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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Articles tagged: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers, Cowboys training camp starts pushed back after Hall of Fame Game cancelled

Roger Goodell

The NFL has yet to make any officials announcements about the start of training camp, but we know at least two teams will be reporting later than originally scheduled.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has decided to cancel the Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The game, which is the first preseason game of the year in the NFL, was supposed to take place on Aug. 6. In addition, the annual enshrinement ceremony in Canton has been postponed.

In order to give the two teams enough time to prepare for the Hall of Fame Game, the Steelers and Cowboys were supposed to begin training camp on July 22. That date will be pushed back, Schefter reports. While no new date has been announced for Pittsburgh and Dallas to report to training camp, most other teams are scheduled to begin on July 28.

The Hall of Fame Game is the first official event the NFL decided to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both the NFL Draft and free agency went on as scheduled, and the NFL has seemed determined to maintain as normal of an offseason schedule as possible.

There has been no word yet on whether or not teams will still report to training camp on July 28, though teams are preparing as if that will remain the date. The NFL has been working with health officials to implement protocols for when players and team personnel return to their facilities.

Steelers plan to begin video interviews with NFL Draft prospects this week

Steelers logo

NFL teams are making adjustments to their draft prospect evaluation process this year due to changes related to the coronavirus. Teams were unable to watch players work out at their Pro Days, and they aren’t able to conduct the types of in-person visits with prospects they wanted. Teams hoping to talk with prospects are planning to do so via video interviews.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert says the team will begin their video interviews on Thursday.

The Steelers do not have a first-round pick this year because they traded theirs to Miami for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. They do have a second, third, two fourths, a sixth and seventh-round pick and will look to improve based on those selections.

Many team employees were said to be upset about the draft remaining on schedule for April 23-25, but they will now have to do the best they can.

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger continues to recover from the elbow surgery he underwent early last season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed a new offensive weapon for him in the meantime.

The Steelers have agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with tight end Eric Ebron, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

Ebron had a breakout season with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, catching 66 passes for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had a more quiet year last year with 31 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games.

Roethlisberger told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday that he has been throwing pain-free for the first time in several years, indicating his elbow injury had been a lingering issue for quite some time. He has been throwing around 40 passes per day up to 20 yards in length, and he said throwing without pain has made him feel the youngest he has felt in a long time.

Ebron should be a nice addition to Pittsburgh’s offense, especially if he can duplicate his production from 2018.

Steelers GM does not think Ben Roethlisberger is near retirement yet

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger will turn 38 in a few weeks and is recovering from a major elbow injury that required surgery, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are confident the star quarterback is not approaching the finish line of his career.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert provided a positive update about Roethlisberger’s rehab on Thursday and said he believes Big Ben could be better in 2020 than he was this past season.

That sounds somewhat realistic, but Colbert’s response to a follow-up question about Roethlisberger was a bit less believable. The GM was asked if he thinks Big Ben is nearing the end of his career and noted that Eli Manning is only a year older and just retired. Colbert said the Steelers don’t think Roethlisberger is “at the end of the road.”

Roethlisberger may not be at the end of the road, but he’s certainly getting very close. While he had arguably his best NFL season in 2018 with 5,129 yards, 34 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, he has already openly contemplated retirement. Legendary coach Bill Parcells once said if a player is thinking about retiring he is already retired, so where does that leave Roethlisberger?

Perhaps Roethlisberger will be motivated to prove he can return from a major injury and still play at a high level, which is something he has already hinted at. However, it would be a shock if he plays into his 40s like Tom Brady. Steelers fans should enjoy Big Ben while they still have him.

Steelers hopeful of retaining GM Kevin Colbert

Steelers logo

Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert’s current deal expires at the conclusion of the NFL Draft, and the team is hopeful that he will extend it.

Steelers president Art Rooney II said the team was “optimistic” about getting a deal done with Colbert, and that all signs pointed toward it happening.

The decision to let Colbert’s contract run down came from the GM himself, who declined extension talks last offseason. That sparked speculation that Colbert might not see his future with Pittsburgh, but the Steelers definitely don’t see it that way.

Colbert has been with the Steelers since 2000 and has held the title of general manager since 2010. He helped navigate the team through Le’Veon Bell’s holdout and Antonio Brown’s trade drama, and as long as his starting quarterback returns in 2020, Pittsburgh should contend again.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 16

The second-to-last week of the NFL regular season settled some things, but left a lot of things wide open in Week 17. That’s good news for fans, but bad news for the teams and players who just weren’t able to get the job done in the penultimate week of the season.

Which of those teams and players fell short in Week 16? Here are 10 disappointments.

Dallas Cowboys’ offense

Simply brutal. Dallas hasn’t been eliminated from NFC East contention (here is their Week 17 playoff scenario), but on the evidence, they deserve to be. Dak Prescott missed open receivers. When he hit them, those receivers dropped passes. Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up. Amari Cooper caught just four passes for 24 yards and was a non-factor. The finger cannot be pointed at one person, but this was horrendous from Dallas in a game where they could have clinched the division against a defense that hasn’t exactly been elite.

Bill Callahan, coach, Redskins

This one is mostly a criticism from a fan standpoint. When Callahan’s Redskins scored a touchdown with 29 seconds left, it felt like they might as well go for the win. A two-point conversion would put them ahead. Both teams were 3-11 and had nothing to play for except draft position. Washington fans could have used the lift. Instead, Callahan kicked the extra point, and Washington never even touched the ball in overtime and lost to the Giants. Maybe he’s trying to get that No. 2 draft pick, but the whole thing felt very risk-averse when there was nothing to lose.

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Steelers bench Duck Hodges, go back to Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph

The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stick with Devlin Hodges as their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but it was not long before the rookie got himself benched.

Mike Tomlin went back to Mason Rudolph early in the first half after Hodges threw his second interception. Hodges threw four picks in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Tomlin said earlier in the season that Rudolph would keep the starting job as long as he protected the football, and he then gave Hodges a chance after Rudolph turned it over too much. He appears to be following that same principle with both of his quarterbacks, and Rudolph will now have a chance to prove himself once again.

The Steelers entered Sunday with an 8-6 record and are still in playoff contention. They are hoping Rudolph can provide stability at the most important position on the field at a crucial time.