Social media has slowly but surely engraved itself in most of our lives. Whether it be communicating with long-distance friends or keeping up to date on your favorite sports teams, the three headed monster that is Facebook/Instagram/Twitter has branded itself as a normality over the last decade. Social media has the power to connect people across the globe, all while possessing the ability to ruin one’s reputation/career with a single click of a button.
Antonio Brown is one of the most socially-active players in the NFL. Between his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, Brown has a little over 5.2 million people following him, a number that doesn’t include the potential hundreds of thousands viewers he has on Snapchat as well. Needless to say, Brown has a lot of influence when he posts something, as do all athletes.
Yet Brown’s talent and charisma on and off the field naturally drive people to want to follow him, placing him in a special class of his own. If you’ve followed Antonio over the past few years, you’ve seen the countless number of positive posts with him spending time with his family, working out, signing autographs for fans, etc.
The tool that’s helped Brown reached millions of people may now be his downfall.
To be fair to Brown, not all of his social media posts have been positive. Between spats of his current girlfriend on Instagram, calling out other mothers of his children, and his Facebook live session in the Steelers locker room following a playoff win, Brown’s social media hasn’t exactly been squeaky clean.
We never thought it would reach it’s current levels, however. Posting a picture of him and Steelers president Art Rooney II with the caption “Good Business” following Rooney’s comments about Brown potentially being traded, feuding with former Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders and former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Twitter after their critical comments on him, or posting a picture of him blindfolded after a statement from Rooney stating it would be hard to see Brown back in Pittsburgh, Brown has turned into a walking reality television show.
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Brown isn’t alone in this fight, either. To form a tag-team in what has seemingly become a full-court press to get him out of Pittsburgh, Brown has recruited former Steeler James Harrison as a make-shift mentor. Harrison, who’s popular in Pittsburgh now for all the wrong reasons despite enjoying a successful career here, has done the following for Brown: Went on Instagram live during Mike Tomlin’s end of season press conference to promise a interview with Brown, and appeared on multiple radio/TV shows to voice problematic concerns about Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers organization.
Between smoking cigars with Chad OchoCinco (another great, but controversial player) promising a “interview” where he will explain “his side of the story” and posting ambiguous tweets on a every day basis, Brown has now focused his attention solely on the social media front of his battle.
How far has he taken social media? He may have even created a fake twitter account under the name @michael57692394. The account, created just this month, spends most (all but one tweet, actually) of it’s time defending Brown against other people who criticize him. But is it Brown? The language the account uses poses similar verbiage to how Brown talks, down to using the same hashtags #CallGod and the same slang.
— Thomas Carannante (@TurkeyTom17) January 17, 2019
Thus, we are brought to our current situation. With two months before the Steelers can actually do anything with Brown (March 13th is the start of the league’s new year), a lot of time is left on the clock for Brown to continue to burn bridges in Pittsburgh.
Brown has gone from a sixth-round draft pick, to the best receiver in the league. His hard work and determination have made him the player he is today, yet there’s no denying Brown’s attitude and character have shifted for the worse.
Brown was once considered a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. After the Le’Veon Bell situations that frustrated so many Steelers fans, many were glad to at least have a guy like Brown who, at the time, showed up for his team and got a contract he deserved.
Now, Brown has joined similar company as Bell in the eyes of fans. The talent between the two is undeniable, yet thanks to Brown’s own antics on social media, he now finds himself painted as a villain in a city that once bestowed him on a pedestal higher than any other.
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