Steelers Chat | Steel City Underground

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  1. Goodness gracious! Thank you Joe! This narrative is about to drive me crazy! Thank you for writing a statistically supported and sensible piece about this subject! And I get the enamored view Steelers Nation takes of the downfield pass…. but the very same people (I’d be willing to bet on this!) that complain about us not “taking what the defense gives us” and just forcing the ball downfield too much are now complaining about the “dink & dunk” plays. Drives me absolutely bonkers!

    And hey, I like the big play as much as the next person, but frankly Mason could throw every ball behind the line of scrimmage as far as I care — IF we win. And lets be fair to him as well. He led this team to the brink of a win against the currently 4-1 Seahawks… if only the defense could have held them. And did the very same last week against the 3-0 49ers… if only we held on to the ball when we could have run the clock. Even in those two games, he put us in a position to get the W. Couldn’t close it out.

    As for me, I like what I see so far. I also believe as he grows in his NFL game (this season), we see him begin to take those shots. I just think he’s more “measured” than Ben at this point. That’s the line I’d bet on. #HereWeGo

  2. Mike, I agree, but I think a coaching change that most people seem to be overlooking is the loss of Mike Munchak coaching the offensive line. The OL group is still very talented, but so far they don’t seem to playing to the standard set over the last few years. If the OL plays better you would think that would translate to better running and passing (assuming that Fichtner starts creating a better plan). Just food for thought anyway.

  3. Agree Christina. I still have plenty of hope. I look forward to seeing what we have in Rudolph. I look forward to seeing how some of these young defensive (particularly) studs mature. And I sure as heck look forward to having a season without any extracurricular BS! I said in the off-season– and I (think I) still mean it — I’d rather lose without AB on this team than win with him and ALL his insanity! So, let’s go Steelers! Let’s see what we’ve got!

  4. Sorry Christina, that’s not what I meant to do. I was just stating that it seems more common than rare. I think I read somewhere yesterday that Steven Ridley — who has a reputation as a “fumbling RB” — has lost the ball once every 70ish touches over his NFL career. Conner’s number is currently at about one fumble every 69 touches. Yikes. That is too much. o.O

    Hopefully it gets better. WAY better.

    • Dave,
      Actually, I’m glad you said something. I try to make sure that I have all my facts and figures on point… and by saying that Conner’s fumble was “rare” (and I think I used that exact term on Twitter) was not statistically correct. Thank you for sharing your insights as well. I have gone over a lot of film from that game and it is evident that the offensive line was not sharp. Did that factor into Conner putting the ball on the ground? I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that it did or did not. In the end, if he wants to be the lead back on the Steelers offense, fumbles are not going to earn him much praise or respect – especially among his teammates – so he has got to clean that up (and that’s on him). I continue to be optimistic that things can and will turn around. There’s some tuning that needs to be done to this piano, but once it is? I’m hoping for a concerto!

  5. I agree 100%. Butler is the issue. We hear all the time about “communication” issues. That’s a coach problem. He should have been gone when they gave up 45 points or so to Bortles and the Jags in a home playoff game!!!

  6. I couldn’t agree more Mike! I am so fed up with what appears to be nearly complete & total ineptitude of the coaching staff to put together a sensible plan..

  7. Unfortunately, the fumbles are more common than rare in Conner. He’s had too many going back into last year even. That makes me sad. Also, I agree about the deal with Rudolph… hell, even the broadcasters were saying that they had to turn him loose and let him stretch the field. Other than 1-2 throws in the first half, they were SOOOOO conservative in their play-calling. When they did turn him loose to throw it downfield, things happened. How disappointing. Each week, I get closer and closer to fire them all (coaches)….

  8. Bunch of individuals not a team. No leaders. Coaching staff is flat.

  9. “This is crying over spilled milk, but when does replay become more about correcting obvious mistakes rather than determining outcomes in games? And when does a defensive player get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making an attempt to make a play, which Edmunds clearly does here?”

    This is THE key point in my real concern with officiating. Well, besides the fact that the refs suck in general. But, beyond that, as this still picture clearly shows, Edmunds got his head around to make a play on the ball, which in and of itself should negate almost all contact but the most egregious. And egregious this was NOT! So, tired of this kind of pure horse manure…

  10. Hi guys, thank you for your podcasts and articles! There are so useful and informative for us, who lives outside the USA but truly support guys wearing Black and Gold. What do you think about to create a telegram channel for the latest articles, news, announces and polls? It might be cool to mix all the sources in one flow, like an RSS, but more modern and convenient.

  11. Of course. I’m often talking to myself anyway. Both on this site and in real life. Hey, wait a minute, maybe there’s something to tha….

    Haha. No problem Christina!

  12. Good stuff Christina! Pretty much went to form. I mentioned in Joe’s article that I didn’t think Sutton Smith had a chance with his immense time off (added to his already diminutive stature and small school “handicap” coming in). It’s too bad too, because I really wanted him to make it all work out! Oh well. I DID think they would keep 10 because I couldn’t see any way they could let Skipper OR Gilbert III go. But I thought they would trim at O-Line since they were so deep and versatile. I was a little surprised it was at WR though. Although, I still believe Holton comes back after they make some IR move here by tomorrow. That will get the WR room back to six (6) bodies. We’ll see real soon!

    Anyway, good recap here!

  13. Skipper just turned 24 which makes him a tad older and this is Holton’s third training camp/team in as many years. Holton is 28 years old…

    As for Smith, he looked just fine out there IMO. Being drafted oftentimes not being drafted when it comes to making the 53. Just because a player racks up sacks doesn’t mean it translates to the regular season or even making the roster. We’ve seen this when Arthur Moats “crushed the JVs” or Howard Jones had strip sacks for touchdown returns too.

    The ultimate factor for me, in regard to Skippers, is that the team didn’t even consider seeing what Skipper could do on special teams. He played there last night, but was that due to lack of bodies? Anyone that deep on the roster at LB must play special teams.

    That’s also a thing with Holton: would the Steelers use him on special teams and in what capacity? They’ve used Burns as a gunner and three other WRs as returners, which limits Holton’s appeal where he’d likely be most used (i.e. replacing DHB’s role).

    I think Skipper can still make it, but he’s toward the bottom of the pecking order (as is Smith honestly). Depends on the numbers game. Do they keep 8? 9? 10? What other players are being retained at other positions such as WR, OL, DL and the secondary? Sean Davis being banged up may have an immediate impact on how many safeties the carry and could easily see Jordan Dangerfield (or someone else released from another team) jump onto the 53 and take up an extra “5th” spot not accounted for in my list.

  14. I drop Eli for Holton. Holton has something that nobody else on that list has (outside the top 3) — speed and height. He’s shown well enough that he’s capable AND he’s been the gunner running with 1st team punt team. He is the 2019 version of DHB.

    Sutton Smith (unfortunately) doesn’t sniff the 53 right now. How can he? His injuries alone are enough to keep him from it as he hasn’t shown anything yet. Plus, as undersized and unproven (and out of a small school) as he is, his chances of getting poached off waivers are extremely close to 0%. Skipper on the other hand has shown himself to be a baller. 5 sacks, 2 FFs, 2 tackles on STs (last night — out of 5 kickoffs! 40% is a pretty high tackle rate though certainly a limited sample size. But it shows he has a nose for the ball). There is NO CHANCE I expose him to waivers. And I’m not sure what you meant in the comment above Joe that Skipper (and Holton) have been around the block? Certainly Holton has been a bit. But Skipper JUST graduated (or completed his time at) Toledo this Spring. He was on the 2018 Toledo FB team. At any rate, I can see no chance that Smith makes this 53 given his injuries in preseason. I AM excited about him but he will learn and have a red-shirt year on the PS.

    As to Matekevich, I agree with you that I’d MUCH rather keep UG3. Give me a guy that you aren’t afraid to put on the field at his “position” AND has shown to be good (with ability to progress) on ST over a guy that you hope and pray NEVER sees the field defensively any day and every day. I still think the Steelers keep him though.

    Other than that, I love your picks. I’m all in with those two changes I mentioned. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll call and ask what I’m thinking. LOL

  15. Both Skipper and Holton have been around the block already. While they could stick around a la Xavier Grimble, I believe there’s less need at both positions. Holton could sneak in as a taller/faster WR that doesn’t seem to appear anywhere else on the roster, but they’re loaded at the position.

    Smith showed plenty yesterday and injuries won’t be held against his potential. Preseason stats don’t justify whether or not a player makes it or not. We’ve seen that many of times throughout the years with the likes of Howard Jones or Damoan Patterson. Great performances, but ended up not being a fit for the Steelers.

    Keep in mind I skew my picks toward what I think they’re thinking and not necessarily my personal favorites. That would be reflected in Diontae Spencer, who is my preseason pick but likely another odd man out at a deep position.

    Thanks for the comment!

  16. Congratulations! You’re the first writer to suggest that the Steelers drop Matekevich in favor of a younger more athletic Ulysses Gilbert. However I don’t understand what you’ve seen from Sutton Smith to select him over Tuzar Skipper. In addition it seems Smith is more likely to make it to the practice squad, while most agree Skipper would be scooped up by another team.
    Personally I believe Holton is the only burner available and he’s shown four “splash” plays. If Rudolph hadn’t underthrown his 40 yard reception would have also been a touchdown. Thanks.

  17. I’d love to see Burns keep up the intensity. The drops were frustrating, but I think we’ll see a much better performance in the third preseason game.

  18. Thank you Joe! You hit the nail right on the head with every part. With the way we’ve bolstered the defense, I believe this is going to be a 13-3, 12-4 season as well. Keep up the great work!