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Terrible Towel Tales: T.J. Watt treated like Shaq by NFL officials

Steelers news and commentary for Wednesday, December 6

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Welcome to the Terrible Towel Tales, where we’ll highlight some of the latest stories permeating Steelers media for your reading pleasure every Monday through Saturday. In today’s news…

Teams try ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ strategy vs. T.J. Watt, Steelers say | Brooke Pryor, ESPN

“I think T.J. runs into what all the elite rushers do,” Teryl Austin said. “These guys are going to hold you until they can’t because a lot of times that’s the only way they can block.

“I mean I share in his frustration, but I don’t think there’s anything that we can do about it. We can complain and we can do all that, but that really doesn’t solve the problem. So I think we just deal with it. We just continue to fight and go. It’s almost like the Hack-a-Shaq.”

Watt, of course, doesn’t go to the free throw line when he’s held, but the idea is similar. In going to great lengths to hold Watt, Austin said, offenses are hoping to minimize his impact on the game and on their quarterback. And, it has become so commonplace that officials aren’t calling it.

Steelers’ No. 3 QB Mason Rudolph is now one snap away. Will he get another chance? | Mark Kaboly, The Athleitc

There is no guarantee that Mason Rudolph will take a snap on Thursday against the New England Patriots. He might never take a snap with the Pittsburgh Steelers — or, realistically, in a regular-season football game — ever again.

Rudolph’s window was opened and then slammed shut after 10 starts and a long list of events that no quarterback would want their name associated with. Through it all, here he is — looking football justice right in the face after two long years.

Bailey Zappe in line to start for Patriots Thursday night against Steelers | Khari Thompson, Boston.com

There hasn’t been confirmation from coach Bill Belichick, but Zappe told reporters on Tuesday that it likely will be him.

”Coach has, you know, made it pretty clear,” Zappe said. “But I’ll let him announce it to everybody. That’s private right now, and whenever he announces it, that’s with him.”

Zappe made his first start of the season on Sunday against the Chargers, completing 13 of 25 passes for 141 yards. Zappe did not commit any turnovers, but the Patriots did not score.