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Discussion Starter #1
There's only two more practices in Steelers' training camp.

I'm just hoping for no more injuries during the pre-season (and regular season, for that matter).

Hopefully Bell will report soon. It almost certainly will be after camp is over.

The most intriguing camp battle is at wide receiver.

It's pretty obvious that Brown, Bryant, Smith-Shuster, and Rogers will make the team. I think they will keep six wide receivers.
I think Coates, Hunter, and Heyward-Bey are competing for the remaining two spots. For Coates, it will depend on if he catches the ball in the pre-season games. If not, he'll get cut. I don't see Hamilton making the team, even though he had a decent game against the Giants.

Another interesting battle is who will be the third string RB. Bell and Conner will obviously be #1 and #2. I think Toussaint is a better back from scrimmage than Davis but Davis is a better kick returner. That is a close contest.

I think the Steelers' deepest position group is the offensive line, followed by the defensive line.

The groups that concern me the most are the secondary and inside linebacker. It hurts that Sutton is hurt. Hopefully he is back soon. Burns and Davis need to continue to improve. I don't buy into the rumor that the Steelers will trade for Trumaine Johnson of the Rams. He makes $ 17 million/year. His salary is too large and they would have to give up a high draft pick. They are also not going to sign Darrelle Revis. If he could still play, he would have been signed already.

The inside linebacker group is suspect. Shazier is the only one that is good at covering the pass and he's been injury prone his whole career.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Steelers add an ILB or CB that gets cut by another team for the depth.

Their second pre-season game is Sunday. I'm sure Roethlisberger, Brown, Pouncey, and several other starters will not play. Bryant will play because he's been out for a year. Coates will most likely play, as will Conner. Dobbs will likely start as Landry Jones is out with an abdominal injury.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I know it's only pre-season, but the Steelers defense looked awful yesterday. Most of the starters played the first three series and they allowed a TD and two FGs (it should have been 2 TDs because an easy pass was dropped in the end zone).

Shazier, Dupree, Harrison, and Mitchell didn't play.

Nice to see Bryant back at WR, though he is obviously rusty.
 

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Bell needs to quit whatever game he is playing and get into character. The defense needs to figure out if they are even going to show up and 4 games worth of preseason is too much.

Not optimistic about our ability to stop teams yet. I think they will be able to score on anyone but this is not the Patriots, giving up 39 but scoring 45 is not in this team.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bell isn't going to play in any preseason games. He's training hard and is no doubt in great shape, but I wonder if he will be in football shape.

The third preseason game is generally the one where the starters play longer. So Roethlisberger and Brown will likely play. Just hoping for no more injuries.
 

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The only thing that will hold back the offense, barring injuries, is the play calling. Enough of the 60 yard bombs on 2 and 1. Run the best play you have to get the yardage you need to keep the ball moving. Time of possession is important against teams that have good offenses. You have to keep their best players on the bench.

Defense will still struggle a bit I think. But then again, coaching will have a lot to do with it. If they are going to call soft zone coverage against good offenses like they did in the AFCCG then they will struggle again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Steelers defense, particularly the secondary, was awful again last night. I don't think Cockrell will get cut, but it's possible Sutton will be starting earlier than thought. Golden has been horrendous the whole preseason and I wouldn't be surprised if he was cut.

There are no required cuts after the third preseason game like there used to be but teams will probably cut a few guys.

As for the offense, the primary questions is still who will be the third running back and who will be the fifth and sixth receivers they keep.

I expect the Patriots will pick up a slot receiver since Edelman is out for the year.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The Browns cut CB Joe Haden, who apparently turned down higher offers from three teams to sign with the Steelers.

He's been injury prone the last two years but he's only 28. He's still better than all their CBs except for possibly Burns. I wonder which CB who was going to make the team will get cut.

They also traded for a TE from the Niners. When the Steelers have traded mid and late round picks recently, it hasn't worked out well; Boykin, Scobee, and Gilbert were all bad trades.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Steelers made three trades in addition to the roster cuts.

They traded for McDonald, an athletic TE from the Niners.


They traded Coates to the Browns for a sixth round pick.

They traded Cockrell to the Giants for a conditional draft pick.

As for the cuts, the most noteworthy were:

Cut Knile Davis and Toussaint and kept Watson, who was by far more productive in the preseason.

Cut David Johnson. I thought they might cut Grimble, who is a better receiver but a much worse blocker.

They kept nine offensive lineman.

They kept McCullers who has been a disappointment .

They kept seven CBs instead of six. Sutton reinjured his hamstring and may have to go on S/T IR.

They also cut the long snapper they drafted.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Steelers made another trade; this tome with the Bucs. They traded a 2018 6th round pick for JJ Wilcox and the Bucs' 2019 7th round pick. Wilcox is a strong safety. I would think he's an upgrade over Robert Golden, who is a good special teamer, but a lousy safety.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Who's running the Steelers, Jim Rutherford? I don't remember this many trades in a single year before.
I don't either. There have been a lot more trades than normal for this time of year but it's unprecedented for the Steelers. Here's what I think is going on:

1.) Teams used to wait until cuts and see who cleared waivers if applicable to see if they could pick up a player without trading a draft pick. Some picked up players when the rosters were cut from 90 to 75. The cut to 75 was eliminated and so it went from 90 to 53. There is a protocol for players to clear waivers and there is an order as to which teams have a right to claim that player. If there is someone you believe may be available but there are several teams ahead of you and you're afraid one of those teams will claim that player, it may be worth your while to part with a low round draft choice. For the most part, you don't see trades at this time of year for vested players who become free agents when they get cut. Joe Haden was a vested player and signed with the Steelers. He turned down higher offers from four other teams.

2.) There were several trades early in the process which created more competition for players likely to be cut, resulting in more trades. The same thing tends to happen with draft day activity. If there are some early trades or there is a run on a particular position, then teams are often more willing to make a trade to move up or down, depending on if they feel the player they want may or not be available.

3.) There are some younger GMs in the NFL who seem to be more amenable to making trades.

4.) As for the Steelers, the biggest reason they have made the trades is because they are definitely in "win-now" mode. They are taking Roethlisberger seriously on the possibility of his retirement after this year. Even though they got smoked by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the Steelers are a contender. However the Steelers' management knows they have some serious position deficiencies to address:

(1) Even though there is little to no game planning done in the pre-season, the Steelers are justifiably concerned that their secondary was lit up by 2nd and 3rd string QBs. Ross Cockrell was awful in the pre-season and when Joe Haden was signed, Cockrell's days as a Steeler were numbered. The Giants needed a fourth CB, so they traded a conditional pick to the Steelers.

(2) Mike Mitchell missed the whole preseason and is questionable with a hamstring injury for the first game. Jordan Dangerfield is Mitchell's backup and he was hurt in the final preseason game. Dangerfield is much better on special teams than in coverage anyway. Robert Golden is the primary backup to Davis, but is also much better on special teams. With Dangerfield being hurt, the Steelers needed an experienced safety who could fill in for Mitchell or Davis. The Bucs had signed TJ Ward, who was waived by the Broncos, so JJ Wilcox became available and the Steelers traded for him. Except for Shazier, the Steelers' inside linebackers are not good at covering the pass, so don't be surprised if Wilcox is used as a hybrid safety/ILB on passing downs when Mitchell is back in the lineup.

(3) Despite the huge failure of Ladarius Green, the Steelers didn't draft a TE this year, hoping that Jesse James, David Johnson, and Xavier Grimble would be good enough. They were not happy with their TE play during the pre-season. James is a good #2 TE, but not really a starter. Johnson is strictly a blocker, and Grimble has potential but drops a lot of passes, and isn't a good blocker, though he has improved. The Niners planned to release Vance McDonald, who is an athletic TE who can catch passes and block, so they traded a 4th rounder for him and a 5th round pick in the upcoming draft. Since the Niners will likely be drafting early in the 5th round, there isn't much of a drop from where the Steelers would likely draft in the 4th round to where the Niners will draft in the 5th.

(4) The Steelers had tremendous depth at WR. It was figured they would keep 6 WRs and the top four would be Brown, Bryant, Rogers, and 2nd round pick Smith-Schuster. The last two spots would likely be between FA pickup Hunter, Coates, and Heyward-Bey. The Browns need a deep threat, so they were willing to trade a 6th round pick (which they acquired from the Steelers last year for Justin Gilbert, who was a bust for the Steelers.

The Steelers have a two week roster exemption due to Bell signing his franchise tender, but they will have to cut one more player to get down to 53. My guess is that it will either be Johnson, an ILB who played for them last year, or either Jerald Hawkins or Matt Feiler, since the Steelers currently have nine offensive lineman on the roster instead of eight.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Bengals are wearing a 50 patch this season on their uniforms. It's apparently to commemorate their 50th season. I thought it might be how many guys on their roster have criminal records.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The NFL season opens tonight and hopefully it starts with a Patriots loss.

The Steelers season starts on Sunday at Cleveland.

The biggest unknown of course is injuries and like every team, injuries to key players can and often do stop a Super Bowl run.

The Steelers offense should be dangerous this year. They have the best RB, one of the best QBs, a great set of WRs, and one of the best offensive lines. The only real question is the TE position. The two biggest improvements their offense needs to make is to improve in the red zone and play better on the road. The Steelers were way better at home than on the road last year.

The biggest questions are on the defense. The secondary is the biggest weakness. The pass coverage by the ILBs, except for Shazier, is the next biggest. The defensive line is excellent and deep. Dupree will need to improve a lot this year and the team as a whole needs to get more pressure on the QB to take the heat off the secondary. I think the Steelers offense will have to carry the defense through the first part of the year.

What do you think the Steelers regular season record will be? They will not be 16-0 or even 15-1. I will try to refrain from my trademark pessimism in my projection. Here it is:

7-9.


OK, so I didn't restrain my pessimism. Here is my real projection:

Division: The division shouldn't be very good though I think the Ravens will be better than projected because of their defense. The Steelers should go 5-1 in the division but I wouldn't be surprised if they lost a game to the Bengals in addition to the game I think they will lose to the Ravens.

AFC South: The Steelers play the whole division. I think they will beat the Texans, Jags, and Colts, but lose to the Titans.

NFC North: I think the Packers offense will overwhelm the Steelers defense and they will lose a road game to the Lions.

Other games:

Patriots at home: It's better than playing in Foxboro, but they'll still lose.

Chiefs on the road. I think they will lose that game.

Division games: 5-1
AFC South: 3-1
NFC North: 2-2
Other: 0-2

Total: 10-6
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The NFL season opens tonight and hopefully it starts with a Patriots loss.

The Steelers season starts on Sunday at Cleveland.

The biggest unknown of course is injuries and like every team, injuries to key players can and often do stop a Super Bowl run.

The Steelers offense should be dangerous this year. They have the best RB, one of the best QBs, a great set of WRs, and one of the best offensive lines. The only real question is the TE position. The two biggest improvements their offense needs to make is to improve in the red zone and play better on the road. The Steelers were way better at home than on the road last year.

The biggest questions are on the defense. The secondary is the biggest weakness. The pass coverage by the ILBs, except for Shazier, is the next biggest. The defensive line is excellent and deep. Dupree will need to improve a lot this year and the team as a whole needs to get more pressure on the QB to take the heat off the secondary. I think the Steelers offense will have to carry the defense through the first part of the year.

What do you think the Steelers regular season record will be? I will try to refrain from my trademark pessimism in my projection. Here it is:

7-9.


OK, so I didn't restrain my pessimism. Here is my real projection:

Division: The division shouldn't be very good though I think the Ravens will be better than projected because of their defense. The Steelers should go 5-1 in the division but I wouldn't be surprised if they lost a game to the Bengals in addition to the game I think they will lose to the Ravens.

AFC South: The Steelers play the whole division. I think they will beat the Texans, Jags, and Colts, but lose to the Titans.

NFC North: I think the Packers offense will overwhelm the Steelers defense and they will lose a road game to the Lions.

Other games:

Patriots at home: It's better than playing in Foxboro, but they'll still lose.

Chiefs on the road. I think they will lose that game.

Division games: 5-1
AFC South: 3-1
NFC North: 2-2
Other: 0-2

Total: 10-6
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Although he has AGAIN started the season on suspension for a dirty hit, the Bengals gave Vontaze Burfict a three year, $ 39 million extension. There's no truth the rumor that his contract has a legal defense fund in lieu of a signing bonus.:grin2:
 

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I love that they extended Burfict. All that means is that when they need it the least, he will still be on the filed to do something totally STUPID and ruin their chances of winning. He and Pacman are the biggest IDIOT tandem in the NFL....and that is saying something.
 
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