Black and Gold Links: Steelers preparing for life without Maurkice Pouncey

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland BrownsPhoto by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving into Week 12 of the NFL regular season, and as the team prepares for the Cincinnati Bengals, we continue to provide you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over until the next game starts!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Steelers are now being forced to prepare for life without Maurkice Pouncey as he will start his 3-game suspension in Week 12.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Maurkice Pouncey is appealing his three-game suspension, but the Steelers are preparing for life without Pouncey starting Sunday in Week 12.

Steelers bracing for playing several games without center Maurkice Pouncey

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

David DeCastro doesn’t like envisioning a short-term future without teammate Maurkice Pouncey manning the middle of the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line.

It’s a reality DeCastro and the Steelers face in the aftermath of a three-game suspension that the team’s All-Pro center received for fighting with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett at the end of a 21-7 loss Thursday night.

“That’s the last thing we need,” DeCastro said Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the Steelers could learn whether they will get Pouncey back sooner than his initial punishment. Pouncey’s appeal of his suspension will be heard by one of the league’s jointly appointed officers, James Thrash or Derrick Brooks.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • The Steelers were fined for their injury reports, or lack thereof, of Ben Roethlisberger’s injured elbow. The Steelers are appealing the fine.

Report: Steelers appealing NFL fine relating to injury report

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Pittsburgh Steelers are appealing the $75,000 fine levied on the organization by the NFL in relation its handling of the league-mandated injury report earlier this season, ESPN reported Monday.

The Steelers did not list quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as having an injury leading up to their Week 2 game. Roethlisberger did not play after halftime of that game and was later ruled out for the season. During the days that followed, at least two Steelers publicly mentioned that Roethlisberger’s elbow was giving him pain during and after the Week 1 loss at the New England Patriots.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the organization believes the fine is “unfair” and they “have an argument” to present.

In connection to the fine for the team on whole, coach Mike Tomlin also was fined $25,000. There has not yet been any indication he is appealing his fine.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke his silence on the Myles Garrett situation which occurred in Week 11.

Goodell: Garrett discipline had to make clear actions were unacceptable

By: Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk

Just about everyone in the football world weighed in on Browns defensive end Myles Garrett‘s helmet swing to Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph‘s head last Thursday and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s thoughts have now been added to the file.

Goodell spoke to Gary Myers of OTG the morning after the game in an interview that was distributed on Monday. Goodell said there was “no place in the game” for what Garrett did and said that the league quickly and firmly suspended Garrett, Browns defensive end Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey to make it clear their actions were unacceptable.

Goodell extended that explanation to the fines handed out to the two teams and outlined the steps that Garrett will take toward reinstatement from his indefinite suspension.

“He will not play the rest of the season. He will probably meet with us some time in the offseason,” Goodell said. “We’ll make a judgement . . . Does he have remorse? Does he understand why it’s not acceptable? Do we understand what he’s going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

AFC North Recap: Steelers’ path to the playoffs will likely be as a Wild Card team

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland BrownsScott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

After a Week 11 loss, and the Ravens continuing to win, the Steelers’ path to the postseason will likely be as a Wild Card team.

The eleventh week of NFL football is behind us, and it was quite the week in the AFC North division. With that said, it is time to see how the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns all did in the week that was.

Time to take a look…

Cleveland Browns – 21
Pittsburgh Steelers – 7

This Thursday Night Football game was a dud, up until the melee which ensued with 8 seconds left in regulation. The thing which sticks with me isn’t the fight between Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph, but how poorly the offense played throughout the game. The poor performance was masked by the fiasco at the end of the game. If the Steelers even think they have a shot at the playoffs, they have to be a lot better than what they put on the field in Cleveland last Thursday.

Baltimore Ravens – 41
Houston Texans – 7

Another big game vs. a quality opponent, another Ravens victory. Lamar Jackson is taking the NFL by storm, and after his 4 TD performance vs. the Texans he should be in consideration for NFL MVP. Jackson and the Ravens are flying high, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to stand in their way, at least not right now.

Oakland Raiders – 17
Cincinnati Bengals – 10

The loss to the Raiders has mathematically eliminated the Bengals from playoff contention. With six games remaining, the Bengals will start thinking about next season. Look for them to mix up the lineup and take a solid look at who, and what, they have on their roster heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, free agency and next year.

AFC North Standings

Baltimore Ravens – 8-2
Pittsburgh Steelers – 5-5
Cleveland Browns – 4-6
Cincinnati Bengals – 0-10

Week 10 AFC North Schedule:

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m. ET
Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins – 1:00 p.m. ET
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams – MNF

A look ahead…

Next three opponents for all AFC North teams:

Baltimore Ravens: at Rams (MNF), vs. 49ers, at Bills
Cleveland Browns: vs. Dolphins, at Steelers, vs. Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers: at Bengals, vs. Browns, at Cardinals
Cincinnati Bengals: vs. Steelers, vs. Jets, at Browns

Steelers vs. Browns Week 13 matchup gets flexed to 1:00 p.m. ET

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland BrownsScott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has decided to move the Steelers vs. Browns Week 13 start time.

Say what you want, but it looks as if the NFL doesn’t really want the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns game to be anywhere near prime time television when the two teams meet up in Week 13 at Heinz Field.

After the debacle in Week 11 on Thursday Night Football ended with Myles Garrett using Mason Rudolph’s helmet as a weapon on him, the league has announced they have flexed the Steelers vs. Browns Week 13 contest from its original 4:25 p.m. ET time slot, and moved it to 1:00 p.m. ET.

This from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network:

The league has since moved the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs game into that 4:25 p.m. ET time slot with those two teams very much in contention for the AFC West, and a potential Wild Card spot.

The NFL will suggest this decision is solely based on ratings, but the reality is they want to avoid having another incident like they experienced in Week 11. This happening again will be unlikely, especially with Maurkice Pouncey and Myles Garrett suspended for the contest, barring an overruling in the appeal process. But the NFL is erring on the side of caution in this regard.

This means most of the remaining games on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 regular season schedule, as of right now, are all 1:00 p.m. ET kickoffs with the lone exception being their Week 14 trip to the desert to play the Arizona Cardinals at 4:25 p.m. ET.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12 of the regular season.

The Steelers have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, per PFF

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland BrownsScott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 5-5, but have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, according to PFF.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a precarious situation. After starting the year 0-3, and then 1-4, no one thought they would have a chance to be talking about the playoffs. Nonetheless, after winning four games in a row the team has righted the ship and now stands 5-5 heading into Week 12.

With the fan base now thinking about playoffs, it is worth noting the remainder of the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule is pretty easy. In fact, according to the fine folks at Pro Football Focus they have the Steelers schedule as the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL.

This is when the “the Steelers always play down to their opponents” fans come out of the woodwork. See what PFF had to say about the rest of the Steelers’ 2019 regular season schedule.

Part of the reason we liked the Steelers coming into the year was that their schedule was relatively easy compared to other AFC foes. While their Week 17 matchup against the Ravens in Baltimore is not likely to be for the division title (we give them about a 12% chance of winning the division), their next two (one with Cleveland, one with Cincinnati) could put them in a prime position to run by the Raiders and secure the conference’s sixth seed despite their 0-3 start.

As they stated, it doesn’t look like the Week 17 game will be for the AFC North division, considering the Ravens’ 8-2 record with six games remaining. But take a look at the Steelers’ final six games:

Remaining Schedule

at Cincinnati Bengals
vs. Cleveland Browns
at Arizona Cardinals
vs. Buffalo Bills
at New York Jets
at Baltimore Ravens

In case you were wondering who else is considered to have the easiest remaining schedule, here are the Top 5:

Top 5 Easiest Schedules

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Cleveland Browns
3. New York Jets
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Miami Dolphins

How do you see the final six games playing out for the Steelers? Are they able to win enough games to sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card team? Or are there too many things, like injuries, standing in their way of a postseason berth? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the team prepares for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.

Steelers Think Tank: What is wrong with the Steelers’ running game?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto:mPhilip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers can’t run the ball, and it is tough to watch. Is there an easy fix to this issue?

Welcome to the BTSC Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Think Tank’. Here is where there will be a general question asked, and the answer will be hashed out in the comment section below the article. Unlike in the Friday Night Six Pack, and other articles which are banking on fan responses, this is just one topic to discuss.

This ‘Think Tank’ article is all based around the biggest issue facing the Steelers’ offense currently, and it isn’t the quarterback. No, I am referring to the team’s inability to run the football not just in key situations, like 3rd and short, but in general.

Before looking at some statistics, it should be noted the team has had their share of problems with running the football based on injuries at the position. James Conner has been in and out of the lineup as he deals with a shoulder injury, Jaylen Samuels missed several weeks after having his knee scoped and rookie Benny Snell has also been nursing a knee injury which has kept him out of the lineup for the past three weeks.

Not exactly ideal when you have your top three running backs all nursing injuries at one point or another, especially when Conner seems to be the only back who can carry a full workload as a starter in the NFL.

The Steelers 807 rushing yards (80.7 yards per game) through 10 games has them 26th in the NFL, and they are currently the worst team in the NFL when it comes to converting 3rd and 4th and short situations.

These statistics are damning enough, but the impact it has had on the team’s offense, particularly Mason Rudolph, has been noticeable. Without a solid running game, Rudolph has been forced to put the team on his shoulders and move the ball through the air. Although he has had some success doing this, Week 11 was a stark reminder he has less than 10 starts under his belt in the National Football League.

It all starts with getting healthy, but is there more to the team’s failure to run the football? Is it an aging Steelers’ offensive line? Randy Fichtner being too predictable with his offensive formations he deploys in key situations? Has the singular loss of Roosevelt Nix been the downfall of the ground game?

There are a lot of moving parts to this question, and sadly not clear resolution in sight.

So, with all this said, do you thin the Steelers can actually start running the ball more effectively? If so, what do they have to start doing? Or is what we are seeing now becoming the new norm for the offense? Let us know your thought in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned in to BTSC as the Steelers prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.