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Steelers News: 3rd down conversions could tell the tale between Steelers vs. Ravens

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving into Week 5 of the NFL regular season, and as the team prepares for the Baltimore Ravens, we continue to provide you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over until the next game starts!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the Steelers, who haven’t been good on third downs, need to improve in this area if they want to win in Week 5 vs. the Ravens.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers offense still has plenty of work to do, and no area is larger than offensive 3rd down conversions.

Mason Rudolph, Steelers vow to improve on 3rd-down conversions

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The season is one-quarter through, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to convert more than three third-down opportunities in any one game yet.

The Steelers have exactly three third-down conversions during each of their first four games this season. Their only improvement in the area has come merely in that they had fewer such opportunities during their most recent game Monday against Cincinnati.

The Steelers went 3 for 9 against the Bengals after going either 3 for 12 or 3 for 11 during each of their first three games. Quarterback Mason Rudolph sees that as progress.

“I think we’re getting better every week,” Rudolph said Thursday. “It’s a matter of execution. Calls have been great. We’ll keep working and we’ll start to convert more — but we’re starting to get more first downs on more first and second downs, and I think that’s a sign of a good offense.”

Overall, the Steelers’ 27.2% third-down conversion rate ranks 30th in the NFL, ahead of only the winless New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. They’ve actually been better on third downs of 3-10 yards to go (30%) than in third-and-1 or -2 situations (28.9%).

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • While it still isn’t a lot, Mason Rudolph has been under center more than Ben Roethlisberger before his injury. Just a coincidence? Or more to the story?

Steelers let Mason Rudolph operate under center more than Ben Roethlisberger did

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

With Mason Rudolph having replaced Ben Roethlisberger as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, so has their heavy reliance on the shotgun snap.

According to the NFL’s official game play-by-play of this past Monday’s win against the Cincinnati Bengals and not counting kneeldowns or direct snaps to a running back, the Steelers operated under center on 13 of their 48 snaps (27%). For basis of comparison, during the most recent game Roethlisberger started and finished, he was under center 3% of the time.

That’s not a coincidence, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said Thursday.

“We designed a package around our hall of fame quarterback in the ’gun and ’gun runs,” Fichtner said after practice Thursday. “Things that are very appealing to his eye.

“We’ve been under center a whole lot more (with Rudolph). That’s an attempt to help others and the quarterback more. It might open things up more for you if you handle it the right way.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Wondering why the Steelers never run quarterback sneaks? They didn’t for Ben Roethlisberger, and they haven’t for Mason Rudolph either.

Like Big Ben, Mason Rudolph not allowed to call quarterback sneaks

By: Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk

After the Steelers were twice stopped on fourth-and-1 in their playoff loss to the Jaguars a year and a half ago, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger revealed that he wasn’t allowed to audible to a quarterback sneak, even when he could see he had the room to plunge up the middle for a yard.

Now the Steelers have a different quarterback and a different offensive coordinator, but the same policy: Don’t audible to a quarterback sneak.

Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said today that he doesn’t like calling the quarterback sneak for Mason Rudolph.

“People that know me know that it’s not been one of my favorite things in the world to do,” Fichtner said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I wouldn’t mind in certain situations, but when it’s obvious situations — fourth-and-1, third-and-1 — it really isn’t something I’m interested in doing. I value our quarterback. There’s a lot of stuff going on in those piles. Just the truth be known, if we can’t hand it to one of our backs and we can’t block them, then we don’t deserve to win that down.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

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