Since Mike Tomlin’s season-ending press conference, there’s been an overwhelming feeling of change in the air of Pittsburgh. The Steelers missed the playoffs after having one of the most talented teams in the conference, and something had to be done. Drama has been synonymous with the Steelers for the past few seasons, yet little has been done about it.
That narrative is apparently over in the Steel City.
Antonio Brown has long been considered a diva, whether it be him throwing Gatorade coolers on the sideline or getting into numerous arguments with coaching staff. Brown has always portrayed himself as a “look at me” persona in Pittsburgh, doing almost anything in his power to make everybody watching aware that he was the best in the business. For a long time, business was booming for Brown in Pittsburgh, however, after a drama-filled conclusion to the season, Brown might have burned his last bridge in a city that contains 446 of them.
Tomlin hinted at it in his press conference, stating change was surely coming for the team, and answered questions regarding Brown in a passive manner. Our very own Mike Asti pounded the table for Brown to be traded in his Mic Drop segment.
Now, Steelers President Art Rooney II confirmed to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Brown’s tenure in Pittsburgh is likely over.
“As we sit here today, it’s hard to envision that. But there’s no sense on closing the door on anything today. There’s snow on the ground. We don’t have to make those decisions right now.”- Rooney on Brown being on the roster for training camp.
Rooney was adamant on not ruling anything out, except a flat-out release of Brown. Yet it appears barring a serious change of heart via a conversation with Brown, a trade is inevitable in the minds of the decision makers within the front office. Even the dead cap hit of $22 million Brown carries on the salary cap won’t stop Rooney from making a deal. “I’m not going to say that’s going to box us into anything,” Rooney said. “If we decide something has to be done, we’ll figure out how to deal with that.”
A few hours after Rooney’s comments were released, Brown posted his “response” on his Instagram page.
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The saga of Brown in Pittsburgh continues, at least until mid-March when the new league year starts and the Steelers can officially move Brown. The time is ticking for Brown if he truly wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but the damage done may be too great to move on from.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/24/20
While it’s odd to see referees standing out in a clip of highlights, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s plan to incorporate actual refs into practice this week happened on Thursday.
Tomlin explained he is adding refs to practice to ensure his team is more disciplined, which hopefully leads to less penalties in their game this week compared to last week.
Wide receivers James Washington, Diontae Johnson and tight end Eric Ebron run routes and catch passes in this clip.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger Says Form, Mechanics Can Be Better Despite Hot Start
To hear Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tell it, he can better than what he’s shown on the field in his first two weeks since returning from elbow surgery.
He’s not happy with his footwork, he thinks he’s dropping his arm a bit and needs a more consistent release point.
The statistics, however tell another story. They say Roethlisberger has been operating at a higher level of precision than ever before. So which is it? Maybe both.
“I do feel I got a little lazy with my feet, which then, in turn, translated to a lazy arm,” Roethlisberger said. “There were some throws that I kind of dropped my elbow, if you will. I don’t want to get too technical, but it became more of a three-quarter release instead of an over the top when I didn’t need to. There are obviously times you have to change your release point. There were too many throws, I felt looking back, that I just have to get my feet working better, and that will then translate, hopefully, to the rest of the body. Then, I won’t be guiding some of the throws.”
Here’s an example from the game Roethlisberger’s form getting a little sloppy. He throws this ball flat-footed and almost all with his right side, getting less power behind it than usual and resulting in a pass that ends up behind JuJu Smith-Shuster instead of allowing him to build a head of steam toward the defenders at the line of scrimmage.
Is this a big deal here? Not really. Smith-Schuster probably couldn’t have done much better than he did at bulling over the defender, anyway. But this is also a route into the flat on the near side of the field. Over longer distances, that can make a big difference.
“I’ve gotten away with it in the past being able to not necessarily be perfect from the ground up and just letting my arm kind of make up for a lot of things, a lot of imperfections if you talk to quarterback people,” Roethlisberger said. “I feel great. I just need to get it in my mind that I can still make the throws when I’m not in the perfect position to make them.”
All of that can be true, and yet, it’s hard to argue with the results. Through two games, Roethlisberger has a 68.5 completion percentage. His career season high was 68% in 2015. In a game and a half last year, it was 56.5%.
His passer rating, even with an interception against the Broncos, is 107.1. His career season-long high came in 2o07, when he finished with a 104.1 mark. Last season before his injury, it was 66.
Some of that can be explained by a passing scheme that has take fewer deep shots down the field than it has in years past. His yards per pass attempt sits at 7.4, lower than all but four of his other 16 seasons.
Mechanical inconsistency can certainly have a greater impact on longer throws, so the Steelers’ somewhat more methodical offensive approach could be helping Roethlisberger get into the swing of things.
“Maybe some of that just comes from not playing a lot of football,” he posited. “I played two games this year. I played a game and a half last year, so really, it’s about three and a half games in two years if you think about it. It’ll come. Like I said, if I’m having these issues and we are still winning football games, that’s a plus.”
If a 2-0 record with career highs in passer rating and completion percentage is what he looks like with mechanical issues, the NFL should be very worried about what might happen if he gets into a groove.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/23/20
David DeCastro practices with the Steelers after missing the first two games of the season. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin explained to the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, that he is evaluating DeCastro and he could start their week 3 game against Houston.
Joe Haden can also seen working on one-on-one coverage drills with the rest of the secondary.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers