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Pittsburgh Steelers Fact or Fiction: Irreplaceable edition

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

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving. Especially this week with the Steelers struggling to vanquish the Ravens and the loss of Bud Dupree for the season. 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.


Mike Tomlin’s “us sucking” comment could be one of his most important quotes of his coaching career

Fact

If ever an indirect message was meant to be more direct, it was surely “us sucking”. Tomlin is truly the most quotable coach in the NFL today and in the conversation among the best of all time. But this one emphatically pointed the finger in a number of directions and if you were a player wearing a black-and-gold uniform when it was said and dismissed it as not being directed towards you...you’d be foolish not to listen again. I’m not sure if Coach T is concerned more about drops, the run game or defensive lapses against a junior varsity roster, but there is a lot on his mind that his team needs to get stronger with. Should the team cure their on-field ailments...this is the kind of quote that could be pointed to as championship caliber.


The concept of Ben Roethlisberger’s being deemed irreplaceable is at an all-time high

Fact

More like fact times 7,000. Ben mentioned that he has to get better, but that’s Ben being Ben. No. 7 ranks seventh all-time in many quarterbacking categories and would surpass Dan Marino should he complete 26 passes against the WFT for sixth. Ben is getting the ball out of his hands quicker than any NFL QB in 2020 and has been absolutely masterful this year. More so, he is leading and his young pass catchers have been responding at a high level most of the time. There was no preseason and the passers behind Ben don’t really have the high-pressure achievements that he does. After you pray for the important things in your life, throw one in for the health of Ben. I don’t think the Steelers would have a prayer without him.


Dropped passes are more of a factor for the Steelers offensive woes than anything else

Fact

All of the dropped passes in the past game alone could have mightily altered the Steelers Super Bowl hopes in 2020, but we won’t ever really know for sure. It seems logical to think that were Pittsburgh in cruise control in the fourth quarter that the team’s personnel could have looked different in the fourth quarter, but that’s just speculation. But the fact of the matter is, drops are debilitating and they almost lost the game for the black-and-gold in Week 12. There may have been more than the three by Diontae Johnson, the two by Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool and the one by JuJu Smith-Schuster...but those alone could have meant as many as three touchdowns and eight first downs. The running game has their problems, but the offensive emphasis has the needle pointing towards the passing game. Eliminate just five of those drops and Big Ben is 41 of 51 on the afternoon and the doubters of this team drop as well.


Bud Dupree’s absence will hinder the game of T.J. Watt

Fiction

T.J. Watt was just named the AFC Defensive Player of the month for November and took home the title in September as well. Losing Dupree is not ideal, but Alex Highsmith and Ola Adeniyi seem to know how to get to the passer. Remember that paying too much attention to Watt is one of the factors that helped hurry the rise of Alvin. Bud’s success made it so you couldn’t focus too heavily on either of the outside linebackers. Highsmith and Adeniyi are not No. 48. However, offenses can not afford to take either of the two players lightly. Highsmith will fill in well enough and maybe elevate his status, but he is still a drop off from Bud. But it won’t diminish the fact that Watt is a special pass rusher and will continue his assault on offenses in 2020.


There is way too much bad blood for there to ever be a Steelers/James Harrison reunion

Fiction

First and foremost, I really don’t see James Harrison returning to the NFL whatsoever after not playing since February of 2018 in the Super Bowl. However, the people that talk about resentment and anger after the very public divorce as being the main reason that a Deebo return would never happen are so very wrong. The main reason is simple. James Harrison is 42. Is he in shape? Most likely. He needs to be for the roles that he would qualify for as an actor. Is he in football shape? How could he be? But the Steelers having a conversation about it is never a bad idea. Remember time heals wounds and James Harrison did return for a Super Bowl celebration in 2018. If the Steelers and James Harrison each make a business decision that both sides wish to pursue, the past doesn’t matter one iota. At that Point, it becomes water under the Fort Pitt, Fort Duquesne, Clemente and 16th Street bridges.


Are these statements valid? We will soon see. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below or on our social media.


Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics, and their status, heading into this week’s game: