The Pittsburgh Steelers have won three straight games, and have finally started to “stack wins”. After their 33-18 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 8, the team has to move on from the win quickly as they now prepare for the Baltimore Ravens, on the road, in Week 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 how reports are swirling of Mike Munchak being considered for the vacant Browns’ head coaching position. This isn’t the first time Munchak has been considered for another head coaching gig, he was considered a favorite to become the next coach of the Arizona Cardinals, but for whatever reason chose to stay.
I think I speak for all Steelers fans when I say, “Coach, you don’t want that job. Stay in Pittsburgh and continue producing talent for the black-and-gold!”
Let’s get to the news:
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
You heard right. Hue Jackson is out as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Todd Haley is also gone as the offensive coordinator.
Gregg Williams will take over as interim head coach.
No. Not for long.
So, who will be the next full-time head coach of the Browns after 2018 ends? On his “Move the Sticks” podcast, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah says that Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak is worth a look (at 3:44). Jeremiah’s premise is that Munchak, from a personality standpoint, would mesh well with Cleveland general manager John Dorsey.
”I think Mike Munchak would actually fit with (Dorsey),” Jeremiah said Monday. “Munch has done a great job with that Steelers O-line. And that’s an area where the Browns are terrible. Their personnel has been better than (how) it is playing. He’ll toughen this team up.”
During his time in Pittsburgh, Munchak has refined Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro. He has improved Marcus Gilbert and Ramon Foster. And he turned Al Villanueva, Chris Hubbard, Will Feiler, and B.J. Finney from projects into productive players.
By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
James Conner is much better now than Le’Veon Bell was last year.
The latter sample size is small, the former even smaller.
But Conner is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and 10.4 yards per catch. He has nine touchdowns in seven games.
Last season, Bell averaged 4.0 yards per carry and 7.7 yards per catch. He had 11 TDs on the season.
Conner has had seven runs of 20 or more yards this season. Bell had three such carries all of last season.
Conner has had three straight games of 100 or more yards rushing and two touchdowns. That hadn’t been done in the NFL since 2009.
Sure, Bell’s performance last year was stunted because he missed training camp. He missed it again this year, don’t forget.
Even if Bell does report this season, it will take him weeks to catch up to Conner.
More likely, Bell won’t reach Conner’s level — or even Bell’s level from last year, which was mediocre — until next season when he’s with another team.
The Steelers must stick with Conner and keep Bell away.
The price is right: Bell would make $855,000 per game. Conner will make $578,000 this season.
The Steelers can’t rescind Bell’s franchise tag. They would lose the compensatory third-round pick and Bell might go someplace where he could hurt them, like New England.
But the Steelers shouldn’t want Bell’s toxicity and selfishness dropped into the middle of a locker room that has rallied to win three straight, doing so largely because of Conner’s performance.
If Bell shows, coach Mike Tomlin will start him sooner than he should, probably after a couple of weeks. Conner wouldn’t play much.
Tomlin doesn’t split the carries. When Bell was available, Tomlin gave quality backups like LeGarrette Blount and DeAngelo Williams an absolute minimum of touches.
Those who think both could play in the same backfield are nuts. That would require the offense to make gigantic midseason adjustments. Conner and Bell have different styles, so the blocking changes. If you put Bell in the slot, he’s Eli Rogers. Anyway, Bell wouldn’t want to do that.
Bell has moved on emotionally. The Steelers must do so literally.
The Steelers need to maintain a hard line on not paying Bell one penny while he is on the exempt list for two weeks, which would happen if/when he reports. That is reportedly what’s keeping Bell away right now.
That’s perfect. Make Bell keep himself in limbo.
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Characteristically quiet and never overly comfortable in the spotlight, Matt Feiler awkwardly searched for the polite words to relay to a reporter in evaluating his play during his second NFL start at right tackle.
“As the game went on, I felt more and more confident,” the Pittsburgh Steelers reserve swing lineman said the day after he played every offensive snap of a 33-18 win against Cleveland. “It felt pretty good.”
Five weeks earlier, Feiler had made his second NFL regular-season start but his first at right tackle and first in a meaningful game (he started the 2017 season finale at guard). The Steelers also won that game – 30-27 at Tampa Bay.
Feiler, who’s in his fourth season as part of the organization, earned rave reviews – including a game ball – after that one. He didn’t get the same treatment this time, but his play was similarly “above the line:” according to Pro Football Focus, Feiler allowed no sacks and two hurries/pressures in each.
“I think the Tampa game was something I could look back on,” Feiler said, “and kind of settle myself down, calm myself down and talk my way through certain things.”