Ryan Shazier on Devin Bush’s development: “We all knew it would come”

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles ChargersJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Shazier has been mentoring Devin Bush since he was drafted, and gave the rookie some very high praise heading into the bye week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a move during the 2019 NFL Draft many didn’t expect them to make. They traded up 10 spots, giving up valuable draft stock in the process, to select Devin Bush 10th overall out of the University of Michigan.

What most didn’t think about what how this would look to the man who used to patrol that area of the defense. Mr. Ryan Shazier.

How difficult must it have been for Shazier to watch the Steelers make the move, yet completely understand why they did it at the same time. As Shazier continues to recover from his spinal chord injury suffered in December of 2017, he has been mentoring the young linebacker and helping him through those growing pains he knows all too well.

“I thought he had a great game,” Shazier told Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s making a lot of plays. He’s starting to become a playmaker. . . .

“You can definitely tell he’s getting more comfortable. We knew it would come. It takes time.”

This praise came after the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Los Angeles chargers on Sunday Night Football. A night where Bush led the team in tackles, had an interception and a fumble recovery which he took back for a touchdown.

Not a bad day at the office, and some might say it was a very Shazier-like night for the first round pick. But it isn’t just Shazier who is noticing Bush’s overall ability. Other members of the defense are starting to take notice.

“He’s just a really good player,” Joe Haden said of Bush. “He’s always around the ball. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He’s a very instinctive player. He’s very ball aware.”

‘Very ball aware’ might be an understatement. The Steelers have 15 takeaways this year, the same amount of takeaways they had in all 16 regular season games last year, and Bush has been a part of 6 of those takeaways in one way or another. He just seems to have a knack for finding the football, or is the football finding him?

Either way, as Bush puts together a rookie season which should have him in consideration for the Defensive Rookie of the Year, the Steelers are starting to see the playmaker they knew they drafted after trading up to get him. As Shazier said, it takes time, but Bush is only going to get better — and that is a scary proposition for opposing offenses for years to come.

Steelers fan confidence gets a big boost after Week 6 heading into the bye week

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles ChargersJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers were able to defy the odds and beat the Chargers in Week 6. The win, combined with a well-timed bye week, has the Steelers fan base feeling better about their team.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to do the unthinkable when they traveled to the west coast and beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6. Now, as they prepare for their Week 7 bye, the team has some momentum. Granted, their 2-4 record is nothing to boast about, but the team has shown some positives heading into their annual week off.

With the win, the Steelers vast fan base has started to see some signs of life. In other words, they are starting to regain some of the confidence that was lost when their record was 0-3, and 1-4.

The latest FanPulse results certainly paint a pretty accurate photo of how fans truly feel:

After the gut-wrenching loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, the confidence marks for the fans dipped to 28%. However, after the big win over the Chargers the confidence mark jumped to 51%. This marks the highest the confidence has ranked since prior to Week 1 when the team squared off with the New England Patriots on prime time.

The Steelers fan confidence is likely two-fold. First, the fans see the team pull off a big win on the road heading into the bye week. In other words, the Steelers can’t break their hearts this week no matter what. Second, fans also see the next game being a Monday night game vs. the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field in Week 8. This means there is a very good chance the team could be 3-4 heading into a Week 9 game vs. the Indianapolis Colts at home.

There is still a lot which can go wrong, but as of right now the Steelers fan base is starting to see this team take shape. The defense is taking the ball away, sacking the quarterback and showing an ability to stop teams in the red-zone. Offensively, Mason Rudolph will be back under center in Week 8, and the hope is he continues to develop along with the offense throughout the remainder of the regular season.

It might be the bye week, but Steelers fans are showing some excitement about this team moving forward.

Do you want to be a part of the BTSC Steelers FanPulse? It is easy to sign up for, and takes mere minutes a week. Simply click HERE and fill out the appropriate information!

Tomlin on the Steelers’ wide recievers: “There’s a fine line between being a Pro Bowler and a special teamer”

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Head Coach Mike Tomlin is less concerened about the depth chart and more concerned about production

Head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the Pittsburgh media on Wednesday before the team headed into their bye week. After addressing injury updates and the quarterback situation, Coach Tomlin then took several questions. Tomlin was asked how important it is for the Steelers to establish a number two receiver to complement JuJu Smith-Schuster.

“It’s important for those guys to make plays when called upon,” Tomlin answered. “Who you designate as number two, number three, number four, all of those guys are ones in their mind. They need to be. This is professional football. There’s a fine line between being a Pro Bowler and the special teamer. From a mentality standpoint, I want all those guys to be ready when called upon. Really, that’s what’s important. How you choose to identify them is less important.”

Although it can be tied to the unfortunate but necessary switching when it comes to the quarterback position, the Steelers receiving numbers for 2019 are a fraction of what they were last season. JuJu Smith-Schuster currently leads the Steelers in receiving with 340 yards which puts him on pace for just over 900 yards on the season. In 2018, Smith-Schuster was leading the team in receiving through six games with 561 yards.

Another troubling statistics compared to last season is the player who is second on the team in receiving yards: James Conner. Through six games, Conner has almost identical receiving yards to last season with just 26 more at this point last season. But in 2018 he ranked fifth on the Steelers through the teams first six games as compared to second in 2019.

With Conner being the second biggest receiving threat so far for the Steelers in 2019, many are looking for someone else to step up to complement Smith-Schuster down the stretch. Coach Tomlin was asked if JuJu and Diontae Johnson could be the Steelers’ next generation of a solid wide receiver tandem.

“They need to be,” Tomlin replied. “And others. We don’t care where the plays come to be quite honest with you. Again, we’re not in style-point mode. We’re not even in personality mode. We just need to do what’s required to move the chains, to ring up the scoreboard, to score one more point than our opponent in an effort to win football games.”

When the Steelers come off of there bye after Week 7 of the NFL season, they will be looking to find a stable identity for 2019. Mason Rudolph will be in line to start his fourth game at quarterback after missing Week 6 with a concussion. As the young QB gains more experience, the desired outcome is more of a connection with his young wide receivers.

While better receiving numbers is a desirable statistic, it all comes secondary to putting tallies in the win column. Yes, a greater output from the Steelers receiving corps can help lead to more victories. Whether it’s through the air, on the ground, or with a stifling defense, ultimately the Steelers’ need to start stacking wins any way they can get them.

Taking a look at the laundry list of Steelers injuries heading into the bye week

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

During a media session before the bye, Mike Tomlin update the status of several Steelers who are battling through injuries.

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Pittsburgh Steelers, considering the laundry list of players who are dealing with an injury of some kind. There are some who have significant injuries, and will miss an extended period of time, while others are hopeful to not miss a beat when they report back to the team prior to their Week 8 Monday Night Football game vs. the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.

On Wednesday, the day before the team jettisons from the team headquarters to do their own thing for the weekend, Mike Tomlin held court to local media and updated several injured players’ statuses heading into the bye.

There was first some good news from players who missed the Week 6 game in Los Angeles vs. the Chargers. Tomlin said Roosevelt Nix, who was injured his knee during the Week 1 loss vs. the New England Patriots, could return to practice, and the same could be said about James Washington (shoulder), Steven Nelson (groin) and Mark Barron (hamstring).

This via Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports:

There are also some players who played on Sunday Night Football, but left for various reasons. Tomlin said there are a few who could be limited when they return, and, as always, their practice participation will dictate their game availability.

Tomlin said James Conner (quad), Joe Haden (groin) and T.J. Watt (oblique) could all be limited, even after the week off.

This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:

Unfortunately, the team will be without Stephon Tuitt for the remainder season, but Tomlin did say Tuitt could undergo surgery on his torn pectoral muscle as soon as Wednesday.

The other players who are nursing injuries which aren’t as significant as those mentioned previously would be:

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Toe)
Vance McDonald (Shoulder)
Devin Bush (ankle)

Now the team will turn their attention to the Miami Dolphins at home on Monday Night Football in Week 8 in hopes of winning back-to-back games for the first time in 2019. Could this be the start of a winning trend for the Steelers? Only time will tell…

3 games to watch in Week 7 which give perspective on the Steelers future opponents

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There are several NFL games this week which will help shape the perception of teams the Steelers take on later in 2019

With the Pittsburgh Steelers on bye this week, fans of the choice to either take a break from NFL football altogether or turn their attention to other games. As many look to see what else is going on around the NFL, there are a few matchups between two teams the Steelers have either faced previously or teams remaining on their schedule.

For Week 7, here are the three games which could give the most perspective on what the Steelers can expect with some of their future opponents:

Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday at 4:25 PM on FOX

This is by far the biggest game Steeler fans should pay attention to this Sunday. With Pittsburgh falling to Seattle in Week 2, the best case scenario is for all the AFC North teams to fall to the Seahawks as well. So far Seattle is 3–0 against the AFC North with the Ravens being the final matchup for Seattle in 2019.

Obviously, Steelers fans will be cheering hard-core for the Seahawks in this one. Normally I would say playing in Seattle would be an advantage, but with the Seahawks only beating the Bengals and the Rams each by one point and falling at home to the Saints in their only loss of the season, it doesn’t seem to be the same massive advantage it has in the past. But Baltimore has never won in Seattle, so it should make for an interesting game.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Sunday 1:00 PM on CBS

Did you have this game circled on the calendar to watch during the bye? Me neither. The Miami Dolphins are just as bad, if not worse than they were projected before the season began. But the Buffalo Bills have been a pleasant surprise with their only loss coming to the New England Patriots.

I’m not really sure what anyone can take away from this game. If the Dolphins pull off the upset, it might mean a larger task is in store for the Steelers their next game. If the Bills handle Miami, they will still be the best team remaining on the Steelers schedule record-wise.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

Monday at 8:15 PM on ESPN

This may be the second of these three games which could very well be a blowout. The Jets only have one win on the season, but it was against the Dallas Cowboys last week. With Sam Darnold returning to the starting lineup after being out with mono, facing the Patriots can show if the Jets are a legitimate contender to make a run throughout the middle of the season. If not, their game against the Cowboys may have showed more about their opponent than it did themselves.

So there are the three main matchups which can give Steeler fans an indication as to the quality of upcoming opponents in 2019. While each week is a different game and upsets due to certain matchups are bound to happen, the greater the body of work each team puts on the field can help to draw better conclusions.

So which of these games will be the most telling as it pertains to the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers? Make sure you vote in the poll and give your thoughts in the comments below.

Film Room: 5 plays from the Chargers game that show the winning formula for the Steelers

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

The Steelers beat the Chargers by focusing on the right things for that game.

The Steelers traveled to the West Coast with a rookie who was cut and cleared waivers before the season starting and came away with a huge win. This weeks film room is going to look at the offensive gameplan that allowed the offense to move the ball reliably, score points and control the game enough to seize a much needed victory.

Step 1: Show you aren’t afraid to throw deep

JuJu Smith-Schuster is at the top of the screen.

Great job on the route by JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Devlin Hodges gets rid of the ball at exactly the right time. He just throws it 5 yards short of where he should have. If that ball is between the 47 and 50 yard line JuJu Smith-Schuster likely makes that catch and a big gain.

This is the downside of Devlin Hodges, he doesn’t have a strong arm, and he has almost no chemistry built up with his WRs. His accuracy wasn’t great across the board, but on his deep throws it was terrible. Hodges threw 5 deep balls against the Chargers, with 3 incompletions, a penalty for unnecessary roughness negating one incompletion and an interception. So far this season Hodges has thrown deep 8 times, with one completion for 18 yards, 2 recorded incompletions and a recorded interception to go with an interception and 3 more incompletions negated by penalties.

This was the first offensive play for the Steelers, and the message was clear, the Steelers would not hesitate to attack the Chargers banged up secondary, even if Hodges couldn’t get it there, the Chargers knew the Steelers weren’t afraid to throw deep. You can blame the Chargers defense for respecting the threat, but the Steelers still committed to showing the risk, and the CBs were giving cushions, and that was important.

Step 2: Stretch the defense to the sidelines

Donte Moncrief is at the bottom of the screen.

This one shows the strength of Hodges, he sees the CB playing off, and leads Moncrief to the sideline where the defense had no chance to stop the play. Moncrief made a great play on the low throw, but look at when Hodges releases the ball. I know last week’s film room covered this as well, but it is worth talking about because it continued in this game, and it backed the defense off the line of scrimmage.

Here’s a zoomed in slow-motion clip of the throw, the GIF goes until Moncrief gets his eyes to the QB, the point where Rudolph has been starting his throws. The ball is already on it’s way by then with Hodges, and the defender has no chance to make a difference because of it.

If Mason Rudolph is the starter week 8 at Miami we’ll be talking about this again in that film room, hopefully showing how Rudolph improved.

Step 3: Exploiting the Chargers LBs

Conner gets the ball, but watch JuJu Smith-Schuster at the top of the screen.

If you notice No. 58 pointing at JuJu Smith-Schuster it’s because JuJu set a beautiful pick on this play. The Steelers run Smith-Schuster right at the zone defender that should be on Conner, JuJu gets away with it here, most likely because the defender was stepping towards him into the contact. With Smith-Schuster clearing out the safety Conner has a first down before dealing with contact. Again the CB is giving JuJu a lot of ground, and even without anyone blocking him that CB is in no position to challenge the first down.

You can see how slow the LBs are in getting to the sideline, the Steelers consistently attacked the Chargers LBs in coverage and forced them to run horizontally. With the LBs slow to recover and help the passing game and CBs far off the line, a big part of the offensive design has succeeded.

Cliff harris is still a punk!, in his filmroom, discussed the Steelers use of heavy sets (check it out if you missed it) and it was a big part of the game plan, not just for the run execution that chisap showed so well, but also in forcing the Chargers to rely on bigger slower players while the Steelers used Conner’s strengths as a receiver out of the backfield to attack their lack of speed.

Step 4: The payoff

Benny Snell Jr. picks up the first down and more.

A couple things to notice here, Devlin Hodges under center, the OL in 3-point stances, but mostly look at the depth of the LBs, and watch both David DeCastro and Alejandro Villanueva start with double team blocks and then peel off those blocks and find other defenders. Benny Snell here gets 7 yards because the LBs aren’t attacking the line of scrimmage, and that gives the OL time to make double team blocks and still get bodies on the LBs.

The Steelers did a better job run blocking in week 6, but it wasn’t because the players on the offensive line suddenly remembered they were talented, they still had to win their blocks (and they did a great job of it), but they were in a much better position to succeed because the offense had the Chargers LBs worried about other threats.

On the other side of the ball…

Watch Devin Bush, he starts out on the right side of the logo.

The Chargers could not get their run game going, and this play is a good example of why. You can see Devin Bush coming up to the line right before the snap, the Steelers are attacking the line of scrimmage on this play, like they did on a high percentage of plays in this game. Because Devin Bush comes up the center has to block Bush. If the center is free to double team Javon Hargrave there the LG can pass Hargrave off to the center and peel off to find a LB, which would have been Williams. Because Bush hits that gap the guard is stuck on Hargrave.

Also notice Cameron Heyward eating a double team and not letting the LT or TE get away from him. That’s Heyward dominating a run play. And notice Bud Dupree holding the edge and hitting Derek Watt to make sure the run can’t bounce outside his way.

All of that effort leaves Vince Williams alone to do what he does best, fill the lane and squash the opposing runner’s momentum.

This not only shows the value of backing up LBs so that they can’t dictate blocking and keep the OL from peeling off into the run lane, but it also shows Devin Bush playing a key part in the play by filling that space and keeping the Chargers line behind the line of scrimmage. That’s not something Bush was doing well earlier this season. I’ve been commenting on his growth and weaknesses almost every week, and this is a key step in his growth I haven’t had a chance to cover yet. Earlier in the game he had an opportunity to finish a play when the backwards pass was bouncing around and no one seemed interested in touching it, and unlike the safety last week where he took himself out of the play before the whistle blew, this week he jumped on that opportunity and turned it into a TD.

Before his injury Devin Bush looked like he was putting it all together and on his way to being exactly what the Steelers hoped he would be. He was still good afterwards, but he missed some tackles and seemed to be lacking in some quickness and power, which would make sense with an ankle injury. With an extra week to heal it will be exciting to see what the rest of this season has in store for the Steelers rookie phenom.

The Steelers must now build some momentum after their big win over the Chargers

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles ChargersJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

With the Steelers bye week coming on the heels of an impressive win over the Chargers, it’s time for them to figure some things out, make some hay and build some momentum.

Like most teams and most fans of those teams, the Steelers Week 7 bye couldn’t have come at a better time.

Why? Because that’s what you’re supposed to say. Nobody wants to think their bye came at the wrong time. Besides, in Pittsburgh’s case, it’s actually true. With all the injuries suffered before and during Sunday night’s victory over the Chargers—including the season-ending pectoral tear sustained by Stephon Tuitt—the Steelers could actually use a break this early in the season.

Also, it would be a really good idea to spend this extra time forging an identity and finding out who is good at what. Not so much on the defense, mind you. As weird as this is to say, I believe the defense is on a fast track to being really dominant. I realize the loss of Tuitt, who was off to the best start of his career, hurts tremendously. But, in one of those silver-lining moments most of us look for in situations such as this, I believe the loss of Tuitt will be a showcase experience for Javon Hargrave, who may get a chance to put his pass-rushing prowess on display as a rotating defensive end.

That remains to be seen, of course, but I think the defense can still operate quite well in Tuitt’s absence.

As for the offense without Big Ben Roethlisberger around to carry it on his shoulders? That’s an entirely different story. This may be a good time for head coach Mike Tomlin to gather offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and his assistants together and figure out a way to make this offense truly functional in the wake of Roethlisberger’s injury. What kind of offense will it be with Mason Rudolph presumably coming back as the starter against the Dolphins and beyond? Will it be an offense that’s running back-centric? For my money, this is what they should do. With the passing game compromised due to, not so much the inexperience of Rudolph and Devlin Hodges (although, that plays a part), but the lack of a truly cohesive receiving corps, perhaps Fichtner should do what Todd Haley did in late 2016, when his receivers after Antonio Brown were decimated by injury. Right after the crippling loss to the Cowboys on November 13 that left Pittsburgh 4-5, Le’Veon Bell quickly became the focal point of the offense, and the Steelers rode him to a nine-game winning-streak all the way to the AFC Championship Game. I’m not saying James Conner is Bell. What I am saying is, he proved last year, and in the two wins the Steelers have had in 2019, that he’s perfectly capable of being the focal point of the offense. And with Jaylen Samuels presumably coming back from arthroscopic surgery in the not so distant future, the Steelers may have a nice little trio at running back. Trio? Yes, I’m saying trio after rookie Benny Snell Jr. rattled off 75 yards on 17 carries against the Chargers on Sunday night.

If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that a Pittsburgh offense that is centered around its running backs is an offense that is more conducive to winning.

It will be interesting to see what little tweaks the team makes during its break, but for the sake of the fans, I sure hope they’re good tweaks. Let’s face it, Steelers fans are all about championships—or at least the hope of them. And with a huge road win coming just before the bye, there is now momentum, the momentum of hope.

It is starting to build, and it will quickly pick up steam now that the fans will have extra time to think about those playoff possibilities.

Of course, that hope could be dashed with a couple of losses in the near future. I don’t think anyone is expecting a loss to the Dolphins when Pittsburgh resumes play on Monday Night Football on October 28. And there better not be a loss, not to a team that doesn’t appear to have the talent and/or will to win a single game in 2019. If the Steelers really do win that game, that, my friend, is a two-game winning-streak. Pittsburgh hasn’t won more than one game in a row since it won its sixth-straight last November 18 in Jacksonville.

And the game against the Dolphins will be the first of three-straight at Heinz Field. If there’s ever a time to make some hay, it’s now. Sure, the Colts and Rams, Pittsburgh’s next two opponents after Miami, are certainly no pushovers. But if there’s one thing the Steelers have proven during their four and a half games without Roethlisberger, it’s that they’re not pushovers either. It’s perfectly fine to expect a good showing against both Indianapolis and the defending NFC champions. In fact, given the Steelers’ competitive play without their star player, it’s perfectly acceptable to expect no worse than a split in those two games.

Assuming a win over the Dolphins, that would be three victories in four games. That, my friend, is called momentum.

I don’t know about you, but 4-5 inspires much more hope than 1-4. They can do something with 4-5. Given the Steelers schedule over the last seven games, they can still get somewhere at 4-5.

But it all starts with the Dolphins.

Steelers fans will surely have some exciting possibilities dancing in their heads by the time the bye week ends on October 28.

Will the Steelers be up to the task of turning those happy thoughts into reality?

Stay tuned.

Podcast: Diagnosing what needs to improve for the Steelers to make the playoffs

In the latest episode of “The Standard is the Standard” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially underway, and the news is really starting to heat up. With a surge of Steelers news, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC flagship podcast The Standard is the Standard. On this show Jeff Hartman and special co-host Lance Williams break down all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Breakdown how the Steelers can improve enough to make the NFL Playoffs
  • Predictions
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Lance Williams 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
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: Adjusting to life without Stephon Tuitt will be no small feat

NFL: Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee TitansChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving into Week 7 of the NFL regular season, and as the team prepares to rest and recover during their bye week 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 getting by without Stephon Tuitt will be easier said than done.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Stephon Tuitt wasn’t just having a great season, he was having an All-Pro season. Now with his season over due to a torn pectoral muscle the Steelers will have to find a way to adjust without No. 91.

Steelers preparing to adjust with DE Stephon Tuitt injured, out for season

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Stephon Tuitt might not want to hear it now, but there is a positive that can come from enduring a season-ending pectoral injury.

All the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman has to do is look a few feet down his row at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex locker room for proof.

In 2016, Cameron Heyward’s sixth NFL season ended after seven games because of a pectoral tear that required surgery. He rebounded the next year to record a career-high 12 sacks and become a first-team All-Pro for the first time.

“You’re not going to the grave with this,” Heyward said Tuesday. “This is something you can come back from and be a better player because of it.”

The irony is bittersweet. Also in his sixth season, albeit in the sixth game, Tuitt suffered a torn pectoral muscle against the Los Angeles Chargers that will require surgery and end his season. The Steelers placed the 26-year-old defensive end on the reserve/injured list Tuesday and re-signed former Steelers defensive lineman L.T. Walton to replace Tuitt on the 53-man roster.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Stating the obvious…but Mason Rudolph should be the Steelers’ starting quarterback.

Mark Madden: Nice job, Duck, but Mason Rudolph should be Steelers starting QB

By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

For a third-string quarterback from a small football college who didn’t get drafted, Devlin Hodges has made considerable impact in Pittsburgh.

Between his duck calls, duck T-shirt and duck tweet that included a duck video, Hodges seems ready to establish a duck dynasty.

One obstacle: The moment Mason Rudolph is cleared to play, he should start. Hopefully, that’s the Steelers’ next game, Oct. 28 at home vs. Miami.

That’s no knock on Hodges. He did as well as could be expected in the Steelers’ 24-17 win Sunday at Los Angeles.

Hodges and the offense were greatly buoyed when the defense got the Steelers a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Hodges managed that edge from there, completing 15 of 20 passes for 132 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He had just two completions more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage.

Don’t call Canton yet.

Hodges did what he was asked and did it well. But he’s not the quarterback that’s going to help you catch up in the fourth quarter.

Rudolph might not be, either. But he’s got much more talent and pedigree.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • The Steelers didn’t just take over Los Angeles for Sunday Night Football, they dominated the TV ratings too.

Like attendance, Pittsburgh dwarfs L.A. in ratings for Steelers-Chargers

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Much has been made about the high ratio of Pittsburgh Steelers fans to the “home” team Los Angeles Chargers during Sunday night’s game at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The television ratings tell a similar story.

According to NBC, Pittsburgh by far was the top-rated market for the Steelers’ 24-17 victory broadcast on its network. Pittsburgh households delivered a 41.9 rating (percentage of the entire market watching) and 61 share (percentage of households with TV sets in use).

Los Angeles? The hometown team didn’t even register among the top 10 markets. (The caveat being that southern California neighbor San Diego – the longtime home of the Chargers until three years ago – indeed was the second-highest rated market at 17.3 with a 34 share.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Around the locker room

  • Social Media Madness

Steelers make it official, Mason Rudolph released from NFL concussion protocol

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee TitansPhoto by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have their starting quarterback ready to go for the Miami Dolphins in Week 8.

Well the story that never ends might have actually come to its conclusion on Wednesday evening. The rumor mill swirling around Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph being in, or out, of the NFL’s concussion protocol has been arduous. After rumors of Rudolph being released by an independent neurologist before the Chargers game, the team stating he was still in the protocol, and the same day Mike Tomlin referred to the label as “semantics” — Mason Rudolph is free.

Free from the NFL’s concussion protocol.

This per the Steelers Director of Public Relations, Burt Lauten:

Rudolph is now able to practice fully, and prepare for the team’s next game. What is great news is how the Steelers are entering their Week 7 bye week before playing the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football at Heinz Field in Week 8.

Earlier Wednesday Mike Tomlin said when healthy Rudolph would be the starting quarterback for the team moving forward, and it looks as if that time is now. From here the team will go into games with Rudolph as the QB1, Devlin Hodges as QB2 and it is possible the team keeps Paxton Lynch as the QB3 and a game day inactive for the remainder of the season.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they head into the bye week, and let’s hope this Rudolph concussion story has finally come to its conclusion.