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Steelers News: Is this finally the week the Steelers tight ends break out?

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

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving into Week 14 of the NFL regular season, and as the team prepares for the Arizona Cardinals 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 Pittsburgh Steelers tight end duo of Vance McDonald and Nick Vannett have been quiet this season. Not that it isn’t expected with two backup quarterbacks calling the shots, but is Week 14 the week they break out?

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers want to expand their offensive playbook, and this should start with getting the tight ends more involved. Is this the week the tight ends have a huge game?

Could Steelers take advantage of Cardinals weakness in defending tight ends?

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Production has been mostly lacking from the tight ends in the Pittsburgh Steelers offense.

If Vance McDonald and Nick Vannett don’t produce statistics Sunday, they might never do so.

The Steelers’ next opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, have been the NFL’s worst team in defending tight ends. In 12 games this season, opposing tight end have had 79 catches for 978 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Compare that to the combined season stats through 12 games for all Steelers tight ends this season: 38 catches, 315 yards, three touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said that any lack of production from McDonald and Vannett is not because they are not part of the receiving gameplan.

“They’re in pass plays just like all of the other (skill players),” Fichtner said. “I mean, sometimes the ball doesn’t go there, maybe out of coverage, or it doesn’t go there because we ask them to chip or help in protection, and things like that.

“They’ve been patient, and they’ve taken advantage of their opportunities when we need them most.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Containing Baker Mayfield is one thing. Containing Kyler Murray is a completely different challenge.

Tim Benz: Steelers contained Baker Mayfield, but Cardinals’ Kyler Murray presents new challenge

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Here’s something you’ve probably heard a thousand times this week as the Steelers get ready to visit the Arizona Cardinals.

“Don’t sleep on the Cardinals. They can score some points.”

OK. But do they really?

The 3-8-1 Cardinals average 21.2 points per game. That’s good for just 20th in football. During their current five-game losing streak, they are averaging 18.8 points per game, as the Arizona “O” has been inconsistent, scoring under 10 points twice in that stretch, and 25, 26, and 27 points in the other three games.

“I think (the games) where they are scoring 27 is probably more them,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. “They’ll be ready for us. They are going to be at home. Hopefully we can keep them under 20. Our goal is to keep everybody under 17. But we’ll see what happens.”

Of course, that’s the right thing for Butler to say. But his defense is first in forcing turnovers, third in sacks, fifth in total yards allowed, sixth in points per game allowed and seventh in passing yards allowed per game.

I’ll take the Steelers defense in that matchup.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Devlin Hodges is embracing every part of Duck-Mania, and can you blame him?

Devlin Hodges glad to be part of Duckmania

By: Darin Gantt, ProFootballTalk

The combination of a rabid fan base, a likable rookie with a catchy nickname, and some positive results have turned Devlin Hodges into a thing.

Actually, it’s probably easier just to refer to him as Duck now, since that’s taken his city by storm.

The Steelers new starting quarterback is taking his sudden fame in stride, accepting the fact that being an Alabama state duck-calling champion is part of the fun.

“If you’d have asked me five or six years ago when I first got the name, I’d have thought this is wild, a quarterback named Duck, but now it’s cool,” Hodges said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Fans have gone all-in, wearing duck hats and costumes to games, embracing the moment. And Hodges felt the support when he attended a college basketball game this week, getting a big ovation when he was shown on the big screen. He’s even getting free branded hunting gear (though he took it off before doing interviews this week so as not to violate league rules about promoting anything but their product).

“It’s something that has caught on, something I’ve kind of embraced,” Hodges said. “It’s awesome to have the fans come up and say, ‘Hey, Duck, what’s up?’ When people call me Devlin, it catches me by surprise. ‘Do you know me that good?’ It’s cool. It’s unique and fits who I am. . .

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

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