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 the upcoming AFC North matchup between the Browns and Steelers. In their second, and likely final, meeting of the season, you have to wonder how this game will look compared to their Week 1 tie. The Steelers certainly seem to be trending up, or at least they were before the bye week, but the Browns have been a tough out for everyone they have faced this season. They are a turnover machine, and have played in an astonishing 4 overtime games in just 7 games.
Will Round 2 be different?
Let’s get to the news:
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
When the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, there’s one thing that may be similar to the season-opener.
The weather. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy. Just like it was in Cleveland during Week 1 for that ugly 21-21 tie.
Aside from that, the game should be remarkably different.
The Steelers have an improving defense, a healthy offensive line and tight end unit, a better understanding of their running game and a passing attack that has gotten into rhythm.
The belief here is that the result will be different. The Steelers will avoid another distasteful outcome against their longtime division rivals, and these improvements will — dare I say it — result in a Steelers victory over the (not-quite-as-lowly-as-usual) Browns.
Normally, a preemptive proclamation of victory over a Cleveland team playing in Pittsburgh would hardly seem like a prediction worthy of, well, anything.
But seeing as how the Steelers should still feel beyond lucky to have not lost that season opener in Ohio, an in-depth look into the differences in how these teams look now seems worthwhile.
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steelers fans and media members aren’t the only ones pontificating about the prospect of the Black and Gold trying to acquire Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson.
As we told you Tuesday, making a trade happen may be difficult. The price of acquiring him may be too rich for the Steelers’ blood. Plus, there is the small matter of the Cardinals’ willingness to trade Peterson in the first place.
But there seems to be a groundswell of support for the Steelers to make a play. And it’s not just originating from you and me. It’s coming from within the Steelers locker room and outside of the 412 and 724 area codes.
Offensive lineman Ramon Foster completely bought into the idea on 93.7 FM Tuesday morning during his weekly radio appearance.
“When you have an opportunity to get a guy like him or position yourself with a defensive player of his magnitude,” Foster said, “you’ve got to see if your management team will take the shot.
”It’s all a fairy tale dream we can all live in until the trade deadline is up.
”The talent that we have offensively and the way our defense is growing, you’ve got to take your shot. I’m more worried now about getting a ring and getting to the show again more than anything else.”
By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Unless owner Art Rooney II ditches a management philosophy that dates to his late father, Dan, spearheading the franchise’s transition from joke to champion in the ’70s, the Steelers will not get All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson from Arizona.
Acquiring Peterson would cost the Steelers a first-round pick and likely a second-round choice on top of that.
The Steelers have not been without a first-round pick since 1967. Building through the draft is one of the team’s cornerstones. Making splashy trades is not.
Dealing for Peterson is likely not even being considered by the Steelers.
But should it be? Is paying a big price to get Peterson a good idea?
Antonio Brown and Ramon Foster think so. Yinzer Nation thinks so.
I’m not so sure.
The Steelers should stick to their established policy of keeping their first-round pick. That’s part of an overall process that arguably has made the Steelers the NFL’s most successful team since Dan Rooney took control. Going against the grain could cause a negative trickledown within the context of the Steelers’ big picture. (Disclaimer: Maybe Art Rooney II wants to do something his dad wouldn’t.)
Peterson is due $40 million from this year through 2020. The Steelers wouldn’t give Le’Veon Bell what he wants. Wouldn’t they flinch at paying Peterson? (Disclaimer: Cornerback is a more important position than running back.)
Paying Peterson huge cash is one thing. Giving up a first- and second-round pick to get him is another. Doing both makes the total price too onerous.
Peterson is a great corner. He would help the Steelers defense a lot. He would facilitate more/better man-to-man coverage and blitzing. He would take Artie Burns off the Gotham Steel Low-Fat Grill and put him on the bench.
But would Peterson’s presence offer any guarantee beyond winning the AFC North? The Steelers are poised to do that without Peterson. (Disclaimer: As constructed, the defense never could beat a top quarterback like Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes or Philip Rivers. With Peterson, it would have a chance. OK, not against Brady.)
The Steelers don’t think like other teams and certainly not like fans.
The Steelers don’t believe in championship windows. They don’t believe in maximizing a perceived short-term opportunity, like the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. They want to make the playoffs every year. Steady and consistent.
Odd as it sounds, the Steelers’ thinking won’t change when Roethlisberger retires. They won’t rebuild, per se. They will operate exactly the same.
It works. Lack of exceptions to their rules can frustrate. But how can anyone argue against the Steelers’ track record?
Don’t point at the Steelers’ recent first-round draft picks by way of arguing to trade for Peterson.
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
Through six games, Ben Roethlisberger is on pace for personal bests in passing yards and attempts by a wide margin at age 36.
Save two ugly halves against Baltimore and Cleveland, Roethlisberger has the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense looking dangerous again. A look inside his performance shows that a few things have changed with Big Ben, while a few things remain the same entering Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
Fewer deep shots: Roethlisberger led the NFL with 2,033 passing yards entering Week 7, and he did so with volume. Roethlisberger is flirting with 700 passing attempts on the year, far more than his career high of 608 set in 2014.
Passing numbers are up across the league, and Roethlisberger acknowledged on his weekly radio show that the new norm might be 2-to-1 ratios of pass-to-run. The Steelers are right on that mark, with 261 passing attempts to 131 rushes.
This setup suits Roethlisberger as long as he limits turnovers, but many of his yards are coming from short to intermediate passes.
From 2015-17, Roethlisberger threw farther than 31 yards downfield on 7.14 percent of his attempts, hitting on 30 percent of those launches. This year, Big Ben is going deep on 4.98 percent of his attempts, completing two of 13 such throws (a 15.3 success rate).
Roethlisberger still has a strong arm, but perhaps the gunslinger mentality of his late 20s and early 30s is passing. He has talked openly about being a “smart quarterback” and not forcing the ball to Antonio Brown unnecessarily. That’s a big factor here, too.
Many of those deep shots used to go to certified freak athlete Martavis Bryant, who’s now in Oakland. Roethlisberger is still trying to establish a connection with new deep threat James Washington.
Accuracy over the middle: Roethlisberger is an 80 percent passer when targeting his tight ends, slot receiver and running back this season.