to count towards the salary cap over both seasons, Ebron will only count $3.5 million towards the 2020 salary cap and $8.5 million for 2021. The salary distribution is beneficial to the Steelers as it helps them keep their salary cap number down for the season. Additionally, should Ebron not work out after one season in Pittsburgh, the Steelers can free up $6 million towards the 2021 salary cap simply by releasing him. If Ebron performs as the Steelers anticipate, either he can play out the final year of his deal or the Steelers could look to give an extension beyond 2021 where more of the salary could be converted to a signing bonus and would be split up over the length of the contract.

The biggest knock on Ebron throughout his career has been his injury history, which becomes a problem when pairing him with McDonald, another player who has had his share of injuries during his time in the Steel City.

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