Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers officially inked former Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson to a three-year, $25.5 million deal. Nelson spent four seasons with the Chiefs after being selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, accumulating 182 total tackles, 35 passes defended, 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble during that time.
Nelson originally had pre-draft visits with the Steelers, and thought for sure he was going to end up sporting the black and gold before the Steelers opted to select cornerback Senquez Golson in the second round.
“Coach Tomlin told me everything I wanted to hear. But you know, you never know how those things are going to go” Nelson told Steelers.com reporter Missi Matthews.
Alas, Nelson is now where he thought he’d end up all along, providing welcome help to a Steelers secondary that at times during the 2018 season looked lost. Nelson is the early favorite to start opposite of Joe Haden, thanks to the inconsistent play of Coty Sensabaugh and general unreliability of Artie Burns.
So what will Nelson bring to the table? Judging from the numbers ran by Pro Football Focus, Nelson immediately improves the Steelers secondary.
-20 forced incompletions (T-2nd, CB)
-4 interceptions (T-3rd)
-53.1% reception allowed % (T-8th)
-82.8 passer rating against (24th)
-2018 Grades: 72.1 overall, 71.2 coverage (both 28th) pic.twitter.com/5izgwAzxW5
— PFF KC Chiefs (@PFF_Chiefs) March 12, 2019
However, numbers don’t tell the whole story. To get a better glimpse at Nelson and his evaluations, I was able to grab a few words from Travis Steffen (@SteffenNFL on Twitter), Chiefs Film Analyst for FanSided’s Arrowhead Addict.
Steffen named quite a few good qualities about Nelson from his time in Kansas City, but Nelson’s consistent improvement and competitiveness stuck out most.
“I think moving to a more aggressive scheme and style will do him well. He can play inside and out. Moved inside on the nickel and dime every year until 2018 when Kendall Fuller was brought in” said Steffen. “Super sticky in press man coverage, but fails to get his head turned around most of the time. He can jump routes in zone coverage, which is where he improved as you can see with his interception numbers.”
Did Pittsburgh just get a shutdown cornerback? From all the hype and numbers, the signing might certainly suggest so. Steffen pumps the breaks on all that talk: “He’s not going to shut down a guy for an entire game and shouldn’t be left on an island either” said Steffen before coming back with more positive remarks “But he is a solid second corner that compliments well and needs a change of scenery”.
With Nelson now taking advantage of the change of scenery, Steffen’s overall opinion of him remains in a good light, speaking on his aura of being a “locker room guy” while becoming more vocal/chippy in 2018.
Steelers fans got a small glimpse of this when Nelson and the Chiefs paid a visit to Pittsburgh last season.
@SteffenNFL told me new #Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson became more vocal/chippy in 2018, and this play displays that. Doesn’t shy away from the Antonio Brown after the play. pic.twitter.com/2G0KEE6cfk
— Donnie Druin (@DonnieDruin) March 16, 2019
Time will tell if Nelson truly becomes the player he can be in Pittsburgh. Yet when comparing numbers to words of people who have watched his entire career thus far, Nelson will be expected to come in and contribute in a significant way.
Report: Rescheduled Steelers-Titans Game to be Nationally Televised on CBS
The rescheduled game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans is expected to be nationally televised on CBS, according to a report by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.
As for when the game will be played, Marchand is reporting it will be played on Monday at 5 p.m., or Tuesday at 6 or 7 p.m.
The rescheduled Steelers-Titans game is expected to be on national TV on CBS, according to sources.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) October 1, 2020
It will be either on Monday at 5 p.m. or Tuesday at 6 or 7 p.m.
The Steelers and Titans were originally supposed to square off Sunday at 1 p.m., but that game has been postponed after three Titans players and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The total has no risen to ten since the outbreak was first reported.
The NFL announced in a statement Wednesday that the game would be postponed to Monday or Tuesday to “allow additional time for further daily COVID-19 testing.”
Another option that has been discussed would reschedule the game for Week 7, which is Tennessee’s bye week, and push the Steelers-Ravens matchup scheduled for that Sunday to Week 8. The Steelers and Ravens currently share a bye Week 8.
Marchand added that the league prefers to play the game Monday to keep competitive balance, while CBS wants to play the game at 7 p.m. as to not disrupt their news programming.
I should add the NFL preference is Monday for competitive balance. For CBS, a 7 pm start would be better as it wouldn't impact its news programs and it would be a later standalone broadcast window.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) October 1, 2020
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/30/20
The Steelers were back to work on the practice field Wednesday despite learning their upcoming game against Tennessee is being moved to either Monday or Tuesday.
In this clip, the defense, most notably the secondary works on coverage, runs to stay conditioned and shows the chemistry of the entire unit.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Where Would a Monday or Tuesday Night Steelers Game Be Broadcast?
If the NFL follows historical precedent, the the Steelers game against the Titans, moved to Monday or Tuesday night by the league on Wednesday, will still be broadcast locally on CBS affiliate KDKA-TV, but no final decision has been for the game at this time, Steelers Now has learned.
In the past, when Sunday games have been postponed to a weeknight for other issues, the games have been broadcast locally as they would normally be on a Sunday afternoon, and not nationally in competition with other broadcasts.
ESPN has exclusive national broadcast rights for Monday night games and they will be airing the Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers game, starting at 8:15 p.m. Monday night.
There is no exclusive national broadcast window for Tuesday nights, of course, but there would have to be some type of arrangement made with CBS to remove the game from that network and have it be broadcast nationally.
KDKA-TV and other CBS affiliates in the Pittsburgh and Nashville markets would also have to deal with the prospect of pre-empting primetime network broadcasts. CBS is scheduled to air long-running series Big Brother on Monday night and NCIS on Tuesday night.