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Jaylen Samuels, Wildcat Help Steelers Down Bengals

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PITTSBURGH — When the Steelers drafted Jaylen Samuels out of NC State in the 2018 NFL Draft, the thing that they liked the most about him was his versatility.

With Wolfpack, Samuels lined up just about everywhere on offense, from tight end to H-back, flanker, running back, fullback and even Wildcat quarterback.

In 2019, the Steelers reached back into Raleigh once more, when they added running backs coach Eddie Faulkner to their coaching staff.

Monday night, in a crucial matchup of AFC North teams that started the season 0-3, the Steelers had Faulkner and Samuels back to some of their old tricks.

During the week of practice leading up to Monday night’s showdown with the Bengals, the Steelers added a Wildcat package that paid huge dividends in gettin the team’s running game moving along for the first time this season.

Like he was at NC State, Samuels was the team’s Wildcat quarterback, and he worked the formation to significant success.

Samuels was credited with three passes for 31 yards to James Conner on pop passes out of the direct-snap formation, and he also ran for 26 yards on 10 carries himself, some from traditional handoffs from quarterback Mason Rudolph and others as keepers out of the Wildcat.

That’s how he scored his first career rushing touchdown early in the third quarter to give the Steelers a two-score lead. It wasn’t exactly the same play call that the Wolfpack ran in 2017, but the skills that the Steelers scouting staff saw in Samuels’ tape came out at the NFL level.

In total, the Steelers ran out of the formation seven times for 46 yards and a touchdown for a nearly 7 yards per carry average.

“We put something in this week and we just came out here and just executed,” Samuels said. “Me and James, we did a good job of executing the snap-count cadence, just controlling the offense. We made it go. Five yard runs turned into 10 yard runs. We just kept running it. We kept executing it. They couldn’t stop it.”


Samuels said his experience in running it at NC State made for a smooth transition.


“I did a lot, especially third-down, red-zone situations in college. I was very used to it. It wasn’t anything new to me, just different plays.”

After unveiling the Wildcat in the first half, the Steelers went back to a more traditional running game for the first drive of the second half. Conner took a shotgun handoff for 21 yards. Samuels took one up the middle for five and then took a short dump-off up the middle for 14. Even with the Bengals stacking the box with eight men, the Steelers were able to run the ball.

Samuels credited the Wildcat.

“It opened up the play-action,” he said. “We did a couple other things that wasn’t Wildcat with me in the game and James in the game. We did a lot of different things to keep the defense off their feet.”

Steelers

Steelers RB Trey Edmunds Shares Love of Reading with Local Students

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Trey Edmunds has been a lifelong lover of reading, a passion he shared with local students on Tuesday’s celebration of Read Across America Day.

Edmunds joined students at Pittsburgh Faison for a virtual assembly and read New York Times best seller, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.

“I am blessed and humbled to be amongst you guys today and to represent another part of the community and be able to read to you,” Edmunds told Steelers.com. “I am so happy to be here today. What I do want to say is I was in some of the same positions as you guys. I grew up listening to people come back and read to me. Some of those same people I have been in contact with many years later. Some of those same things they have read to me, I have had the privilege of reading to some of the people I mentor, some of the young people in my life, whether it’s cousins, nephews. I am extremely happy today.”

Edmunds also surprised the student with a copy of his own book My Brother’s Keeper – What This Means to Me…, written alongside with his brothers Terrell and Tremaine. Terrell is a safety for Pittsburgh, while Tremaine is a standout linebacker for the Buffalo Bills.

Edmunds’ love of reading came from his mother Felicia, who as an educator, always championed the important of the skill.

“My mother is an elementary school teacher, so she had me doing all of that stuff when I was in high school, college, as a matter of fact I have to go to her school to read for the month of March,” he told Steelers.com. “It keeps me on my toes, attentive. I am a big reader myself, so when I get the opportunity to read to kids, I like that type of interaction.”

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

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Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

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Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

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