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Steelers Will Need Defense to Lead Charge to Escape 1-4 Start

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PITTSBURGH — It’s something of an understatement to say that the Steelers 2019 season has not started the way they hoped.

The team is 1-4 after losing Sunday’s 26-23 overtime bout with the Baltimore Ravens and is already 2.5 games behind those Ravens for first place in the AFC North.

They’ve also lost two starting quarterbacks in-game to significant injury, with Ben Roethlisberger lost for the year to an elbow injury and Mason Rudolph requiring hospitalization after a concussion on Sunday.

Rudolph seems to be doing OK and undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges moved the ball well in his first career action, but at this point if the Steelers are going to rescue their 2019 season, the most likely way for that to happen is if it comes from the defense.

That unit has been rounding into shape as of late and perhaps had its best effort of the season against the Ravens. The Steelers held Baltimore to a season-low 277 yards and forced three interceptions.

So when Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made the nearly unheard-of decision to kick the ball away to start the overtime period on Sunday, he did it with the confidence that the defense would be able to get the Steelers’ wounded offense good field position.

That unit seems just fine with being put into that position, both on Sunday afternoon and for the rest of the season.

“We don’t shy away from that,” defensive captain Cameron Heyward said on Monday. “We get to make a stand and we can make a statement as soon as we get on the field. We went into the game thinking we wanted to defer to start the game and in OT, it’s the same way. I appreciate that and I know our defense does, because we want to set the tone.”

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick echoed the sentiments of Heyward that the defense is ready for a greater spotlight.

“I’m happy he did it,” Fitzpatrick says. “That’s a compliment to us. He think we can go out there and get a stop. We did that.”

He also said that the team understand the situation it’s in as a whole.

“We’re 1-4,” he said. “We still have 11 more games to go out there and compete, play football and that’s it. We play pretty solid football. Some unfortunate things happened. Our quarterback going down. We have some things to correct on defense. We’re not far. 1-4 doesn’t really reflect where this team is at.”

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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.

Do you still believe in Zach Banner?

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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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Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

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There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

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