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Steelers News: New position coach Ike Hilliard is a great fit for the Steelers young receivers

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s and the NFL has cancelled the 2020 Hall of Fame Game doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the Steelers new wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard and his relationship with his young players in 2020.

Let’s get to the news:

  • First impressions of a new coach and young players can mean a lot

Hilliard already impacting Steelers’ receivers

By: Jeff Hartman, DK Pittsburgh Sports

The Steelers’ wide receivers have had a forgettable calendar year, there is no other way to put it. Almost one year ago during training camp at Saint Vincent College, wide receivers coach Darryl Drake was found dead in his dorm room.

The shocking news wrecked the receiving corps, leaving the offense reeling in the final days of camp. What happened after was Ray Sherman tasked with being an interim coach, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ryan Switzer and Diontae Johnson battled injuries and Donte Moncrief went down as one of the worst free agent acquisitions in team history.

Offensively, the Steelers stumbled throughout the 2019 season, and this past offseason the team addressed the vacancy on their coaching staff by hiring Ike Hilliard.

Hilliard’s coaching experience started as an assistant wide receivers coach with the Dolphins in 2011, but in 2012 Hilliard was brought in as a wide receivers coach under Mike Shanahan and the Redskins. But 2013 saw him leave Washington and head to the Bills with the same position title. In 2014 he came back to the nation’s capital under Jay Gruden, and stayed there through the 2019 season. During the 2019 season, Hilliard helped to develop a group of rookie wide receivers which included Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims.

Another aspect of Hilliard’s style is he doesn’t just have experience coaching, but he was a tremendous player in the NFL.

Drafted as the seventh selection overall in the 1997 draft by the Giants, Hilliard played eight seasons in New York where he caught 30 touchdowns. Hilliard finished his playing career in Tampa Bay where he played four seasons and added another eight touchdowns. Hilliard might be best known for his 10 reception, 155 yard, and two touchdown performance in the 2000 NFC Championship game.

So, what kind of impression has Hilliard made on the team’s current crop of receivers? Even if it hasn’t been in person due to the coronavirus pandemic? James Washington has given the new coach passing grades in his first interactions with Hilliard.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • So much about the start of the 2020 NFL season will be different for the Steelers

Mike Tomlin preparing for unusual training camp environment for Steelers

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In a normal football offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers players would be in their second week of a summer break that would carry through to the start of training camp.

And coach Mike Tomlin would be counting down the seconds until he could convene his players at Saint Vincent College.

Tomlin likely is still watching the clock this year, although he is saddened that he won’t get a chance to spend a few weeks in the foothills of Laurel Mountain preparing his players for the 2020 season.

Training camp will begin in about a month, and Tomlin is preparing for the unique challenge of conducting it at Heinz Field because of the coronavirus pandemic that has altered the landscape of all sports this year.

“I am a training camp lover,” Tomlin said last week in a video conference call with reporters. “I do think there is some intangible value in going away to camp. That is something that is outside of our control in 2020.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • A look at the Steelers vs. Giants, both past and present

Countdown to 2020: The Giants

By: Mike Prisuta,

Date: Sept. 14
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Venue: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
All-Time Regular-Season Series: Giants lead, 44-30-3.

Last Meeting: Steelers 24, Giants 14, Dec. 4, 2016, Heinz Field. What turned out to be the last Ben Roethlisberger-vs.-Eli Manning matchup at quarterback ended with both completing 24 passes, including two for touchdowns. But Roethlisberger threw for 289 yards and Manning 195. Manning also threw two interceptions to Roethlisberger’s one. The Steelers achieved a 14-0 lead on the strength of a safety, three Randy Bullock field goals and a Roethlisberger-to-Antonio Brown touchdown pass (their attempt for a two-point conversion failed).

Last Season: The Giants went 4-12 and finished third in the NFC East. New York ranked 23rd in total offense (19th rushing, 18th passing) and 25th in total defense (20th rushing, 28th passing).

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

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