Steelers offensive line is potentially strongest positional group heading into 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line: Matt Feiler, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, Alejandro Villanueva; versus the New Orleans Saints (2018)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the strongest positional groups to return in 2019 in their offensive line. Typically, the guys up front don’t earn a ton of attention unless they draw a flag, but this should be one squad Steelers fans should be exceptionally excited to see back on the field this season. One […]

Steelers offensive line is potentially strongest positional group heading into 2019 appeared first on Steel City Underground.

Report: Steelers made a waiver claim for former Jets TE Jordan Leggett

The Steelers were one of four teams who lost out on the opportunity to claim the former Jets tight end off waivers to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday

With the Pittsburgh Steelers depth at tight end still looking relatively light as the team begins the third phase of their offseason training program, it should perhaps come as no surprise to learn that the front office made an attempt to upgrade their talent at the position on Monday.

As per Field Yates of ESPN, the Steelers were one of five teams who placed a waiver claim on recently released New York Jets tight end Jordan Leggett, ultimately losing out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who had the highest priority on the waiver wire.

Leggett has been on the team’s radar before, a player they were potentially considering in 2017 after they met with him at the NFL Scouting Combine and then took him out to dinner when visiting Clemson to watch him perform at his pro day. Selected by the Jets in the fifth round of the draft with the 150th overall pick, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN surmised at the time that Leggett might well have been the target for the Steelers with their fifth round pick (173 overall).

The former Clemson product missed his entire rookie season after injuring his knee and ending up on injured reserve, but appeared in 15 games last year, including four as a starter. He would finish the season with 14 receptions for 114-yards and a touchdown. Given the tight ends the Steelers currently have on the roster, Leggett would have figured to be competing for a backup position as the third choice option, possibly challenging Xavier Grimble for the No.2 role with a strong training camp. He will now be forced to attempt to restart his career in Tampa Bay instead.

Devin Bush splits time with Mark Barron running with 1st team at OTAs Tuesday

The Steelers rookie linebacker saw a significant amount of practice time with the starters during the opening day of OTAs

The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted very little time getting Devin Bush acclimated to the first-team defense on the opening day of Organized Team Activities on Tuesday, reportedly including him in a three man rotation at inside linebacker with veterans Mark Barron and Vince Williams.

As per Mike Prisuta of WDVE Radio and Steelers.com, while Bush was not in there for the first snap of the day, it appears that he saw a significant amount of time with the starting unit on day one of OTAs, seemingly being given every opportunity to show the coaching staff what he can do from the outset.

The ability of the young rookie to be able communicate with the rest of the defense will be key to his development in the early stages of his career, especially if he is to be charged with the task of calling the plays in the huddle. A learning curve that Williams and Cam Heyward are helping him with in their own different ways.

When speaking to the media after practice, Heyward was understandably reluctant to get too excited about the rookie’s performance after only one day of training out of pads. But also made it clear that he would do what he could to help the former Michigan product adjust to life in the NFL, despite the obvious college rivalry. As reported by Sarah Spencer of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

“It’s the first day, we got to get the jitters out. It’s kind of weird cheering for a Michigan guy now, but I’m going to be his biggest advocate and biggest supporter, so it’s a good starting point. It’s the first day to get him used to us. We were already kidding about when he was calling the plays, he’s got to get some bass in his voice. But that’s just us messing around. He’s going to be good, and we’ll break him in.”

And while Barron might be his rival for the starting role, the offseason free agent signing had nothing put positive things to say about his young rival when talking to reporters.

“I’ve only been around him briefly, but I like his style of play from what I’ve seen. He’s really aggressive, really tenacious, a speedy guy. He gets to the ball, and that’s kind of similar to the way I play. I get to the ball. I like that; anytime I see somebody that gets to the ball and plays with a certain attitude, I like it.”

Of all of the position battles set to be fought this offseason, the one between Barron and Bush could well be the most interesting to watch. But it perhaps worth acknowledging the relative unimportance of who runs with which unit at this stage in the year. If Bush is dominating the first team snaps counts when the team gets to Latrobe, that will be the time to really take notice.

OTA Recap, Day 1: Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers, move on to the 2019 season

Time to check in on what went down at the UPMC Practice Facility for Organized Team Activities.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had one heck of an offseason, and shockingly enough none of it had anything to do with the team’s 9-6-1 record and missing the playoffs. No, it all surrounding the drama between Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger and even Le’Veon Bell threw his name in the mix periodically.

The drama couldn’t come to an end soon enough, and the Steelers turned the page from 2018 to 2019, officially, with the first day of Phase 3 of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting Tuesday. This meant the first day with the rookies and veterans together, the first time it could be offense vs. defense and the first time the Steelers can finally put the saga behind them that was the 2018 season.

As for Ben Roethlisberger, he certainly had a lot to deal with this offseason, and his quotes from his media session sure were noteworthy. Read the full quote below from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, and check out the video courtesy of the Steelers official Twitter page:

Roethlisberger claims to be re-focused, but that he also heard the criticism of him as a leader and is making adjustments. Where to start? Try showing up to more OTA workouts than usual.

This per Will Graves of the Associated Press:

The Steelers want to move on, and this is a sentiment you will hear echoed throughout the rest of OTAs, at least early on. But now we turn our focus to all of the different storylines and notes which took place on Day 1 of OTAs:

  • Cam Heyward Speaks

Heyward is a defensive captatin for a reason, when he speaks people listen. Read, and watch, what he had to say when it came to getting back to work and putting 2018 in the rear view mirror:

When was the last time you heard a veteran so excited just for OTAs? Oh yeah, one who felt like they’ve just been put through the ringer this past offseason.

  • Turnovers are key

Joe Haden knows the Steelers’ defense didn’t live up to the standard they set for themselves last season, and he also knows he is a part of those failures. The goal is to take the ball away more in 2019…and it started Tuesday.

  • The new guy gets a taste of what it is like being the black-and-gold

Steven Nelson was brought in to assist the defense in taking the ball away, but first he has to get acclimated to his new surroundings. Nelson talks to DKPittsburghSports about the transition.

  • Diontae Johnson knows

The rookie wide receiver from Toledo knows who everyone compares him to — Antonio Brown. But he doesn’t shy away from those comparisons. Johnson talks about how he has studied Brown and feels they have a lot in common when it comes to his overall game.

VIDEO/PHOTOS

Podcast: Why Ben Roethlisberger should have taken the middle road

In a brand new show titled ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At this point you heave heard, or read, Ben Roethlisberger’s one-on-one interview with KDKA TV in Pittsburgh. Maybe you watched the interview and thought, “Ah, Ben took the high road.” Or maybe you watched and thought, “What the heck? Why doesn’t Ben blast Antonio Brown like Brown blasted him while leaving town?!”

Either way, the high road or the low road, the best course of action should have been the middle road.

Not sure what the middle road would be in this situation?

This is where the newest BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. My co-host on ‘The Standard is the Standard’, Lance Williams, talks about how Roethlisberger should have made a statement, but without making a scene.

Lance is the perfect man for the job, and delivers the goods in the latest show.

Check out the audio below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

Black and Gold Links: The reversing of the Steelers’ turnover trend started Tuesday

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

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. As the team now turns their attention to more offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp, there is no shortage of news.

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how it is well known the Steelers need to produce more turnovers, but getting those is a different story altogether. On Tuesday, the first day of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Joe Haden and company began a turnover quest.

Let’s get to the news:

  • More turnovers for the Steelers defense? Yes, please.

Joe Haden takes first step toward turnover turnaround for Steelers defense

By: Jonathan Bombulie, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

On the very first play of the seven shots two-point conversion style drill on the very first day of organized team activities Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, cornerback Joe Haden joined the conversation.

Haden stepped in front of tight end Vance McDonald in the flat and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass to the delight of his defensive teammates.

“It was me and Vance out there on an island,” Haden said. “He ran an outside release, so I thought it was going to be a fade. Then when he sunk his hips down to run a comeback, I just undercut it. And then I looked back and the ball was there, so I had to pick it off.”

Haden was aware of the obvious glass half-empty interpretation of the play. His quarterback, who led the league with 16 interceptions thrown last season, began OTAs with another one.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • While most might think the Steelers could have had their locker room split after the Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell saga, the opposite is true. The team is closer now than ever.

Steelers veteran Ramon Foster says team is closer than ever

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“I feel like we are closer now than we ever have been,” the 11th-year offensive lineman said while walking off the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex fields Tuesday.

Foster, who signed his fourth Steelers multiyear contract in March, called the previous 4 1/2 months “one of the longest-shortest offseasons ever.” Of course, the Steelers navigated through the loss of Le’Veon Bell in free agency and the eventually granted trade demand from Antonio Brown after Brown effectively left the team during Week 17.

Brown and Bell had critical comments about the team in between – and national media, former players and others piled on, too, mostly toward Ben Roethlisberger.

Foster defended his quarterback Tuesday, and he said all the drama around the Steelers has made team unity even stronger.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Did Ben Roethlisberger’s one-on-one interview leave a sour taste in your mouth? You aren’t alone…

Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: Ben Roethlisberger misses mark in interview

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

What KDKA billed as “The Interview: Ben Roethlisberger” was a pre-emptive move by Big Ben to share his side of the story before the Steelers open voluntary organized team activities on Tuesday morning at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side.

Bob Pompeani went one-on-one with Roethlisberger, with the first part of the interview airing during Monday’s 6 p.m. newscast and focusing on his relationship with Antonio Brown.

The All-Pro wide receiver took shots at Roethlisberger in talking his way into a trade to the Oakland Raiders – saying on HBO that Roethlisberger “feels like he’s the owner” – but Pompeani said Brown didn’t respond to KDKA’s requests for an interview.

The second part is expected to focus on the two-year contract extension worth $68 million, with a $37.5 million signing bonus, that Roethlisberger signed last month.

Big Ben missed the mark, only causing more questions.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Somehow, some way, Ben Roethlisberger took the blame for the Antonio Brown garbage this offseason.

Roethlisberger: AB ‘made me who I am’

By: Dale Lolley, DKPittsburghSports

Ben Roethlisberger has been quiet throughout the offseason, despite a pretty public divorce between the Steelers and Antonio Brown in which the star receiver said comments by the quarterback led to Brown wanting out of Pittsburgh.

But with the Steelers set to open Phase 3 of their OTAs Tuesday, Roethlisberger spoke with KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani and expressed regret over everything that happened.

“I took some heat and deservedly so for some of the comments on that show and especially towards him,” Roethlisberger said, referring to comments made on his weekly radio show on KDKA-FM. “I genuinely feel bad about that and I’m sorry. Did I go too far after that Denver game? Probably.”

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Social Media Madness

With Kawhi less than 100 percent, Raptors' bench shines in Game 4

TORONTO — It’s not clear what the injury is, and there has been no word from the Toronto Raptors. But Kawhi Leonard is most certainly dealing with some sort of leg ailment in these Eastern Conference finals. The most clear indication of that was a pronounced limp after he dunked on Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Raptors’ second possession of the third quarter Tuesday night.

Given how much the Raptors have depended on their star in this postseason, a hobbled Leonard, coming off a career-high 52 minutes in Game 3, would seemingly be a harbinger of doom. But the Raptors of Game 4 were not the Raptors of the conference semifinals, when contributions from the Toronto supporting cast were few and far between.

Those Raptors, in the second half of a desperate Game 4 win in Philadelphia, basically went six deep. Those Raptors had just seven guys see the floor in all of Game

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VanVleet's shot reborn after birth of 2nd child

10:13 AM ET

Tim BontempsESPN

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet broke out in a huge way Tuesday night, scoring 13 points off the bench to help lead a balanced scoring attack for the Toronto Raptors as they blew out the Milwaukee Bucks 120-102 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The performance, which helped even the best-of-seven series at 2-2, continued a week full of highs for VanVleet.

On Sunday, he helped the Raptors survive a double-overtime thriller to beat the Bucks in Game 3.

On Monday, VanVleet found himself flying to his hometown of Rockford, Illinois, for the birth of his second child, Fred Jr.

While he was flying back to Toronto again Tuesday morning to play in Game 4, he had time to reflect on being in the midst of the worst shooting slump of his playoff career.

1 Related

Raptors take advantage of Bucks' defensive lapses in Game 4

TORONTO — Mike Budenholzer wasted no time in identifying the Milwaukee Bucks’ fatal flaw Tuesday night in their Game 4 loss to Toronto, a defeat that essentially cut the Eastern Conference finals now to a best-of-three mini-series. 

“I think this is probably the first night defensively where I don’t feel like we were close to where you need to be to give ourselves a chance,” Budenholzer said. 

He didn’t specify whether he meant against this particular opponent, so far in the 2019 postseason or across the expanse of the 95 games the Bucks have played since late October. 

So let’s just say they were shoddy and haphazard enough in falling 120-102 at Scotiabank Arena to have undermined all three. 

Limiting this to the playoffs, the Bucks’ work defensively ranked as their low point in 13 games against Toronto, Boston or Detroit. Their 125.0 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions)

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2019 NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals Schedule and Matchups

Here are the schedule and national television arrangements for the Conference finals.

Eastern Conference finals

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (2) Toronto Raptors 

Game 1: Wed, May 15, Milwaukee 108, Toronto 100
Game 2: Fri, May 17, Milwaukee 125, Toronto 103
Game 3: Sun, May 19, Toronto 118, Milwaukee 112 (2OT)
Game 4: Tue, May 21, Toronto 120, Milwaukee 102
Game 5: Thu, May 23, Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 ET, TNT
Game 6: Sat, May 25, Milwaukee at Toronto, 8:30 ET, TNT
*Game 7: Mon, May 27, Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 ET, TNT 

Western Conference finals

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (3) Portland Trail Blazers

Game 1: Tue, May 14, Golden State 116, Portland 94
Game 2: Thu, May 16, Golden State 114, Portland 111
Game 3: Sat, May 18, Golden State 110, Portland 99
Game 4: Mon, May 20, Golden State 119, Portland 117 (OT)
Golden State wins series 4-0

* * *

The 2019 NBA Finals will begin on Thursday, May 30.

* – If Necessary

Playoff Bracket & Series

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