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Steelers News: Avoiding a slow start in 2020

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL: DEC 22 Steelers at Jets Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via 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 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 needing to hit the ground running to start the 2020 season.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Steelers can’t afford another slow start in 2020

Will lack of practice time hurt Steelers’ chances of getting off to fast start?

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

James Conner was answering a question about the running back position for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His words, though, spoke about a big-picture goal for the 2020 NFL season.

“We have to start fast,” Conner said last week on a video call with reporters. “We need to be ready at all times. We can’t warm up to it. That’s our slogan. That’s what we’ve been saying: We can’t warm up to it.”

No doubt the Steelers warmed up to it in each of the past two seasons, and those slow starts contributed to them missing the playoffs in back-to-back years. On the heels of a 1-2-1 start in 2018, they lost their first three games and were 1-4 after five weeks last season.

Although the Steelers rebounded both years and controlled their playoff fate until a late-season slide, had they won more games in September perhaps they could have weathered those December losses.

One way to avoid a repeat this season would be for the starters to get more repetitions in the offseason, training camp and preseason. But in a year when the coronavirus pandemic already has eliminated on-field team workouts and with the possibility of training camp and the preseason being delayed or shortened, how can the Steelers gain such preparation?

It’s a question hovering over the entire NFL as the end of virtual organized team activities approaches.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • An argument for the 2010s as the most disappointing decade for the Steelers

Point/counterpoint: Which dud of a decade was most disappointing for Steelers?

By: Jeff Hartman, DK Pittsburgh Sports

Time for some honesty.

During a recent Zoom meeting yesterday with the boss man, Dejan Kovacevic, he mentioned a reader question — from NE_JOE — he had just received for his Live Qs at 5. It was about the Steelers, and which team of two decades was the most disappointing.

The 1990s or the 2010s?

I chimed in immediately with an answer I thought would be unanimous — the 2010s, but I was wrong. Since the Zoom meeting was about baseball, and not football, we tabled the conversation. But after the meeting, Dejan brought up an idea Dave Molinari had pitched him in the past: What about a point/counterpoint article?

You needed two people to truly believe in their side of the debate, and within the next two minutes of the conversation we had planned out this idea. It is my job to state the case why the Steelers of the 2010s were the most disappointing, and Dejan gladly took the Steelers of the 1990s.

He’s wrong. Let me tell you why...

Throughout the course of the most recent decade, the Steelers averaged just over 10 wins a season, 10.2 to be exact. Just think about that for a second. Averaging double-digit wins is no easy feat over the course of ten years. Mike Tomlin has been extremely successful, regardless what some might suggest, but there is so much more to the disappointment of these teams than just their win-loss totals.

When I think about disappointments, I think about teams who were poised to win it all, but failed to do so. Both the teams of the 90s and the teams of the 2010s can say they went to a Super Bowl, an AFC Championship game and multiple playoff berths.

But no hardware to show for it.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Ben Roethlisberger is not the only player on the Steelers who needs to bounce back in 2020

Can JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner bounce back for Steelers?

By: Grant Gordon,

Updates aplenty and a bevy of ballyhoo have accompanied Ben Roethlisberger’s comeback bid following a lost 2019 season due to an elbow injury.

If the Steelers’ offense is to match the play and acclaim of their burgeoning defense, though, it is quite likely receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner must come back to the level and production they showed prior to last campaign also.

In 2018, Conner and Smith-Schuster each earned Pro Bowl bids and put up stellar numbers.

In 2019, Conner and Smith-Schuster averaged 85.5 fewer combined scrimmage yards per game than they did the prior season, per NFL Research.

Though Roethlisberger missed 14 games and the Steelers did their best to make it work with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, conventional wisdom suggests heftier contributions from Pittsburgh’s top back and/or No. 1 receiver might well have paid dividends for a team that had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17.

Injuries sidelined and likely slowed Conner as he missed six games. Still, his decline was stupendous when he was on the field. He averaged nearly six few touches per contest and an eye-popping 41.6 scrimmage yards less per game (28.2 rushing yards less per game) – according to NFL Research.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

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