The Pittsburgh Steelers are back-to-back winners for the first time in this 2018 season after a solid performance vs. the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 6. With the team now able to relax on their bye-week in Week 7, they will hope to improve on their 3-2-1 record by beating the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens in Weeks 8 and 9.
Something I did last season and I’m going to start again is the Black-and-gold Links article.
This is an article where I take stories from quality news sources across the Internet and add them here for your viewing pleasure. I won’t be posting the entire articles, but I’ll link each story and author so that you can read the full article.
Today we talk about members of the Steelers, today being Cameron Heyward, are far from done talking about Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict. This is rather unusual for the team to talk about a player like this so long after a game, but combine the Steelers’ bye week with the NFL doing nothing thus far regarding Burfict, and frustrations will boil over.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Time Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Are you trying to figure out what in the world Vontaze Burfict thinks when he goes head-hunting so often against the Pittsburgh Steelers? You aren’t alone. The same thing is happening in Cincinnati.
I’m not talking about discussion within Bengals media and fan circles. I’m talking about within the Bengals defensive huddle itself.
The latest incident involved Burfict throwing an elbow at the head of Antonio Brown. This act -- unlike many of his other hits -- didn’t draw Burfict a penalty flag. There has also been no word of a fine at the time of this writing.
Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward was on the WDVE morning show Thursday (100:30 mark of this link). He claimed that at least one key Bengals defensive player is struggling to make sense of why Burfict takes as many liberties as he does when he plays the Steelers.
Heyward offered up this conversation he had with Cincinnati defensive lineman Geno Atkins:
”I remember when we were at the Pro Bowl, talking to Geno Atkins about it,” Heyward said. “And he was just like, ‘I don’t understand it.’ They say Vontaze Burfict is a great guy. But when he plays us, he just likes to turn up.”
I asked Heyward to clarify if Atkins was questioning Burfict’s loose-cannon nature.
”I don’t think he understands it. I don’t think his own teammates understand it,” Heyward said. “Sometimes they are just flabbergasted as to what is going on. I’m not going to put words in Geno’s mouth, but I don’t think some of the players even understand what’s going on. Let’s be honest, who tackles like that any more in this league? That’s poor tackling on any level. If that’s the case, then that’s poor on the Bengals for even teaching that.”
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Stop me if you’ve heard this before …
“Mike Tomlin has to be the WORST coach in the NFL when it comes to wasting his timeouts!”
You’ve probably listened to a Pittsburgh talk-show caller or two vent that opinion.
But according to one set of numbers, that’s not true. The data says Tomlin is not great, but he’s average.
Via ProFootballTalk.com , I found this post on a Packers-related site. It breaks downhow all NFL coaches manage the clock and use their timeouts. I’ll let you click on the link to get the specific formula of how this is figured out, but here are the basics.
The author, Paul Noonan, went through every team’s timeout usage. He eliminated any timeouts burned by failed challenges or timeouts used in the last two minutes of the first half. Also, he discarded any timeouts cashed in during the last five minutes of the second half.
The theory being, those were timeouts used strategically in an effort to manipulate the clock to gain extra possessions or extend potential game-tying or game-winning drives.
I’d argue that the five-minute buffer is a little generous. But let’s not quibble.
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Minutes before he was leaving UPMC Rooney Complex to catch a flight to enjoy the bye week, Morgan Burnett was talking with Garrett Giemont early Wednesday afternoon.
Giemont, the Pittsburgh Steelers conditioning coordinator, was miming lunge-like exercises. He gave Burnett stretching bands and illustrations the veteran safety can use during the extended weekend to aid in his recovery from a stubborn groin injury.
“That’s what the bye week is for,” Burnett said minutes later. “To try to get healthy.”
Unfortunately for Burnett and the Steelers, that’s what all too much of his first season in Pittsburgh has been for.
Burnett has been limited to two games and seven full practices over the first six weeks of the regular season — and there seems to be no end in sight for how long the Steelers’ expected starting strong safety will remain out.
“I am just taking it day by day,” Burnett said. “I don’t know what’s in the future for me.”
The nine-year veteran said there are no plans for surgery or any procedure to cure what seems to have turned into a chronic groin ailment.
“No,” Burnett said, in what was a rare occasion of speaking to reporters over the past month. “I just take it day by day.”
After taking part in the first training camp practice July 26, he suffered an injured groin that kept him from practicing more often than not throughout the remainder of camp and the preseason.
Burnett played in two of the four preseason games and was used in a limited role during the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at Cleveland. Rookie Terrell Edmunds started in his place, which was not exactly what the Steelers had in mind for Burnett when they gave him a three-year, $14.5 million contract in March to replace Mike Mitchell as their starting strong safety.
Burnett started the Week 2 loss to Kansas City but hasn’t played since.
Over the past five practice weeks according to the Steelers’ official injury reports, Burnett has practiced fully once and practiced on a limited basis three times.
After none, though, has his groin responded in a way that allowed him to practice at all the following day.
“Any time you have any injury you want to try to get back as soon as possible,” Burnett said, “but your body’s got a mind of its own.
“I am confident in what I can do as a player,” he said moments later, “it’s just that as a competitor you always want to be out there and compete.”
In lieu of that, Burnett has been relegated to playing the role of mentor for Edmunds, the Steelers’ first-round pick whose locker was placed next to Burnett’s.
Edmunds has been a willing protégé, saying he takes something from Burnett on an almost-daily basis.
“If he sees something in practice that I need to develop or get better at, he’s going to help me out,” Edmunds said. “And even at the game he is on the sidelines, so he is talking to us each and every play…. because he’s a part of the team, too, so he tries to make sure that we’re the best team out there.”