Join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz for weekly fantasy football talk as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers, your draft and for success in any of your leagues.
Fantasy Football is a phenomenon and some of us could use a little help with our drafts and during the season. With that in mind, BTSC is debuting a new weekly show surrounding all aspects of the world of fantasy football with a black-and-gold twist. Welcome to the Steelers Fantasy football Fix. Join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz for weekly fantasy football talk as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers, your draft and for success in any of your leagues.
Check out the rundown of the show:
The quarterback you need for your Fantasy Football team!
and MUCH MORE!
Jeremy Betz of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers in the landscape of Fantasy Football and then some.
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The clearest sign of that sincerity came Wednesday when general manager Brian Gutekunst did an extraordinary reversal and neared completion of a trade for veteran receiver Randall Cobb, in an apparent attempt to appease Rodgers.
Cobb seemed to confirm the move while Gutekunst was addressing the media Wednesday with a tweet saying, “I’m coming home”:
Asked if the trade was official, Gutekunst said there would be more information coming soon (presumably regarding final contractual details). He declined to say whether Rodgers had requested the trade.
It was Gutekunst who chose not to re-sign Cobb as a free agent following the 2018 season. Cobb was 28 years old then, and the decision to let him walk was hardly a surprise after he caught 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns with injuries limiting him to just nine games.
Cobb did not return to his Pro Bowl form of 2014 in his past two seasons with the Houston Texans. After a solid debuting in 2019, catching 55 passes for 828 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games, Cobb’s numbers dropped to 39 catches for 441 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games last season.
Cobb turns 31 on Aug. 22, and his 10-year career is littered with lower-body injuries, including a toe injury last season. But he is one of Rodgers’ closest friends in the league. The Packers’ second-round pick in 2011, Cobb annually attends the Kentucky Derby with the quarterback each May.
So Cobb’s return via trade indicates a major change in mindset within the Packers front office. Earlier this offseason, Gutekunst said he was not only willing to seek Rodgers’ input on personnel issues, but always had. Regardless, it would be difficult to pinpoint any examples during Gutekunst’s first three years as GM he enabled Rodgers to dictate his decisions.
Cobb’s return conflicts with the Packers drafting Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers in the third round. Amari Rodgers has drawn comparisons to Cobb, including from Cobb himself. Tee Martin, Amari Rodgers’ father, was Cobb’s receivers coach at Kentucky, where he formed a close bond with the young receiver.
“I see a little bit,” Cobb said, “but I also see him being a lot better. And I’ve said that at every stage he’s been at. When he was in high school, he was way better than I was. In his college career, what he’s been able to accomplish. His athletic ability, I mean, he jumps higher than me, I think he ran faster than me, he’s stronger than I was at that point. He has every single attribute that you want when you look for a football player, and not just a receiver but a football player who can do many different things and provide many different opportunities on the field.”
Amari Rodgers was expected to be the future of the Packers’ slot receiver position, a versatile weapon coach Matt LaFleur could use in his jet-motion schemes. Cobb’s arrival might overlap some of those plans.
With the main players on the sideline, who are you excited to get a look at?
With the Hall of Fame game approaching the BTSC team is here to give you their picks for the player they are most excited to see take the field in Canton Ohio. While Ben Roethlisberger will join many of the Steelers best known players on the sideline, the hall of fame game will be the first chance many new faces and returning depth players will have to show Steeler fans what they can do. Here are our thoughts on the players to look for.
Dave Schofield: Kendrick Green
Thanks to my nephew Kyle, a new nickname has been given as “Quadrick Green.” If you’re unsure why Green would get this nickname, check out any coverage from Tuesday’s practice at Heinz Field. The Steelers third-round rookie is already in line to start the Hall of Fame Game and Steelers Nation wants to know how close he is to grabbing the starting role for the 2021 season. Until the pads come on, we’ll never truly know what Green has to offer. Since he’s getting the start, we should see Green matched up against the best players who will appear on the other side of the ball.
Big Bro Scho: James Pierre
There has been plenty of talk that Pierre could challenge Cam Sutton for the starting spot opposite of Joe Hadden. We got a very small sample size from Pierre last season, but what we got looked VERY good. He should get plenty of opportunities this preseason to show the coaching staff exactly what he can do. I really like his size and speed and am excited to see more of what he has to offer this secondary.
Bryan Anthony Davis: Isaiah McKoy
In a college season that was only four games, Kent State’s McKoy had 25 receptions for 455 yards, an 18.2 yard average, and five touchdowns in 2020. Isaiah is big at 6’2” and is a fast, deep threat that can add to an already talented stable. I want to see if McKoy can thrive in the NFL and make things even more interesting in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers need someone to step up and claim Mike Hilton’s role in the nickel. Brooks is being given a shot to do it. Like Hilton, he was a great tackler and aggressive blitzer coming out of college. I’m excited to see how he looks.
Buddy Johnson is a more athletic run thumping inside linebacker in the mold of Vince Williams. He is a hard hitting Buck linebacker who may very well be Robert Spillane’s backup in this his rookie season. He has been lauded for his tackling and leadership qualities, and his solid athleticism suggest he should improve in pass coverage through hardwork and improved coaching. Beyond excited to watch him in the Black and Gold.
it’s been a very long time since the Steelers have had a tight end with the athletic and receiving ability of Freiermuth’s. If this kid plays as well as he’s reportedly done at training camp he may revolutionize the Steelers offense.
Andrew Wilbar: Anthony McFarland
After an unproductive rookie year behind a struggling offensive line, McFarland will be hungry to prove doubters wrong. He will obviously be running behind the backup linemen, but with his former college coach Matt Canada running the offense, I expect McFarland’s skill set to be utilized much better in year two. Despite the vanilla play calling we will see in the Hall of Fame game, I am excited to see McFarland have an opportunity to shine.
Anthony Defeo: Quincy Roche
Roche, selected in the sixth round out of Miami in the 2021 NFL Draft, was super productive in college. He had 30.5 career sacks in four years—including 26 in three seasons at Temple before transferring to Miami in 2020. Why was he drafted so low? If he bucks the odds and plays above his draft pedigree, that could bode well for the Steelers and their depth at outside linebacker—at the very least. Roche figures to go up against players at his level or lower during the preseason. Will he dominate? Will he struggle? I’m excited to find out.
Jeff Hartman: Dwayne Haskins
While everyone chooses rookies or undrafted players, I am excited to see what the team has in Haskins. Could he be the next quarterback for the Steelers? Some scream yes, while others scream no. How will we ever know? By watching him play this preseason and seeing if he is the first round pick, or a dud who couldn’t survive in Washington. For all those reasons, and many more, I am excited to see Haskins play in the black and gold for the first time vs. Dallas.
Be sure to follow BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.
The Steelers find themselves in the rare position of having low expectations as they prepare for the 2021 regular season. But the bleak outlook is mostly coming from the outside world—the national and local experts. It would appear that the Steelers’ own expectations are as high as usual. Who’s right: the outside world or the Steelers?
As the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers begin the pad-popping portion of a training camp that will be conducted away from St. Vincent College for a second straight summer, they do so with a regular-season outlook that hasn’t been this bleak in almost a decade.
I realize “bleak” is a rather dramatic word to use when talking about what people are expecting out of Pittsburgh in 2021 but is it though? Let’s be honest, the low expectations for the Steelers 2021 campaign started to become apparent the second their 2020 season came to a crashing halt in a 48-37 home loss to the Browns in the wildcard round on January 10.
Would quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finally retire after 17 seasons? The wish for that to become a reality was more palpable than ever. How would the Steelers, a cap-compromised franchise that would almost certainly have to make major cuts just to be compliant—let alone do anything noteworthy in free agency—even be able to piece together a semi-competitive roster?
A team free of Roethlisberger would take some getting used to, sure, but at least the Steelers could free up some finances and finally begin their future, a future that would almost certainly start with a major rebuild.
Instead, Roethlisberger and the Steelers worked out a deal where he would take a pay cut and they could make some moves in free agency. They didn’t make moves that earned them high praise, of course. B.J. Finney? Not inspiring. The surprise re-signing of receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster? Believe it or not, polarizing. The sudden contract dispute between the team and cornerback Steven Nelson that ultimately led to Nelson’s release? Bizarre.
In the meantime, Mike Hilton departed, as did Matt Feiler and Bud Dupree. None of these were surprising exits, but they sure didn’t do much to raise those low expectations for 2021.
Throw in the retirements of center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Vance McDonald, the failure to retain the services of defensive lineman Tyson Alualu—or so it seemed—along with the not-so-surprising release of inside linebacker Vince Williams, and the tide was quite low in Steeler Nation.
But as they often tend to do, things eventually settled down. Alualu actually had a change of heart and returned to the Steelers after verbally agreeing to a deal with his former team, the Jaguars. The Steelers ultimately had to cut veteran guard David DeCastro, but they quickly signed another veteran guard to take his place—Trai Turner.
Let’s not forget about the recent signing of outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, a player who will either provide great insurance or be a dangerous weapon, depending on who you talk to.
Oh, and how about a 2021 NFL Draft class that most fans are pretty darn optimistic about?
Yes, sir, a Steelers offseason is a lot like a whirlwind first week at a new job. It’s all so confusing at first, and you never know how you’re going to get through it, but everything eventually slows down and starts to come into focus.
But that’s just the fans, folks who are always secretly optimistic, even if they don’t often give off that vibe. As for the local and national football experts, I don’t think most have changed their tune about the Steelers and their low expectations for them in 2021.
What’s the point of bringing Roethlisberger back at the age of 39? Why draft a running back—Alabama’s Najee Harris—in the first round? Sure, the team parted ways with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner after three seasons, but this Matt Canada has no experience designing an offense at the professional level.
The offensive line appears to be in total-rebuild mode. The new offensive line coach certainly isn’t Mike Munchak. It’s some guy named Adrian Klemm. Sure, he talks a good game, but who cares about that? What are his credentials?
Alex Highsmith is going to replace Dupree at outside linebacker, but he’s obviously not going to be as good. People are excited about the fact that the team was able to retain the services of Cam Sutton, but is he going to replace Hilton in the slot or Nelson on the outside? Will he be as good as either of those guys? What about the depth at inside linebacker now that Vince Williams, who the team actually re-signed in April at a reduced cost, has suddenly retired at the onset of training camp?
And let’s not even get into what the experts think of head coach Mike Tomlin, who is preparing for his 15th season as the man in charge on the sidelines.
Oh, and the rest of the AFC North, a division the Steelers won with a 12-4 record in 2020, appears to be passing Pittsburgh by in terms of talent. The Ravens have been a few paces ahead for a while (according to the experts). The Browns sped by the Steelers on Art Rooney Ave. back in January. Heck, even the Bengals appear to have a young and talented team on the rise, one that includes a super-capable quarterback in Joe Burrow.
Vegas has the Steelers finishing with nine wins in 2021, a total that might actually seem generous to some.
But that’s all coming from the outside world. What are the Steelers’ expectations for 2021? Surely, they wouldn’t have brought Roethlisberger back at age 39 just so he could have a farewell tour. As for that offensive line, one that factored heavily into the team finishing last in rushing yards a season ago? How could it be any worse? What if it’s actually better with some younger blood at most positions, including left tackle (Chukwuma Okorafor), left guard (Kevin Dotson), possibly center (rookie third-round pick Kendrick Green) and right tackle (Zach Banner)?
To the outside world, it was stupid to draft Harris in the first round, but what if he becomes a difference-maker on par with Le’Veon Bell in his prime? What if Canada actually designs a better game-plan than Fichtner? After all, that’s what he was hired to do.
To the outside world, Highsmith is a downgrade from Dupree. However, people are paid to find players to take the place of other players who simply can’t be retained in the salary cap era. If he were to do so, Highsmith wouldn’t be the first Steelers prospect to successfully replace a productive outside linebacker.
It’s actually happened a lot in the long and storied history of the organization.
Maybe the traditional way in which the Steelers are handling their current situation at outside linebacker—draft a guy, groom him for a year or two, and then throw him in there when the other guy leaves—is an example of the disconnect between how they see themselves and how the outside world views them.
I have no doubt in my mind that the Steelers think they can compete for a title in 2021.
As Tomlin has often said: the standard is indeed the standard.
I guess the biggest question the Steelers must answer as they prepare for the 2021 regular season is this: are they living in reality or their own bubble?
We’ll find out the answer to that question soon enough.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at Training Camp, and it is time to check out what went down during the latest practice!
It isn’t Saint Vincent College, but it hasn’t been Latrobe, PA since 2019. The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking in their 2021 Training Camp between Heinz Field and their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh.
What went down during the latest training camp practice? That is where this article comes in. Check out all that was said, as well as photos and videos from the day’s workouts.
Here we go…
There were several positions which can be deemed as weak entering the 2021 offseason. Tight end might not be atop the list, but it would certainly make the cut. And this isn’t breaking news. Fans knew it, coaches knew it and so did the players. That was a driving force behind the Steelers taking Pat Freiermuth in the 2nd Round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the focus on the position remains in training camp.
In fact, the primary tight end tandem Eric Ebron and Freiermuth were in front of the media, and they are focused on changing the perception of the position in 2021. In fact, their tight end room has a nickname, courtesy of new TE coach Alfredo Roberts, and it is “the bad asses”.
This year’s Tight End room nickname – The Bad Asses – brought to you by new TE coach Alfredo Roberts.
Ebron: “Tight ends, we should be bad asses. We should block ass. We should be able to run badass routes. And we should be able to score on anybody in a badass way.” pic.twitter.com/LGWKGD7CZZ
They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, and that would describe where the team’s tight end depth chart currently resides.
Now onto the other news from Monday’s practice at Heinz Field…
No Big Ben
Fans who constantly criticize the Steelers giving Ben Roethlisberger days off won’t like this news, but Mike Tomlin excuses Roethlisberger from practice Monday for personal reasons. He is expected back for the first padded practice of camp Wednesday.
No Ben Roethlisberger today at practice. Tomlin said that he excused him for personal reasons.
If you were looking for an injury update, this is about as close as we go from head coach Mike Tomlin after Monday’s practice:
“Had a number of guys that missed some work for a variety of reasons, most of which we’ve been talking about. I gave Ben (Roethlisberger) the day off for personal reasons. He’s been excused by me. We look forward to getting him back tomorrow. Other guys that are working their way back, getting back to us, we’d expect those guys to be back in a short number of days.”
A lot still to prove
A huge part of the issues surrounding the tight end position has been their blocking, or lack thereof. Freiermuth has been flashing his pass catching/play making abilities throughout camp thus far, but with pads being donned soon, fans will soon know what their 2nd round pick can do, from a blocking perspective.
TE Pat Freiermuth can catch. Can he block? “It’s hard to show you can block with (only) helmets on. My job is to make catches and block ends and block LBs. I’ve had a good couple days but the real work starts tomorrow when the pads go on and I’ve got to prove I can block D-ends.”
How good were the TEs at blocking last year? Try terrible…
Speaking of Ebron’s honesty, is there anything more honest than his comments on how poor the tight ends were last year?
“… all should do better, including myself. Yeah, if you want to get paid and you want to perform and you want to be amongst the best, you’ve got to be able to block. Yeah, that’s a pivotal part of our focus this year.” 2/2
The Pittsburgh Steelers are at Heinz Field, and the pads are popping! We welcome you to the multi-day stream of content called the Training Camp Confidential.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in pads at Heinz Field for a strange training camp, meaning not at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, and it is time to get fans excited for the events which are about to ensue.
This is where the 2021 Training Camp Confidential comes in!
Right here is where all of the articles which fall under the Training Camp Confidential will be housed for your reference. Obviously, not every article which is produced at BTSC will be content for the Camp Confidential series, but this will be a place for you to see what you may have missed, keep up with comments and ultimately prepare yourself for the 2021 regular season!
For those new to these parts, the Training Camp Confidential is a 3-4 day feature where we run anywhere from 5-6 pieces a day directly related to the start of training camp. This usually takes place as players report to dorms at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, but with things out of whack, again, this season we thought the start of padded practice would be a good place to start.
Therefore, check out all the content right here, and be sure to check back often to enjoy all of the fine work by the staff here at BTSC for the 2021 Training Camp Confidential!
Speaking to the media after the first practice at Heinz Field, the Steelers head coach answered many questions about specific players.
As the Pittsburgh Steelers assembled together at Heinz Field for the first time of 2021 Training Camp. Since the Steelers were back on the field, we were also given the typical media session from head coach Mike Tomlin. Therefore, it’s time to look at the players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.
Chase Claypool & Cam Sutton
One play of note from practice on Tuesday was a battle for a pass thrown to Chase Claypool and defended by Cam Sutton. Coach Tomlin was asked his thoughts on the play between the two players.
“I just like the energy and effort. We cannot take the energy and effort for granted. Everybody wants a good day. Everybody wants a good and competitive environment, but it requires all of us to be actively engaged in the creation of that. And so those guys right there were creating that, competing the way they did for that play. We all want to be a part of a good environment, we’re all responsible for being active participants in the building of it. So, I just want to highlight that.”
Coach Tomlin was asked for his ruling on the play.
In his press conference earlier on Tuesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert commented about second-round draft pick Pat Freiermuth and how Mike Tomlin responds when he makes a play. According to Colbert, Tomlin says, “Nice catch, but can you block?” Coach Tomlin was asked about making that statement to his young tight end.
“Yeah, I’m gonna play my role. I’m going to be consistent. So don’t ask me anything glowing about him. Those of you that know me, it’s too early in the process to get that from me.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked about how Freiermuth responds when he asks the question about blocking.
“I’m not surprised by it. He’s a Penn State kid, regional dude, I’ve got a very good relationship with Coach (James) Franklin, went to his Pro Day, got a lot of exposure. I don’t think any of us are surprised by what we’re seeing from him.”
One of the Steelers free agents they acquired in the secondary is defensive back Arthur Maulet who has played 35 NFL games for three different teams in four seasons, most recently with the New York Jets. Coach Tomlin was asked about what he likes about Maulet.
“He’s got a reputation for being a rough and tumble teamer and a versatile defender. And I just think guys that show that level of versatility in two phases, you better have an interest in. He’s displaying that out here. Obviously, tomorrow will be a big day and the subsequent days after we step into stadiums and stuff like that, but that’s what his resume tells us and he’s exemplifying that.”
Zach Banner & Chuks Okorafor
One large area of concern for many Steelers fans are the starting offensive tackles going into the 2021 season. Both Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor have not been full participants in team drills throughout the training camp. Coach Tomlin was asked if he expects to see his two tackles doing team drills before the Hall of Fame Game.
“You very well may, certainly.”
A portion of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen below as well as a link to the full interview on the Steelers’ YouTube channel.
Time to update what is going on here at BTSC heading into the 2021 regular season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season is upon us, and with training camp already underway it is time for us here at BTSC to start our annual ‘Training Camp Confidential’ series. This was usually a series we did on the day players reported to camp, and ran for 48-72 hours after, but the past two seasons have had very anticlimactic starts. We decided to combine our feature with the start of the excitement — the first padded practice.
We did it last year, and it worked out well, so why not do it again?
The start of the Training Camp Confidential also brings with it my State of BTSC Address. This is where I talk about all the exciting, and new, things happening here at this site.
At this point, the kinks are still being worked out with the Coral commenting system, but they are still working hard to get things right. It is a slow, and painful, process, but it is still ongoing.
Out podcast platform has never been better. We are ready to debut the following shows starting today (Wednesday August 28) and several in the coming weeks:
Steelers Fantasy Fix
This show is based around all types of fantasy football with a focus on the Steelers who could be in your lineup.
The Cutting Room Floor
Our very own Geoffrey Benedict will dive into the X’s and O’s of the Steelers with this unique twist to your standard podcast.
The Steelers Power Half Hour
Who doesn’t love to debate rankings? Welcome to the Steelers Power Half Hour, where the rankings are unique, fresh and guaranteed to cause a stir.
What Yinz Talkin’ About?
This show focuses on the fans, and how they use social media to vent. They will talk about what everyone is talking/complaining about by the week..
These shows are all unique, and will be a welcome addition to our already great lineup. I really hope you check them out. If you don’t know how to subscribe to our podcasts, check the links below:
On the editorial side of the site, things won’t be changing all that much. We still strive to be the best Steelers site on the internet, and that doesn’t mean just the best fan-driven site. No, we want to be better than everyone. We are always open to ways to make the site better, so if you can do it in a constructive way, we are all ears!
I am genuinely proud to have such a tremendous team to work with on a daily basis. Whether it’s Dave Schofield being my right-hand man in almost all situations, Bryan Anthony Davis spear-heading the podcast platform, Michael Beck running the social media platforms or any of our writers who tirelessly pour themselves into their work all for you, the reader.
Here is to another Pittsburgh Steelers season! May it be filled with no drama, but plenty of wins!
All the information needed to stay up to date with the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 Training Camp
The Pittsburgh Steelers are hitting Heinz Field for their first padded practice of 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28. While a limited number of fans will be permitted to view practice from the lower level of the visitor-side seats, the rest of Steelers’ Nation will be looking for as much information as possible in regards to the teams preparation for the 2021 season.
First, Behind The Steel Curtain will be offering our Training Camp Tracker each day which compiles various information, videos, and reports from training camp and put them all in one spot. This article will be updated continually as more information becomes available.
Additionally, each day BTSC will offer a training camp breakdown podcast each day the Steelers are on the field. These podcasts are available on the BTSC podcast channel wherever you listen to podcasts simply by searching for Behind The Steel Curtain.
A live look in is scheduled each day courtesy of Steelers Live and is described on steelers.com as follows:
Training Camp Live, Presented by FedEx, is an exclusive video program streamed live on Steelers.com and the Steelers Official Mobile App. Fans can take a live look-in at Heinz Field at at 1:30 p.m. ET each day that the Steelers practice, as well as have the opportunity to have their questions answered and see their social media posts featured in the program. Missi Matthews hosts.
Once the Steelers Live show is made available through the Steelers social media, it will be linked as the top item in the BTSC Training Camp Tracker. Additionally, the tracker will end with the Steelers Training Camp Wrap Up Show, which is described as follows:
Training Camp Wrap Up, presented by UPMC Health Plan, is streamed live on Steelers.com and the Steelers Official Mobile App and is your go-to program to see and hear all that happened during Steelers practice. Missi Matthews hosts.
As usual, Behind The Steel Curtain will continue to bring a wide variety of articles in regards to Steelers training camp including recaps, players mentioned by Coach Tomlin, and other breakdown of the goings-on at Heinz Field.
For your reference, a complete list of Steelers training camp practices open to the public can be seen below:
It should be noted that the practice on Friday, July 30, has been moved to 5 PM and is the Steelers annual “Friday Night Lights” practice. Additionally, practice on Saturday, July 31, will remain at 1:30 PM but will be a part of Steelers Fest with a variety of activities going on outside of Heinz Field beginning at 10 AM.
Join us on Art Rooney Avenue for Steelers Fest on July 31st! Enjoy activities outside the stadium, visit the @SteelersShop and more starting at 10 am ET. @GiantEagle
Jeff Hartman leads the way with the Wednesday episode of his AM studio show on the BTSC family of podcasts with the latest episode of “Let’s Ride“.
There has been a certain level of expectations for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers since the season ended in embarrassing fashion in January. But since drafting Najee Harris and the signing of two former L.A. Chargers, there’s been an upswing in optimism. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC senior editor Jeff Hartman for this and more on “Let’s Ride”.