The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.
Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at the opinion where the Steelers should rely heavily on James Conner in 2019. This isn’t to suggest they don’t add a running back somehow in the offseason, but how Conner can be the workhorse the Steelers want, and need, at the position.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Chris Carter, DKPittsburghSports
When Le’Veon Bell never showed up in 2018, the Steelers had to lean on their second-year, third-round pick out of Pitt in James Conner.
His 1,470 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns were a major boost to the offense. While Pittsburgh enjoyed seeing a local hero like Conner explode onto the scene, there still is a question as to whether Conner is the indefinite future of the position moving forward for the Steelers.
There were legitimate questions coming into 2018 if Conner could make it in the NFL. He had several injuries in college, didn’t show much in his rookie season while behind Bell and suffered another injury that year.
All those questions went away this season as he showed his ability to run hard through tackles and create extra yardage when he was given the space. Conner succeeded much more when the Steelers let him run behind power running schemes that allowed him to follow a lead blocker. That fit more to the style he was accustomed to in college as using lead blockers gave him targets to bracket.
Conner was good enough at this part of his game that he had 973 rushing yards on the season, most of it coming from play designs like that where he could follow a lead blocker and explode behind him to the designed gap.
But when Conner had to find his own gap behind the Steelers’ zone-blocking schemes, he was a little more hesitant. That hesitancy led to slowed-down drives and missed opportunities for Conner, and opened the door to the question as to whether he can be the full-time starting back in the coming years.
(To read more, click the link in the headline above...)
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Exactly a month after Jesse James used a celebrity family known for its reality show to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster went on ESPN to do the same.
Making the rounds during Super Bowl week in Atlanta, Smith-Schuster was on “First Take” Thursday morning when he insisted the Steelers could go from out of the playoffs this season to the Super Bowl next season.
“I think everyone just needs to stop being divas,” the young wide receiver said, drawing Bronx cheers from the gathered crowd, “I think we need to stop being the Kardashians and just play ball.”
“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” has run 15 seasons on cable television.
Smith-Schuster was asked by the panel if he was himself was a diva. The 22-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native was a Pro Bowl receiver in his second NFL season.
“Yes that’s what we doing.”
“I’m from So Cal, I went to USC, but being in that (Steelers) locker room, I have learned a lot,” Smith-Schuster said. “I’ve learned a lot in that locker room and I know I would never want to be the problem to any franchise.”
The Steelers, of course, are faced with a dilemma surrounding star receiver Antonio Brown that has been well-documented. They also played 2018 without star running back Le’Veon Bell because Bell refused to sign the franchise-tag tender.
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
After a season in which the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans learned just how important placekicking is, one of the franchise’s most remembered kickers poked some fun at the skill.
Two-time Super Bowl-winning Steelers kicker Jeff Reed starred in a 3-minute comedy video released on YouTube and picked up by the popular comedy site “Funny or Die.”
The video, titled “A Day in the Life of an NFL Kicker” was filmed in the Pittsburgh area, with Woodland Hills High School’s famed stadium, The Wolvarena, playing a co-starring role.
The video opens with some highlights of Reed’s made kicks. But it overall allows Reed, now 39, to poke fun at himself, beginning with him lying in bed and telling a camera crew, “Well, I hope you boys are ready – because a kicker’s day begins at the crack of dawn.”
The camera pans to an alarm clock that reads 10:46 a.m.
Reed begins his day by eating cold pizza topped with scoops of ice cream. Then he does some faux film and playbook studying before taking to the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek (some footage appears to be shot via drone).
Reed boots one field goal, before he lies down in apparent pain and requests medical attention. More gags ensue.
Reed made 82 percent of the 259 field goals he attempted over his NFL career that included 127 games with the Steelers and five with the San Francisco 49ers. He was part of Super Bowl-winning teams after the 2005 and 2008 seasons.