Mike Tomlin mum on No. 2 QB heading into preseason Week 3 vs. Titans

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh SteelersPhilip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

In his weekly press conference, Tomlin would give no indication as to the quarterback depth chart for Sunday or the regular season

In his weekly press conference Friday afternoon, Steelers head coach Mike Tomin refused to give any indication as to the quarterback progress for Sunday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans. Tomlin did state that no players will be ruled out from participating in Nashville, and specifically mentioned that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will play in the game. As for which quarterback will take the field once Roethlisberger’s night is over, Tomlin made it clear they were not disclosing the information at this time.

“Ben will play,” Tomlin stated to the media members in attendance. “We don’t have a specific detail of division of labor at this point in terms of quarterback participation beyond that. Who’s going to play, how long they’re going to play. Our energy right now is just that first group and Ben, and getting those guys in the game and getting some exposure there and hopefully get some success and move on from there.”

When fielding a question about being ready to say who the number two quarterback will be, Tomlin jumped in to answer before the question had been completed.

“You guys can ask me every day. I’m not. I’ll let you know when I am.”

There has been a lot of speculation among media and fans in regards to the leader for the back-up quarterback position. So far in the preseason, Joshua Dobbs has completed 11 of 18 passes for 180 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The Steelers 2018 third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph has completed 15 of 23 passes for 168 yards while throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Although believed to be fighting solely for the third quarterback position, Devlin Hodges has impressed many of those following the Steelers as he has gone 10 of 18 passes for 117 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Regardless of statistics, Mike Tomlin is not ready to give any indication as to where the rest of the players stand behind Ben Roethlisberger. When asked specifically about the second quarterback coming into the game on Sunday and if he was ready to state who it would be, Tomlin gave the same answer as before.

“I’m not.”

While all three players have done enough to deserve to take the field on Sunday, there probably won’t be enough snaps for all of them to see action. When asked which quarterbacks will get playing time regardless of the order, Tomlin still was not ready to give any indication as to his plans for Sunday.

“Again, I’m not making any bold predictions about participation after that first wave because a lot of what happens depends on the quality of play and time of possession related things.”

With no specific depth chart coming from the Steelers, many were hoping the order of play in Sunday’s game would help to bring some light to the situation. Coach Tomlin dismissed the idea of Sunday’s quarterback progression being an indication of the current regular season depth chart when asked if inferences should be taken based on which player takes the field first.

“No, you should not.”

As much as Steelers’ nation wants clarification on the quarterback depth chart for 2019, the only option left is to draw our own conclusions based on in-stadium play. Make sure to tune in Sunday night as the players try to make the most of their opportunity to grab the back-up quarterback position.

In the words of Coach Tomlin, “Get your popcorn ready.”

Ben Roethlisberger on preparing with the Steelers young WRs: “This week’s been exciting.”

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Training CampPhoto: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In a Q&A session before Thursday’s practice, Roethlisberger was asked several questions about his receiving corps

Before practice on Thursday, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fielded questions from the Pittsburgh media. One of the topics discussed through multiple questions was the relationship and expectations Roethlisberger has with his current group of wide receivers. With JuJu Smith-Schuster being the only current Steeler with more than 100 completions from Roethlisberger, the fact Smith-Schuster is only entering his third year in the league shows the lack of history the receivers have with their Super Bowl winning quarterback.

With the Steelers treating this week as much like a simulated game week as possible, the young wide receivers have been open about the anticipation of playing with their starting quarterback. Roethlisberger was asked about his excitement with working with his receivers in preparation for the game on Sunday with the Tennessee Titans.

“It’s been fun. This week in practice has felt a little different. Maybe it’s part being back here and part knowing I’m going to play a little bit. So I’ve kind of had a little ‘juice-bolt’ or whatever you want to call it to kind of get you going. This week’s been exciting so far knowing your going to get some reps and get out there with the guys and have some fun. So I definitely feel what they’re feeling.”

With such limited playing time by some starters in the preseason, many young receivers do not get to build the important relationship with their quarterback. Roethlisberger was asked if he wanted to get some time with the younger players, specifically Diontae Johnson and James Washington.

“I am going to try and get on the field with as many of them as possible. I think we’re going to try and rotate receivers in. So I think everyone will get a little bit of time because we want to be able to play that way this year. We don’t want to just have guys be on the field and wear themselves out. I’m emphasizing that when we do our two minute and we do our no huddle. If you need a quick breather, just take one. We’ve guys who can step up and step in and be ready to go.”

Getting as much work with each receiver is more important than ever for 2019. Of the 5,028 passes Roethlisberger has completed in the regular season and playoffs, almost 20% of them were to players who were on the 2018 roster but are no longer with the Steelers. If Le’Veon Bell were also to be included in that number, the percentage would rise to over 25%. Of the players currently on the Steelers roster, they comprise less than 10% of Roethlisberger’s career completions. With such a lack of familiarity between Roethlisberger and his receivers, the Steelers have a lot of quality work to get accomplished on Sunday.

One of the biggest needs to establish between a quarterback and his receivers is good communication and understanding of each other. Roethlisberger was asked how he communicates his expectations with the new players.

“It’s communicating during practice. It’s doing what I’m about to do as soon as I’m done with you guys. I’m about to go watch seven-on-seven with the receivers and break down every play and tell them this is what we think, and talk and just letting them know what I see, what I think. And them also communicating with me what they saw, why they did this, what they expect from me on a particular throw. Just constant communication, I think that’s huge.”

In 2018, James Washington had a strong preseason only to find himself struggling to get on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger. Working hard in the offseason to come in to camp lighter, faster, and stronger, Washington has stepped up his game in hopes of accomplishing the second-year jump many players wish to see. Roethlisberger was asked what he thought of where James Washington is this year as opposed to last season, especially from a mental standpoint.

“I think he took great strides, because physically obviously everyone has seen what he’s done in terms of losing weight but getting stronger. I think he’s got a little bit faster. But mentally, you don’t see the mistakes. You don’t see the confused looks sometimes, which any rookie is going to have that. It doesn’t matter what position they play. So you come in, you give him a hand signal, you tell him what to do and he’s doing it. And I think the biggest thing that people wouldn’t know is it’s not just at his position. I can move him to other positions and he still doesn’t skip a beat. So to me it just shows all the hard work he put in this offseason.”

It will be interesting to see how much game action Ben Roethlisberger will get with his young receivers on Sunday night. While the need for in-game is experience is great, the need to enter the 2019 healthy and injury free is even greater. Hopefully Sunday night shows familiarity is something the Steelers have worked out already in training camp and they are already prepared to hit the 2019 regular season running.

Roethlisberger’s session with the media can be seen here:

How to watch Steelers vs. Titans: Time, TV Schedule, and game information

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh SteelersCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All the information needed to watch or listen to the Steelers third preseason game this Sunday in Tennessee

It may not be football that counts, but Week 3 of the NFL Preseason is the closest thing to the real deal fans can get. The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to continue their 2019 preseason on Sunday night when Mike Vrabel, Marcus Mariota, and the rest of the Tennessee Titans host the Steelers in Week 3.

This will be the first and only chance for Steelers fans to see all of the healthy first-team players before the regular season kicks off two weeks later. With the Steelers working through a simulated work week in preparation for Sunday night’s game, for about a quarter fans will get to see a preview of what to expect in 2019.

Ben Roethlisberger has started he expects to start the game but is unsure how many series he will see. Players such as Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Joe Haden, and Vince Williams who have not participated in preseason games in 2019 will get a chance to see their first action if they are deemed healthy enough come game time. Can rookies Devin Bush and Zach Gentry get back on the field after missing Week 2? Will Steelers’ former first-round picks Bud Dupree and Artie Burns continue their strong showings form last week? Will Steelers fans finally get to see Sutton Smith in stadium?

All of these questions will be answered throughout the rest of the team’s preseason. Get all the information you need so you can enjoy the Week 3 showdown below:

Preseason Week 3:

Game: Pittsburgh Steelers vs, Tennessee Titans

Date: Sunday August 25

Kickoff: 8:00 P.M. ET

Venue: Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Weather: Live weather update

TV Channel: Broadcast nationally on NBC Sunday Night Football with Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth as commentators and Michelle Tafoya as the sideline reporter. Check the national broadcast map to see if the game is on in your area.

Online: NFL Game Pass offers live out-of-market NFL Preseason games and replays of every game during the season with a paid subscription. NFL Game Center will update the action on a play-by-play basis. The NBC Sports mobile app on Apple or Andriod will carry the game live for anyone who is subscribed to the NBC Sports channel. A login through your TV provider may be required. The game is also scheduled to stream live in some areas on the Yahoo! Sports app.

Radio: Steeler Nation Radio with Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin, and Craig Wolfley. The broadcast will be live on WDVE 102.5 FM and WBGG 970 AM in the Pittsburgh area or check the list of Steelers Radio Affiliates. Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via Steelers.com, but the Steelers Official Mobile App does have geographical restrictions.

You can also follow Behind the Steel Curtain on Twitter or in the game thread article to catch all of the highlights. Be sure to check back with BTSC after the game for our post-match roundup, and subscribe to BTSC Steelers Radio on YouTube to catch The Steelers Post Game Show with Jeff Hartman and Lance Williams.

Win a signed David DeCastro football through BTSC!

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Test you skills in picking NFL games and a signed DeCasto football could be yours

UPDATE: The first and second Survivor leagues have been filled with 100 members! To accommodate more participants, a third league has now been created. The information and links have been updated below. In order to win the contest, users must outlast everyone in ALL leagues! Make sure you check in at Behind The Steel Curtain throughout the season to get updates on the number of people remaining in each league.

Please do not enter a team in the new league if you have already used the same Yahoo! ID in one of the earlier leagues. Entering multiple leagues with the same ID will be grounds for disqualification.

As the league commissioner, I must be entered in each league. I will be making the same (most likely incorrect) pick in all leagues.

For the 2019 season, Behind The Steel Curtain is giving away a signed David DeCastro panel football! A great addition to your Steelers’ collection, it is a standard-sized football and comes with a certificate of authenticity. In order to win this fantastic prize, you’ll need a very small commitment for what could be the length of the entire NFL season.

As I bounced ideas through my head as to what could be fun and engaging for BTSC users, I thought about what could be the most encompassing to a wide variety of users who follow both the website and the BTSC family of podcasts, I considered something as complex as fantasy football, but the spots would be limited to only a few players. Then it hit me… Survivor Football!

If you are unaware how survivor football works, it is quite simple. For Week 1 of the NFL season you pick one team to win their game. That’s it. If your team wins, you move on to Week 2. There is no spread which needs covered, just a win. If your team loses, you’re out. If your team ties, you’re out because they did not win. The only catch is after you pick a team once, you can no longer use that team again. So if you pick the Steelers to beat the Patriots the first week, you cannot pick the Steelers any other week of the season.

The nice thing about a survivor league is there is no limit to the number of players who can be involved. All you have to do is make your pick each week until only one person remains. The last person standing will win the prize.

Here are the rules of play, which are outlined in the Commissioner’s note on the league’s main page:

Now that the rules have been established, all you need is the instructions to join the league. First, since the league is being run through Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, you need to have a Yahoo! ID, If you need to create one, you can do so for free by clicking HERE and selecting “Create Account.” Once your account is set up and you are signed in, you simply need to go to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports -> Football -> Survivor, on simple click HERE to go directly to the sign-up page. If clicking the link given, the league ID and password should be automatically filled in. All you will have to do is enter “Your Pick Set Name” and you are all set up. I highly suggest using your BTSC account name so others can better identify you. If you don’t have a BTSC account and screen name, what are you waiting for?

If for some reason the league ID number and password are not automatically filled in, Here they are just in case:

If you choose, you can get e-mail reminders to make your picks. Additionally, picks can be made for the entire season and changed each week before the deadline. Just so you know, even though the deadline is 1;00 P.M. EST on Sundays, the Thursday night game can be used as a pick as long as it is selected before kickoff. If using a Thursday night team, once the game has started the pick cannot be changed.

So there you have it! Get signed up and get ready to start making your NFL picks! I know BTSC staff members will be joining the the group, so even if you don’t win the entire league you could earn bragging rights over your favorite (or least favorite) authors. Also, feel free to invite your Steeler fields to join as there is no limit to the entries.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below and I will be sure to address them.

Best of luck!