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Steelers Daily Links: First NFL Game on Tap, Watt 27th in Top 100



Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

The first official game of the 2023 NFL season will be tonight, as the Cleveland Browns will face the New York Jets in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio. The game will be broadcast on NBC nationally and WPXI in Pittsburgh, with coverage starting at 7 p.m. and kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m.

🏈 Kyle Brandt of Good Morning Football is all-in on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023. 

“The Steelers are going to be in the playoffs this year. I believe it. I’ll predict it now and I’ll predict it when it comes prediction time,” Brandt said. “There are seven (playoff) spots in the AFC. Seven. In one of the best AFCs ever, maybe the best ever. I think the Steelers will have one.”


🏈 NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger is also high on the Steelers this season.

“This is the best team the Steelers have had in a long time. … I feel like this defense has a chance to not have any weaknesses. … I think this could be a playoff team and a team that could win in the playoffs,” Baldinger said on 93.7 The Fan.

🏈 Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt came in at No. 27 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2023 list, which is voted on by the players. Watt, who ranked No. 6 on the list last year, dropped in the rankings due to his injury-riddled season in 2022. Watt suffered a pectoral injury in the Steelers season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, which forced him to miss the next seven games. Watt returned to the lineup after the bye week and finished the season with 39 tackles, 27 of them solo stops, five and a half sacks, eight tackles for a loss, five passes defensed, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He was voted to the 2022 Pro Bowl Games, although he didn’t take part as he was still working his way back to full health.

🏈 Former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden joined his cousin Patrick Peterson at Steelers training camp on Wednesday to interview George Pickens, Kenny Pickett and Mike Tomlin for the All Things Covered podcast.

🏈 Bryant McFadden, who’s currently an analyst at CBS Sports, disagrees with the oddsmakers in Las Vegas that the Steelers will miss the playoffs in 2023.

“I hear what the oddsmakers are saying out in Vegas with (the Steelers) being a favorite to not make the playoffs. But I disagree, wholeheartedly,” McFadden said. “And I’m not saying that because I am a former Pittsburgh Steeler. I’m not saying that because I am currently in Latrobe. I’m not saying that because they gave me pancakes with warm syrup. I’m saying that because I know ball. And I know that the Pittsburgh Steelers will make the playoffs somehow, someway.”

🏈 NFL GameDay on Twitter ponders if Kenny Pickett can making a Trevor Lawrence type of leap in Year 2.

📅 On this date in 2002, former Steelers wide receiver John Stallworth was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Stallworth was a part of the Steelers’ legendary 1974 draft class that featured four future Hall of Famers (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, Stallworth and Mike Webster). Safety Donnie Shell went undrafted in 1974 but he also made the Hall of Fame in 2020. Stallworth caught 537 passes for 8,723 yards and 63 touchdowns in his 14-year career in Pittsburgh, all were franchise records until Hines Ward surpassed them. Stallworth had a knack for being clutch in big games, as his touchdown grabs in Super Bowl XIII and XIV are some of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history.

🎂 Happy Birthday to Steelers inside linebacker Kwon Alexander, born on August 3, 1994 in Oxford, Alabama. Alexander, who signed with the Steelers on Sunday, is an eight-year veteran that has played with four teams, most recently the New York Jets in 2022. Last season with the Jets, he played in all 17 games, making 12 starts, and recorded 69 tackles, six tackles for loss, a half sack, two quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one pass defended. Alexander joins a linebacker room that has been completely overhauled with Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Tanner Muse, and Nick Kwiatkoski all being new faces to the team. In addition, it has a new inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry.

Alexander ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash in his pre-draft NFL Combine and Mike Tomlin was at his LSU pro day, so the Steelers have had a long-term interest in the athletic linebacker. Alexander had an interesting response during his post-practice interview on Sunday when he was asked why he waited until two days before players wear pads at practice to sign. “That’s me, man. I ain’t worrying about no 7-on-7, none of that. I put the pads on and I hit. As you can see. You can go watch film.”

Alexander has stumped running backs at the line of scrimmage at least five times since Tuesday in pads.

🎥 After showcasing Joe Greene’s dominate performance, Steel City Star put together a clip of the Steelers offense in the 1972 game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Steelers won the contest 23-10 on Nov. 29 at Three Rivers Stadium.

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