The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the loser column after a poor performance vs. their divisional rival, the Baltimore Ravens, at Heinz Field in prime time in Week 4. With the Atlanta Falcons coming into Heinz Field for a Week-5 matchup, the Steelers will need to improve on their 1-2-1 record.
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 Tyler Matakevich, not Matthew Thomas, received the majority of the defensive starter reps at practice with Vince Williams nursing a hamstring injury. This could have a big impact on the team’s defense.
Let’s get to the news:
Tyler Matakevich gets biggest role in committee replacing Vince Williams at Steelers practice
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
It appears as if the Pittsburgh Steelers’ method for replacing Vince Williams, if needed, is by committee.
Tyler Matakevich said he got first-team reps in the base defense in place of Williams (hamstring injury) during Wednesday’s practice but L.J. Fort came in for some (passing-oriented) packages and rookie Matthew Thomas subbed each at times.
“We know we are ready,” Matakevich said. “All three of us have got to be ready to go in there and rotate and help this defense and help this team, (do) whatever we can do to get this ‘W.’”
When the Steelers (1-2-1) face the Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Heinz Field on Sunday, they could be without their longest-tenured linebacker. Williams did not practice Wednesday after leaving this past Sunday’s loss to Baltimore during the fourth quarter.
Although Matakevich initially ran out to replace Williams, he was called back in in favor of Fort, who finished out the game at inside linebacker against the Ravens. Matakevich said was because Fort was wearing a “green-dot” helmet with a radio that allows communications from the sidelines for play-calling purposes.
Who would wear the coveted dot Sunday – assuming Williams can’t play – isn’t yet clear. The other starting inside linebacker is Jon Bostic.
“You only get two (radio helmets),” Matakevich said. “But (the coaches) will figure it out. We’ve just got to go out there and execute it. That’s what it comes down to; there’s no magic potion.”
Close to being able to practice, could Ola Adeniyi be an answer for ailing Steelers’ passrush?
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Unsolicited during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin cited an ability (or lack thereof) to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks as a key to solving what is ailing the defense.
While Tomlin was directly referring to improving the play and production from those on the current 53-man roster, the passrush is in line to add a reinforcement.
Rookie Ola Adeniyi is eligible to return to practice Oct. 15, and the rookie outside linebacker said Wednesday he will be physically able to as soon as league rules allow. Adeniyi was put on the injured reserve list after suffering a hamstring injury during the final preseason game.
“I’m good (physically); I have been good for weeks,” Adeniyi said.
“Ride it out, just two more weeks.”
A player can return to practice after six weeks on IR; he can’t play until he’s sat out eight games. That is a change for this season; in prior recents seasons, a player could miss eight weeks (not games) before being activated. This season, the result is that Adeniyi is eligible to be activated off of injured reserve in time for the Steelers’ Nov. 8 game against Carolina.
Also, it should be noted that teams have a 21-day window in which to activate a player who begins practicing while on IR.
Adeniyi was initially surprised when the Steelers put him on IR after he made the team through its final cuts before the regular season . He then vowed there was “no question” he would be ready to go when eligible, and nothing has happened since then to change that outlook.
Adeniyi perhaps can’t be activated soon enough for a defense that’s had trouble getting pressure on quarterbacks. After having seven sacks in the opener at Cleveland, the Steelers have gotten just six sacks the past three games. Just three (two from Bud Dupree, one from Anthony Chickillo) have come from outside linebackers.
How the Steelers can survive a 1-2-1 start
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
Cameron Heyward knows where this dreary season is headed if the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t make the proper corrections.
“If we don’t, there’s no reason why we’ll win the next game,” the All-Pro defensive end said before Sunday’s matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. “To beat good teams in this league, you have to be able to make corrections.”
Vaulting from a 1-2-1 start to contention will be an arduous task for the Steelers, who must improve in virtually every area.
Running the ball or getting stops on defense is a major issue. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had brilliant moments but two bad games. The Steelers lead the league in penalties (42) by a wide margin. Philadelphia is second, with 35.
Overall, the team efficiency rating is an AFC North-worst 47.5, and the ESPN Football Power Index projects the Steelers to win 7.3 games this season, 10th in the AFC.
Running back Le’Veon Bell plans to return for Week 8 against the Browns, which should provide a spark.