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  1. πŸ˜„πŸ€ͺπŸ˜… I am not saying give him a pass for all of the previous head butting that he makes us do. However, you gotta give credit where it is due. Our special teams played one of the better all around games that they have "as a unit" in quite some time. They were definitely better prepared than they were week one and did some good things. That's all I am saying. He hasn't made me forget former ST Coach Bobby April. πŸ˜„πŸ˜‚
  2. Bush has definitely improved from last year and looks more comfortable out there. I think that this could be a game where a good Steelers offense makes for a great Steelers defense. No doubt the Texans have weapons and we certainly hope this isn't the week that they put it all together after two tough games.
  3. I agree that in the past that was the case, but not yesterday. I think that this team was prepared from a coaching standpoint, but are not executing on all cylinders for a variety of reasons. Negative offensive plays early definitely hurt. Fist play from scrimmage a fumble by Dionte Johnson. Third quarter you are set to take over the game and the offense turns the ball over and allows the Broncos back in the game. That was on the offense and Coach T, played from the coin flip to take advantage, get up early in third at home. The offense didn't cooperate. Defense or Special teams make a play and the offense sputters or gives the ball away (Snell fumble). Those are mental mistakes by the players. They will get better as the season goes on, but this wasn't a case where they were simply out coached. Denver did make good adjustments, but the Steelers were still in position to put the game away at various points. They stopped themselves moreso than Denver did. Denver took advantage of the Steelers mistakes and opportunities much better. Some timely very late PI calls that were a joke. My problem with the refs is that if you are going to call a close game be consistent. If you are going to let them play, then let them play. A few of the PI calls were phantom calls at best. The game should not have been this close and the defense was hung out to dry too long at times needlessly because of mistakes and poor execution on offense.
  4. 2-0 Pittsburgh Steelers versus 0-2 Houston Texans When: Sunday, September 27, 2020 @ 1:00 pm Where: Heinz Field Series History: Steelers lead the series 4 - 2 overall. After losing their first game to the Texans in 2002, the Steelers have won four of five including the last two games. Last meeting was in 2017 when the Steelers defeated the Texans 34 - 6. Big Ben is 4 - 1 against the Texans. Steelers On Defense: The Steelers will face a stiffer test at QB with the speedy, elusive and hard throwing DeShawn Watson and the Texans Offense. The Texans boast some explosive offensive weapons. They are led by Watson at QB, former Cardinal do it all RB David Johnson, WR's Will Fuller, Brandon Cooks, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb, and a powerful OL led by LT Laremy Tunsell. Htman's Defensive Keys to a victory: 1. Contain DeShawn Watson. Watson can give defenses nightmares both running and passing. He has a tendency to hold onto the ball and try to create plays. Hit him and hold onto him. The ravens harassed him and the Chiefs had success as well. Watson has thrown for 528 yards 2 TD and 2 INT in two games against arguably the two best and toughest opponents in the AFC and possibly NFL. 2. Don't let the WR's run wild. Fuller, Cooks, Cobb and Kenny Stills can wreck absolute havoc in the secondary. Cooks and Stills have had success in the past against the Steelers on other teams. The first two weeks the Steelers secondary has not been as strong as it typically was/can be. They gave up deep passes in both games against Denver and NY Giants. The four WR's have been held in check and is probably why the Texans are win less. The four have a combined 24 catches, 325 yards, 13.54 ypc avg and 0 TD's. 3. Continue to play good run defense. Johnson is a two way threat running and receiving. Johnson has run the ball 22 times in two games with 111 yards, 5.1 avg. and 1 TD.He's caught 5 passes for 48 yards 0 TD's. The Steelers played an unreal level of run defense against the Giants, allowed the Broncos some success running with Gordon early, but put the clamps on him later in the game. Some of his success came with the success Denver had mixing it up and passing well. I believe that the Texans will try to duplicate some of the success that Denver had with their offensive approach. 4. Watson's favorite target has been TE Jordan Akins who has 9 receptions 94 yards and 1 TD. He is not Noah Fant or Eric Enrgram, but the Steelers would be wise to provide better coverage against the TE than they did this past Sunday versus Denver. 5. Get off the field on third down. Very few three and outs these first two weeks. The opposing QB's have had some success extending drives and converting on third down. Steelers On Offense: The Steelers offense can't let JJ Watt and the Texans defense get a leg up on them. The Texans are led by JJ Watt big brother of Steelers Derek and TJ Watt. The Texans boast a solid defense who has been gassed by two of the best young QB's in the NFL. Here's to hoping that they continue to fall prey to great QB play facing the Steelers Big Ben. In the secondary the Texans have solid CB's led by former Bronco Bradley Roby, Lonnie Johnson, former Buccaneer Vernon Hargraves III and Phillip Johnson. Their safeties are Eric Murray and Justin Reid. The LB'ers are physical lead by Whitney Mercilus and leading tackler Zach Cunningham. Offensive Keys to Victory: 1. OL has to establish the run. The Texans have five sacks, but are very capable of rushing the QB. After playing against Patrick Mahomes and LaMaar Jackson, the are salivating to get at a traditional drop back QB who is not nearly as mobile. Connor and Snell are more power backs, but this may be the game to add a few wrinkles with the speedy rookie Anthony McFarland. 2. Ball Security. The Steelers have turned it over in 25 straight games. This has put more pressure on the defense. Be patient and play smart. A punt may not be horrible at times. Three yards and keeping the ball for another down is better than six yards and a fumble. Take care of the ball and be smart with decisions. Both Benny Snell and Dionte Johnson have put the ball on the ground in both games and each has turned it over at least once. 3. Eliminate early down negative plays. The offense can probably convert third and three 75% of the time and third and nine 35%-45% of the time. Penalties and negative plays on first down set a bad tone for the offense to consistently get in rhythm and convert. First play of the game against Denver Dionte Johnson fumbles and the Steelers offense is second and 16. They come up a few yards short on a third down pass to Ju Ju and the ball is going back in the Denver offene's hands. 4. Help the defense out. The defense is playing very well considering, but a similar trend occurred last year early of keeping the defense on the field and not always complimenting the good plays. The offense did a better job of converting turnovers into points the first two games, but not extending drives and keeping the defense off the field as much against the Bronco's. It almost cost the team a victory. 5. Finish the game strong on offense. The first two games the Steelers offense could have closed out both the Giants and Broncos early in the fourth quarter. They failed to do so in both games and needed late surges to secure victory. If they can get up on the Texans, FINISH THEM! The defense should be able to do their part and make life a living hell for an opposing offense trying to come back with the defense coming after them. Special Teams: Much better performance overall than week one. 1. Give Danny Smith a break. The ST coach has taken his share of criticism and some deserving. But the coverage teams, return teams, kicking, and punting were all solid and better than average against the Broncos. 2. Ray Ray McCloud looks like he's gonna break one soon. He had a nice return and seems to be very elusive. His ball security has also been a plus early as well. He has also been in on the coverage teams. 3. Dionte Johnson much better effort fielding punts and showed what he is capable of doing with a few good returns and unfortunately, one called back due to a push in the back penalty on Cam Sutton that was a close one. 4. No problems with the snapper, holder and kicker. Colquitt made a nice grab on a slightly off center for a FG. Boz is Boz and Colquitt seemed to improve as the day went on. I was concerned with some of the line drive type punts last week and early this game. The coverage teams were solid. 5. Offensive shout out to Chuks and rookie Dotson who both played a very solid game at RT and RG. They will face a stiffer test with the powerful JJ Watt this week. Injury Report to be posted after Wednesday's Practice Prediction: I am drinking the Steelers Fandom Kool Aid and dissing the Steelers Hatorade. We are currently 2 - 0 when we were 0-3 after week three last year and we lost our franchise QB. They were on the road last year and this year they are at home. Give me the home cooking early. I am going for the about face (180* record turn). The Steelers make the Texans 0 - 3. Steelers over Texans 30 - 24
  5. Five Up 1. Special Teams greatly improved from last week. PR return called back was a close call. Ray Ray McCloud is definitely explosive. Steelers force a safety and coverage teams were much better. 2. Passing game was pretty proficient. The OL did a nice job keeping Ben upright. Chuks and Dotson looked pretty solid. 3. Defense - - A lot or pressure put on them by the offense and facing a back-up QB they were not expecting to see.Several sacks, pressures, a few turnovers and the refs missed an early strip sack. Seven sacks, two turnovers, and improved the rush attack as the game progressed. 4. Ben throws for more than 300 yards despite not having a great rushing attack. 5. Steelers are 2-0. Despite no preseason games and the adversity, this team is 2-0. Last year this time they were 0-2 and just lost Ben. What a difference a year makes. Five Downs 1. Turnovers. Need better ball security and decision making. New record for most consecutive games with an offensive turnover. 2. Penalties. Some of them were horrible calls, but others led to negative plays and putting the Steelers offense in a hole. 3. Team let the Broncos hang around. This game should have been put away early in the third quarter. 4. Third down conversions. Team struggling to get off the field. Not very many three and outs despite having a solid defense. 5. Rushing attack was inconsistent. Connors long run makes the rushing attack more attractive.
  6. I believe that there is a ray of hope with Wiz. I think he was put on IR to have more depth and protection should someone else go down in the game. The IR rules are different this year 2020 and players can be called back sooner than the old rule due to covid and other considerations. I think that if he were going to truly be out all year, I am guessing that they would have placed him on IR early in the week like Zach Banner. He was on the injury report as late as Friday. My guess is that he will be on it for few weeks or a few months depending on how long it takes his pec to heal and he can regain a large % of strength. It is hard to tell with these injuries, but probably the worse case scenario is he will be out two months. I am holding some optimism that Wiz will be back during this regular season.
  7. ???? I am not understanding what you are saying here my friend. What's the athletic?
  8. I kind of agree with some of the other comments. I know we didn't get as much TC coverage as usual due to the pandemic, but all reports seemed to say that it was a dead heat. If not, there would have been no waiting or hesitation on who started. Banner is a road grader type of OL and RT. Chuks is still developing and most likely will eventually replace Big Al. I don't think that is a bad thing or anything to be ashamed of. It certainly doesn't make him a bad pick. Slow developing? Perhaps. I often remind many people that HOF Steelers QB would have been a bust in this era with the lack of patience and time given for development. Early on, Dotson looks like he could be a keeper at OG. He is a rookie and hopefully can continue to make more good plays than bad. Losing DeCastro and Wiz no doubt hurts the continuity and overall strength of the OL. Dotson doesn't look like he is going to be a pushover for any opposing DL. The football season is a marathon. There will be highs when the Steelers win and then cries of "The sky is falling when they lose." One week does not make a season. Hopefully this team can grow together, improve upon some things and remain relatively healthy throughout the year. I think they can compete with anyone that way. You need skill and good fortune as much as you do having a strong team, depth and coaching. Hopefully the everything comes together and #7 leads this team to it's 7th Lombardi Trophy.
  9. At this point we hope he can stay healthy to provide depth (that hopefully will not be needed). You get him some reps in a game if your team has a big lead and you are trying to move the chains on the ground and run out the clock. Injuries are hard to predict. Sometimes it is conditioning and sometimes these guys are young and their bodies are still growing right out of college.Hopefully his body has matured and gotten accustomed to the rigors of NFL football. I hope the team can dodge the injury bug. Lord knows that they have had some significant and inopportune injuries over the past five or six years. This is the most well balanced (off/def/ST) team the Steelers have had in quite some time.
  10. Here's a link on Steelers Depot with the Wednesday practice report. https://steelersdepot.com/2020/09/steelers-wednesday-injury-report-week-two-decastro-several-others-fail-to-practice/ Also courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers News & Updates & Schedules FB Group web post Pittsburgh Steelers Participation/Injury Report, Week 2 Wednesday, September 16 QB Ben Roethlisberger (Coach's Decision) - DNP WR Diontae Johnson (Toe) - DNP WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Knee) - DNP RB James Conner (Ankle) - DNP C Maurkice Pouncey (Coach's Decision) - DNP G Stefan Wisniewski (Chest) - DNP G David Decastro (Knee) - DNP T Zach Banner (Knee) - DNP T Alejandro Villanueva (Illness) - DNP DE Stephon Tuitt (Achilles) - DNP Denver Broncos Participation/Injury Report, Week 2 Wednesday, September 16 ILB Mark Barron (Hamstring) - DNP CB A.J. Bouye (Shoulder) - DNP S Kareem Jackson (NIR) - DNP RB Phillip Lindsay (Toe) - DNP T Garrett Bolles (Elbow) - Limited WR Tyrie Cleveland (Hip) - Limited S Trey Marshall (Wrist) - Limited WR Courtland Sutton (Shoulder) - Limited OLB Bradley Chubb (Knee) - Full WR KJ Hamler (Hamstring) - Full TE Albert Okwuegbunam (Hip) - Full Heard this morning (Thursday, 9/17/20) via Sirrius XM Radio broadcast that the Broncos placed CB AJ Bouye on IR
  11. I think the first official NFL injury reports come out each week on Wednesday. Then they are updated daily until game day/time.
  12. I can always add injuries to the GTD. Good suggestion. I also do not typically finish these in one sitting so to speak. I do them between work and other projects. I would love any additional ideas and or suggestions. You never know with the Steelers. However, if the weather conditions are fine, I can see this team putting up some points. Prior to the Ben injury, we would talk about Home Ben and Road Ben. The offense typically puts up more points and has been more explosive at home. Even in losses, it was usually more lack of defense stopping someone than our offense scoring KC game of a few years back comes immediately to mind.
  13. Who: 1-0 Pittsburgh Steelers home opener versus 0-1 Denver Broncos When: Sunday, September 20, 2020 @ 1 pm EST Where: Heinz Field Pittsburgh, PA Steelers vs Broncos Series History: The Broncos hold a 20-11-1 series advantage over the Steelers including winning 4 of the last 5 meetings (those four games were also in Denver). Last game was won by the Broncos in 2018 (also in Denver) 24-17. A game that the Steelers out-gained the Broncos in yardage 527 - 308. They lost the turnover battle and most importantly a shot at a the win. Last game in Pittsburgh (2015 season) was won by the Steelers in dramatic fashion 34 - 27. After being down 27 - 10 the Steelers stormed back and scored 24 unanswered points and shut the Broncos out in the second half 21-0. Big Ben threw three TD's to Markus Wheaton and two to AB including the game winner. Steelers Offensive Game Plan 1. Establish he run again. The Steelers did a great job of not abandoning the rushing attack and becoming one dimensional. The Giants huge interior DL gave the Steelers OL some fits early and there was very little room to consistently run the ball. The coaches made some adjustments and Benny Snell's downhill style actually boosted the rushing attack and allowed the passing game to make an impact. I would like to see some more play action passes. You have to run to do this. 2. Ball Security. This always seems to be an issue versus the Broncos, especially in the losses. The Steelers must not give the ball away. Ben did a solid job of keeping the ball out of the opposing defenses hands. Our RB's must concentrate and hold onto the ball and avoid tipped passes that go for int's. 3. Patience and adjustments. Some teams just historically match up well with you. Don't give the game away as in the past. Stick to your plan and be disciplined. The Steelers did not have a lot of pre-snap penalties and drive stretching penalties (the early PI on Joe Haden was a horrible call). Play smart and disciplined football. See what Denver is doing and adjust accordingly if your game plan is not successful. 4. Mix it up on first down. The majority of first down plays in New York were runs. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to not be predictable as well. There were a few times that the play action may have been effective in the same situation. Get the ball to some of your other weapons: Ju Ju, Ebron, Vance, Washington and Johnson. 5. Jump on them early and often. The Broncos are coming off a close home game loss, on a short week, and traveling to the EST for an early game. It's early in the season, but use that to your advantage. Take Denver out of their game plan by putting pressure on their defense. Attack, attack and attack. In 2019 this team never had an opening drive TD or enjoyed playing with a huge lead. With our defense, that could spell a long afternoon for the Broncos. Steelers Defensive Game Plan 1. Stop the run. In 2018 Phillip Lindsey ran wild over the Steelers defense. They added Melvin Gordon to give the Broncos a very capable 1-2 punch of running the ball effectively and making it easier to convert third downs for the young, but very capable Drew Stanton at QB.The Broncos OL has always been very solid and versatile in being able to move defenders and protect the QB. The Steelers DL and LB'ers will have a much stiffer test/resistance from the Broncos OL at the LOS. While neither of these RB's are Saquaan, both can hurt you running or catching, so you have to stay disciplined. Penetrate early and often to disrupt Gordon or Lindsey before they can get going is the best run defense. 2. Great game for our secondary to bounce back. Giants OC Jason Garrett had the Steelers defense on its heels at times with quick throws from Daniel Jones and limiting the pass rush of Dupree and Watt from wrecking anymore havoc than they did. The Steelers run defense was stellar and Nelson, Haden, Minkah and Edmonds did not have one of their typically stellar games. Mike Hilton made an impact in the run blitzing attack and getting a sack on Daniel Jones. Denver is young, but has some speed and a solid QB. This is game where Minkah may be able to disguise what he is doing and hopefully Edmonds can make a splash play or two with all of his physical talents. 3. Don't let TE Noah Fant run wild. The Steelers did a solid job of defending both Giant TE's, but I think the Giants also made a mistake in not trying to exploit this more. I think they got a little caught up with trying to throw on the outside. The Broncos also have former Seahawk and Steeler Nick Vannett, Jake Butt and rookie Albert O. If I am Denver, I might employ some two and three TE sets to run and pass from. Fant can certainly kill you over the top, but I think the other three can hurt you underneath. Especially Vannett whom I see as being very capable. 4. Get off the field on third downs. The Steelers did an exceptional job stuffing the Giants run on first and second downs. In the third quarter they had problems getting off the field and when the Giants had success, they converted a key third down (Phantom PI call on Haden withstanding). 🀬The offense showed that it can play balanced football, so give them the ball and more opportunities to put points up for the team. Steelers Special Teams are "Special" and not Exceptional. The New York Giants won the battle of special teams coverage, returns, punting and kicking. 1. Boz missed his first EP in more than a season. However, he also has a new holder and it was typical Boz after the missed EP that fortunately did not come back to haunt the Steelers. Boz knows Heinz Field and will kick well. I expect the work with the holder will improve. McManus has a strong leg and is use to utilizing the Mile High Stadium advantage. The winds at Heinz Field can be crazy. McManus missed an EP in 2015 at Heinz Field. 2. Punting can be a curse or advantageous to both kickers. Colquitt has been around forever and has kicked here in regular season games and pre-season dating back to 2005. Sam Martin kicked in Pittsburgh a few times during a pre-season game and when the Steelers played the Lions at home in 2013. He kicked well with 50.7 yard average. The difference may be in which punter can allow his coverage teams to get downfield first. Colquitt kicked some returnable punts last week and Jabril Peppers nearly broke one and had some success on returns as a result. 3. Coverage Teams and Returns - - Ironically a penalty on a PR in the last game at Heinz Field probably changed the outcome for the better for Pittsburgh. If I recall, the Broncos broke a PR for a TD that was called back and never again saw the end zone. Worst part of the Steelers game versus the Giants. Peppers outplayed Johnson in returns and the Giants coverage teams seemed to be a little better at attacking the return man. 4. Keep an eye out on Ray Ray McCloud. He looks to be very explosive and could get loose on a KOR. Not that I want the Steelers returning a lot of kick offs. Hopefully he does well in his one or two opportunities.πŸ€ͺ Prediction: In the immortal words of Clubber Lang, "Pain!" Will the Broncos continue to be a PAIN in the side of the Steelers or will the Steelers use some home cooking to start out 2 - 0 for the first time since 2017 and send send Denver back home 0 - 2? Either way, someone will be hurting by 4:15 pm or so Sunday. Steelers over Broncos 33 - 24 Steelers nation is happy at 2 - 0 and 0-2 Denver will be search of their first win of 2020. Pittsburgh seeks a little home-cooking payback. It won't be easy, but then again it never is with the Steelers. Wednesday Injury Report to come: Zach Banner is confirmed out as the Steelers signed former fourth round draft choice Gerald Hawkins from the Texans PS. Banner will have surgery on Friday(09/18/20). Awaiting confirmation on OL Wiz and RB Connor. Coach Tomlin stated at his Tuesday Press conference that their injuries "may not" be as bad as first thought. He is also waiting to see if DeCastro will be able to practice this week. See corresponding posts below.
  14. FIVE UP 1. Ben is back! Overcame the early jitters and lack of any game action against someone with a different uniform on. The second quarter drive before halftime was old school classic Ben. 2. I was really impressed with Bennie Snell's violent rushing. He seemed to ignite the running game and showed a little more quickness than I thought he had. If he can improve his ball security, he may play more. 3. Chase Claypool and James Washington - - Very solid effort from the #3 and #4 WR. Washington looked stronger and made a great effort for his second quarter TD with time running down. Claypool showed some of what he can do and took advantage of his opportunities. Great sideline catch and I was equally as impressed with his effort on the 4th and 1 jet sweep. 4. Coaching adjustment. We have been critical of the Steelers coaching staff's ability to make in game adjustments. They did just that and put this team in a good position to come back and finish the game strong. 5. The run defense. I can't remember when I seen the Steelers defensive line flex their muscles like that. Wow! Great efforts from Cam, Tuitt and especially Tyson who filled in at NG and seemed to make an impact along the DL as well. Bush made a tremendous stride this game. He was all over Barkley and seemed to have a great understanding of the defense. His pass coverage seemed to improve as well. FIVE FOR IMPROVEMENT - - Not going to say down because this team played well considering no pre-season, a pandemic, protests, and playing on the road. The last few years the Steelers were winless 0-1-1. It is great to be 1 - 0, but there is still work to do, adjustments and improvements to make. 1. Special Teams. I am not going to be ultra critical of any aspect considering the circumstances, but the Steelers did not look to be ready on ST. Boz missed EP was probably a result of new holder. Johnson's decision making and ball security have to improve. It is great that he may be able to take one to the house, but if he turns the ball over in the redzone or gives an opposing offense another shot to score, the juice ain't worth the squeeze. Something to pay attention too. Switzer was two yards and no dust, but had great ball security. I would almost prefer to use him and allow Johnson to come in at certain key times. Punt coverage was not great. Peppers is a dynamic returner, but there were missed tackles and some guys not in their lanes. Can be adjusted/fixed, but also not ready for prime time. I understand the fan base in Washington D.C.'s frustration with ST Coach Danny Smith. He is inconsistent and I would have liked to see a better effort overall by ST. Bright spot was Ray Ray Mc Cloud almost breaking one on a KOR. 2. Secondary. Not one of their better performances. Not real concerned, but they made some mistakes. Edmonds is still getting picked on and he is still a half step or so behind. The Giants stayed away from Minkah and did some things to take advantage of his aggressiveness in coverage. I expect to see him bounce back quickly. Ditto for Steve Nelson. Haden and Hilton were solid and a decent performance from Cam as well. This is a team strength and I expect that the coaching will adjust and these guys will improve. 3. OL Line injuries. You hate any injury. The early prognosis doesn't look good for Banner and Wiz. I think everyone was pulling for Banner after the work and dedication that he put in competing for the starting RT job. Losing Wiz can be even more devastating as he is extremely versatile being able to fill in at C or either OG spot. I hope neither injury is as bad as many suspect. 4. James Connor. God I feel bad for this kid. He cannot seem to stay on the field. I will continue to pull and pray for this guy who has overcome cancer and is a high character young man. Hoping that they kept him out for his long term health rather than having another dreaded high ankle sprain. It is a long season and I look for Connor to bounce back. He also seemed to have some opening game rust/jitters early on before the injury. We have all seen what Connor can do when he gets running downhill and his confidence and swag. 5. Dionte Johnson - - Poor start and he did a solid job of keeping his composure and rebounding. After muffing the opening punt, he did a solid job of hanging in there and competing. He made some mental mistakes and had a drop or two, but came up big when it counted. He helped put the game away with some key third down catches. If the same pattern holds true, Johnson should have a good game this week against Denver. Last year he seemed to rebound after an off game. This game Claypool and Washington seemed to outplay him in terms of consistency and ball security.
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