The Pittsburgh Steelers have now won five straight games and continue to “stack wins.” After their 52-21 thrashing of the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, the team now has a chance to rest and relax and prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11.
Today in the Black-and-gold links article, we talk about how Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle was heavily fined for his head-to-head hit on JuJu Smith-Schuster. This was the play which was negated by an Alejandro Villanueva holding penalty, and also forced Smith-Schuster into the blue medical tent to be examined for a concussion.
Let’s get to the news:
Ravens’ Weddle fined $26K for Nov. 4 hit on Smith-Schuster
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle has been fined $26,739 for unnecessary roughness for a hit to the head of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the Nov. 4 game at M&T Bank Stadium.
The play, which was highlighted on the NFL officiating video for Week 9, occurred with 14:17 left in the third quarter of the Steelers’ 23-16 victory.
Weddle delivered a jarring hit to Smith-Schuster while the receiver was making a 23-yard reception. Weddle was called for a penalty, but it was offset when Steelers tight end Jesse James was called for holding on the same play.
Smith-Schuster went to the medical tent, but was cleared to return, and he was back on the field later in the drive.
Smith-Schuster finished with seven catches for 78 yards, both team highs in the game.
Steelers’ James Conner ‘back to normal’ after concussion
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Six days after he experienced concussion-like symptoms against the Carolina Panthers, James Conner said after practice Wednesday he considered himself healthy.
“I feel like me again,” the Pittsburgh Steelers running back said. “Back to normal.”
The new normal, though, for Conner’s role with the team was cemented the previous day when Le’Veon Bell did not show up to sign his franchise tag, assuring he can’t play for the Steelers this season.
That leaves the featured back role to Conner for at least the remainder of 2018. But that’s the same role he has filled over the first nine games of it.
“Nothing changes,” Conner said. “Whether it’s Week 10, Week 11, I’m going to be doing the same thing I’ve been doing all these weeks.”
What Conner has done has been good enough to rank second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,158) and tied for first in 100-yard rushing games (five) and multiple-touchdown games (four). No player has more rushes of at least 20 yards (eight), and only one player has more rushes of at least 10 yards (24).
“Every week he’s gotten more and more confidence,” guard David DeCastro said. “We knew he had the capability, and we liked what he showed in the offseason. He came in in great shape. Training camp was great. He was picking up blitzes. He made that great leap from his first to his second year. He’s kept getting better every week. It’s a credit to him and being a professional. He’s picked it up really fast.”
Conner, who practiced fully Wednesday, could not say if he technically had a diagnosed concussion. He said he had “a couple symptoms” during the game and indicated he left it — the Steelers won by 31 points — more as a precaution.
Conner getting cleared to play in Sunday’s game at Jacksonville is even more important now that it’s certain Bell won’t join the team. Beyond Conner is rookie Jaylen Samuels and veteran Stevan Ridley.
Steelers pack up Le’Veon Bell’s locker after player raid
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
Multiple Pittsburgh Steelers players say Le’Veon Bell’s locker room items were packed up and placed in the back of team headquarters, with former teammates scoring a few pairs of cleats and not much more during Wednesday’s raid.
Bell forfeited the season and $14.5 million when he failed to report to the team by Tuesday’s franchise tag deadline to play in 2018.
Center and team captain Maurkice Pouncey said Bell’s items will likely be shipped directly to the player, as is customary with such roster turnover.
Bell’s locker went untouched for more than two months but is now completely empty a day after a handful of players sifted through his stuff for cleats, shirts and even mixtape CDs.
The ransack was not at all malicious but might have been therapeutic, said cornerback Mike Hilton, who added that everyone in the locker room likes Bell.
”Everybody was tired of talking about it and wondering when he was going to show up or not,” Hilton said. “[You’d see the locker] and think, OK, maybe he’s going to show up. Now it’s all understood, and everybody can really get past it.”
Hilton, who secured one pair of Jordan cleats, said lockers are typically full of free football apparel that Bell probably wouldn’t have needed.
In a video published by ESPN on Wednesday, linebacker Bud Dupree held up two pairs of Bell’s Jordan cleats and said into the camera, “Appreciate the cleats, my guy. I wish you success, my guy.”
The team was upset with Bell when he didn’t show Week 1 but moved on with James Conner, who is among the league leaders in rushing yards and touchdowns.