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Pittsburgh Steelers Fact or Fiction: Streaking edition

BTSC takes five burning questions regarding the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers and labels them as fact or fiction.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the narrative is always changes. To quote the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper, “Just when you think you’ve got all of the answers, I keep changing the questions”. Well the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving. Especially this week with the postponement of this week’s contest with the positive Covd-19 tests coming out of Music City. With that offered up, BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell...


With Derek Watt out 2 to 3 weeks, the Steelers are likely to bring back Roosevelt Nix

Fiction

Nix was a Pro Bowl fullback in 2018 for the Steelers and a fan favorite as well. When he went down for most of last season, the running game suffered immensely. After Pittsburgh released No. 45 in the spring, Nix signed on with the Indianapolis Colts. However, Rosie didn’t make Frank Reich’s 53 due to Indy being a one-back offense. With Derek Watt injured, many thought the Steelers would invite Nix back. If it was a season-ending injury, that would be more likely. However, expect Trey Edmunds to come up from the practice squad and see some time when the Steelers run two backs.


The wide receiver position is the deepest the Steelers have had in years

Fact

The wide receiving quartet of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington is so deep that the team didn’t miss a beat when Johnson suffered a concussion in the first half of Week 3 against Houston. Ben Roethlisberger was able to employ his tight ends, Vance McDonald and Eric Ebron, as well as the other three. Plus, Ray Ray McCloud saw some snaps as well. While Ike Hilliard’s unit needs to have all of his men healthy, the others are very good at stepping up in another’s absence. The 2010 team had Hines Ward, Mike Wallace. Emmanuel Sanders, Antwaan Randle-El and Antonio Brown. Others that boosted the unit over the last decade were Jerricho Cotchery, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. It could be argued that there were deeper units than now, but the Steelers are unselfish and strong here.


Speaking of McCloud, the speedster will break off a kick return for a touchdown in 2020

Fact

It seems inevitable that No. 14 will go the distance on a kickoff return for the Steelers this season. Currently McCLoud is tied for fourth in the league with a 28.8 average per return. With five attempts, the former Panther and Bill has had multple returns that it appeared that he could go all the way. Many, me included, think that it is only a matter of time.


The Steelers will break the true all-time consecutive sack streak this season

Fiction

Hear me out on this. The NFL only officially recorded sacks as stats starting in 1982. Since then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recorded sacks in 69 straight games between 1999 and 2003. However, BTSC’s stat-ologist Dave Schofield reports that the Detroit Lions sacked opposing passers in 76 straight contests from 1960 to 1965. While the Steelers have the defensive fire power and are likely to surpass Tampa for the official title of team sack masters this season, the true mark can’t be seized until 2021.


The Steelers are now employing a running game by committee

Fiction

Make no mistake, James Conner remains “the bell cow” of Mike Tomlin’s rushing attack. Conner led the team with 18 carries in Week 3, but Benny Snell Jr. (7) and Anthony McFarland Jr. (6) were called upon to chip in more and more. Tomlin has a reputation of running the wheels off of his feature backs (see Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Deangelo Williams, Le’Veon Bell and Conner), but If Sunday against Houston is any indication...the division of labor will increase for the backups. While it will never truly be a committee approach, Tomlin will be getting more out of James by decreasing his work load a smidge.


Are these statements valid? We will soon see. I, personally, am not endorsing all five of these scenarios, but it’s what my gut tells me will occur. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below.