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hawaiiansteel
05-02-2019, 06:31 PM
2019 Steelers by position: WR

By BRYAN DEARDO

Antonio Brown's departure, in terms of on-field production, significantly impacts Pittsburgh's offense heading into the 2019 season. While the soon-to-be 31-year-old Brown wasn't going to dominate opposing defenses forever, one can assume that Brown would have put up similar numbers to the ones he's put up in recent seasons had he stayed with the Steelers in 2019. While his receiving yards (1,297 in 15 games) in 2018 were his lowest output since 2016, he still caught 104 passes in 15 games while also leading the NFL with a career-high 15 touchdowns. That will be hard to replace, along with the attention Brown demanded from opposing defenses every time he stepped onto the field.

The Steelers have countered the loss of Brown by doing their best to strengthen Pittsburgh's receiving corps. The team re-signed veteran wideout Eli Rogers, a tough, dependable secondary option that came on strong near the end of the 2018 season after missing most of the year rehabbing an ACL injury. Pittsburgh also signed veteran receiver Donte Moncrief, who caught 20 touchdown passes during his first five NFL seasons. The Steelers have also (unofficially) parted ways with veteran wideouts Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Hunter never panned out after signing with the team as a free agent in 2017, while Heyward-Bey, despite being a tremendous team leader and locker room presence, could not be kept on the roster after catching just nine passes over the past three seasons.

Ryan Switzer, a late 2018 offseason acquisition, will return after having a very solid first season in Pittsburgh. Despite joining the team just before the start of the regular season, Switzer caught 36 of his 44 targets while serving as a dependable option in the slot position. Switzer should be even more productive in 2019 as he looks to build on his rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers further strengthened their depth at the receiver position by drafting former Toledo wideout Diontae Johnson with the 66th overall pick in the Draft. The 10th receiver taken in the draft, Johnson caught 21 touchdown passes during his final two years with the Rockets. Pittsburgh's receivers coach, Darryl Drake, recently compared him to a young Brown when Brown was coming out of Central Michigan back in 2010.

"As far as a player, yes, no question," Drake said last week when asked about Johnson being similar to Brown. "(Johnson) did an outstanding job at Toledo, not only as a wide receiver but in multi-positions, special teams as a returner. Just a tremendously gifted young man. The most natural catcher that I've seen in a while.

"You need a guy who can get off the ball, and the thing that he does he gets off the ball, gets in and out of his breaks as well as anybody that I've seen in a long time," Drake continued. "He was a guy that I wanted, and I just appreciate Kevin and Mike seeing the same things that I saw in this young man. As you get to be around him, you're going to love his smile and his personality and his style of play. So, again, very excited about the pick. I think he's a guy that Steeler Nation is going to be very, very excited about."

While Johnson looks to make an immediate impact, James Washington, Pittsburgh's second round pick in 2018, is looking to bounce back after catching just 16 passes during his rookie season. Earlier this offseason, he told Steelers.com's Missi Matthews that he will spent his offseason looking on improving his route running and his conditioning.

Washington started showing glimpses of his potential against the Patriots in Week 15. With New England paying extra attention to Brown and team MVP JuJu Smith-Schuster, Washington led Pittsburgh with 65 receiving yards while catching three of his four targets in the Steelers 17-10 victory. Two weeks later, with the Steelers needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, Washington caught all three of his targets for 64 yards that included a key 47-yard catch during Pittsburgh's comeback victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Speaking of JuJu, he will now be Pittsburgh's No. 1 receiver moving forward. Smith-Schuster, at times, was the team's No. 1 receiver in 2018. Last season, JuJu led the Steelers with 111 receptions and 1,426 receiving yards. And while he will no longer have the luxury of having Brown on the other side, Pittsburgh's depth at the position should give Smith-Schuster enough room to flourish as the team's premier receiver.

Simply put, you can't replace what Brown provided. Not with one player. Give the Steelers credit for not trying. Instead of trying to sign another Pro Bowl receiver or spending a first or second round pick on the position, Pittsburgh instead decided to complement Smith-Schuster with both proven veterans as well as young, promising wideouts that should help make Pittsburgh's passing attack even more lethal than it was in 2018, when Big Ben led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards.

The Steelers' receiving room, even with the loss of Brown, is better now than it was in 2018. While they no longer have the best WR duo in football, Pittsburgh has the potential to have the deepest and most productive receiving corps in the NFL. And when factoring the culture change the will take place with Brown no longer in the picture, the Steelers' WR position is better off now than it was a year ago.


https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/Article/2019-Steelers-wide-receiver-Antonio-Brown--131722464/

hawaiiansteel
05-02-2019, 07:00 PM
Donte Moncrief fired up to be a Steeler

By BRYAN DEARDO

Donte Moncrief is excited to be in Pittsburgh, his third NFL city since coming into the league in 2014. Moncrief, who has been a regular at the team's facility since singing with the Steelers, recently expressed his excitement with regard to being a member of the black and gold.

Moncrief's father, a lifelong Steelers fan, wanted his son to play well when his teams previously faced off against the Steelers. He just didn't want his son's teams to win. Last month, Moncrief explained his father's lifelong passion for the black and gold.

"He’s always been a Steelers fan," Moncrief said of his father. "He liked Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis and all those guys. It’s crazy. Four weeks before I even signed he told me I was coming here. So when I got the call and they told me it was Pittsburgh and my agent told me what it’s gonna be, I knew he was gonna be like, ‘I told you so.’ When it happened, I was happy.”

How did his father react to the news that he was joining his favorite team?

“My dad was happy," Moncrief said. "Super happy. Even when I was in Indy and we were playing the Steelers, he said he’ll root for me, but he still wanted the Steelers to win. Now I’m Steeler now, so now we’re gonna get on the same boat."

Moncrief, who caught his first NFL touchdown pass against Pittsburgh, met with the Steelers before being taken by the Colts as the 90th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Playing with Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck, Moncrief caught 152 passes for 1,875 yards and 18 touchdown passes during his four seasons with the Colts. He caught 48 passes for 668 yards and three scores during his lone season with the Jaguars.

Along with providing Ben Roethlisberger with a new big play threat, Moncrief also said that he is looking forward to serving as a mentor for Pittsburgh's young receiving corps. With Antonio Brown, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter no longer on the roster, Moncrief and Eli Rogers are the team's oldest receivers entering the 2019 season. Moncrief, who said that former Colts' great Reggie Wayne helped acclimate him to the NFL as a rookie, wants to do the same for the Steelers' receiving room.

“It’s kinda weird just being 25 and you’re the oldest guy in the room," he said. "Just thinking about that. Like I said, I’ll guess I’ll have to be the mentor guy, the guy that pushes guys and makes sure people do things right. Like coach already said, it’s a great room. You have guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster whose doing things that a lot of young guys can’t do. You have a lot of other guys that’s hard working, young guys who are gonna keep me young and push me and motivate me and make me go fast every day. It’s going to be a fun room, fun time, and I’m getting ready to get with those guys and show them what I can do.”


https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/Article/Donte-Moncrief-fired-up-to-be-a-Pittsburgh-Steeler-131731857/

steelz09
05-02-2019, 08:34 PM
No, we are not better off.
(But I do like our WR corps)

Next question....

fordfixer
05-02-2019, 09:11 PM
No, we are not better off.
(But I do like our WR corps)

Next question....
Lol way to entice more discussion :p

pittpete
05-02-2019, 09:20 PM
Statistical wise we are not better off(no brainer)
Team wise we got rid of a stat whore with 0 rings to show for it.
next question....

RuthlessBurgher
05-02-2019, 09:33 PM
Luckily for those who want to move onto the next question, there are 27,471 other threads to choose from. Feel free to comment on any of them. ;)

steeler_george
05-03-2019, 05:27 AM
Overall, "I like it alot!"

Depth seems better 1-6. It is going to be an interesting position battles in camp.

All though we lost AB... who "WAS" a legned here... should be better off.

JuJu is coming in on his own. Moncief, proved he can be a game changer with a great QB. Washington has potential, year 2 leap. Same can be said of that rookie. who has shown playmaker abiity. Add in 2nd year Switzer, and Eli have shown they can bring it.

It is not like last year where after AB, and JU, there was a huge drop off. Washington played like a rookie, Switzer was playing catch up. Eli was hurt.

Eich
05-03-2019, 08:40 AM
We are most certainly far better off now than we were in week 16 of the 2018 season when idiot went completely off the rails. That was the Antonio Brown we were left with.

Steel Maniac
05-03-2019, 09:06 AM
As a whole group, we are better off. And less predictable because now Ben is just going to throw to the open man. Not having to force feed a guy because he wants 15 targets a game.

Captain Lemming
05-03-2019, 09:10 AM
The question is premature. "If" Washington (who largely struggled as a rookie) and Johnson live up to expectations we are undoubtedly better overall.
The depth would be great and more than make up for the loss of Brown
If the early part of year one was indicative of who Washington is as a pro, and we missed on Johnson too, we are worse.

If either is better than a very solid Moncrief, I'd say that and the addition of Moncrief makes us about the same because we still are deeper but I really dont expect either kid to be equal to Brown because that is rare stuff.

But that brings to mind, has Brown begun his inevitable decline?

His early season struggles werent just the emergence of Juju........his game (consistency) was not what it was in years past.

Yes, lots of variables.

Captain Lemming
05-03-2019, 09:18 AM
As a whole group, we are better off. And less predictable because now Ben is just going to throw to the open man. Not having to force feed a guy because he wants 15 targets a game.

This is a great point too.
I really think Ben's idiot comments in the Denver game are because he knows he forced the ball to the wrong guy because he feels pressure to feed Browns enormous ego. I think that is the only reason Brown did not go ballistic at the time.

Most of Ben's dumb picks are forced throws to Brown.

If the youngsters pan out, BEN is better because he will just go to the open man.
And with THAT MUCH DEPTH somebody will be open.

Steel Maniac
05-03-2019, 10:17 AM
This is a great point too.
I really think Ben's idiot comments in the Denver game are because he knows he forced the ball to the wrong guy because he feels pressure to feed Browns enormous ego. I think that is the only reason Brown did not go ballistic at the time.

Most of Ben's dumb picks are forced throws to Brown.

If the youngsters pan out, BEN is better because he will just go to the open man.
And with THAT MUCH DEPTH somebody will be open.

Yes...forcing the ball to Brown; and then when there's a pick, people go off on Ben. :rolleyes: No more.

Imagine...we will be running the ball more with a power running game with Conner/Snell which in turn allows Ben to throw less (won't lead the league in passing yardage this coming season) but when he throws, they will be (should be) highly effective passes with waaaaaaaay less picks. And..domination of time of possession too!!? How can you not be excited about that offense? All the pieces are there in our offense to do it.

Northern_Blitz
05-03-2019, 10:36 AM
I think it's wishful thinking to think that we're better at WR without one of the best WRs in the game.

I think losing a HoF player makes us obviously worse at WR.

That doesn't mean that we're bad at WR. I think we're still going to be OK at WR, but there are certainly some question marks (will JuJu be able to thrive as the #1 option? will Washington be able to be an effective WR3 and maybe even challenge for WR2? Will Montcrief and Ben click?). And ultimately, I think how good we are at QB is >>>>>>> important than how good we are at WR.

It also doesn't mean that having one of the best WR corps in the league is super important. Lemming always makes this point and I think it's fairly valid. Maybe it's better to have 3 - 4 guys who are more #2 types. I think that's probably the case if you have a QB that's good at reading the D and making a good decision. This seems to be what make Brady (and P.Manning) great.

I think the biggest question re: performance of our WRs / TEs will be about how well Ben makes decisions. There were certainly times over the last few years where the decision was to just chuck it up for Brown and hope he'd do something awesome. We'll see if Ben keeps forcing things without AB or if he takes what the D gives him.

The Man of Steel
05-03-2019, 10:54 AM
Go back and look at the Steelers WR depth chart for Super Bowls 40 and 43. It doesn’t look much better or worse than those teams right now.

Mick'sTeam
05-03-2019, 11:15 AM
This is a great point too.
I really think Ben's idiot comments in the Denver game are because he knows he forced the ball to the wrong guy because he feels pressure to feed Browns enormous ego. I think that is the only reason Brown did not go ballistic at the time.

Most of Ben's dumb picks are forced throws to Brown.

If the youngsters pan out, BEN is better because he will just go to the open man.
And with THAT MUCH DEPTH somebody will be open.

I like all these points. It got me thinking. Did Ben force the throws to feed AB's ego, or was AB so dependable that Ben knew he could chuck it AB's way and more often than not have it work out? Not needing to force throws and simply finding the open man sounds easy. I just wonder if it will be that easy for Ben to take that approach after having AB their to either feed or use as a crutch? Hope that makes sense.

RuthlessBurgher
05-03-2019, 11:22 AM
Last year, AB and Juju combined for over 2700 yards by themselves.

Those two guys amounted for more than half of Ben's 5100+ passing yards last season.

In order to be a well-balanced, efficient offense, we shouldn't be so pass heavy overall it's certainly not healthy to be so dependent on one or two guys to give you the vast majority of your offensive output.

I think we'd actually be better off if Ben had something like 400-500 fewer yards through the air next year and we made up for that with more ground-and-pound yardage as opposed to an all-out aerial attack more often than not.

I think we'd be just fine if we got the following production through the air:
Juju: 1200-1400 yards
Moncrief and Vance: 600-700 yards each
Washington and Conner: 400-500 yards each
Rogers and Switzer: 300-400 yards each
Johnson and Samuels: 200-300 yards each

This would put Ben in the neighborhood of 4600-4800 passing yards as opposed to over 5100.

But we could make up for that if also we got the following production on the ground:
Conner: 1000-1200 yards
Snell: 500-600 yards
Samuels: 200-300 yards

Hopefully they at least make a reasonable attempt at somewhat of a committee situation rather than running the wheels off of one guy, because it should keep everyone healthy and fresh as we head toward the playoffs.

pittpete
05-03-2019, 02:48 PM
Go back and look at the Steelers WR depth chart for Super Bowls 40 and 43. It doesn’t look much better or worse than those teams right now.

Just about to post something very similiar....good stuff

hawaiiansteel
05-03-2019, 03:10 PM
Go back and look at the Steelers WR depth chart for Super Bowls 40 and 43. It doesn’t look much better or worse than those teams right now.

go and look at the WR depth chart of last season's Super Bowl Champions and you'll see you don't need the greatest WRs to win...

steelz09
05-03-2019, 06:49 PM
go and look at the WR depth chart of last season's Super Bowl Champions and you'll see you don't need the greatest WRs to win...

Their coach is 10x better than ours.

I won't dispute the fact that you don't need a dominant #1 WR to win a Super Bowl. You don't and that's been proven time and time again.

I think we have a good WR corps right now. However, if Ju Ju goes down with a injury, we might be in some serious trouble. I need to see more from Moncreif and Washington to feel confident that our entire season wouldn't go down the tubes with a Ju Ju injury.

Oh wow
05-03-2019, 07:30 PM
I don’t think we are better off at WR but we may be better off as a team across the board.

Oh wow
05-03-2019, 07:32 PM
go and look at the WR depth chart of last season's Super Bowl Champions and you'll see you don't need the greatest WRs to win...

Nope. You just need performance enhancing drugs when your WR core isn’t the greatest.

Disco1981
05-03-2019, 07:35 PM
Go back and look at the Steelers WR depth chart for Super Bowls 40 and 43. It doesn’t look much better or worse than those teams right now.

Go back and look at the Defenses of those teams

Disco1981
05-03-2019, 07:37 PM
Last year, AB and Juju combined for over 2700 yards by themselves.

Those two guys amounted for more than half of Ben's 5100+ passing yards last season.

In order to be a well-balanced, efficient offense, we shouldn't be so pass heavy overall it's certainly not healthy to be so dependent on one or two guys to give you the vast majority of your offensive output.

I think we'd actually be better off if Ben had something like 400-500 fewer yards through the air next year and we made up for that with more ground-and-pound yardage as opposed to an all-out aerial attack more often than not.

I think we'd be just fine if we got the following production through the air:
Juju: 1200-1400 yards
Moncrief and Vance: 600-700 yards each
Washington and Conner: 400-500 yards each
Rogers and Switzer: 300-400 yards each
Johnson and Samuels: 200-300 yards each

This would put Ben in the neighborhood of 4600-4800 passing yards as opposed to over 5100.

But we could make up for that if also we got the following production on the ground:
Conner: 1000-1200 yards
Snell: 500-600 yards
Samuels: 200-300 yards

Hopefully they at least make a reasonable attempt at somewhat of a committee situation rather than running the wheels off of one guy, because it should keep everyone healthy and fresh as we head toward the playoffs.

Johnson will be WAY over 200-300 yards...jmo

Captain Lemming
05-03-2019, 08:56 PM
Go back and look at the Defenses of those teams

Go look at EVERY SB WINNER OF THE LAST DECADE.
You know what you DONT SEE?

Not one HOF caliber receiver.

Steel Maniac
05-03-2019, 10:02 PM
Boom........

Shawn
05-04-2019, 07:15 PM
I agree with Lemming. Too many variables and unknowns to say anything with certainty. What I will say is I see the Steelers cutting loose me first players. And that can’t be a bad thing.

Shawn
05-04-2019, 07:16 PM
As a whole group, we are better off. And less predictable because now Ben is just going to throw to the open man. Not having to force feed a guy because he wants 15 targets a game. strong point. I agree being less predictable is always a good thing.

NJ-STEELER
05-05-2019, 03:18 AM
Go look at EVERY SB WINNER OF THE LAST DECADE.
You know what you DONT SEE?

Not one HOF caliber receiver.


gronk played a pretty important role in the pats passing game though. His name is mentioned by analysts when discussing the all time best tight ends

Ernie
05-05-2019, 06:29 AM
We are better off at WR from top to bottom than we were last year.... no doubt in my mind. Solid from #1-5,6

Watch guys James Washington and Switzer have a breakout seasons... this could be one of the best WR units in the league.

Steel Maniac
05-05-2019, 01:13 PM
Moncrief is better then what everybody thinks. I think he opens a lot of peoples eyes.

Captain Lemming
05-05-2019, 01:17 PM
gronk played a pretty important role in the pats passing game though. His name is mentioned by analysts when discussing the all time best tight ends

Why do people argue a point I never tried to make. :)
I never referred to Tight ends.....intentionally.

That said as great as Gronk is.....how REALLY impactful was he on the Pats dynasty?
He played in but TWO Superbowl victories.

The best record the Pats have had During Gronks career......14-2 in plus SB win in 2016.
Gronk missed half the season.
Both losses were in the first 8 games of the season.....when Gronk actually played.
Undefeated EVERY GAME GRONK MISSED- 8 straight plus 3 postseason.....11 straight including SB WITHOUT Gronk.

Fact is if you take out the slow 3 TD version we saw last season.....HOF caliber Gronk has ONE SB victory.

Our former backup runningback Legarette Blount has made FAR GREATER contributions to SB victories running the ball than HOF caliber Gronk has receiving.

Am I saying they were better off without him? No.
Is he a great tight end? Yes.

But his ACTUAL VALUE when it comes to wins and losses when Brady has 4 rings WITHOUT Gronk is WAY overstated.

NJ-STEELER
05-05-2019, 01:23 PM
Why do people argue a point I never tried to make. :)

That said as great as Gronk is.....he played in but TWO Superbowl victories.

The best record the Pats have had in his career......14-2 in plus SB win in 2016.
Gronk missed half the season.
Both losses were in the first 8 games of the season.....when Gronk actually played.
Undefeated EVERY GAME GRONK MISSED- 8 straight plus 3 postseason.....11 straight including SB WITHOUT Gronk.

Fact is if you take out the slow 3 TD version we saw last season.....HOF caliber Gronk has ONE SB victory.

Am I saying they were better off without him? No.
Is he a great tight end? Yes.

But his ACTUAL VALUE when it comes to wins and losses when Brady has 4 rings WITHOUT Gronk is WAY overstated.

sorry, but what are you trying to say then?

there's plenty of examples of HOF WR being on SB teams or SB caliber teams. just look at the 70s steeler teams.

are you trying to infer that the passing game doesn't matter ?
Having a Top WR doesn't matter?

what are you trying to get at?

Captain Lemming
05-05-2019, 01:32 PM
Just realized......Brady is undefeated in SBs when he is without a HOF caliber pass catcher.

NJ-STEELER
05-05-2019, 01:36 PM
Just realized......Brady is undefeated in SBs when he is without a HOF caliber pass catcher.


you know you have to win a few games just to get to the SB. Do you think he didn't help there?


again
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?

Captain Lemming
05-05-2019, 01:55 PM
sorry, but what are you trying to say then?

there's plenty of examples of HOF WR being on SB teams or SB caliber teams. just look at the 70s steeler teams.

are you trying to infer that the passing game doesn't matter ?
Having a Top WR doesn't matter?

what are you trying to get at?

I said "in the last decade" no HOF caliber receiver has a ring.

Here is my point. Better talent at EVERY POSITION is good. But you have to know the relative value of different positions to build a winning team.
For example.....I want a GREAT punter.....but everybody knows it is stupid to pay a punter like a QB.

Wide receiver is the most overpaid position in the NFL. Paying top dollar for HOF talent is stupid, because the value is not commensurate with real wins and losses in todays NFL.
I keep telling people......look at defensive backs.......invest there. Great ones.....most have rings. Think about it.

Look at our playoff loss to the Pats a couple years ago.
They handled our HOF caliber receiver receiver, and our weak secondary make their Lacross player look like Jerry Rice.

As I said earlier we need to know what we have before calling this group better or worse.

With that said, we dont need to panic for having lost a "great" receiver.

Edelman and San-stonio BOTH have what Brown, Moss, AND even Gronk dont have, SB MVPs.

Steel Maniac
05-05-2019, 02:11 PM
I agree with Cap; we have enough at wide receiver. We need to get our secondary up to snuff. All these “ experiment” players in the secondary is becoming tired to me. Haden is legit, everyone else is a maybe. Personally, id have liked to bite the bullet and go after Peterson of the Cardinals. If the goal is still to win while we have Ben, I do t see enough urgency from Colbert to get that secondary up to par.

Captain Lemming
05-05-2019, 02:12 PM
BTW, I believe I was THE ONLY ONE HERE who argued agaist signing Brown.

I debated Dizz who said, "who should we have signed"?

I said we should have gone after Gilmore and spent Brown dough on him. I argued that the Pats invest in secondary, and it works.
He mocked me when Gilmore had a rough start as a Pat.

He was the REAL SB MVP.

He was the top rated corner last season.


https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-stephon-gilmore-jc-jackson-enter-the-2019-season-as-one-the-nfls-top-cornerback-duos

Once again:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9_nAZ3VEA0

Steel Maniac
05-05-2019, 02:15 PM
BTW, I believe I was THE ONLY ONE HERE who argued agaist signing Brown.

I debated Dizz who said, "who should we have signed"?

I said we should have gone after Gilmore and spent Brown dough on him. I argued that the Pats invest in secondary, and it works.
He mocked be when Gilmore had a rough start as a Pat.


https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-stephon-gilmore-jc-jackson-enter-the-2019-season-as-one-the-nfls-top-cornerback-duos

Once again:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9_nAZ3VEA0

Cap , I was on your side but your right; the vast majority was with Brown. Well, the FO has only learned half a lesson. Still won’t really invest in the secondary.

Captain Lemming
05-05-2019, 02:17 PM
I agree with Cap; we have enough at wide receiver. We need to get our secondary up to snuff. All these “ experiment” players in the secondary is becoming tired to me. Haden is legit, everyone else is a maybe. Personally, id have liked to bite the bullet and go after Peterson of the Cardinals. If the goal is still to win while we have Ben, I do t see enough urgency from Colbert to get that secondary up to par.

Recent teams with multiple top level secondary players? Legion of doom Seahawks and the ring wearing Broncos.

NJ-STEELER
05-05-2019, 02:28 PM
I said "in the last decade" no HOF caliber receiver has a ring.

Here is my point. Better talent at EVERY POSITION is good. But you have to know the relative value of different positions to build a winning team.
For example.....I want a GREAT punter.....but everybody knows it is stupid to pay a punter like a QB.

Wide receiver is the most overpaid position in the NFL. Paying top dollar for HOF talent is stupid, because the value is not commensurate with real wins and losses in todays NFL.
I keep telling people......look at defensive backs.......invest there. Great ones.....most have rings. Think about it.

Look at our playoff loss to the Pats a couple years ago.
They handled our HOF caliber receiver receiver, and our weak secondary make their Lacross player look like Jerry Rice.

As I said earlier we need to know what we have before calling this group better or worse.

With that said, we dont need to panic for having lost a "great" receiver.

Edelman and San-stonio BOTH have what Brown, Moss, AND even Gronk dont have, SB MVPs.

ok. I sort of agree with you. just didn't know what your angle was.

yes, you don't need a HOF caliber WR to win, but I believe they better be good enough as a group to win. I feel they are still good enough now with out antonio and with the addition of moncrief and the 2nd rd pick.

im excited to see the ball spread around a bit more without the crying WR complaining he didn't get the ball


and yes, getting better in the secondary will help. i've been on that train before they started to address it with top picks in the draft on that area

RuthlessBurgher
05-05-2019, 03:05 PM
Cap , I was on your side but your right; the vast majority was with Brown. Well, the FO has only learned half a lesson. Still won’t really invest in the secondary.

In the last 5 drafts, we spent a 1st, a 2nd, and two 3rd round picks on corners, plus signed Joe Haden and Steven Nelson in free agency. We also spent a 1st and a 2nd round pick on safeties plus signed Morgan Burnett as well.

The FO has obviously only learned half a lesson. When are they going to really invest in the secondary?

And as for your Patrick Peterson solution, if Arizona was willing to trade him, it would have happened as a part of their rebuild. Teams aren't willing to just hand over future HoF level talents who are still in their prime (unless they transform themselves into a bleached mustache wearing, money hungry, Twitter crazy lunatic).

hawaiiansteel
05-06-2019, 02:35 AM
JuJu Smith-Schuster Denies Animosity Toward Brown: ‘To Have Hate Is Such A Strong Word’

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on May 5, 2019

It’s been over two years now, and 2017 second-round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster is still the youngest player in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receivers room, that distinction no belonging either to 2018 second-round selection James Washington nor to 2019 third-round selection Diontae Johnson.

In spite of the fact that he remains among the youngest players on the team—he will turn 23 in November—he has consistently displayed a maturity, when it counts, beyond his years, even when he was still just 20 years old. Even before he played a down, that included handling the personalities of his seniors. And that continues to be the case, even when they’re gone.

From Martavis Bryant Tweeting that Smith-Schuster was going to be Sammie Coates’ replacement rather than his on the day he was drafted to Antonio Brown calling the fellow Pro Bowler out and accusing him of being dishonest because he hasn’t gotten paid yet, he has successfully navigated a minefield and come out virtually unscathed.

The dissolution of his relationship with Brown, however, was likely particularly rough for him, as he was a player that he routinely went to bat for with the media whenever Brown was questioned, whether it was concerns about his early struggles on the field last season or the many off-field questions that were raised, including pertaining to his leadership role for the younger players at the position.

Smith-Schuster looked up to Brown based on what he accomplished and what he has put himself through in order to achieve those feats, but it has been a long road to disillusionment. Even during the period in which Brown was badmouthing the team trying to get traded, he had to field questions from TMZ reporters about their relationship, and would only offer, “he’s my guy”.

Fast forward a couple months, and a couple of public shots, and we have Smith-Schuster being asked basically if he hates Brown at this point, which he denied any ill will. “To have hate is such a strong word and to have that towards someone, there is no need for that”, he said, according to Andrew Stockey of WTAE.

Would that be true the other way? Perhaps Brown doesn’t and never hated Smith-Schuster, but he certainly grew jealous of all the attention the new baby was receiving, not just from the fans, the media, and the coaches, but from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Then he was voted team MVP and joined him in the Pro Bowl (which Brown backed out of).

These questions are still being asked now, but with football in shorts now just around the corner, that entire story is going to increasingly fall into the background noise, and hopefully largely be forgotten about. Brown is a Raider, and the Steelers are forging on with JuJu, James, Johnson, and the rest of the bunch.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/juju-smith-schuster-denies-animosity-toward-brown-to-have-hate-is-such-a-strong-word/

Northern_Blitz
05-06-2019, 05:47 AM
Cap , I was on your side but your right; the vast majority was with Brown. Well, the FO has only learned half a lesson. Still won’t really invest in the secondary.

I think it's a false dichotomy to say we went with Brown over secondary.

The Steelers sign guys they drafted to big contracts over bringing in big name UFAs. My guess is that this is a good call because you don't have to project how good someone from a different system will fit on your team. Humans suck at predicting the future, so it makes sense to limit the predictions you need to make.

When they draft a HOF caliber player, they always extend him (or at least do their best see: Bell). That's their MO. I'm sure they would have loved it if they hit big on a DB, but instead we got elite players at WR and RB.

I think the GMs job is essentially (1) get good players and (2) keep good players. That's what Colbert did here. We would have wanted a better result, but I think the process is sound.

Steel Maniac
05-06-2019, 08:23 AM
I disagree; that sounds good but the reality is that now , in today’s NFL, you have to know what positions really to invest big dollars in long term. And based on what wide receivers look like that are winning Super Bowls the past 10-15 years, putting big dollars in the wide receiver position long term, isn’t logical.

The super bowl winners bear this out as fact. Captain Lemmings is spot on with this one. He’s given us fact, results that really can’t be argued.

Northern_Blitz
05-06-2019, 09:57 AM
I disagree; that sounds good but the reality is that now , in today’s NFL, you have to know what positions really to invest big dollars in long term. And based on what wide receivers look like that are winning Super Bowls the past 10-15 years, putting big dollars in the wide receiver position long term, isn’t logical.

The super bowl winners bear this out as fact. Captain Lemmings is spot on with this one. He’s given us fact, results that really can’t be argued.

I think the "don't spend too much on WRs and RBs" framework is a good guiding principle.

But, you do have to make real time decisions on players. It's fine to say we shouldn't have signed AB or Bell past their rookie contracts in isolation, but I think we also have to look at what we could have done instead.

If the arguement is we should have signed a big name UFA instead of signing AB, I'm not convinced that's a good process. Without running the data, my guess is that big budget UFAs are far less likely to live up to their contract than internal UFAs. You have to pay market value for elite external UFAs, and my guess is players almost never live up to market value over the life of their contracts.

I'm not saying that Colbert is like this, but some GMs with cap room to spare feel like they have to spend it in the first week of the UFA period. I think most of those huge early contracts are bad.

I think the biggest test of this theory might come at QB.

The view on WRs seems to be something like "never allocate more than X% of the cap to individual WRs (or RBs) because teams don't win SBs that way".

I wonder what the highest allocation of cap for QBs SB winning teams have over the last decade or so. My guess is that it's lower than what we've committed to Ben for the next two years. If so, would that mean that we should have let Ben walk to try to get a good QB on a rookie deal? Or is it better to keep elite players you already have on your roster.

It's also worth noting that the Pats screw up all of these "success over the past two decades" type analyses. Their QB takes appreciably less than market value, so it sets the culture of the organization. The way to win in salary cap leagues is to pay players below what they are worth...preferably elite ones.

Oh wow
05-06-2019, 10:21 AM
BTW, I believe I was THE ONLY ONE HERE who argued agaist signing Brown.

I debated Dizz who said, "who should we have signed"?

I said we should have gone after Gilmore and spent Brown dough on him. I argued that the Pats invest in secondary, and it works.
He mocked me when Gilmore had a rough start as a Pat.

He was the REAL SB MVP.

He was the top rated corner last season.


https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-stephon-gilmore-jc-jackson-enter-the-2019-season-as-one-the-nfls-top-cornerback-duos

Once again:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9_nAZ3VEA0

Bull and crap.

Gilmore was the real MVP? No, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator was the real MVP because all they had to do was run the ball and kick a FG after completely dominating the first half of that SB.

The reason the Pats won that SB was because Atlanta gave it to them.

You keep using the Pats as your proof of wisdom when the Pats are head and shoulders above everyone else because of Brady. When he leaves, so will their success.

It’s sully to point to SB winners and say “do what they do and you can win one too”

SB winners always have 3 or 4 plays that decide their season.

Pats aren’t in the SB if the KC player isn’t offside

Eagles aren’t SB winners if the refs called those catches the same way they called them in the regular season

Rams don’t reach a SB if the refs miss an obvious PI.

Tuck rule, Ben’s tackle, Russell throwing from the 1.

It’s never because a team acquired ONE special player. That’s horse ��

RuthlessBurgher
05-06-2019, 10:31 AM
Cap , I was on your side but your right; the vast majority was with Brown.

For the record, Captain Lemming was the one and only guy on this board that I can recall arguing against signing AB to another big contract before that most recent big contract was signed. The last big money contract AB signed with us was back in late February 2017. The Captain clearly argued at that time that the money we would be allocating to a long-term big-money extension for AB would be better spent to obtain a big money CB such as Stephon Gilmore, who was signed by New England about 2 weeks after we extended AB in early March of 2017.

You did not even arrive to this board until April 2017, after all of this went down, so you could not have possibly been on Lemmings' side at that time while the vast majority of the rest of us were with Brown. Were some of your very first posts on this board immediately criticizing the front office's recent decision to give AB another big money deal? I do not recall that at all.

It seems to me that, like most people on here, you started to sour on AB when his antics kept adding up and he was more and more of a distraction. I do not recall any well-reasoned, logical analysis of optimal resource allocation for team roster building from you like Captain Lemming provides here on a regular basis.

If I'm wrong about this, let me know. I just recall Captain being on his own island on this one (I have to give him credit for going against the grain and standing up for his beliefs when it comes to ideal roster construction), but for you to suggest that you were by his side from the beginning is disingenuous at best, I'd say.

RuthlessBurgher
05-06-2019, 10:46 AM
Johnson will be WAY over 200-300 yards...jmo

I chose that level of production for Johnson not because I don't think he'll be a good NFL receiver. I just think we have a deep WR corps now with other more accomplished wideouts fighting for playing time. I think during Johnson's rookie year, he could contribute as a returner (I expect the team to put Johnson and Switzer back together on kick return duty, and then they those two will likely compete to be the primary punt returner throughout camp and the preseason...I've even seen some teams put 2 punt returners deep, and the guy who doesn't field the punt could act as somewhat of a lead blocker for the other guy as opposed to trying to block someone starting at the LOS).

Johnson has been compared to AB by many, and when AB came out of a small MAC school, his primary contributions as a rookie were on special teams (he only had 16 catches for 167 yards as a rookie). Granted, AB was only a 6th round pick, while Johnson is a 3rd round pick, but during AB's rookie year, fellow rookie Manny Sanders, who was a 3rd round pick himself, had 28 catches for 376 yards. Last year, our 2nd round pick James Washington had 16 catches for 217 yards. Ryan Switzer was a 4th round pick in Dallas who focused primarily on special teams as a rookie and had only 6 catches for 41 yards in his first year in the league. Guys like Juju who have over 900 yards as a rookie with 7 TD's right off the bat are few and far between.

Will I be shocked if Johnson has 300-400 yards instead of 200-300...or maybe even 400-500 yards? No. Certainly could happen. Donte Moncrief was a 3rd round pick and he had 32 catches for 444 yards as a rookie. Hell, Eli Rogers was an UDFA and erupted for 48 catches for 594 yards as a rookie (before injuries lead to a major decline in production over the last 2 seasons with 18 for 149 and 12 for 79 with more limited opportunities).

Just trying to come up with somewhat reasonable production expectations for most of our offensive weapons. We'll see what happens.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
05-06-2019, 11:17 AM
I think that how good the receivers will be will depend more on QB decision making than how good they themselves are. Ben's game will go through a major mindset shift than any other time.

For the last 6 or 7 years, the Steeler QB game was #84 is first option on most routes, and the safety valve when the "Big Ben scramble" begins. Ben's game has to shift to analyzing the guy running free once he buys his time, because usually there will be someone.

When you hear about Brady's greatness, I don't usually think about making the unbelievable throw, I more think about the decision of finding the open target. Think back to the last time the Steelers faced the Pats in the playoffs. As everyone remembers, Chris Hogan put up HOF type numbers in that game. If you re-watch the game, look to see how many of his catches were a result of Hogan running without a defender within 5 yards and Brady just playing a game of toss with him. The Patriots weren't successful because they had the GOAT throwing to a great WR, they instead had a QB with plenty of time, and the ability to find the open receiver - decision making. Ben will do very well if he can transform his game away from the single receiver dependent game he has been playing and become a better game analyst.

Steel Maniac
05-06-2019, 11:22 AM
I think the "don't spend too much on WRs and RBs" framework is a good guiding principle.

But, you do have to make real time decisions on players. It's fine to say we shouldn't have signed AB or Bell past their rookie contracts in isolation, but I think we also have to look at what we could have done instead.

If the arguement is we should have signed a big name UFA instead of signing AB, I'm not convinced that's a good process. Without running the data, my guess is that big budget UFAs are far less likely to live up to their contract than internal UFAs. You have to pay market value for elite external UFAs, and my guess is players almost never live up to market value over the life of their contracts.

I'm not saying that Colbert is like this, but some GMs with cap room to spare feel like they have to spend it in the first week of the UFA period. I think most of those huge early contracts are bad.

I think the biggest test of this theory might come at QB.

The view on WRs seems to be something like "never allocate more than X% of the cap to individual WRs (or RBs) because teams don't win SBs that way".

I wonder what the highest allocation of cap for QBs SB winning teams have over the last decade or so. My guess is that it's lower than what we've committed to Ben for the next two years. If so, would that mean that we should have let Ben walk to try to get a good QB on a rookie deal? Or is it better to keep elite players you already have on your roster.

It's also worth noting that the Pats screw up all of these "success over the past two decades" type analyses. Their QB takes appreciably less than market value, so it sets the culture of the organization. The way to win in salary cap leagues is to pay players below what they are worth...preferably elite ones.

As I said earlier in other post, QB's that make 13% or more of the cap do not win Super Bowls. Steve Young was the last QB that did win with that type of figure back in 1994 when the cap first came in.

The salary cap for 2019 is 188.2 mil. 17% of that cap figure is 31.99 mil. So any QB making this amount or more is just about guranteed not to win a Super Bowl this year.

Ben is making 17 mil this year.

RuthlessBurgher
05-06-2019, 11:58 AM
I think that how good the receivers will be will depend more on QB decision making than how good they themselves are. Ben's game will go through a major mindset shift than any other time.

For the last 6 or 7 years, the Steeler QB game was #84 is first option on most routes, and the safety valve when the "Big Ben scramble" begins. Ben's game has to shift to analyzing the guy running free once he buys his time, because usually there will be someone.

When you hear about Brady's greatness, I don't usually think about making the unbelievable throw, I more think about the decision of finding the open target. Think back to the last time the Steelers faced the Pats in the playoffs. As everyone remembers, Chris Hogan put up HOF type numbers in that game. If you re-watch the game, look to see how many of his catches were a result of Hogan running without a defender within 5 yards and Brady just playing a game of toss with him. The Patriots weren't successful because they had the GOAT throwing to a great WR, they instead had a QB with plenty of time, and the ability to find the open receiver - decision making. Ben will do very well if he can transform his game away from the single receiver dependent game he has been playing and become a better game analyst.

With a wide array of options in Juju, Moncrief, Washington, Johnson, Rogers, Switzer, Vance, Conner, Samuels, etc. as possible targets for him this season, Ben should be able to just sit back and find the open man. Hakuna Matata.

Oh wow
05-06-2019, 12:30 PM
As I said earlier in other post, QB's that make 13% or more of the cap do not win Super Bowls. Steve Young was the last QB that did win with that type of figure back in 1994 when the cap first came in.

The salary cap for 2019 is 188.2 mil. 17% of that cap figure is 31.99 mil. So any QB making this amount or more is just about guranteed not to win a Super Bowl this year.

Ben is making 17 mil this year.

31 QB’s are guaranteed to not win the SB next year.

I agree though, I think it’s odd how most of the high paid QB’s didn’t even make the playoffs last year.

I’m not sure that is totally due to money.

Oh wow
05-06-2019, 12:33 PM
I think that how good the receivers will be will depend more on QB decision making than how good they themselves are. Ben's game will go through a major mindset shift than any other time.

For the last 6 or 7 years, the Steeler QB game was #84 is first option on most routes, and the safety valve when the "Big Ben scramble" begins. Ben's game has to shift to analyzing the guy running free once he buys his time, because usually there will be someone.

When you hear about Brady's greatness, I don't usually think about making the unbelievable throw, I more think about the decision of finding the open target. Think back to the last time the Steelers faced the Pats in the playoffs. As everyone remembers, Chris Hogan put up HOF type numbers in that game. If you re-watch the game, look to see how many of his catches were a result of Hogan running without a defender within 5 yards and Brady just playing a game of toss with him. The Patriots weren't successful because they had the GOAT throwing to a great WR, they instead had a QB with plenty of time, and the ability to find the open receiver - decision making. Ben will do very well if he can transform his game away from the single receiver dependent game he has been playing and become a better game analyst.

Ain’t this the truth.

The Jags game in the playoffs comes to mind. 4th and 2 and Eli Rogers was wide open right past the market and Ben chose JuJu who was tightly covered.. and some say interfered with but the point is Ben has to make the right throws.

NorthCoast
05-06-2019, 01:10 PM
This is what separates the great QBs from the kordell Stewarts.
Decisionmaking at its finest. With a good OL Roethlisberger should have the time to make the right decisions. But you hit it on the head, its going to be a huge change for him this season. Just maybe he will excel because Brown is no longer there to whine about getting touches. Nothing like coming to work and dealing with a coworker you absolutely dread and having them drag your mojo.

hawaiiansteel
05-07-2019, 03:32 PM
If Martavis Bryant gets reinstated, should the Steelers give him a second chance?

The Pittsburgh Steelers took a chance on Martavis Bryant when they drafted him, but should they take another shot if he gets reinstated?

By Jeff.Hartman
May 7, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost a high-profile wide receiver this offseason when the team decided to trade Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders. While the team hopes they have filled the void with Donte Moncrief, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, James Washington and rookie Diontae Johnson.

Outside of Moncrief and Smith-Schuster, that is hardly a who’s who among NFL receivers who are attempting to make up for the 15 receiving touchdowns which left for Oakland.

No one is doubting the potential of Smith-Schuster, but what if the Steelers could add a dynamic wide receiver who could really grab the attention of defensive coordinators? A player who is familiar with the Steelers’ offense? What about Martavis Bryant?

Yes, that Martavis Bryant.

The suspended wide receiver is reportedly seeking reinstatement, a la Josh Gordon, and if his reinstatement is granted he would become a free agent. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ involved in this scenario, but if he gets reinstated, and would accept a minimum contract, should the Steelers kick the tires on Bryant?

Now, before you rush to the comment section to bash me for being a no-brain jagoff, hear me out...

The Steelers could use a receiver with Bryant’s skill set. Sure, he had his issues his last season in Pittsburgh before being traded to Oakland, but just the threat of Bryant on the field will be enough to open up the rest of the offense. You know, exactly how Smith-Schuster dominated when Brown was drawing the attention of the defense on the outside.

There will be those who say Moncrief and Washington should be able to do the job Martavis would be brought in to do, but it doesn’t mean they are known commodities. Bryant has had his issues, both while in Pittsburgh and in Oakland, but the hope is always there he will find the straight and narrow and be able to perform the way he is capable on the gridiron on a weekly basis.

Of course, all of this is contingent on a team-friendly deal where the risk to the Steelers would be at an all-time low in case he were to trip up again and find himself suspended yet again.

So, if the situation presented itself, would you bring Bryant in with the aforementioned criteria? Let us know by voting in the poll below, and explaining yourself in the comment section below!


https://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2019/5/7/18534826/if-martavis-bryant-gets-reinstated-should-the-steelers-give-him-a-second-chance-raiders-nfl-news

Cinnjerm3000
05-07-2019, 04:28 PM
I feel like when you have a QB of Ben's caliber, the added utility in having a top 10 receiver diminishes substantially. Does it help, yes, but when that WR is a team cancer to boot, the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Oh wow
05-07-2019, 04:38 PM
No way you being Bryant back. He has a chemical imbalance/addiction.

pittpete
05-07-2019, 10:15 PM
Is that writer smoking fn crack?

RuthlessBurgher
05-10-2019, 10:43 AM
Steelers' wide receiver transformation well underway

1:00 AM ET

Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp will remind how much things will change and stay the same in the wide receiver room.

The top offensive playmaker from the draft class, third-round Toledo receiver Diontae Johnson, will take the practice fields Friday with a profile eerily similar to the man who left town after four All-Pro seasons, Antonio Brown. Both are 5-foot-10 Florida natives from Mid-American Conference schools who offset below-blazing 40 times by playing the game fast. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake says Johnson gets in and out of breaks "as well as anyone I've seen in a long time."

Brown does that just fine, too. But while rookie camp will feature plenty of defense, Johnson's presence is significant because of what it represents: one cog in a pass-catching offense that must win collectively.

Pro Bowler JuJu Smith-Schuster is the feature receiver who will relish the spotlight of replacing Brown, who in March was traded to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for third- and fifth-round draft picks. He also won't be enough, and the vacancies of Brown and Le'Veon Bell -- who functioned as a No. 2 receiver at times -- dims the offensive star power that used to light up Sundays at Heinz Field.

Asked on draft night about the Steelers' receivers, Johnson recalled two: Smith-Schuster and Ryan Switzer. A successful offense in 2019 must elevate the names of a few more, including former second-round pick James Washington.

Johnson is eager to join the fray by highlighting his strengths, starting this week.

"Winning at the line of scrimmage and catching the ball in traffic," Johnson said. "I can run any route in the route tree ... just being able to adjust on certain coverages and knowing when to stop with counter moves. So that's what I take pride in."

Johnson isn't alone. Many Steelers receivers have been fixtures at offseason workouts. Coach Mike Tomlin's staff expects significant conditioning leaps for second-year players, and Washington is the latest example. He has trimmed down this offseason. The Steelers would like to see him play at around 210 pounds this year, and he should hit that mark.

With a flare for making tough catches. Washington flashed enormous potential in practices and the preseason but struggled with confidence issues as a rookie, finishing with 16 catches for 217 yards.

Free-agent signing Donte Moncrief (6-2) didn't break through in one season in Jacksonville but has adequate speed and size to give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a deep threat with red zone potential. Switzer and slot receiver Eli Rogers also have earned the quarterback's trust. As Johnson will soon find out, and Washington can attest, that takes time for most rookies.

But the Steelers believe they have enough depth to roll out interchangeable parts while letting Smith-Schuster assume leadership and make plays with his excellent feel for reading defenses and getting open.

The offense doesn't have any 4.3 blazers, but it has versatility, and no one will be pigeonholed.

"Our offense is diverse, and we really feel that our guys have to be able to play inside and outside," Drake said. "Normally that package with that dynamic speed, very seldom do you get the total package. Most of these guys who are 4.5 guys, they are the total package. This guy [Johnson] has the ability to be a total-package guy.

"If you can play, you can play."

http://www.espn.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/30731/steelers-wide-receiver-transformation-well-underway

Steel Maniac
05-10-2019, 08:44 PM
Is that writer smoking fn crack?

Yes.. and drunk

hawaiiansteel
05-11-2019, 06:13 PM
Steelers Hoping Washington Can Make Big Sophomore Jump Like Previous Receivers

By Daniel Valente
Posted on May 11, 2019

A player’s rookie season is very important in their development, it brings a ‘Welcome to the big leagues’ sentiment and can be a very difficult experience for many young players. Surviving a rookie season is a major accomplishment but it is only half the battle. For many players, their sophomore year is equally or even more important in their development. Now that the player has experienced a full year of NFL preparation and physicality, their sophomore year is a measuring stick for if they can endure longevity in the NFL. No sophomore on the Pittsburgh Steelers has more at stake than perhaps James Washington.

After a rookie season that was troubling at times, Washington heads into a sophomore season that will see him face a multitude of challenges, though those challenges can also be classified as huge opportunities. With the loss of Antonio Brown, the Steelers are looking for another receiver to step up alongside JuJu Smith-Schuster and in a crowded receiver room, Washington will have every opportunity to rise to the occasion. Luckily for him, the Steelers have seen a lot of improvement in their receivers as they progress from their rookie to sophomore seasons.

Smith-Schuster and Brown are just a couple of the receivers that the Steelers have seen take a big jump from year one to two. While there is plenty of reason to be down on Washington based on what he showed during majority of his rookie season, there are many reasons to be optimistic in the Steelers’ development of receivers. Below is a chart of all the receivers the team has drafted since 2009 and their production from year one to two.

Many Steelers’ receivers have improved during their second season. Mike Wallace stepped up and became the team’s primary receiver during his sophomore year. Brown and Smith-Schuster did the same during their sophomore seasons. Then there are the cases of Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates who did not play much during their rookie seasons but contributed greatly during their sophomore years. Martavis Bryant also took a step forward after a great rookie season. From a pure statistical standpoint, only Emmanuel Sanders and Demarcus Ayers did not take the next step though Sanders battled injuries and would have a great third year and Ayers was cut before he got a chance.

What does this mean for Washington? Well, after a season in which he posted 16 receptions for 217 yards and a putrid 42.1 catch percentage, there is some optimism in improvement. The Steelers seem to know what they are doing as they develop receivers almost effortlessly. The only receivers who have completely flopped over the last decade are Ayers, Justin Brown and Toney Clemons, though all three were late round selections and not really expected to contribute much.

The only obstacle that may stand in Washington’s way is others like him. The departure of Brown has created a massive void in the Steelers offense and the team added a lot of talent to burden the loss. There is a good chance Washington takes the next step in his development but he is going to have to beat out the likes of Donte Moncrief, Eli Rogers, Ryan Switzer and Diontae Johnson to do so.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/steelers-hoping-washington-can-make-big-sophomore-jump-like-previous-receivers/

Ernie
05-12-2019, 07:28 AM
Washington will make a big jump this year. Juju, Moncrief, and Washington will be a solid top 3... with Johnson and Switzer/Rogers rounding out the corp.
I really like the looks of this group.

Steel Maniac
05-12-2019, 01:18 PM
Juju and Moncrief are rock solid and I’m sure someone out the remaining 4 will also become a factor. Our Wrs are fine.

Northern_Blitz
05-12-2019, 01:19 PM
Washington will make a big jump this year. Juju, Moncrief, and Washington will be a solid top 3... with Johnson and Switzer/Rogers rounding out the corp.
I really like the looks of this group.

This is what I'm hoping for too.

The table in the linked article is pretty cool showing the stat differences year 1 to 2.

hawaiiansteel
05-12-2019, 04:42 PM
Poll: Who will emerge as the Steelers number two wide receiver?

by Tommy Jaggi

For the first time in a while, the outlook on the wide receiver position is quite unclear. After trading Antonio Brown to the Raiders this offseason, JuJu stands to see an uptick in targets as the Steelers’ number one receiver.

However, if history is any indication, Brown’s departure leaves 168 targets to go around.

My question is this: Who will emerge as the number two receiver in Pittsburgh this year?

There are essentially three candidates to do this for the Steelers: James Washington, Donte Moncrief, and Diontae Johnson. I recently took a poll to get the fans’ view of who they believe will come out on top of this three-person positional battle in 2019. Here’s how they voted:

With 265 votes, it was a very close debate. However, veteran receiver Donte Moncrief ultimately came out on top. It’s entirely possible that the former Jaguars and Colts receiver could begin the 2019 season as Steelers’ number two wide out.

At the same time, it’s possible to envision a scenario where either James Washington or rookie Diontae Johnson come out on top.

Between the three candidates to fill this role as Ben Roethlisberger’s second in line, each offers something a little different. Moncrief offers a veteran presence that no other receiver on the team as of now can give them. He is entering his 6th NFL season, though his best year, ironically enough, came in 2015 on the Colts- where Andrew Luck played just 7 games.

James Washington is built in the mold of JuJu. Though he isn’t close to the same caliber of player at this point in time, Washington excels at the catch point and has an incredibly strong pair of hands. He may offer more as a deep threat than JuJu, but his route running is shaky, to say the least.

Then there is rookie receiver, Diontae Johnson. Johnson was the surprise pick of the draft for the Steelers – not because people were not expecting the Steelers to draft a receiver, but they didn’t think it would be Johnson. Upon further review and after trying to diagnose the Steelers thought process for the pick, I can see how Johnson could be used in the ‘Antonio Brown’ role. Johnson’s skill set probably compliments JuJu better than the other two receivers, as he is a twitchier player that creates more separation.

Though it’s impossible to say for sure who will emerge as the Steelers number two receiver in 2019, it doesn’t hurt to speculate. If I had to make a prediction, I think the Steelers will give former 2nd round pick, James Washington, ample opportunity to prove himself. However, if Diontae Johnson can prove to create separation in the NFL like he did at Toledo, he will no doubt emerge as one of Ben’s favorite targets on the team.

Who do you think will emerge as the Steelers number two receiver in 2019?


https://stillcurtain.com/2019/05/11/who-will-emerge-steelers-number-two-wr/

RuthlessBurgher
05-13-2019, 10:23 AM
Steelers adding Johnny Holton to receiving corps

Posted by Josh Alper on May 13, 2019, 10:05 AM EDT

The Steelers are adding another candidate for playing time in their post-Antonio Brown receiving corps.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the Steelers are signing Johnny Holton. Holton was cut by the Eagles last week.

Holton signed with the Eagles in January after spending the last three years in Oakland. He had 11 catches for 252 yards and three touchdowns in 31 games spanning the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but only saw action in one game last year. Holton also saw frequent work on special teams with the Raiders.

Holton will be the 11th receiver on the 90-man roster in Pittsburgh. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers and third-round pick Diontae Johnson at the top of the list, it may be an uphill climb for others to find spots.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/05/13/steelers-adding-johnny-holton-to-receiving-corps/

Oh wow
05-13-2019, 10:54 AM
My fear with the WR group is depth due to injury.

AFC Championship game we had no one besides AB that stepped up.

If JuJu or Moncreif go down do we have a reliable WR who will step up and make plays?

NorthCoast
05-13-2019, 12:39 PM
I don't think the offense is better without AB, but also don't think the dropoff, if any, will be near what some are predicting.

hawaiiansteel
05-14-2019, 05:39 PM
ESPN calls WR the Steelers' biggest remaining roster hole

By: Curt Popejoy

Despite having the most active offseason in recent memory, the work isn’t done for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They doubled up on multiple positions of need between free agency and the draft, leaving some holes on the current roster. Which roster hole is the worst? According to Football Outsiders via ESPN, it is still wide receiver.

Here’s what they had to say about the state of the wide receiver position after signing Donte Moncrief and drafting Diontae Johnson.

The Steelers have effectively managed the downside of Ben Roethlisberger’s career by having enough great receivers to make life easy for him. With Antonio Brown gone, we’re no longer sure that will be the case. They do have options outside of JuJu Smith-Schuster, but none of the options are proven. James Washington’s first year produced a minus-25.1% DVOA even with Brown and Smith-Schuster as cover, and Ryan Switzer was at minus-11.1% DVOA despite an 82 percent catch rate. Third-round pick Diontae Johnson is a credible stab at solving the situation — he’s explosive — and the Steelers have shown incredible skill when drafting wideouts later in the draft. But still, they’re going to need someone to show that skill off instantly.

If the season started today, the most likely wide receiver depth chart is JuJu Smith-Schuster followed by James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson, Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers in some order below Smith-Schuster.

By comparison, positions like safety and outside linebacker are still woefully undermanned. The Steelers have Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds as starting safeties but almost no depth behind them. The same is the case for edge rusher after T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. I’d say both those depth charts have more significant holes in them.


https://steelerswire.usatoday.com/2019/05/14/espn-calls-wr-the-steelers-biggest-remaining-roster-hole/

hawaiiansteel
05-15-2019, 10:43 PM
3 Reasons JuJu Smith-Schuster Will Continue to Ascend in 2019

May 15, 2019
By Parker Hurley


https://steelersnow.com/3-reasons-juju-smith-schuster-will-continue-to-ascend-in-2019/

hawaiiansteel
05-16-2019, 09:44 PM
Newly Signed Johnny Holton Could Fill Heyward-Bey’s Role For Steelers

By Daniel Valente
Posted on May 16, 2019

Earlier this week the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they had signed wide receiver Johnny Holton after he was waived by the Philedelphia Eagles the week prior. Holton is not a massive free agent acquisition; he is nowhere close to that. He is coming off a season in which he played in just one game and his best statistical season came in 2017 when he recorded nine receptions for 218 yards and three touchdowns. The wide receiver’s signing should barely move the needle when it comes to the Steelers’ 2019 offseason but perhaps there is more to the signing than meets the eye.

A closer look at Holton’s special teams experience shows that perhaps he is not just another camp body to fill the roster but just maybe, he is the Steelers’ answer to replacing special teams ace Darrius Heyward-Bey. After five seasons in Pittsburgh, the veteran wide receiver was not offered another contract and is one of the many remaining free agents on the market. The now 32-year old wide receiver only recorded nine receptions over his last three seasons in Pittsburgh but with his blazing speed, he was a mainstay on the team’s special teams unit. When looking at the characteristics and skillset of both Heyward-Bey and Holton, there are many similarities to note.

Both are incredibly fast, with Holton running a 4.42 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Combine and their speed has led to them being gifted gunners on special teams and occasional deep threats. Heyward-Bey has recorded 33 receptions during his time with the Steelers and 11 of them have gone for 30 yards or more. Anytime Holton has touched the football, as unfrequently as that has been, it has typically gone for a big gain with four of his 11 receptions going for 30 yards or more.

Now for the stuff everyone is just dying to hear about – special teams. Heyward-Bey has been the face of the Steelers’ special teams since his arrival in 2014, logging 894 special teams snaps during that time. While the Steelers have mixed and matched punters over the last five seasons, Heyward-Bey sprinting down the sideline has remained consistent. Perhaps the Steelers feel that age has finally caught up to the veteran receiver but the team does have a big void as Heyward-Bey was an important gunner for the team. Holton may not be at Heyward-Bey’s level yet but there are signs that he could grow into his role.

The 27-year old Holton has logged 329 special team snaps during his three seasons with the Oakland Raiders. While he just played five special team snaps last season, the receiver has shown promise in a special team’s role. Holton logged 12 special team tackles during the 2016 season, good for 14th in the NFL and added another five special team tackles during the 2017 season. With his 4.4 speed, the former Raiders’ receiver is an excellent choice for the gunner role as he is extremely difficult to beat in a foot race. Holton is the left gunner on the play below.

Before coming to Pittsburgh in 2014, Heyward-Bey, then 27 years old, had totalled just 29 special team snaps. Holton who is also just 27 years old comes with a multitude of special teams experience already and with the same blazing speed that Heyward-Bey possessed. The Steelers have reserved a roster spot for Heyward-Bey’s special team duties for years now and should they be looking for someone to carry on with his responsibilities, Holton would be the most logical fit.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/newly-signed-johnny-holton-could-fill-heyward-beys-role-for-steelers/

Captain Lemming
05-17-2019, 10:19 AM
My fear with the WR group is depth due to injury.

AFC Championship game we had no one besides AB that stepped up.

If JuJu or Moncreif go down do we have a reliable WR who will step up and make plays?

I feel the opposite.
We are already "deeper".
I kinda am feeling what Maniac said.

I am not "certain" which guy it will be, but considering the numbers we acquired at the position, I cant see us missing on all of them.

I was just thinking about our history with the small quick type recevers like Johnson. We dont really miss on that "type".
Nevermind comparing him to just Brown.
We drafted Santonio, Sanders, AND Brown in recent years.

Heck, the worst guy of that type, "Bustwheat" was a 50 catch number 2 as a starter.

Best case scenario? One of the youngsters (Johnson or improved Washington) is "better" than Moncrief.

Worst case scenarion? Moncrief starts and we know he can be a solid 2.

I cannot conceive missing so badly on Washington and Johnson (two guys) that neither is at least as good as Bustwheat, who would be a very solid number 3 on this team.

hawaiiansteel
05-21-2019, 01:17 AM
Big Ben On Huge Challenge JuJu Faces In 2019: ‘He’s Working His Butt Off To Be That Guy’

By Dave Bryan
Posted on May 21, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers traded away wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders just after the start of the 2019 league year in March and now it will be interesting to see if the other wide receivers on the team are able to collectively fill the big shoes that were left behind. During his recent one-on-one interview with Bob Pompeani of KDKA-TV, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked briefly about how big of an offseason loss Brown will be to the team’s offense in 2019 and hard it will be to replace his overall production.

“You can’t just say, ‘hey, who’s going to fill his shoes and be AB?’ Because those are shoes that you can’t fill because of the production and what he brought to the table,” Roethlisberger told Pompeani. “And even if he had a game where maybe it was two or three catches and 25 yards, the attention that he attracts, that’s the ultimate respect, right?”

Like it or not, Steelers third-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster must now become the team’s new No. 1 with Brown no longer in Pittsburgh. That means he’ll be expected to continue to put up the same kind of stats that he did in 2018 and do so despite garnering most of the attention from opposing defenses moving forward.

“Now, he’s got another challenge ahead of him, not just by defenders and his reputation of being good football player, but by trying to fill shoes and be a No. 1,” Roethlisberger said when asked if he thinks Smith-Schuster can take over the role as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver moving forward. “And I’ve talked to him a lot, I’ve been around him a lot this offseason and I think he’s up for the challenge and he’s excited and he’s working his butt off to be that guy.”

After trading away Brown to the Raiders the Steelers immediately signed veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief and he’ll likely open the 2019 regular season as the X receiver, the position Brown predominately played. Smith-Schuster, on the other hand, will more than likely continue playing the slot position when three wide receiver sets are used and outside opposite Moncrief when only two wide receiver packages are used.

In addition to needing Moncrief to help absorb some of the production that was lost when Brown was traded away, second-year wide receiver James Washington will be expected to have a big increase in production from his rookie season. Washington is likely going to be asked to play the Z position in three wide receiver packages in 2019 just as he was asked to do on a limited basis during his rookie season, which ended with him registering just 16 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown.

After spending consecutive second-round draft picks on Smith-Schuster and Washington the last two years, the Steelers selected another wide receiver in the third-round this year in the form of Diontae Johnson out of Toledo. Johnson will hopefully contribute more in 2019 than Washington did during his rookie season and potentially even overtake Moncrief on the depth chart during the second half of the regular season.

Rounding out the Steelers wide receiver depth chart in 2019 figures to be either Ryan Switzer or Eli Rogers, or perhaps even both. Switzer and Rogers, however, are both best-suited to play predominately in the slot. Additionally, tight end Vance McDonald and the Steelers two carryover running backs from last season, James Conner and Jaylen Samuels, should all be able to help out considerably in the Steelers passing game in 2019. By the way, those three players combined to catch 131 passes in 2018 for 1,306 yards and 8 touchdowns. Brown, on the other hand, finished 2018 with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games played.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/big-ben-on-huge-challenge-juju-faces-in-2019-hes-working-his-butt-off-to-be-that-guy/

Steel Maniac
05-21-2019, 10:24 AM
Juju has come in and been nothing but a great guy so far. At the rate he's going, he could be an all time fan favorite. Ben says he's taken the challenge of being a # 1 WR and I believe him. He's the type of guy other team mates would want to win for. What a character addition he is to our team.

RuthlessBurgher
05-21-2019, 02:43 PM
I could be see Diontae Johnson's early Steelers career progressing similar to what Manny Sanders' game was here when we first drafted him.

I could also see Donte Moncrief having a similar impact to what we got when we imported veteran wideout Jerricho Cotchery earlier this decade.

Sanders and Cotchery were on our team together for 3 seasons (2011-2013), and I could see Johnson and Moncrief's impact in the black and gold being somewhat similar over the next few seasons.

hawaiiansteel
05-21-2019, 04:05 PM
Rookie WR Diontae Johnson Worked Mainly Outside During Steelers First OTA Practice

By Dave Bryan
Posted on May 21, 2019

After reportedly not being a full participant in the team’s annual rookie minicamp a few weekends ago due to an undisclosed injury, it sounds Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, the team’s first of two third-round draft picks this year, was able to practice fully during the first OTA session of 2019.

During his post OTA practice session with the local media, Johnson, a Toledo product, was asked if an injury indeed prevented him from participating in the team’s rookie minicamp. The rookie, however, wouldn’t take the media bait.

“Nah, you probably have to ask Coach [Mike] Tomlin about that,” Johnson said. “But it wasn’t nothing.”

As mentioned, Johnson appears to have been able to stat practicing fully as of Tuesday and he was asked where he mostly lined up in the offense during the first OTA session of 2019.

“I took like one rep inside but the majority of the reps were like outside,” Johnson said. “So that’s what I’m kind of focusing on right now.”

Johnson played all over the place on offense during his college career at Toledo and that means he worked extensively at the X receiver position as well as in the slot. However, now that he’s a member of the Steelers, it’s likely that Johnson will get a lot of early reps at the X position and behind veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who was signed this offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Johnson made it known following Tuesday’s practice that he believes the Steelers have a great and deep group of wide receivers under contract right now that he can learn from and compete against.

“We’ve got solid group, in my opinion,” Johnson said. “Donte Moncrief and all the rest of the guys, we got a solid group, Like I said, we’re just trying to move forward.”

The Steelers offense is indeed now attempting to move forward without the services of wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders this past offseason. Johnson, by the way, exits college being compared somewhat to Brown when he was drafted out of Central Michigan in 2010. On Tuesday, Johnson, who like Brown comes from a MAC school, admitted that he’s studied Brown some already.

“I look at his releases and how he catches the ball,” Johnson said of Brown. “How he comes out of his breaks and those types of things and try to apply to my game. Because I feel my release is just as similar to his and my route running, also.”

While Johnson won’t have an older player in Brown to learn from as a member of the Steelers as he starts his NFL career, he will have a player younger than him in JuJu Smith-Schuster to learn from. Johnson, in fact, made it known on Tuesday that him being older than Smith-Schuster doesn’t really mean a thing to him.

“I’m older than JuJu, but I look up to JuJu,” Johnson said. “He’s the one that I’m going to latch on to because he’s been successful and I’m trying to follow in his footsteps right now, trying to get my game going and try to soak up as much information as I can from him.”


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/rookie-wr-diontae-johnson-worked-mainly-outside-during-steelers-first-ota-practice/

RuthlessBurgher
05-21-2019, 04:21 PM
Makes sense to start out with Donte Moncrief as the starting split end with Diontae Johnson learning behind him. Moncrief should open the year as our starting X, but if Johnson's game progresses, it's entirely possible that he could wrest that starting spot away from him before year's end.

On the other side, you'd have Juju as your starting flanker in 2 receiver sets, with James Washington as another option at flanker as well. In formations with 3 or more receivers, Juju could move inside to the slot, and then Washington comes in at the flanker spot. Rogers and Switzer provide additional slot depth.

In time, all of the receivers should learn all of these positions for maximum flexibility, but this seems like a good place for our new receivers to start out here during OTA's, through minicamp, and likely into training camp in Latrobe.

hawaiiansteel
05-21-2019, 11:03 PM
New WR Donte Moncrief Focused On Using Steelers OTAs To Gain Trust Of QB Ben Roethlisberger

By Dave Bryan
Posted on May 21, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers have several new wide receivers for veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to break in this offseason as not only was one drafted, but another one was signed during the early portion of free agency. That veteran free agent wide receiver that was signed was Donte Moncrief, who has already played five seasons in the NFL with two other teams on his way to registering 200 total receptions for 2,543 yards and 21 touchdowns.

At the conclusion of the Steelers first OTA practice of 2019 on Tuesday, Roethlisberger talked about the importance of being able to work with his new wide receivers, and especially Moncrief, during this part of the offseason program.

“Like today with ‘Crief [Moncrief] a couple of times, I was asking him, ‘Hey did you feel good on your depth there?’ And just working different things out,” Roethlisberger said. “So, it’s definitely going to take some big focus.

Moncrief also reiterated the importance of him being able to work a lot with Roethlisberger during OTAs these next several weeks during his post-practice chat with the media.

“I mean, like I say, it’s OTAs, but I’m a new guy. He’s [Roethlisberger’s] trying to learn me and I’m trying to learn him and so I’m coming here every day trying to show him the best routes that I have so I can gain trust and stuff like that,” Moncrief said.

While Moncrief has only played with two other NFL teams prior to signing with the Steelers this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, he’s had to already catch passes from 8 different quarterbacks in those 67 total regular season games played in. 5 of those 67 games that Moncrief has already played in were against the Steelers so he already had a pretty good understanding about what kind of quarterback Roethlisberger is prior to becoming a teammate of his this past March.

“That he can spin that ball for sure,” Moncrief told the media on Tuesday when asked what he already knew about Roethlisberger prior to signing with the Steelers. “He makes crazy plays. He don’t like going down and he can extend plays and that’s a good thing to know. And every time we played him, he did great. So, the games that I watched, I know that anytime they [the Steelers] got a chance to throw the ball, he’s going to throw it. So, that’s going to be fun and just ready to get the timing down with him and get some of those balls.”

Moncrief may have already had a good idea about what kind of quarterback Roethlisberger is prior to practicing with him for the first time, but he still made it clear after Tuesday’s OTA practice that he’s already learned something new about him.

“Yeah, get your head around because if you don’t get your head around that ball will hit you in the face,” Moncrief said. “So, just mainly, like I said, it’s just timing. He’s trying to learn me, I’m trying to learn him and it’s a fun process and it’s getting there. You can tell the timing is getting there and as long as we can continue to work, it will be good.”

Moncrief also indicated on Tuesday that he has no issues taking the team’s other new wide receiver this year, third-round draft pick Diontae Johnson, under his wing and helping him get up to spreed just as quick as he hopes to.

“You got to take him in and teach him the the game, Moncrief said of the Steelers selection of Johnson in this year’s draft. “I’m going on year-six and he’s a rookie, so he’s watching me and I’m watching him. I’m gonna learn from him and he’s going to learn from me. So, it was fun, I mean, he’s a young guy but he’s ready to go.”

All the niceties aside, Moncrief indicated Tuesday that he will definitely use the Steelers selection of Johnson in the draft just a few months after signing him as an unrestricted free agent as a motivation of sorts.

“Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, it just pushes me, Moncrief said. “Pushes me to go harder and make those plays. If he’s going to make plays, I’ve got to make them. Everybody’s got to make plays. So, as long as we’re out here having fun and everybody’s catching the ball, I’m good, I’m ready to play.”


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/new-wr-donte-moncrief-focused-on-using-steelers-otas-to-gain-trust-of-qb-ben-roethlisberger/

RuthlessBurgher
05-22-2019, 02:14 PM
JuJu Smith-Schuster up for “challenge” of being No. 1 wideout

Posted by Josh Alper on May 22, 2019, 1:33 PM EDT

Steelers players have talked a lot this offseason about moving on without the drama that took center stage around the team last season and guard Ramon Foster opined this week that the members of the team are closer than they’ve been in the past.

While the team may be feeling better about how things are in the locker room, it remains to be seen if they will get better results on the field. One area that will be watched closely on that front will be wide receiver as the team moves forward without the divisive but talented Antonio Brown.

JuJu Smith-Schuster will move up to the No. 1 spot on the depth chart and he said Wednesday that he’s up for the task of being the top guy in the position group this year.

“Being 22, having that many games played, being role model for that room, I’m pretty sure I can take on that challenge,” Smith-Schuster said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Smith-Schuster is coming off a highly productive season as Brown’s running mate. If he repeats it as the lead dog, he’ll see his standing among the top receivers in the league ascend along with his spot on Pittsburgh’s depth chart.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/05/22/juju-smith-schuster-up-for-challenge-of-being-no-1-wideout/

hawaiiansteel
05-22-2019, 05:58 PM
It's pretty clear: Steelers don't want JuJu Smith-Schuster to become the next Antonio Brown

RAY FITTIPALDO
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
MAY 22, 2019

JuJu Smith-Schuster politely declined an interview request Wednesday afternoon following practice.

“I’m going to talk tomorrow,” he said before walking off to the locker room.

About 15 minutes later, a representative from the Steelers media relations department let reporters know that Smith-Schuster was back on the field and available for interviews. Smith-Schuster was accommodating after he was escorted back onto the field. He answered questions about his relationship with Antonio Brown, about his new role as the No. 1 receiver and even a few about his French bulldog.

At the end, before he again walked off to the locker room, he hinted at who was behind his change of heart.

“When you guys see Ben tomorrow, tell him I came out here and did an interview,” Smith-Schuster said. “He said I was trending to that one-day [a week] interview guy. I’m definitely not doing that. You guys can talk to me anytime of the day. I promise you I’m not going to be an [expletive].”

That sequence, after an otherwise mundane OTA in May, was a fascinating look into how the Steelers are regrouping after the Antonio Brown era. The truth is other Steelers employees in addition to Ben Roethlisberger don’t want Smith-Schuster to turn into the next Brown, whose once-a-week media sessions turned into locker room spectacles.

Not even Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and the team’s highest-paid player, limits himself to once-a-week interviews. He is available almost any day of the week before or after practice.

The Steelers allowed Brown to become a spectacle by allowing him special privileges, which included having his own photographer on the field during practices. No other player enjoyed such privileges.

General manager Kevin Colbert spoke at length during the winter months about better managing the young stars on the team.

“We want players to grow into great players — Pro Bowlers, potential Hall of Famers,” Colbert said at the NFL combine. “But what we’re learning is it’s a different world. Social media has changed things. Branding has changed things. We have to do a better job of managing young players as they grow into mega-stars. We’re learning on the fly. But maybe the lesson is we have to catch these guys when they’re young.”

If the message wasn’t getting through during the offseason, the Steelers made sure it was heard Wednesday.

‘No drama’

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The one Smith-Schuster posted March 10 was worth 26,304 retweets.

It was a photo posted on Twitter of Smith-Schuster making an acrobatic touchdown catch in the back of the end zone against the Raiders, with Brown far off in the distance. The caption was simply two words: “I’m ready.”

A few weeks later, after Smith-Schuster tweeted support of Roethlisberger after the quarterback was criticized by Le’Veon Bell, Brown came back at Smith-Schuster on social media and attacked his integrity.

In the end, Smith-Schuster responded with a quote from Mark Twain: “Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

Like a lot of other Steelers, Smith-Schuster’s relationship with Brown did not end well.

“At the end of the day, that’s his opinion,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday. “I’m not worried about what he has going on with his team. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a great player. He dominates on the field. For me, I’m worried about my teammates and how I can be great on and off the field.”

Ready or not, Smith-Schuster is the Steelers’ new No. 1 receiver. He’s only 22, but he is easily the team’s most accomplished pass-catcher. In his first two NFL seasons, he has 169 receptions, 2,343 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had more receptions and yards than Brown last season.

“It’s super exciting,” Smith-Schuster said. “I think of it like, it’s not about being the Number 1 guy. I mean, yeah, you have a Number 1 quarterback and a Number 1 running back, but at the end of the day, it’s a collective game. The only way you move the ball is if all 11 guys make plays and do their job. That’s what it’s going to take to win the Super Bowl.”

The big difference for Smith-Schuster next season will be how he handles more attention from defensive coordinators. Brown faced constant double-coverage and sometimes triple-coverage. Smith-Schuster and other Steelers receivers were the beneficiaries.

Now, Smith-Schuster is the top receiver, and he knows he’s about to face bigger challenges.

“No doubt,” Smith-Schuster said. “We saw it playing against the Patriots, they doubled me and A.B. It’s nothing new. This year it will be the same thing. I’m going to be getting the same coverage, the doubles. We have guys like [Donte] Moncrief, James [Washington], all these guys. We have so many guys who can make plays. I’m not worried about that.”

When he was asked if there was a better vibe in the receivers room, Smith-Schuster said: “The chemistry is on point. Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is communicating. There really is no drama in our locker room.”

The Steelers aren’t just hoping it stays that way. They’re doing everything possible to make sure it does.


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/05/22/Pittsburgh-Steelers-JuJu-Smith-Schuster-to-become-the-next-Antonio-Brown-OTAs-Ben-Roethlisberger-Kevin-Colbert/stories/201905220140

Steel Maniac
05-22-2019, 07:44 PM
I appreciate the effort that’s being made to cultivate the right environment

RuthlessBurgher
05-22-2019, 09:21 PM
JuJu Smith-Schuster: There is really no drama in the locker room
By Charean Williams | May 22, 2019, 8:16 PM EDT

JuJu Smith-Schuster was diplomatic in most of his comments about Antonio Brown on Wednesday, even when prodded.

Asked about Brown’s tweet criticizing Smith-Schuster for fumbling against New Orleans with 32 seconds left, the Steelers now No. 1 receiver didn’t bite.

“At the end of the day, that’s his opinion,” Smith-Schuster said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “For myself, I stand from afar. I’m not worried about what he’s got going on with his team. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a great player. He dominates on the field. I’m worrying about the guys we have here, my teammates and how I can be great on and off the field.”

Smith-Schuster, though, admits it is quieter around Pittsburgh without Brown, whom the Steelers traded to the Raiders in March.

“The chemistry is on point,” Smith-Schuster said, via Will Graves of the Associated Press. “Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is communicating. There’s really no — how do you say? — drama in our locker room.”

Smith-Schuster also took a veiled shot at Brown, saying he has no pressure to match the numbers Brown posted in his nine seasons in Pittsburgh. The Pro Bowl receiver leaves Pittsburgh having contributed 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns, an average of 1,245 yards and eight touchdowns per season.

Despite replacing Brown as the team’s featured wideout, Smith-Schuster vows not to let his statistics get in the way of the team goal.

“I’m looking at mine, my own team, how we do and how we win,” Smith-Schuster said, via Graves. “I’m fine. I would take five catches for 30 yards and win the game than have 10 catches, two touchdowns. It’s not really about myself at the end of the day. It’s about the Super Bowl.”

It will take a village to replace Brown. Smith-Schuster concedes that. He will lead a group that includes James Washington, Donte Moncrief, third-round pick Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer.

Only 22, Smith-Schuster finds himself the leader in the receivers room.

“There’s no need for me to go out of my way and yell at the guys,” Smith-Schuster said. “We’re all adults here. We all know what’s right from wrong and everyone just works. Everyone has a voice in a room. It’s not just mine.”

Oviedo
05-23-2019, 08:13 AM
JuJu Smith-Schuster: There is really no drama in the locker room
By Charean Williams | May 22, 2019, 8:16 PM EDT

JuJu Smith-Schuster was diplomatic in most of his comments about Antonio Brown on Wednesday, even when prodded.

Asked about Brown’s tweet criticizing Smith-Schuster for fumbling against New Orleans with 32 seconds left, the Steelers now No. 1 receiver didn’t bite.

“At the end of the day, that’s his opinion,” Smith-Schuster said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “For myself, I stand from afar. I’m not worried about what he’s got going on with his team. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a great player. He dominates on the field. I’m worrying about the guys we have here, my teammates and how I can be great on and off the field.”

Smith-Schuster, though, admits it is quieter around Pittsburgh without Brown, whom the Steelers traded to the Raiders in March.

“The chemistry is on point,” Smith-Schuster said, via Will Graves of the Associated Press. “Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is communicating. There’s really no — how do you say? — drama in our locker room.”

Smith-Schuster also took a veiled shot at Brown, saying he has no pressure to match the numbers Brown posted in his nine seasons in Pittsburgh. The Pro Bowl receiver leaves Pittsburgh having contributed 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns, an average of 1,245 yards and eight touchdowns per season.

Despite replacing Brown as the team’s featured wideout, Smith-Schuster vows not to let his statistics get in the way of the team goal.

“I’m looking at mine, my own team, how we do and how we win,” Smith-Schuster said, via Graves. “I’m fine. I would take five catches for 30 yards and win the game than have 10 catches, two touchdowns. It’s not really about myself at the end of the day. It’s about the Super Bowl.”

It will take a village to replace Brown. Smith-Schuster concedes that. He will lead a group that includes James Washington, Donte Moncrief, third-round pick Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer.

Only 22, Smith-Schuster finds himself the leader in the receivers room.

“There’s no need for me to go out of my way and yell at the guys,” Smith-Schuster said. “We’re all adults here. We all know what’s right from wrong and everyone just works. Everyone has a voice in a room. It’s not just mine.”

Like JuJu more every single day. A guy who gets how to do it right with a team first attitude versus the "me first" attitude of the old #84.

The fact that some on this board still can't see who alone the problem was amazes me. Got to feel good about JuJu setting the example for all the WRs. I also think Moncrief will bring a good injection of maturity and perspective having seen what the NFL is like outside of Pittsburgh.

RuthlessBurgher
05-23-2019, 10:16 AM
Got to feel good about JuJu setting the example for all the WRs.

It's crazy that, going into his 3rd NFL season with 169 catches for 2343 yards and 14 TD's under his belt already, Juju is STILL the youngest person in the WR room (younger than James Washington, younger than Diontae Johnson, younger than all of them). But you have to admit that he displays maturity beyond his years (even when being playful and fun both on the field and off).

Steel Maniac
05-23-2019, 12:15 PM
Like JuJu more every single day. A guy who gets how to do it right with a team first attitude versus the "me first" attitude of the old #84.

The fact that some on this board still can't see who alone the problem was amazes me. Got to feel good about JuJu setting the example for all the WRs. I also think Moncrief will bring a good injection of maturity and perspective having seen what the NFL is like outside of Pittsburgh.

I like the point you made on Moncrief..

hawaiiansteel
05-24-2019, 02:32 PM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D7VtTICWwAAAnH7.jpg

hawaiiansteel
05-27-2019, 12:29 AM
https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/8qBUYRcPUdsVyjsROEgnNeH4Lq0=/0x0:5052x3562/920x613/filters:focal(1405x1073:2213x1881)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63900183/usa_today_11818697.0.jpg

hawaiiansteel
05-29-2019, 03:48 PM
https://media.giphy.com/media/xT9Igh9YsMPkN59sty/giphy.gif

hawaiiansteel
05-29-2019, 08:49 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Camp Battles: Eli Rogers vs. Ryan Switzer

We take a look at some of the more significant position battles that will be fought during minicamp, OTAs and training camp this offseason.

By Simon Chester May 29, 2019

While it would be fair to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 roster looks to be set at several positions, there are still a handful of starting roles yet to be decided and a number of backup up jobs remain up for grabs.

Over the coming weeks, BTSC editor Jeff Hartman and myself will take a look at some of the more obvious key names that will be fighting position battles throughout minicamp, OTAs and training camp later in the year, each taking a different side in the fight and providing our thoughts on why our pick will be the winner.

So far we have weighed in on the impending battles between quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph, running backs Jaylen Samuel and Benny Snell Jr. wide receivers James Washington and Donte Moncrief, tackles Matt Feiler and Chukwuma Okorafor, linebackers Devin Bush and Mark Barron and cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton. Today we move onto two more wide receivers.

Eli Rogers vs. Ryan Switzer

If not for an ACL injury Eli Rogers suffered during the playoffs at the end of 2017, there is a good chance the Steelers never make a trade with the Oakland Raiders to acquire Ryan Switzer just days before the 2018 regular season began. Rogers would open the year on the physically unable to perform list, only finally activated for the final three games of the season, while Switzer would feature in all 16 games as the slot receiver in a role previously owned by Rogers.

Switzer’s versatility made him a valuable asset to the Steelers during his debut season; he took on the duties of punt and kick returner and even saw some snaps out of the backfield as a running back. And for a player who had barely seen the playbook before his first game in the Black and Gold, it would be fair to say that Switzer was one of the more pleasant surprises of the season.

Limited to just 12 receptions, Rogers looked very much like the player he had been in 2016 when he finally returned to the field, noticeably impacting the number of snaps Switzer saw once he was cleared to play and eating into his receptions.

Despite the loss of Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh are still relatively loaded at wide receiver and there is no guarantee both players make the final 53-man roster this year. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Donte Moncrief and Diontae Johnson all seemingly locks to make the team, there is a possibility one loses out if the coaching staff decides to only keep five wideouts.

Jeff Hartman

While not as flashy, this might just be the toughest battle to predict on the 2019 Steelers roster. While I think both make the team, I am not sure who will actually see more playing time this season as the primary slot receiver.

Rogers has the longer tenure within the Steelers’ offense, but Ben Roethlisberger showed a genuine trust in Switzer as a receiver in 2018. Throw in the fact Rogers hardly played last season, as he continued to rehab his injured knee, and you have a difficult question on your hands.

For what it is worth, I think Switzer wins this job. I remember watching Switzer play at North Carolina and thinking he would be the perfect fit for the Steelers’ offense. Honestly, I feel he could be the Steelers version of Julian Edelman for the Patriots. A slot receiver who is smaller, but tough and runs good routes. If he and Roethlisberger can pick up where they left off in 2018, and add onto that rapport, there is no doubt they could have a serious weapon on their hands in 2019.

With that said, I think both players make the team and are utilized in unique ways to keep defenses guessing and to create mismatches.

Simon Chester

Acknowledging the rapport that Switzer built with Roethlisberger in a relatively short period of time, it is hard to ignore how quickly both Big Ben and the coaching staff returned to Rogers once he was healthy. Recording double the receptions and seeing 29 more snaps in the three games they were both available for speaks volumes about how the team views Rogers.

The decision by the front office to re-sign him to a two year deal when he was already under contract for 2019 after his deal had already tolled should also be an indicator of how much he is valued.

While Switzer’s skills as a return man should not be underestimated, the addition of rookie third-round pick Johnson may take that role away from him this year. If it is a straight battle as to who is the better slot receiver, that could be a battle Rogers might win.

At two inches taller than Switzer, Rogers perhaps offers a better target that the 5-foot-8 former North Carolina product, although their pro day and combine numbers would suggest they are fairly similar athletes based on their measurables. Rogers enjoys a slight advantage in arm length and vertical, while Switzer was a fraction quicker coming out of college and has larger hands.

Ultimately, I can see both players making the team and seeing significant playing time, but in terms of who will be listed as the starting slot wide receiver, my money would be on the more experienced Rogers.


https://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2019/5/29/18643406/pittsburgh-steelers-2019-training-camp-battles-wide-receivers-eli-rogers-vs-ryan-switzer-nfl-news

hawaiiansteel
06-01-2019, 07:56 PM
Steelers Other WR Named Diontae Looking To Duplicate Logan’s Decade-Old Feat

By Dave Bryan
Posted on June 1, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers curiously have two wide receivers named Diontae on their offseason roster this year. While one of the two Diontaes, Diontae Johnson, is guaranteed to make the team after being drafted in the third-round in late April, the other Diontae, Diontae Spencer, who was signed to a Reserve/Futures contract in January, isn’t guaranteed anything right now. Because of the latter Diontae possibly being on borrowed time this summer, he knows he needs to make quite an impact quickly in practices and the preseason not only as a wide receiver, but more so as a returner as well.

“That’s a big part of what I do, fielding punts and kickoff returns,” Spencer said this past week, according to Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s going to be a big part of me sticking to the team, so that’s something I pride myself in.”

Spencer, who played his college football at McNeese State, has spent the last several seasons in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks. In 2014 he went undrafted and was signed originally by the St. Louis Rams as a free agent after first getting a rookie minicamp tryout with the Chicago Bears. The Rams, however, waived Spencer that July and before he could even show what all he could do in training camp. Last season with Redblacks, Spencer was named a CFL All-Star after finishing the year with 849 punt return yards and 815 yards on kickoff returns and 81 receptions for 1,007 yards and 7 touchdowns.

You can see his Spencer’s CFL touchdowns from last season below that I was able to compile and while watching them, I’m sure you’ll notice that he looks fast. That’s because he is fast as evidenced by him being timed anywhere from a 4.29 to 4.37 in his two McNeese State pro day 40-yard dash runs back in 2014. That pro day also included the 5-foot-9 inch Spencer registering a 40-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump and I shouldn’t have to tell you how impressive those numbers are.

Spencer’s successful resume as a returner dates back to his college career at McNeese State as he registered 29 punt returners for 258 yards and a touchdown in the 43 games that he played in to go along with 41 kickoff returns for 1,117 yards and 2 touchdowns. Also, in case you’re curious, the diminutive Spencer caught 101 passes for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns during his college career as well.

The Steelers already have a few experienced slot wide receivers with return abilities on their offseason roster in Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers so you can see how Spencer’s path to this year’s final 53-man roster will be a tough one to navigate. Even so, he’s apparently already made several plays as a wide receiver during the team’s six OTA practices to date.

“He went yard twice today,” Craig Wolfley of steelers.com said at the conclusion of the team’s Thursday OTA practice. “And you are talking about a guy who set a Canadian record, almost 500 yards of total yards, whether it’s pass receptions, kickoff returns, punt returns, in a game. That’s huge.”

Wolfley is obviously referencing Spencer’s 2017 game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in which he set a single-game CFL record with 496 all-purpose yards – 169 on punt returns, 165 on kick returns, 133 receiving and 29 on a missed field-goal return. With all of the experience he’s received in the CFL the last several seasons, Spencer thinks it’s played a role in him quickly adjusting to the speed of the NFL game.

“Canada has helped me adjust to this league,” Spencer said, per the Gorman report. “Everything is slowed down now. I’m able to play faster without thinking as much. Learning the whole system up there has made this jump easier for me. The whole speed of the game is something I’m getting accustomed to but I think I’ll be fine. …

“I know who I am and what I can do. If I stay humble and stay focused, it’ll prevail and show up for itself.”

The Steelers first preseason game of 2019 will take place 10 weeks from Friday and at Heinz Field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and assuming Spencer is able to stay healthy and on the roster between now and then, it’s likely he’ll receive a lot of playing time in that exhibition contest as not only a returner, but as a wide receiver as well. The Steelers had a dark horse former CFL player make their 53-man roster in 2009 in the form of one Stefan Logan as he made himself uncuttable as a returner during the preseason. Can Spencer ultimately duplicate Logan’s feat a full decade later? We’ll see.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/steelers-other-wr-named-diontae-looking-to-duplicate-logans-decade-old-feat/

Steel Maniac
06-01-2019, 08:04 PM
Hey, here's hoping! We need an impact guy on special teams that can return a punt to the house.

hawaiiansteel
06-02-2019, 08:27 PM
Cam Heyward: Two Steelers that have ‘raised eyebrows’ in OTAs

by Tommy Jaggi

It’s currently only time for football in shorts, but two Steelers in particular have raised eyebrows at OTAs, according to Cameron Heyward.

During May and June, it’s hard to get a clear picture of which players have potential to stand out in the regular season for the Steelers, but that didn’t stop Cameron Heyward from pointing out two players that have ‘raised eyebrows’ so far at OTAs.

According to a tweet from NFL Network beat reporter, Aditi Kinkhabwala, rookie linebacker Devin Bush and second year wide receiver, James Washington are two players that have stood out the most so far to Heyward:

Heyward could have chose anyone of the players currently participating in team activities, but it is interesting to note the pair of young blood he chose to single out.

The former All-Pro defensive lineman made mention of Devin Bush’s athleticism and how it stands out during drills. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to use as Bush boasted a 142.9 pSPARQ score, according to Three Sigma Athlete – higher than nearly 97 percent of NFL linebackers.

As the 10th overall pick in the daft, Devin Bush is a name that we would have guessed would have raised eyebrows, but what about James Washington?

Washington had a rough rookie season for the Steelers, to say the least, and did not fare well with Pro Football Focus a season ago (just a 49.4 grade). However, we saw the Oklahoma State product have some great flashes last preseason, and fans were hopeful those weren’t just a fluke.

We won’t quite know the impact these young players will have on the Steelers until the 2019 season rolls around, but Heyward is out there playing with these guys every day. His word is better than ours at this point.


https://stillcurtain.com/2019/05/31/cam-heyward-steelers-raised-eyebrows/

Steel Maniac
06-03-2019, 01:00 AM
Sounds great; I’m impressed that Washington dropped weight. Shows a guy that’s dedicated to his craft. For me, he didn’t show me much last year but he’s looking to really take that leap in his second year.

RuthlessBurgher
06-03-2019, 11:00 AM
Give me 10 push-ups! Competition fuels post-A.B. Steelers offense

Jun 1, 2019

Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Vance McDonald has seen too much from Antonio Brown to think one player alone will replace his 1,500 yards of yearly production.

Even trying will require serious teamwork from the Pittsburgh Steelers offense.

"The things A.B. is capable of doing at the position, he’s a freak. He’s so good," the veteran tight end said of Brown, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders in March. "I think Ben (Roethlisberger) is the best quarterback that will allow us to take that piece that A.B. is giving in each game and allowing it to go through different avenues."

That navigation promises to fascinate in a new era of Steelers football.

Pittsburgh's post-Brown offense will prioritize versatility, creativity and an equal opportunity approach. JuJu Smith-Schuster is the obvious primary option for Roethlisberger and will most likely post big numbers. Behind him is depth and intrigue but a lack of star power.

The Steelers believe they have at least nine viable pass-catching options which Roethlisberger will surely utilize. In a two-game stretch without Brown in late 2017, Roethlisberger completed passes to nine other Steelers, with four players catching at least four balls.

Jobs aren't promised. Competition is driving each OTA session.

"Everybody's pushing each other -- you got a drop, you've got 10 push-ups," free-agent addition Donte Moncrief said. "Everybody's trying to bring energy ... Make plays, don't come out here lagging ... I feel like everybody' going to be able to help. Everyone's ready to play. Everybody knows JuJu is going to get a lot of attention. We have to be able to help him out, take some double-teams away and beat man so the defense has to cover everybody."

Moncrief is crucial to that competition because of newness and pedigree.

The Steelers mostly know what they have from their supporting skill guys.

McDonald is poised for an expanded role after a 50-catch campaign in 2018. He's ready for it, and the Steelers know more yards are available over the middle.

Despite an erratic rookie year, James Washington posted two 60-plus-yard games in the final three weeks last season and dropped 15 pounds in the offseason. He's getting off the line of scrimmage quicker now.

The Steelers value Ryan Switzer's versatility and quickness. He can line up in the slot, in the backfield or on the outside.

Eli Rogers is a classic matchup option. He can still beat man coverage in spots.

Third-round pick Diontae Johnson will have time to develop, but the Steelers hope his route-running ability helps him crack the lineup sooner than later.

Xavier Grimble will get a legitimate look as the No. 2 tight end. He's earned that. If his hands prove reliable, his athleticism and physical blocking can take over.

Not many have more riding on this year than Moncrief, who's trying to redirect his career after a rocky one-year experiment in Jacksonville. His 21 career touchdowns make him a compelling red zone target for Big Ben. Moncrief doesn't own an 800-yard season, but he also caught passes from Scott Tolzien and Blake Bortles in Indianapolis and Jacksonville.

The Steelers offense is challenging Moncrief, traditionally an outside guy, to know all three receiver positions. Roethlisberger can change a matchup at the line of scrimmage on any down, Moncrief points out.

"I know this is a huge year for me," Moncrief said. "New team, everybody looking for me to make big plays. I have to be ready."

McDonald is eager to see how coaches configure the pieces. The Steelers' 689 passing attempts last season led the league by 45. Receptions won't be scarce.

"It will be fun and interesting to see how we can be creative and allow that to happen," McDonald said. "Great players are great players, but at the end of the day it’s 11 guys taking care of their job. I think we have the guys -- not necessarily (do they have) Brown and Bell on the back of their jerseys, but man, if you can play the position and do what you are asked to do and can make plays, then we’re going to get it done.”

McDonald is confident coming off a 15-game season, his most since his rookie year in 2013.

Ensuring a bigger role might require some schmoozing.

"Handle my job and buy Ben a lot of presents," McDonald said.

http://www.espn.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/30824/give-me-10-push-ups-competition-fuels-post-a-b-steelers-offense

RuthlessBurgher
06-03-2019, 11:48 AM
Odd wideout parallels...

In a 2 year period in 2010 & 2011, as long-time veteran WR Hines Ward was wrapping up his Steeler career and young, dynamic WR Mike Wallace was stepping into a greater role, we added a couple of young WR options in Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, plus a veteran WR option in Jerricho Cotchery.

In a 2 year period in 2018 & 2019, as long-time veteran WR Antonio Brown was wrapping up his Steeler career and young, dynamic WR Juju Smith-Schuster was stepping into a greater role, we added a couple of young WR options in James Washington and Diontae Johnson, plus a veteran WR option in Donte Moncrief.

hawaiiansteel
06-04-2019, 01:29 AM
Ryan Switzer is beating Eli Rogers in Steelers training camp battle

by Andrew Ortenberg
June 3, 2019

There’s been so much talk about Antonio Brown this offseason, that you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the receivers actually on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. JuJu Smith-Schuster will absolutely be the top wideout, but after him the depth chart is a bit unsettled.

The team signed Donte Moncrief and also has second-year player James Washington, but they’ll likely both be playing on the outside. There will be an interesting battle this offseason to be the team’s starting slot receiver, with Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers competing.

Rogers has more experience with the team, but it looks like that might not matter.

“Ryan Switzer seems stronger,” Jim Wexell of 247Sports wrote of Switzer, who is entering his third NFL season. “He looks to be ahead of Eli Rogers in the race for the small, elusive slot receiver.”

Switzer has switched homes a lot during his brief time in the league. Originally drafted by the Cowboys in 2017, he was traded to the Raiders after his rookie season. Shortly after, he was flipped to the Steelers.

In his first season in Pittsburgh, he put up 36 receptions for 253 yards, while also serving as the team’s primary returner.

He’s looking for a bigger role on offense this year, and we already know quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a fan of his.

“Just be dependable,” Roethlisberger said last season when asked what Switzer had done to earn playing time. “Be a guy that is where he is supposed to be. Tough little booger. He makes a lot of plays, gets hit a lot, but just doesn’t make a lot of the same mistakes twice.”

If he has Roethlisberger’s trust, he’s well on his way to earning more targets.

If he’s passed Rogers on the depth chart, he likely won’t be giving up his spot anytime soon.


https://clutchpoints.com/steelers-news-ryan-switzer-is-beating-eli-rogers-in-training-camp-battle/

RuthlessBurgher
06-04-2019, 10:54 AM
"Tough little booger"

Ewww...I'm sure Switzer is absolutely thrilled by that description.

Although it is pretty impressive that Switzer is already beating Rogers in a training camp battle that won't actually begin for another month and a half or so.

He must be a time traveling little booger. Like Jigawatts. ;)

Northern_Blitz
06-04-2019, 11:01 AM
Ryan Switzer is beating Eli Rogers in Steelers training camp battle

by Andrew Ortenberg
June 3, 2019

There’s been so much talk about Antonio Brown this offseason, that you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the receivers actually on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. JuJu Smith-Schuster will absolutely be the top wideout, but after him the depth chart is a bit unsettled.

The team signed Donte Moncrief and also has second-year player James Washington, but they’ll likely both be playing on the outside. There will be an interesting battle this offseason to be the team’s starting slot receiver, with Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers competing.

Rogers has more experience with the team, but it looks like that might not matter.

“Ryan Switzer seems stronger,” Jim Wexell of 247Sports wrote of Switzer, who is entering his third NFL season. “He looks to be ahead of Eli Rogers in the race for the small, elusive slot receiver.”

Switzer has switched homes a lot during his brief time in the league. Originally drafted by the Cowboys in 2017, he was traded to the Raiders after his rookie season. Shortly after, he was flipped to the Steelers.

In his first season in Pittsburgh, he put up 36 receptions for 253 yards, while also serving as the team’s primary returner.

He’s looking for a bigger role on offense this year, and we already know quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a fan of his.

“Just be dependable,” Roethlisberger said last season when asked what Switzer had done to earn playing time. “Be a guy that is where he is supposed to be. Tough little booger. He makes a lot of plays, gets hit a lot, but just doesn’t make a lot of the same mistakes twice.”

If he has Roethlisberger’s trust, he’s well on his way to earning more targets.

If he’s passed Rogers on the depth chart, he likely won’t be giving up his spot anytime soon.


https://clutchpoints.com/steelers-news-ryan-switzer-is-beating-eli-rogers-in-training-camp-battle/

For whatever it's worth, Ben seems to be developing a report with Switzer.

Steel Maniac
06-04-2019, 11:07 AM
Ryan Switzer is beating Eli Rogers in Steelers training camp battle

by Andrew Ortenberg
June 3, 2019

There’s been so much talk about Antonio Brown this offseason, that you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the receivers actually on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. JuJu Smith-Schuster will absolutely be the top wideout, but after him the depth chart is a bit unsettled.

The team signed Donte Moncrief and also has second-year player James Washington, but they’ll likely both be playing on the outside. There will be an interesting battle this offseason to be the team’s starting slot receiver, with Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers competing.

Rogers has more experience with the team, but it looks like that might not matter.

“Ryan Switzer seems stronger,” Jim Wexell of 247Sports wrote of Switzer, who is entering his third NFL season. “He looks to be ahead of Eli Rogers in the race for the small, elusive slot receiver.”

Switzer has switched homes a lot during his brief time in the league. Originally drafted by the Cowboys in 2017, he was traded to the Raiders after his rookie season. Shortly after, he was flipped to the Steelers.

In his first season in Pittsburgh, he put up 36 receptions for 253 yards, while also serving as the team’s primary returner.

He’s looking for a bigger role on offense this year, and we already know quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a fan of his.

“Just be dependable,” Roethlisberger said last season when asked what Switzer had done to earn playing time. “Be a guy that is where he is supposed to be. Tough little booger. He makes a lot of plays, gets hit a lot, but just doesn’t make a lot of the same mistakes twice.”

If he has Roethlisberger’s trust, he’s well on his way to earning more targets.

If he’s passed Rogers on the depth chart, he likely won’t be giving up his spot anytime soon.


https://clutchpoints.com/steelers-news-ryan-switzer-is-beating-eli-rogers-in-training-camp-battle/

Not a shock; I said last year that Switzer seemed to have a better repore then Ben but others kept saying no. Switzer got on the same page amazingly fast with Ben. But to be fair Rodgers is coming off of injury.

RuthlessBurgher
06-04-2019, 11:30 AM
It's odd that James Washington rookie season (217 receiving yards and 1 TD) is considered to be a massive disappointment by many Steeler fans, but Ryan Switzer's season (253 receiving yards and 1 TD) is considered to be an example of developing a rapport with Ben amazingly fast.

Considering that Switzer played in all 16 games and Washington played in 14 games, that would account for those additional 36 receiving yards, since their raw receiving yardage numbers are virtually identical on a per game basis.

hawaiiansteel
06-05-2019, 03:18 PM
JuJu Smith-Schuster all business as he assumes No. 1 receiver role

GERRY DULAC
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
JUN 5, 2019

Back from the prom, JuJu Smith-Schuster has traded his matching green velvet tuxedo with bell-bottom pants for the practice jersey he has worn every day of the Steelers’ offseason training activities.

Three weeks into OTAs and Smith-Schuster hasn’t missed a day of the workouts at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, sending a message to everyone that he is all about commitment and winning. In that time, the Pro Bowl receiver can also be found all over social media, whether dancing on stage at a Juice Wrld concert at Stage AE, distributing Heinz ketchup at Kennywood or attending the Chartiers Valley High School prom with a male student who asked him to go.

He even bought the matching tuxedo for him and student Anthony Molinaro.

“I picked ‘em out,” Smith-Schuster said. “Green velvet, suede, with bells. But it was hot in that suit.”

Smith-Schuster was hot in his regular Sunday suit in 2018, eclipsing the production of Antonio Brown and leading the Steelers with 111 receptions and 1,426 receiving yards. Three of his seven touchdown catches were for 67 yards or longer. He also caught a 97-yard touchdown for the second year in a row, giving him three scores of 96 yards or longer in two seasons.

He enters his third NFL season as the team’s undisputed No. 1 receiver, now that Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders. And he has made a point to show up every day for the voluntary OTAs on the South Side to mesh with the two new receivers on the team — veteran Donte Moncrief and rookie Diontae Johnson – and serve as something of a role model.

“It’s very important,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday after practice. “There are some new guys on the team, and building that chemistry and that connection means a lot. Me just being here, being around other guys, shows I’m ready to play, I’m all about the team, I’m all about us. We’re here for one reason.”

Replacing Brown’s incredible numbers — he was the most productive receiver in any four-, five- and six-year period in NFL history — will not be easy. But Smith-Schuster said he loves the new players in the receiving room and is excited about the development of James Washington, last year’s second-round draft choice.

Moncrief was acquired in free agency after catching 74 passes for 1,059 yards the past two seasons from Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis and Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. Now he gets to run routes for Ben Roethlisberger.

Johnson, a third-round pick who was the second player selected by the Steelers, has similar athletic measurables to Brown but is considered a better route runner. He even played in the same Mid-American Conference (Toledo).

“Everyone is there for each other,” Smith-Schuster said. “There’s no individual. Everyone’s into playing, winning games, the Super Bowl. Everybody’s on the same page. Yesterday we dominated, today we dominated. You can see that connection with Ben, with [Josh] Dobbs, with Mason [Rudolph].”

Johnson did not participate in team drills the first two weeks of OTAs because of a hamstring injury, but he has been out there the past two days. Smith-Schuster said he takes Johnson out to eat and shows him the city to help him get acclimated to his surroundings, both on and off the field.

On the field, he noticed one overriding element:

“Speed, man,” Smith-Schuster said. “He’s a speedster, but he has great hands.”

About Moncrief, he said, “His routes are so crispy, so nice. He’s a nice route-runner, a big solid dude, too. You can put him outside, put him inside, he knows how to run his routes, how to run against a linebacker versus a corner. He’s a very smart guy, one of those you can look up to.”

That’s what Smith-Schuster is trying to do every day at OTAs.


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/06/05/pittsburgh-steelers-wide-receiver-JuJu-Smith-Schuster-minicamp-ota/stories/201906050132

NorthCoast
06-05-2019, 06:35 PM
Don't write off AB helping the Raiders offense this season too quickly:


If we look at routes that the Raiders employed frequently and Brown did run more often in Pittsburgh, the new Oakland receiver doesn’t compare that favorably to the production offered by Oakland’s 2018 receiving corps. On slant routes — short patterns run across the middle of the field at an angle — his expected points added (EPA) per play relative to the Raiders’ receivers was pedestrian. Oakland was collectively more than half an expected point better per play on slants than Brown was in Pittsburgh — with Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Seth Roberts all more productive on the route. Cook may end up leaving in free agency and could free up some of those targets, but Brown may not be able to make much of an impact in the short-area portion of the Raiders passing game.Antonio Brown can help the Raiders most on deeper routes

Expected points added in the 2018 season by route type for wide receivers on the Oakland Raiders and for Antonio Brown



EPA PER TARGET



ROUTE NAME
RAIDERS RECEIVERS
ANTONIO BROWN
EPA DIFF.


Comeback
-0.52
+1.27
+1.79


Go
-0.11
+0.85
+0.96


Seam
+0.94
+1.80
+0.86


Flat
+0.08
+0.40
+0.32


Out
+0.20
+0.52
+0.32


Curl
+0.20
+0.40
+0.20


Fade
-0.17
-0.31
-0.14


Dig
+0.29
-0.20
-0.49


Slant
+0.61
+0.05
-0.56


Post
+0.27
-1.03
-1.30


Positive EPA difference reflects routes where Antonio Brown was more productive than the Raiders receivers collectively.
SOURCE: SPORTS INFO SOLUTIONS
There are also other concerns. Brown was ineffective in the middle of the field in general in 2018, posting negative EPA on digs and posts — two other in-breaking routes. He increasingly ceded targets over the middle to Juju Smith-Schuster, who is bigger, younger and perhaps more eager to put his body on the line for a reception. With no guaranteed money in Brown’s contract, self-preservation could have been a contributing factor to his seeming unwillingness to catch balls over the middle last season. At least that’s what the Raiders are hoping is the case: The alternative — that Brown is declining and no longer able to produce over the middle — is slightly terrifying for a team that just made Brown the highest-paid receiver in the league.........

hawaiiansteel
06-05-2019, 10:42 PM
Dobbs’ Overview Of Steelers Wide Receiver Group: ‘There’s Some Dynamic Players’

By Dave Bryan
Posted on June 5, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a talented group of wide receivers this summer despite the trading away of Antonio Brown in March and after the team’s Wednesday OTA practice, backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs gave an overview of that particular position group.

“Yeah, there’s some dynamic players,” Dobbs said, according to audio on 93.7 The Fan. “Of course there’s JuJu [Smith-Schuster]. James [Washington] has taken a lot of steps in the right direction. Ryan Switzer’s a matchup issue. Eli [Rogers]. New additions like Donte [Moncrief], you know, he’s definitely come in and is making an impact early and often and catching a lot of balls. And then we have a lot of new guys that have come in and are really doing a great job making plays for us at quarterback, given us confidence. So we’re excited to see how that room shapes out.”

While Dobbs didn’t mention the Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson, the team’s first of two third-round selections this year, during that rundown of players, he did mention the Toledo product earlier in his Wednesday interview.

“Diontae [Johnson] is pretty special as well,” Dobbs said. “He’s a tough guy to guard. I can just tell by the reaction from the defenders. And he seems to catch everything thrown in his direction. So, those are guys that you look forward to get the balls in their hands and let them just go make a play.”

In addition to him thinking that he has a great group of wide receivers to throw to throughout the remainder of the summer, Dobbs also likes the overall demeanor of the group as well.

“I think what’s also great is, they’re great players, but they also have a great camaraderie in that room,” Dobbs said. “And I think that’s what helps them not only compete with each other on a daily basis but push each other to get better. And that helps us at the quarterback position as well.”

Not only do the Steelers have the wide receivers that Dobbs rattled off on Wednesday on their offseason roster, they also have a few more talented players that play that position in Diontae Spencer, Trey Griffey, Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones and all four have some level of experience at the professional level.

Spencer, who has never played in as much as one a preseason game since going undrafted in 2014, has played in 57 total games in the CFL with two different teams over the course of the last four seasons on his way to registering 259 total receptions for 3,137 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Holton, on the other hand, has some limited NFL game experience on his resume as the former undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati previously spent time on the rosters of the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders and has caught 11 passes for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns.

As for the other two young wide receivers not mentioned Wednesday by Dobbs, Griffey and Jones, both were with the Steelers last year during training camp and the preseason and both ultimately landed on the team’s practice squad last September and remained there all season. Griffey caught 4 passes for 44 yards last year during the preseason while Jones registered 4 catches for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Steelers will keep at least five wide receivers on their 53-man roster to start the 2019 regular season and possible even as many as six. While JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, James Washington and Johnson should account for four of those spots, the other one or two spots on the 53-man roster figure to potentially filled by Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, Spencer, Holton, Griffey or Jones. All things considered, that’s not a bad looking group of 10 wide receivers for Dobbs and the rest of the Steelers quarterbacks to work with the remainder of the summer.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/dobbs-overview-of-steelers-wide-receiver-group-theres-some-dynamic-players/

Steel Maniac
06-06-2019, 09:14 AM
JuJu Smith-Schuster all business as he assumes No. 1 receiver role

GERRY DULAC
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
JUN 5, 2019

Back from the prom, JuJu Smith-Schuster has traded his matching green velvet tuxedo with bell-bottom pants for the practice jersey he has worn every day of the Steelers’ offseason training activities.

Three weeks into OTAs and Smith-Schuster hasn’t missed a day of the workouts at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, sending a message to everyone that he is all about commitment and winning. In that time, the Pro Bowl receiver can also be found all over social media, whether dancing on stage at a Juice Wrld concert at Stage AE, distributing Heinz ketchup at Kennywood or attending the Chartiers Valley High School prom with a male student who asked him to go.

He even bought the matching tuxedo for him and student Anthony Molinaro.

“I picked ‘em out,” Smith-Schuster said. “Green velvet, suede, with bells. But it was hot in that suit.”

Smith-Schuster was hot in his regular Sunday suit in 2018, eclipsing the production of Antonio Brown and leading the Steelers with 111 receptions and 1,426 receiving yards. Three of his seven touchdown catches were for 67 yards or longer. He also caught a 97-yard touchdown for the second year in a row, giving him three scores of 96 yards or longer in two seasons.

He enters his third NFL season as the team’s undisputed No. 1 receiver, now that Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders. And he has made a point to show up every day for the voluntary OTAs on the South Side to mesh with the two new receivers on the team — veteran Donte Moncrief and rookie Diontae Johnson – and serve as something of a role model.

“It’s very important,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday after practice. “There are some new guys on the team, and building that chemistry and that connection means a lot. Me just being here, being around other guys, shows I’m ready to play, I’m all about the team, I’m all about us. We’re here for one reason.”

Replacing Brown’s incredible numbers — he was the most productive receiver in any four-, five- and six-year period in NFL history — will not be easy. But Smith-Schuster said he loves the new players in the receiving room and is excited about the development of James Washington, last year’s second-round draft choice.

Moncrief was acquired in free agency after catching 74 passes for 1,059 yards the past two seasons from Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis and Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. Now he gets to run routes for Ben Roethlisberger.

Johnson, a third-round pick who was the second player selected by the Steelers, has similar athletic measurables to Brown but is considered a better route runner. He even played in the same Mid-American Conference (Toledo).

“Everyone is there for each other,” Smith-Schuster said. “There’s no individual. Everyone’s into playing, winning games, the Super Bowl. Everybody’s on the same page. Yesterday we dominated, today we dominated. You can see that connection with Ben, with [Josh] Dobbs, with Mason [Rudolph].”

Johnson did not participate in team drills the first two weeks of OTAs because of a hamstring injury, but he has been out there the past two days. Smith-Schuster said he takes Johnson out to eat and shows him the city to help him get acclimated to his surroundings, both on and off the field.

On the field, he noticed one overriding element:

“Speed, man,” Smith-Schuster said. “He’s a speedster, but he has great hands.”

About Moncrief, he said, “His routes are so crispy, so nice. He’s a nice route-runner, a big solid dude, too. You can put him outside, put him inside, he knows how to run his routes, how to run against a linebacker versus a corner. He’s a very smart guy, one of those you can look up to.”

That’s what Smith-Schuster is trying to do every day at OTAs.


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/06/05/pittsburgh-steelers-wide-receiver-JuJu-Smith-Schuster-minicamp-ota/stories/201906050132

Juju says "speed" about Johnson. Which tells me that what Colbert thought about Johnson is true; Johnson is a monster coming out of his breaks. Seems that Moncrief is on point as well. Now if Washington has taken that next step then all of a sudden we have a pleasant problem of a top heavy WR team (factoring in Rogers and Switzer too).

Oviedo
06-06-2019, 10:09 AM
Don't write off AB helping the Raiders offense this season too quickly:

........

Who????????

Steel Maniac
06-06-2019, 11:41 AM
Who????????

Exactly........never heard of the guy.

STH70
06-06-2019, 01:35 PM
This WR group has a lot to prove on the field. But I like our chances better with this group working hard together towards a common goal, the Super Bowl. Much more than having AB working solely for his personal stats and more money, then pouting, arguing and quitting on his team like a spoiled brat.

RuthlessBurgher
06-06-2019, 03:08 PM
Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 02:22 PM

'Our room will be electric'


Mike Prisuta

Steelers.com


The wide receiver group is a position in transition, and one free agent addition Donte Moncrief insists will be built from the bottom up.


“As (receivers) coach (Darryl Drake) said, you’re always going to be as strong as your weakest guy,” Moncrief observed. “In our room we try to pick everybody up, make sure everybody’s on the same page and make sure everybody’s ready to go to play every position.


“If we can do that, our receivers room will be electric.”


Moncrief’s theory: As long as they stay plugged in, they’ll have a chance to shine brightly.


“You have to take it from meetings onto the field,” he said. “If you can do that, you’ll produce.”


With five NFL seasons under his belt, Moncrief leads the Steelers’ new-look receiving corps in experience.


He’s also the Steelers’ most accomplished receiver statistically, with 200 career NFL catches for 2,543 yards and 21 touchdowns to his credit (just ahead of the 169 receptions, 2,343 yards and 14 scores JuJu Smith-Schuster has amassed in two seasons).


Most of the rest of the group lacks a track record but not potential, Moncrief maintained.


His observations on a few of them through three weeks of OTAs included:


Dionte Johnson: “He’s fast, he’s very quick and he has great hands. Once he learns the whole playbook he’s going to produce. On that field, he’s super fast.”


James Washington: “They said he was kind of big last year. Since I’ve been here and watching him you can tell he’s been working on stuff. His hands are super strong, he’s explosive and he can jump out of the gym. I feel like he’s going to have a good year this year.”


Smith-Schuster: “He’s a smart guy. You can tell he’s been under somebody who knew the game. He’s learned a lot, he’s learning how to read defenses and he’s a trusted guy. He’s going to catch the ball, he’s going to make plays and after the catch he’s going to make a lot of yards, that’s a good thing.”


The challenge for the receivers, individually and collectively, will be to keep the offense humming minus the production the Steelers had come to annually expect from Antonio Brown.


That worked out to 104 catches, 1,297 yards and 15 TDs in 2018.


The 10 players competing at wide receiver throughout OTAs have taken a critical first step toward compensating, Moncrief maintained.


“They’re doing well,” he said. “They’re picking up the offense and they’re learning defenses. You can tell they want to learn and they’re coming out here working every day, thats all that matters.


“If you come out and work and do everything right, everything else will fall into to place.”


https://www.steelers.com/news/our-room-will-be-electric

Northern_Blitz
06-06-2019, 04:25 PM
Juju says "speed" about Johnson. Which tells me that what Colbert thought about Johnson is true; Johnson is a monster coming out of his breaks. Seems that Moncrief is on point as well. Now if Washington has taken that next step then all of a sudden we have a pleasant problem of a top heavy WR team (factoring in Rogers and Switzer too).

Hoping this is true.

But it's also puff piece season. Remember how Bud was going to be DPOY?

Steel Maniac
06-06-2019, 04:41 PM
Hoping this is true.

But it's also puff piece season. Remember how Bud was going to be DPOY?

True................

hawaiiansteel
06-07-2019, 08:16 PM
Mason Rudolph Excited By How James Washington, Diontae Johnson Look In OTAs

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on June 7, 2019

You’re not going to find a whole lot of negative reviews for players in shorts. For one thing, unless you’re really new to your position and raw, or just very unathletic relative to where you play, it’s hard to look bad without pads on and soft team drills. For another thing, it’s just the time for optimism all around, and people don’t want to talk negatively.

A lot of people who sound like phenoms in June end up being on the bench in September, but at least for now, the Pittsburgh Steelers are pleased with what they are seeing from their young wide receivers as they look to fill the void left in the wake of the Antonio Brown trade.

Specifically, the offense could be counting upon James Washington, a second-round pick in 2018, and Diontae Johnson, a rookie third-rounder, to work with JuJu Smith-Schuster for the offense. There are other names involved, like Donte Moncrief, of course, but these are the guys that they hand-picked to run their system.

And Mason Rudolph was hand-picked to be capable of leading it, even if he may spend his entire time in Pittsburgh as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. The second-year quarterback has been getting some first-team reps with the veteran taking days off, and he’s has some observations on the team’s young wide outs.
“He’s caught about every ball I’ve thrown to him”, he told reporters when asked about Johnson. “So, that’s a good sign. But he’s just quick, man, and he’s picking up the offense, you know, very fast. He’s very coachable and he’s very hungry to learn, so that’s good to see in a young guy”.

Johnson has spent most of the spring limited to individual drills mostly, but reportedly began working team drills this past week in the final OTAs as his hamstring injury improves. It appears as though he is shaping up to being a full participant for minicamp next week

As for Washington, his college teammate, Rudolph said that “he’s doing great. I think he’s running better. Just like myself, he’s the older guy. He’s kind of managing and coaching some of the wide receivers along with the other leaders in that room, and just general football knowledge, 10 times better. He understands our offense”.

“Like Diontae’s going through right now, we’re asking him to run a whole lot of routes that maybe he didn’t do at Toledo, and it was the same last year with reps”, he added. “Just reps, man, that’s the biggest teacher”.

And that goes as much for him as for the men he’s throwing to. Rudolph himself is looking to compete with Joshua Dobbs for the backup quarterback role after spending his rookie season in street clothes as the number three after being drafted in the third round in 2018.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/mason-rudolph-excited-by-how-james-washington-diontae-johnson-look-in-otas/

hawaiiansteel
06-09-2019, 08:12 PM
Diontae Spencer Saw Some 1st-Team Work In OTAs

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on June 9, 2019

Here’s a slightly interesting tidbit: it’s hard to discern the extent, but according to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Spencer, he has gotten some work with the first-team offense so far this spring. It’s unclear if that means Ben Roethlisberger was throwing the ball, as Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs have gotten first-team snaps as well, but he said that he has worked with players like JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Spencer was originally signed by the Steelers as a Reserve/Future signing at the beginning of January after Pittsburgh was officially eliminated from qualifying for the postseason and their regular season ended. A former undrafted free agent from many years ago, he has carved out a successful career in the CFL, and is now hoping to find an opportunity back in the States.

Even after the Antonio Brown trade, Spencer was still not a name on most people’s radar. Not only did the Steelers retain Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Ryan Switzer, and Eli Rogers, they added Donte Moncrief in free agency and then added another Diontae in the draft, going for Toledo’ Diontae Johnson.

In terms of professional experience, however, Spencer and Moncrief overshadow everybody else, even if Spencer’s time has come up north. Working in a professional environment still counts for something, and CFL returnees who actually have the talent to play in the NFL have had seamless transitions.

In that regard, then, perhaps it’s not much of a surprise if he has gotten some snaps with first-team personnel, though it certainly was not handed to him. We have previously heard earlier in OTAs that he was turning some heads by making plays, including a pair of touchdowns in one session.

The fact that he is also capable of serving as a return man makes him an interesting darkhorse candidate to make the 53-man roster, in competition with others like Rogers and Switzer who could also serve in that capacity.

Yet Spencer, in spite of his slight frame a 5’8” and 180 pounds, says that he has been working on the outside, so he shouldn’t be pegged as some shifty slot receiver, either. Ideally, of course, he will be able to play at any wide receiver position, as the Steelers more than most teams thrive on that variability.

While garnering some attention for yourself in OTAs is by no means a bad thing, however, it must be pointed out that there is a long road to hoe between now and the start of the regular season. That means that a lot of hard work and continued progression must be made, but it also means that there is time to get it done. Will he be the first CFL player since Stefon Logan to make the team?


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/diontae-spencer-saw-some-1st-team-work-in-otas/

RuthlessBurgher
06-10-2019, 12:24 PM
Mandatory NFL minicamps preview: 23 more things to watch this week

7:00 AM ET
NFL Nation

Now that nine teams have completed their mandatory minicamps, it's time for the 23 remaining squads to have their formal workouts. They'll do exactly that, starting Tuesday and running through Thursday.

As we did last week, we're going over the main things to watch in this week's minicamp extravaganza. From how rookies mix with veterans to which veterans choose not to show up, we're there to cover it. So here are the main things to watch for the 23 teams practicing this week.


Pittsburgh Steelers

How the collection of pass-catchers replaces Antonio Brown

During OTAs, Ben Roethlisberger spread the ball around to a bevy of playmakers. The offense believes it has at least nine capable options at receiver, tight end and running back. But minicamp, with pads on, will be a true test of growth, and Brown won't be there for that easy third-down pick-up. Expect outside receivers James Washington and Donte Moncrief to build on their strong offseasons.

-- Jeremy Fowler

Click here for the other 22 teams:
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26889753/mandatory-nfl-minicamps-preview-23-more-things-watch-week

hawaiiansteel
06-11-2019, 12:44 AM
Donte Moncrief On WRs: ‘In Our Room We Try To Pick Everybody Up’

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on June 10, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving into a new era on offense this season as a result of the departure of wide receiver Antonio Brown, who forced the team to deal him for perhaps a number of reasons, but which ultimately and unsurprisingly resulted in him receiving a handsome raise.

While the wide receiver room retains the services of Pro Bowler JuJu Smith-Schuster, the rest of the faces are relatively new, short of Eli Rogers, who is entering his fifth season in the NFL—including two either missed or shortened due to injury.

Among the new faces is Donte Moncrief, who is the most veteran player on the roster, moving into his sixth season after spending four years with the Indianapolis Colts and last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He should help with Smith-Schuster in leading the room both on and off the field. But he spoke to the team’s website about how the group polices itself, in a way.

“As Coach Drake said, you’re always going to be as strong as your weakest guy. In our room we try to pick everybody up, make sure everybody’s on the same page and make sure everybody’s ready to go to play every position”.

Of course that’s not entirely true. Having a star wide receiver can really elevate the entire group, no matter how bad your number four, five, or six wide receiver is, depending on how deep your depth chart goes. But it’s easy to appreciate the sentiment.

Especially this offseason, where they know that they will have to produce by committee with Brown gone. That’s going to include a combination of Moncrief, second-year James Washington, rookie Diontae Johnson, and whoever else makes the team, such as Rogers and Ryan Switzer.

Moncrief has been taking on something of a leadership role with the wide receivers, though not necessarily with or over Smith-Schuster, who despite being in just his third season and the youngest player has been the most accomplished of the group, and arguably the most mature as well.

He feels if the wide receivers can work to pick each other up, then the “room will be electric”, Moncrief said. It’s a matter of being able to “take it from meetings onto the field”, he added. “If you can do that, you’ll produce”.

As far as production goes, that is Moncrief’s goal, even as many seem to paint him into the background as some sort of insurance policy if Washington and/or Johnson are not who the team expects them to be. He signed a two-year, $9 million contract for the Steelers because he wants to catch passes from Ben Roethlisberger and score points, not to be a coach’s assistant.

That doesn’t mean he’s not going to try to help everybody along to make sure everyone to a man in his group is the best player that he can be. Because he knows that everybody’s individual success is also the team’s success. That’s the message they’re promoting in the new-look wide receiver room, where they expect business to continue to boom.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/donte-moncrief-on-wrs-in-our-room-we-try-to-pick-everybody-up/

RuthlessBurgher
06-11-2019, 10:20 AM
Donte Moncrief will be a latter day Jerricho Cotchery type for us.

He could start for us if needed, but if one of the younger kids steps up in camp, he'd also make an ideal, steady WR3 option as well.

hawaiiansteel
06-11-2019, 02:54 PM
Roethlisberger Impressed By New WRs Moncrief, Johnson As Steelers 2019 Minicamp Gets Underway

By Dave Bryan
Posted on June 11, 2019

Last week during the final OTA practices, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson talked about the limited time he had recently received with the first-team offense and more specifically, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Johnson, who was the team’s first of two third-round draft picks this year, explained during that media session how Roethlisberger tested him some during those limited reps and how he felt that overall he passed. On Tuesday, Roethlisberger seemingly confirmed that his rookie wide receiver passed those tests.

“The one thing I noticed was he caught every ball I threw to him,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I even threw him some bad balls on purpose, throw some high, behind him, just to see if he would catch them. And he caught every one. It was impressive.”

Roethlisberger describing a rookie wide receiver as being impressive during OTAs is in itself, impressive. And it doesn’t sound like any of what he said was hyperbole, either, and that’s certainly great news.

Also during Roethlisberger’s Tuesday mandatory minicamp session he made sure to note that not only has he spent some extra time with Johnson this offseason, he’s made sure to do the same with fellow wide receiver Donte Moncrief, a veteran offseason free agency addition, so that he can get to know him better. Moncrief talked quite a bit over the last three weeks about how important it is for him to get on the same page with Roethlisberger as quickly as possible so that the quarterback knows what all routes he can run so that trust in each other can be established. On Tuesday, Roethlisberger went as far as to name Moncrief as the player who has impressed him the most so far this offseason.

“I’d probably go with Donte Moncrief just because it’s new,” Roethlisberger said per steelers.com. “I kind of know what to expect from some of the other guys. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when he came in. I didn’t know him and now just getting to see his work ethic, the type of person he is, his desire to be great, his knowledge of the offense already. We’ll do no-huddle stuff and I’ll give him a signal and I’ll be like, ‘You good?’ and he’ll be like, ‘Yeah.’ He is in with coach (Darryl) Drake every single morning, pretty much all day.

“You see a desire and the want to be great. I’ve really enjoyed to opportunity to know him and to work with him so far. This is an awesome opportunity that he’s here and we’re getting to work together. He was with us when we went on our trip. It’s just, it’s been fun to get to know him as a person too.”

The Steelers obviously suffered a big offseason loss in March when they traded away wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders and now Moncrief and Johnson must find a way to help fill that void at the X position.

“It will be fun,” said Roethlisberger, when asked about the offense now trying to fill the void left by the trading away of Brown this offseason. “There are some holes that have been lost. We have a lot of guys who desire to fill those voids. It’s not going to be one person. It’s going to be a lot of different people.”

Now that Roethlisberger has spoken about two of the team’s primary offseason wide receiver additions, it will be interesting to hear what wide receivers coach Darryl Drake has to say about Moncrief and Johnson when he talks to the media. That could happen as early as Tuesday afternoon and we’ll make sure to pass along those quotes in a future post should that be the case.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/roethlisberger-impressed-by-new-wrs-moncrief-johnson-as-steelers-2019-minicamp-gets-underway/

NorthCoast
06-11-2019, 05:56 PM
Dunno. Moncrief could be a 2. Dudes best season was 2025 w Hasselbeck tossing the ball.

Ernie
06-12-2019, 01:37 AM
I really like what im hearing with Johnson, Washington, and Moncrief. This WR corp. could be very special this year.

hawaiiansteel
06-14-2019, 10:28 PM
WR Diontae Spencer Seems To Be The ‘Winner’ Of OTAs

By Alex Kozora
Posted on June 14, 2019

“Winning” the spring only means so much. Which is to say, generally little. You have 31 other fanbases talking about how they have *the* sleeper that’ll take the league by storm. And as Mike Tomlin noted, we’ve seen players kick up dust during OTAs only to flame out once they get to Latrobe.

But we also know that in Pittsburgh at least, players and coaches have been able to identify talent from the get-go. It’s a topic we broached as the spring sessions began. Eli Rogers and Mike Hilton were identified before they made the 53 man roster.

So if you had to pick the next in line, it’s hard to ignore wide receiver Diontae Spencer. Time and time again, his name made its way in conversation. Most recently by ILB Vince Williams, the same way ILB Terence Garvin noticed Rogers several years ago. Williams mentioned Spencer’s name in recapping some of the players who stuck out to him in Teresa Varley’s article yesterday.

“The wide out, (Diontae) Spencer, he was killing it in Canada (in the CFL) and he was out here making splash plays,” he said.

Based on media reports, Spencer mixed in with the first-team throughout some of the OTA and minicamp sessions. While Tomlin placed an emphasis on giving the new/young players time and there’s natural mixing and matching at all positions, especially receiver, it’s still notable.

Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear Spencer play well. This is an environment he should be thriving in. Though undersized, he’s a tremendous athlete who ran a 4.34 40 coming out of McNeese State, as we profiled shortly after he signed. Small, fast receivers like him better excel in shorts and shells.

Though he’s new to the Steelers and relatively green in the NFL, professional football isn’t foreign. He spent the last couple years in the CFL, breaking out in 2017 and following that up with a strong 2018 campaign. That included a 496 all-purpose yard performance with Ottawa two season ago, setting the league record. That gives him the upper hand to other rookies and new faces who haven’t experienced what it takes to play in the league professionally. How to take care of your body, how to train, how to eat, how to deal with the pressure of holding onto your job. No one gets cut in college.

Training camp, obviously, will be the real test. That’s what Tomlin alluded to earlier this week. When the pads come on, when the defense can hit back instead of pulling up with a two-hand touch as the receivers have peace of mind running over the middle. But expect Spencer to produce splash plays. Not only as a receiver but in the return game. If he does that, he’ll be in the mix for one of the final receiver spots. At the very least, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch this summer.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/wr-diontae-spencer-seems-to-be-the-winner-of-otas/

Steel Maniac
06-15-2019, 01:16 AM
Our cup runneth over with wide receivers.

Ernie
06-15-2019, 07:44 AM
Our cup runneth over with wide receivers.

agreed. We aren't talent deficient on Offense...

That's for sure. Im just hoping one of our new TE's emerges

Northern_Blitz
06-15-2019, 06:57 PM
agreed. We aren't talent deficient on Offense...

That's for sure. Im just hoping one of our new TE's emerges

We have lots of hope on O, not much proven talent.

Ernie
06-16-2019, 09:24 AM
We have lots of hope on O, not much proven talent.

I agree with you on the "Lots of hope" part, and disagree on the underlined part. We've got a HOF QB who's still playing at a high level. A returning Pro-Bowl WR and RB... a top tier O-Line.. a solid #2 in Moncrief. Two solid slot receivers in Rogers and Switzer... A TE who is well above average.

So that brings us to some young talent "Hope" to plug in a few holes. With our O-Line I have no doubt that Snell will be a plug and play guy. The "Swiss Army Knife" will be used more in TE, WR sets this year and will be productive when called upon.

Washington appears to be much more NFL ready this year... and D. Johnson seems to be on everyone's "Watchlist" after minicamp. My only concern is TE depth... Grimble needs to be that guy that fills the void. We've seen flashes from him.. Will be interesting to see if the extra opportunities allows him to solidify his role on the team.

Oh wow
06-16-2019, 10:53 AM
We have JuJu and Vance and a much of unknowns.

Switzer? We hope he plays better. He wasn’t impressive when you look at his stats last year.

Washington? We hope he turns the corner.

Johnson? We hope he is everything players say he is.

Moncreif? We hope he pans out.

Rogers? We hope he can stay healthy.

None of these guys have proven they have the talent to get us where we need to go. Not yet.

NB is spot on. Our WR’s are great on paper but we have no idea if they are ready on game day.

Ernie
06-16-2019, 11:23 AM
We have JuJu and Vance and a much of unknowns.

Switzer? We hope he plays better. He wasn’t impressive when you look at his stats last year.

Washington? We hope he turns the corner.

Johnson? We hope he is everything players say he is.

Moncreif? We hope he pans out.

Rogers? We hope he can stay healthy.

None of these guys have proven they have the talent to get us where we need to go. Not yet.

NB is spot on. Our WR’s are great on paper but we have no idea if they are ready on game day.

im afraid we are a little better off than you boys care to admit...and i like how you seeminly put Conner on the "unknowns" list lol

Ernie
06-16-2019, 11:25 AM
BTW.. you can put "we hope he stays healthy" with 100% of guys in the league.. thats not even a point worth debating.

Ernie
06-16-2019, 11:27 AM
You look at some of those guys "on paper" and theres no doubt the stats are underwhelming. we had a guy in AB the last few years thats been at the very top of the league in targets... when that happens theres no doubt some of the other guys are going to be limited. Has very little to do with talent. Lets see what happens when we spread the ball around this year.

hawaiiansteel
06-16-2019, 12:14 PM
James Washington ‘More Vocal’, Has ‘More Confidence With The Playbook’ In Second Offseason

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on June 15, 2019

Provided that everything works out as the Pittsburgh Steelers have hoped, second-year wide receiver James Washington should play a vital role in the offense’s success in 2019. The 2018 second-round pick is looking to make a significant jump from a disappointing rookie year, and he does see areas in which he feels he has grown since then.

“I have more confidence with the playbook”, first and foremost, he recently told the team’s website. One of his biggest issues, referring to his targets from last season, seemed to be not being entirely sure of the route he was supposed to be running or where Ben Roethlisberger wanted him to be.

He also said that he was “being a little more vocal, talking to guys, being more involved. I just need to stay in condition, know the playbook. Just maintain the receiver mechanics”.

All of these things have gotten positive attention so far this offseason, though none more so than his condition. He reportedly lost more than 10 pounds from last year in the hopes of being better conditioned to perform for the offense in 2019. It’s an all too common lesson for rookies to learn. No matter how well-conditioned they think they are, few truly understand NFL-level conditioning until they have to go through an NFL season.

There is a massive opening, an opportunity, for Washington to play this year following the team’s trade of Antonio Brown, which sent him to the Oakland Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks that they used in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The first of those selections went to acquired Toledo wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who has the opportunity to ascend the depth chart as the offseason progresses. For the moment, the expectation is that he will be filtered in behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, and Washington, but if either of the latter two lag behind, that will create an opening for the rookie.

Washington isn’t planning to let that happen. He is much more adjusted to NFL life now than he was a year ago, now that he has an entire year of the professional world under his belt and knows what to expect and what it will take to raise his game to the next level.

Building a stronger rapport with Roethlisberger is part of that as well, and really most of the offense has worked a lot in trying to bond this offseason, headlined by a big trip to Roethlisberger’s Georgia residence, complete with some on-field work.

We already know that Washington has the talent to play at the NFL level. If he can also raise himself up to have NFL-worthy conditioning, mechanics, and knowledge of the offensive system, then he can without a doubt live up to his draft pedigree.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/james-washington-more-vocal-has-more-confidence-with-the-playbook-in-second-offseason/

Mr.wizard
06-16-2019, 06:24 PM
There is potential with our receivers but I don't know how anyone can say we have more than that at this point, we have a bunch of guys who haven't accomplished anything yet.

Ernie
06-16-2019, 07:09 PM
There is potential with our receivers but I don't know how anyone can say we have more than that at this point, we have a bunch of guys who haven't accomplished anything yet.

overstated a bit im afraid when you consider JUJU made the probowl.. and moncrief has averaged close to 13 yards per reception the past 5 years.. even if true... this is still a very talented group... We can split hairs all we want.. "Potential"..."Accomplished"... "Talented"... the only way these guys will get there is with opportunity. Im predicting a very solid year with this offense (and WR corp).

Mr.wizard
06-16-2019, 07:23 PM
Juju is obviously the exception but the rest of the corp hasn't really done anything, I don't think the difference between "potential" and "accomplished" is splitting hairs it is simply the way it is, we have guys that haven't done much. So right now you have "potential", you do not have "accomplished", until they actually accomplish something. I think they are talented too and I am looking forward to a good year but I can't give them credit for success until I see it.

Ernie
06-16-2019, 08:20 PM
hopefully guys will acknowledge that... just because a guy "hasnt done much"... doesnt mean much in terms of the upcoming season. its exactly the same for every player who just starts out in the league.. gotta start somewhere. As pouncy said about conner last training camp.. "new stars are born every day". i have no doubt there will be a few emerge from this year's group. Honestly WR is among the least of my worries when it comes to this club

Captain Lemming
06-16-2019, 11:28 PM
Juju is obviously the exception but the rest of the corp hasn't really done anything, I don't think the difference between "potential" and "accomplished" is splitting hairs it is simply the way it is, we have guys that haven't done much. So right now you have "potential", you do not have "accomplished", until they actually accomplish something. I think they are talented too and I am looking forward to a good year but I can't give them credit for success until I see it.


AGAIN, we won the SB with ARE as the number 2 guy.
Moncrief has seasons that are statistically superior than ANY season ARE had. Heck, ROGERS had a statistically better year than ARE asa NUMBER 3 receiver.

Mocrief is PROVEN better as a receiver than ARE and is undoubtedly a capable number.

The only "unproven" is whether Washington or the Johnson are even better than a proven capable number 2 caliber receiver in Moncrief.

Oh wow
06-16-2019, 11:45 PM
im afraid we are a little better off than you boys care to admit...and i like how you seeminly put Conner on the "unknowns" list lol
This post is about WR’s. Why are you talking about Connor?

hawaiiansteel
06-17-2019, 01:26 AM
Here are the alleged positional competitions:

Wide receiver - Ladies and gents, it's Donte Moncrief at No. 2. Even if James Washington has another great camp, it's Moncrief. He's a vet. Washington is still learning, and he'll receive plenty of playing time anyway. In the slot, I believe the Steelers handed Ryan Switzer the job when they moved his locker over with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Moncrief next to Ben Roethlisberger. The only question is whether they'll keep six, and that will be won - in my opinion - by either Eli Rogers, CFL star Diontae Spencer, or the guy one source said runs the best routes on the team, Trey Griffey. Rookie Diontae Johnson has the No. 5 job locked up. He'll make his move for playing time in-season.


https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/Article/Wexell-Post-springpre-camp-Steelers-preview-writes-itself-132903958/

Mr.wizard
06-17-2019, 06:33 AM
AGAIN, we won the SB with ARE as the number 2 guy.
Moncrief has seasons that are statistically superior than ANY season ARE had. Heck, ROGERS had a statistically better year than ARE asa NUMBER 3 receiver.

Mocrief is PROVEN better as a receiver than ARE and is undoubtedly a capable number.

The only "unproven" is whether Washington or the Johnson are even better than a proven capable number 2 caliber receiver in Moncrief.

Show me where I said we couldn't win? The title of the thread is "Are we better off", that remains to be seen.

Northern_Blitz
06-17-2019, 06:53 AM
AGAIN, we won the SB with ARE as the number 2 guy.
Moncrief has seasons that are statistically superior than ANY season ARE had. Heck, ROGERS had a statistically better year than ARE asa NUMBER 3 receiver.

Mocrief is PROVEN better as a receiver than ARE and is undoubtedly a capable number.

The only "unproven" is whether Washington or the Johnson are even better than a proven capable number 2 caliber receiver in Moncrief.

Cap, give me that D and I'm less worried about our O.

We're a team that will probably need the O to carry us. And we have a bunch of ?s and little too no depth anywhere.

I get that people don't like AB or Bell, but losing them means we'll likely be worse on O this year.

Maybe that's OK if the D gets better or if we have fewer picks and fumbles.

But I think many are deluding themselves thinking that we'll improve because AB was an ass and he left. I think that's possible but unlikely. We'll see when they play the games.

Oh wow
06-17-2019, 07:54 AM
AGAIN, we won the SB with ARE as the number 2 guy.
Moncrief has seasons that are statistically superior than ANY season ARE had. Heck, ROGERS had a statistically better year than ARE asa NUMBER 3 receiver.

Mocrief is PROVEN better as a receiver than ARE and is undoubtedly a capable number.

The only "unproven" is whether Washington or the Johnson are even better than a proven capable number 2 caliber receiver in Moncrief.

Lmao. What does ARE have to do with 2019?

You crack me up with these SB comparisons that have zero to do with the upcoming year. We don’t have any of those other players from that SB on our roster besides Ben.

Oviedo
06-17-2019, 08:01 AM
Here are the alleged positional competitions:

Wide receiver - Ladies and gents, it's Donte Moncrief at No. 2. Even if James Washington has another great camp, it's Moncrief. He's a vet. Washington is still learning, and he'll receive plenty of playing time anyway. In the slot, I believe the Steelers handed Ryan Switzer the job when they moved his locker over with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Moncrief next to Ben Roethlisberger. The only question is whether they'll keep six, and that will be won - in my opinion - by either Eli Rogers, CFL star Diontae Spencer, or the guy one source said runs the best routes on the team, Trey Griffey. Rookie Diontae Johnson has the No. 5 job locked up. He'll make his move for playing time in-season.


https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/Article/Wexell-Post-springpre-camp-Steelers-preview-writes-itself-132903958/

I hope you are right about Switzer, but I think he is on the bubble. I like him but there is going to be a real push for his position from Eli Rogers and Diontae Spencer

Ernie
06-17-2019, 08:08 AM
This post is about WR’s. Why are you talking about Connor?

The thread is about WRs.. However, you inserted yourself into a broader discussion that NB and I were having...

Here's NB's quote that I responded to.... "We have lots of hope on O, not much proven talent." This statement certainly leads one to believe that NB was talking about the overall talent on Offense, not just WR.

Then of course you replied..

If you were speaking specifically of the WR's... you should have stated as much.

Steel Maniac
06-17-2019, 08:46 AM
I hope you are right about Switzer, but I think he is on the bubble. I like him but there is going to be a real push for his position from Eli Rogers and Diontae Spencer

Hey, I'd rather move Switzer to another team that needs a slot guy then then to cut him. I don't care if it's a 6/7th round pick.

Northern_Blitz
06-17-2019, 09:41 AM
The thread is about WRs.. However, you inserted yourself into a broader discussion that NB and I were having...

Here's NB's quote that I responded to.... "We have lots of hope on O, not much proven talent." This statement certainly leads one to believe that NB was talking about the overall talent on Offense, not just WR.

Then of course you replied..

If you were speaking specifically of the WR's... you should have stated as much.

FWIW, I'd like to see at least one more year from Conner so that we know he's not Peyton Hillis. I'd also like to see a season where he doesn't miss significant time with injury (remember how we complained about how Bell was injury prone?).

And while JuJu has been amazing, he'll probably have some period of adjustment going from best WR2 in the league to WR1 on a team without much to strike fear in the hearts of opposing D's with their #2 option (at WR or TE). You can talk about Montcrief's average yards, but in his best season he got about half as many yards as JuJu did last year. DM's a legit NFL receiver, but we've got a big drop off at WR2 vs. the combination of AB and JuJu.

WR talent isn't the most important thing for a team (ask Cap). And in the best case, we'd have been able to free up cap space when we lost one of the best WRs in the league and use that cap space to get better on D. But that's not what happened.

We still might be a team that challenges for the SB. But for that to happen, we need a lot of our gambles this off season to go right (e.g. Nelson, development of year 2 guys [particularly Edmunds & Washington], draft picks [particularly Bush and Johnson], no significant injuries [Ben and JuJu in particular]).

You always need luck to win a SB, I just think we need a bit more than usual. I also think we get a rough first 6 weeks for a team that's going to have to depend on contributions from young guys to be successful.

I'll be pretty excited if we head into the bye at 0.500 or above.

Ernie
06-17-2019, 09:49 AM
No question we need the "Stars to line up" if we are going to win a SB. As you have suggested, lots of factors come into play (young prospects panning out, injuries, etc etc)...
especially when you have 31 other teams with comparable talent..

In terms of Moncrief, lets see what happens when we have someone other than Blake Bortles throwing to him. I expect a very solid year out of him (especially if JUJU starts pulling double coverage).

Oh wow
06-17-2019, 10:22 AM
The thread is about WRs.. However, you inserted yourself into a broader discussion that NB and I were having...

Here's NB's quote that I responded to.... "We have lots of hope on O, not much proven talent." This statement certainly leads one to believe that NB was talking about the overall talent on Offense, not just WR.

Then of course you replied..

If you were speaking specifically of the WR's... you should have stated as much.

I hear you but I spoke on the players I was specifically talking about. Didn’t know I had to be any more specific than what I wrote.

I never brought up Connor as a positive or negative.

RuthlessBurgher
06-17-2019, 11:05 AM
Hey, I'd rather move Switzer to another team that needs a slot guy then then to cut him. I don't care if it's a 6/7th round pick.

Ben and Switzer seem to have built somewhat of a rapport with each other last season, so I think that Eli Rogers would be one that we would ultimately move if CFL import Diontae Spencer earns himself a roster spot (if we felt another team would poach Spencer if he was exposed to the practice squad).

Rumors have it that Rogers earned the nickname "Little AB" over the last few seasons, and if we are moving on from the ultra-productive actual AB in an effort to alter the overall team culture, why would we want to keep around a much less productive "Little AB" who may share some of those similar diva-type personality traits?

Rogers has yet to play a full 16 game schedule, and due to these injury limitations, his production over the last 2 seasons combined (30 catches for 228 yards and 1 TD) is less than what Ryan Switzer got here just last season as a late addition to our roster who was learning the offense on the fly (36 catches for 253 yards and 1 TD). Hell, James Washington even 217 yards receiving and 1 TD last year in what is widely panned as a "disappointing" rookie campaign.

Other teams may see Eli's impressive NFL debut season of 48 catches for 594 yards and 3 TD in 2016 and would be willing to part with a late-round pick next year. Hell, maybe even Oakland would want to add a little AB to their actual AB and we could do a trade of Artie Burns and Eli Rogers for Karl Joseph and a late round pick.

If we traded Rogers, we'd have Juju, Moncrief, Washington, Switzer, and two Diontaes.

Northern_Blitz
06-17-2019, 11:22 AM
No question we need the "Stars to line up" if we are going to win a SB. As you have suggested, lots of factors come into play (young prospects panning out, injuries, etc etc)...
especially when you have 31 other teams with comparable talent..

In terms of Moncrief, lets see what happens when we have someone other than Blake Bortles throwing to him. I expect a very solid year out of him (especially if JUJU starts pulling double coverage).

I hope you're right about Moncrief. He had had some bad QB play (and some time with Luck too).

I think I said this before, but it does seem like we have three gambles going on at WR (Moncrief, Washington, Johnson). It's nice to have more lotto tickets because we don't need them all to hit.

RuthlessBurgher
06-17-2019, 11:37 AM
Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

Free agent addition Donte Moncrief has added ‘unbelievable professionalism' to Steelers receiver room, OC Randy Fichtner said.

RuthlessBurgher
06-17-2019, 11:38 AM
Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

Before his team broke for the summer, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin used his media sessions to set a tone for training camp as a true barometer for his team's makeup. Asked about young standouts such as Diontae Johnson, Tomlin pointed out how everyone's seen "really impressive guys out here that disappear in Latrobe, particularly at (wide receiver)." Tomlin later said chemistry and culture can't be judged without adversity. "When you're in a training camp-like setting, and it's highly competitive and physically and mentally challenging, that will be the first real adversity this team sees," he said.

Ernie
06-17-2019, 12:05 PM
I hear you but I spoke on the players I was specifically talking about. Didn’t know I had to be any more specific than what I wrote.

I never brought up Connor as a positive or negative.

you started your post by making reference to Vance McDonald. Just sayin.. if you want to participate in our discussion.. thats fine.. i had a right to ask you about conner.. since you mentioned a TE..and since our discussion was broader than WR.

Ernie
06-17-2019, 12:15 PM
You said "We have Juju, Vance..and a bunch of unknowns".... that why i asked

Oh wow
06-17-2019, 12:50 PM
you started your post by making reference to Vance McDonald. Just sayin.. if you want to participate in our discussion.. thats fine.. i had a right to ask you about conner.. since you mentioned a TE..and since our discussion was broader than WR.

True. However, TE’s mostly catch the ball when they posses it.

You are correct tho, TE isn’t WR.

I never said anything negative about Conner which was implied by you.

Not trying to argue about Conner though, that was never my intention with my post.

I was strictly discussing players who have yet to show their worth on the field in a Steeler uni who primarily catch passes.

Ernie
06-17-2019, 01:10 PM
True. However, TE’s mostly catch the ball when they posses it.

You are correct tho, TE isn’t WR.

I never said anything negative about Conner which was implied by you.

Not trying to argue about Conner though, that was never my intention with my post.

I was strictly discussing players who have yet to show their worth on the field in a Steeler imo who primarily catch passes.

thanks for clarifying...and again.. your initial comment "JUJU, Vance, and a bunch of unprovens" was what i was referring to. Lumping Conner in with the unknowns (which most would imply by your statement) would be a mistake. Im glad that was not your intention.

Ernie
06-17-2019, 01:15 PM
i think Conner's ability as a pass catcher is well established at this juncture. he was within 100 yards of McDonald's production in 2018.. despite missing 3 games.

hawaiiansteel
06-17-2019, 04:19 PM
New double D Xs are real and impressive – The Steelers added two new wide receivers this offseason in veteran Donte Moncrief via free agency and rookie Diontae Johnson via the draft and on the surface, both had solid showings during the team’s offseason practices. Moncrief achieved his goal of staying on the practice field in his attempt to build a quick rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and while there might be some level of hyperbole involved, he’s seemingly gotten rave reviews from teammates. As for Johnson, the Steelers first of two third-round draft picks this year, the Toledo product seemingly had a very impressive start of OTA and minicamp practices that included him getting some limited work in with the first-team offense and thus Roethlisberger, who said he was “impressed” by the rookie during one press conference and that he “caught everything” thrown his way. Johnson also received great praise from the team’s most experienced cornerback, Haden, as he said the rookie is a “good one” after first complimenting his route running abilities. The steelers offense will could certainly use some early-season contributions out of both Moncrief and Johnson if all possible, it appears both new wide receivers are on track to provide just that.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/7-key-things-learned-from-steelers-2019-offseason-practices/

Steel Maniac
06-18-2019, 10:18 AM
The Athletic's Mark Kaboly writes Donte Moncrief "looks like a slam-dunk No. 2" receiver.

After watching the free-agent addition in the spring, Kaboly believes Moncrief "easily looks like a 50- or 60-catch guy with five or six touchdowns." The receiver also earned praise from Ben Roethlisberger, who talked up Moncrief's work ethic and knowledge of the offense. It is still possible James Washington or Diontae Johnson make their case in camp, but things are looking good for Moncrief right now.

SOURCE: The Athletic
Jun 18, 2019, 8:53 AM ET

Oh wow
06-18-2019, 10:35 AM
My biggest worry on Moncrief is durability.

It’s not even fair, it’s totally based on fear of an injury due to our recent bad luck with other FA’s on offense.

RuthlessBurgher
06-18-2019, 11:16 AM
My biggest worry on Moncrief is durability.

It’s not even fair, it’s totally based on fear of an injury due to our recent bad luck with other FA’s on offense.

Well, in his 4 year NFL career prior to arriving in Pittsburgh in 2016, Ladarius Green only played in all 16 games one time (in 2013).

In his 4 year NFL career prior to arriving in Pittsburgh in 2017, Vance McDonald never played in all 16 games (and still hasn't).

In his 5 year NFL career prior to arriving in Pittsburgh in 2019, Donte Moncrief played in all 16 games in three of those seasons (2014, 2015, and 2018).

So he's been comparatively durable in light of our previous TE signings in free agency. Plus, there is more of a physical beating one's body takes when you are a TE like Green and McDonald that is not necessarily the typical case for an incoming WR instead.

RuthlessBurgher
06-19-2019, 12:41 PM
Vegas has set Juju and AB with identical odds to lead the league in receiving yardage (both 6-to-1), behind only Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, and Odell Beckham, Jr.


Julio Jones is favored to lead the league in receiving yardage

Posted by Mike Florio on June 19, 2019, 11:56 AM EDT

If/when the Falcons give receiver Julio Jones a new contract, Jones can be expected to earn it right away.

Caesers Entertainment has set the odds for the NFL’s receiving yardage leader, and Jones is the favorite at 4/1. Next come Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Browns receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who are both at 11/2. Former teammates Antonio Brown (now of the Raiders) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (still of the Steelers) have identical odds, at 6/1.

Bucs receiver Mike Evans comes in at 8/1, along with Packers receiver Davante Adams. Saints receiver Michael Thomas and Vikings receiver Adam Thielen are 10/1.

Three players are off the board, for entirely different reasons: Tyreek Hill, Doug Baldwin, and Rob Gronkowski.

Jones led the NFL last year, with 1,677 yards.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/06/19/julio-jones-is-favored-to-lead-the-league-in-receiving-yardage/

hawaiiansteel
06-21-2019, 07:57 AM
Tim Benz: Steelers explain plan to deploy WRs without Antonio Brown

TIM BENZ | Friday, June 21, 2019

The comment from Ben Roethlisberger resonated.

Clearly, JuJu Smith-Schuster was banged up during the season finale. That’s part of the reason why the Steelers’ passing offense was so lackluster en route to an ugly 16-13 victory over a last-place Bengals team.

An even bigger reason, though, was the absence of Antonio Brown. The All-Pro wide receiver was benched because he missed practice during the week.

And with his status uncertain throughout the lead-up to an important season-ender against Cincinnati, game-planning was compromised.

Not strictly from the standpoint of missing his talent. But also the fundamental issue of the quarterback not knowing where everyone was pre-snap.

“Typically, A.B. is the ‘X’ receiver,” Roethlisberger said after that game. “No matter what you call, A.B. is always at X. Anyone else can come in. But A.B. always has his position. Tonight we had four or five guys play ‘X.’ ”

Now, with Brown gone for good, the Steelers are saying that approach will change in 2019. JuJu Smith-Schuster won’t be deployed in that manner as he gets promoted to the role of No. 1 wide receiver.

“No, that’s definitely not for me,” Smith-Schuster said during minicamp. “I’m the guy that plays everywhere around. Inside, outside, even playing tight end this year when we go five wide. We’ve got guys who can play everywhere. Not just one position. We are centering off of one person.”

Even though Smith-Schuster clearly is the best remaining pass-catcher on the team, he will not get hammered into that split end role on the line of scrimmage that Brown held from the “X” position.

Brown was good enough that — even if defenses knew where he was going to line up and what route he was about to run — he couldn’t be stopped.

The Steelers will keep the opposition guessing more in 2019.

“We need to spread it out,” Smith-Schuster said. “Those catches, those yards, need to be made up with wide receivers, running backs, tight ends. Everybody. It’s not just one person.”

Observers of the team are doing some guess work, too. Namely:

• Can Smith-Schuster match his productivity in recent years with defenses gearing up to take him away first now that they don’t have to account for Brown?

And …

• Who will step up and become a legitimate second threat to JuJu, as JuJu had been to A.B.?

If James Washington makes the leap head coach Mike Tomlin normally asks of second-year players, it should be him. After all, he was a highly decorated college player with a second-round draft grade and a year of experience under his belt.

He has also returned to the South Side with a sleeker body. Washington says he dropped 15 pounds to gain speed and separation from professional defensive backs.

“I feel a lot lighter,” Washington said. “I feel like I can stride out a little better. I feel a lot quicker off the jump.”

Along with Washington’s assumed improvement, the Steelers spent a third-round pick on a receiver, Diontae Johnson from Toledo. Free-agent signee Donte Moncrief has been impressive in offseason practices. And there’s the eternal hope that both Vance McDonald and Eli Rogers will stay healthy and that Ryan Switzer will produce more in his second year in Pittsburgh.

Plus, James Conner and Jaylen Samuels could contribute out of the backfield more this year, too, after both running backs elevated their games a year ago.

You know, strength in numbers n’at. Right?

“Everybody is going to be able to help,” Moncrief said. “Everybody in the room is ready to play. Everybody knows that JuJu is going to get a lot of attention. We have to help him out and take that double team away and be men. Everybody needs to be covered, and not just one person.”

So, am I really saying it’ll take eight guys to replace Antonio Brown?

No.

I’m saying it’ll take nine if you count Smith-Schuster perhaps needing to do more, as well.

Yes. Brown was that good. Midnight treadmill rants and bleached mustaches occasionally make you forget that. So whether it’s how the Steelers line up or who lines up for them, the challenge is clear.

No single player on the roster is capable of absorbing Brown’s production. And asking a small army to do it may be confusing at times to figure out.

But at least early in the season, the Steelers may have the element of surprise going for them. That’s a factor Brown could never exploit.

Unless he used it against his own team when they were left to guess if he would show up on time for practices or games.


https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz-steelers-explain-plan-to-deploy-wrs-without-antonio-brown/

hawaiiansteel
06-25-2019, 02:26 PM
Labriola Expects Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer Will Compete For One Roster Spot

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on June 25, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have lost one of the major talents at the wide receiver position in the NFL after trading Antonio Brown, but they do have, potentially, fairly enviable depth. They have a number of wide receivers on the roster right now who are rosterable—some of whom might not make the roster.

The Steelers certainly have at least six wide receivers on their 90-man roster who are worthy of a roster spot—largely, based on the fact that they have been on rosters before, short of rookie Diontae Johnson—and possibly even more when factoring in players like Diontae Spencer, Tevin Jones, and Trey Griffey, the latter two of whom had success in the preseason last year.

But will the Steelers actually keep six wide receivers? Is it necessary, or would it become redundant? Ordinarily, the sixth wide receiver spends his time on the inactive list. Or more accurately, the fifth does, because the sixth is a special teams player.

Bob Labriola believes that this summer, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer will be competing against one another for one roster spot, which may well indicate that he believes the team will only carry five wide receivers this year.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is obviously going to make the team, as will Johnson, James Washington, and free agent signing Donte Moncrief. After those four, it gets much more up in the air, but they like both Rogers and Switzer.

The problem is that the two of them have very similar skill sets, and the fact of the matter is that Smith-Schuster is actually their best slot receiver. Rogers and Switzer are both largely limited to playing in the slot, but even if Smith-Schuster plays a lot of snaps on the outside in three-receiver sets, Moncrief and Johnson could also play in the slot.

If the Steelers feel comfortable in the inside-outside versatility of their top four wide receivers, it’s going to be very difficult to justify keeping both Rogers and Switzer on the 53-man roster in 2019 because of the redundancy already mentioned, and the fact that one of them will spend most of the year as a healthy scratch.

There are other areas of the roster that could greatly benefit from that extra roster spot, particularly at the linebacker positions and in the secondary. If they are able to acquire another veteran tight end, it would also more easily allow them to carry an extra player there to accommodate rookie Zach Gentry without pressing him into play.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/labriola-expects-eli-rogers-and-ryan-switzer-will-compete-for-one-roster-spot/

RuthlessBurgher
06-25-2019, 03:55 PM
I think we keep 6 WR's: Juju, Moncrief, Washington, both Diontaes, and Switzer. I think we trade Eli Rogers. Maybe for added depth at S or TE or maybe in a swap of late round picks next year.

Steel Maniac
06-25-2019, 05:35 PM
Labriola Expects Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer Will Compete For One Roster Spot

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on June 25, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have lost one of the major talents at the wide receiver position in the NFL after trading Antonio Brown, but they do have, potentially, fairly enviable depth. They have a number of wide receivers on the roster right now who are rosterable—some of whom might not make the roster.

The Steelers certainly have at least six wide receivers on their 90-man roster who are worthy of a roster spot—largely, based on the fact that they have been on rosters before, short of rookie Diontae Johnson—and possibly even more when factoring in players like Diontae Spencer, Tevin Jones, and Trey Griffey, the latter two of whom had success in the preseason last year.

But will the Steelers actually keep six wide receivers? Is it necessary, or would it become redundant? Ordinarily, the sixth wide receiver spends his time on the inactive list. Or more accurately, the fifth does, because the sixth is a special teams player.

Bob Labriola believes that this summer, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer will be competing against one another for one roster spot, which may well indicate that he believes the team will only carry five wide receivers this year.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is obviously going to make the team, as will Johnson, James Washington, and free agent signing Donte Moncrief. After those four, it gets much more up in the air, but they like both Rogers and Switzer.

The problem is that the two of them have very similar skill sets, and the fact of the matter is that Smith-Schuster is actually their best slot receiver. Rogers and Switzer are both largely limited to playing in the slot, but even if Smith-Schuster plays a lot of snaps on the outside in three-receiver sets, Moncrief and Johnson could also play in the slot.

If the Steelers feel comfortable in the inside-outside versatility of their top four wide receivers, it’s going to be very difficult to justify keeping both Rogers and Switzer on the 53-man roster in 2019 because of the redundancy already mentioned, and the fact that one of them will spend most of the year as a healthy scratch.

There are other areas of the roster that could greatly benefit from that extra roster spot, particularly at the linebacker positions and in the secondary. If they are able to acquire another veteran tight end, it would also more easily allow them to carry an extra player there to accommodate rookie Zach Gentry without pressing him into play.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/labriola-expects-eli-rogers-and-ryan-switzer-will-compete-for-one-roster-spot/

Like Both guys but I think Switzer has the position.

hawaiiansteel
06-25-2019, 08:05 PM
Steelers WR Johnny Holton ‘Gunning’ For DHB’s Old Roster Spot On 53-Man Unit

By Dave Bryan
Posted on June 25, 2019

Not too long after the Pittsburgh Steelers signed wide receiver Johnny Holton after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles back in May, our very own Daniel Valente wrote about the former undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati and specifically how he somewhat compares to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who played the past five seasons in Pittsburgh.

In his post on Holton, Valente wrote about how the new Steelers wide receiver could offer the Steelers nice special teams abilities in addition to potentially being a speedy deep threat, both attributes that Heyward-Bey brought to the Steelers for the past five seasons. During an offseason practice interview, Holton discussed the role he played during his previous time spent on the roster of the Oakland Raiders and what he said sounded quite familiar.

“My role with the Raiders was pretty much a ‘gunner,’” Holton said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “And on other special teams. And just a vertical route runner, too.”

When asked during that interview if his style of play and what he offers teams is similar to that of Heyward-Bey, Holton had no problem agreeing.

“Yeah, DHB,” Holton said. “He used to play with the Raiders, too.”

While Holton barely saw any playing time with the Raiders during the 2018 season due to him spending most of the year on their practice squad, he did see the field quite a bit with Oakland during the 2017 season after making the initial 53-man roster. In fact, Holton went on to play roughly 230 total offensive snaps in addition to 187 special trams snaps, which was seventh-most on the team that year. Holton finished the 2017 season with 9 receptions for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns in addition to 5 total special teams tackles. Below are his three touchdown receptions from the 2017 season.

In case you’re curious, Holton registered 46 receptions for 892 yards and 10 touchdowns in his two seasons of college football at Cincinnati. He also returned 45 kickoffs for 942 yards. At his 2016 pro day, Holton reportedly measured in at 6005, 190-pounds and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42-seconds.

Obviously, Holton has his work cut out for him this summer when it comes to him potentially making the Steelers 53-man roster and he’ll probably need to hope that team ultimately keeps six wide receivers in total just as they did last year. Assuming he sticks through the start of the preseason, we can probably expect to see Holton play some as a gunner on punt coverages and especially in the first few exhibition games. He’ll have to have a very good showing in that phase of the game and it sounds like he’s already well aware of that fact.

“Gunner is a big part of my game, so I look forward to coming in here and competing and just filing that role,” Holton said after a minicamp practice, according to the newspaper. “Try to do the best I can do to be on this team.”


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/steelers-wr-johnny-holton-gunning-for-dhbs-old-roster-spot-on-53-man-unit/

hawaiiansteel
06-26-2019, 11:36 PM
James Washington Picked As Reggie Wayne’s Top Breakout Receiver Of 2019

By Alex Kozora
Posted on June 26, 2019

In Pittsburgh, we know James Washington is under the spotlight. Apparently, the national media has taken notice too. Former Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, now working for NFL.com, listed the Steelers’ sophomore receiver as his top breakout player of 2019.

In the article, which I encourage you to check out here, the players aren’t listed in any particular order. But in regards to Washington, Wayne writes:

“There are a lot of factors working in Washington’s favor heading into the coming season. With Antonio Brown‘s departure, JuJu Smith-Schuster will attract attention as the team’s new WR1. Washington will get plenty of chances to make big plays against single coverage opposite JuJu…Expectations are high for everyone in Pittsburgh, and it’s up to the 2018 second-rounder to solidify his spot for years to come.”

Hard to argue with anything Wayne writes there. Washington will be counted on for a big role after an obviously disappointing rookie season that ended with just 16 receptions for 217 yards. His biggest play came on his first career reception, a touchdown during a scramble drill versus the Kansas City Chiefs. To his credit, he battled the whole way and finished the season strong with impressive showings against the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals.

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner noticed improved swagger in Washington’s game late in the year. Here’s what we wrote in late December.

“You could see” him playing with more confidence, and practicing as well, Fichtner said. “He’s getting a lot more reps and he’s going with the [scout] team, so he’s actually getting more reps that way, too”.

Washington is expected to step into the Z role he held for parts of last year. Playing well there will let JuJu Smith-Schuster spent most of his time in the slot, though he’ll play the Z in two receiver sets, which will allow Donte Moncrief and Diontae Johnson battle it out at the X spot.

Expect Washington to have another solid training camp just as he dazzled last year. But he’ll have to translate that to Sunday’s in order for Wayne’s prediction to come true.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/james-washington-picked-as-reggie-waynes-top-breakout-receiver-of-2019/

RuthlessBurgher
06-27-2019, 10:36 AM
It's interesting that Reggie Wayne talked about James Washington potentially being a breakout WR candidate without mentioning Donte Moncrief at all, considering that Wayne actually played with Moncrief for 1 year (Wayne's last year in Indy overlapped with Moncrief's rookie year in Indy). Plus, Moncrief's rookie season opposite Wayne back in 2014 was more impressive statistically (32-444-3) than Washington's rookie season here last year (16-217-1)...essentially doubled him up.

hawaiiansteel
07-02-2019, 07:46 PM
Wayne Remains Bullish On Steelers’ Washington; Expects Him To Be Team’s No. 2 WR In 2019

By Dave Bryan
Posted on July 2, 2019

Last week, former NFL wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who is now an analyst for the NFL Network, named Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington as a top breakout player at his position for the 2019 season. On Monday, Wayne once again talked about how he expects Washington to have a great second season in the NFL with the Steelers and how he even expects him to be the number two wide receiver in the offense.

“Well, he should, Wayne said Monday on Total Access when asked to confirm that he thinks Washington will be the Steelers number two wide receiver in 2019. “I mean, that’s why two drafts ago they picked him in the second round with the 68th pick. Right? This is another year under his system where he can learn to be a professional. Also another year where he can learn that offense and get on the same page with Big Ben. Right? We saw little glimpses of what he can do towards the end of the season last year. Man, the last three games he had 129 yards total and now that’s being a third receiver in that receiving group because obviously A.B. [Antonio Brown] was number one and JuJu [Smith-Schuster] was number two.”

While I’m also bullish on Washington in 2019 after he caught just 16 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown during his 2018 rookie season, it’s hard to agree with Wayne’s assessment that the Oklahoma State product will be the Steelers number two wide receiver in 2019. Washington is once again expected to play the Z position in 2019 in three or more wide receiver personal packages with JuJu Smith-Schuster mainly playing in the slot and newcomer Donte Moncrief mainly playing the X position, the same position that former wide receiver Antonio Brown had played. That means that whenever the Steelers utilize less than three wide receiver personnel groupings in 2019 that Washington isn’t likely to be on the field as it will likely be Smith-Schuster out wide at the Z and either Moncrief or rookie Diontae Johnson playing opposite him.

Washington doesn’t necessarily need to be the Steelers number two wide receiver in 2019 to have a breakout year, however. In fact, if can catch 35 to 40 passes for 650 to 750 yards with about 3 or more touchdowns, such stats should be considered quite acceptable based on his expected amount of playing time and times he’ll be targeted. To hear Wayne talk about Washington, it sounds like he’s expecting the second-year wide receiver to catch 60 to 70 passes in 2019 and I just cant see that happening barring a few injuries to other wide receivers. His best season in college was his final one when he caught 74 passes for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns and it’s impossible to imagine him posting those kind of stats as a Z receiver with the Steelers.

Regardless of what i think Washington’s stats might be in 2019, both Wayne and myself expect him to have a much better second season with the Steelers.

“But he has all the potential in the world to be a big-time receiver in this league,” Wayne said Monday of Washington. “And just history with the Pittsburgh Steelers shows that they know how to grab receivers and bring them into that system and get them to flourish the best. I mean, you can go through a list of names and see those guys come in and as one guy leaves, another guy steps up and makes big plays. So, right there in itself, I feel like James Washington can get it done.”

Here’s to Wayne being even more right about Washington than me.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/wayne-remains-bullish-on-steelers-washington-expects-him-to-be-teams-no-2-wr-in-2019/

Oviedo
07-03-2019, 08:40 AM
Wayne Remains Bullish On Steelers’ Washington; Expects Him To Be Team’s No. 2 WR In 2019

By Dave Bryan
Posted on July 2, 2019

Last week, former NFL wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who is now an analyst for the NFL Network, named Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington as a top breakout player at his position for the 2019 season. On Monday, Wayne once again talked about how he expects Washington to have a great second season in the NFL with the Steelers and how he even expects him to be the number two wide receiver in the offense.

“Well, he should, Wayne said Monday on Total Access when asked to confirm that he thinks Washington will be the Steelers number two wide receiver in 2019. “I mean, that’s why two drafts ago they picked him in the second round with the 68th pick. Right? This is another year under his system where he can learn to be a professional. Also another year where he can learn that offense and get on the same page with Big Ben. Right? We saw little glimpses of what he can do towards the end of the season last year. Man, the last three games he had 129 yards total and now that’s being a third receiver in that receiving group because obviously A.B. [Antonio Brown] was number one and JuJu [Smith-Schuster] was number two.”

While I’m also bullish on Washington in 2019 after he caught just 16 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown during his 2018 rookie season, it’s hard to agree with Wayne’s assessment that the Oklahoma State product will be the Steelers number two wide receiver in 2019. Washington is once again expected to play the Z position in 2019 in three or more wide receiver personal packages with JuJu Smith-Schuster mainly playing in the slot and newcomer Donte Moncrief mainly playing the X position, the same position that former wide receiver Antonio Brown had played. That means that whenever the Steelers utilize less than three wide receiver personnel groupings in 2019 that Washington isn’t likely to be on the field as it will likely be Smith-Schuster out wide at the Z and either Moncrief or rookie Diontae Johnson playing opposite him.

Washington doesn’t necessarily need to be the Steelers number two wide receiver in 2019 to have a breakout year, however. In fact, if can catch 35 to 40 passes for 650 to 750 yards with about 3 or more touchdowns, such stats should be considered quite acceptable based on his expected amount of playing time and times he’ll be targeted. To hear Wayne talk about Washington, it sounds like he’s expecting the second-year wide receiver to catch 60 to 70 passes in 2019 and I just cant see that happening barring a few injuries to other wide receivers. His best season in college was his final one when he caught 74 passes for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns and it’s impossible to imagine him posting those kind of stats as a Z receiver with the Steelers.

Regardless of what i think Washington’s stats might be in 2019, both Wayne and myself expect him to have a much better second season with the Steelers.

“But he has all the potential in the world to be a big-time receiver in this league,” Wayne said Monday of Washington. “And just history with the Pittsburgh Steelers shows that they know how to grab receivers and bring them into that system and get them to flourish the best. I mean, you can go through a list of names and see those guys come in and as one guy leaves, another guy steps up and makes big plays. So, right there in itself, I feel like James Washington can get it done.”

Here’s to Wayne being even more right about Washington than me.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/wayne-remains-bullish-on-steelers-washington-expects-him-to-be-teams-no-2-wr-in-2019/

I think we will have to spread around the catches that 84 had and that will enable Washington can have 50+ receptions. I think JuJu may have fewer since he will be targeted as the #1 guy...probably around 85-90. I think Moncrief will also have 50-60.

I think the biggest beneficiary of 84 leaving could be the TEs.

Northern_Blitz
07-05-2019, 09:45 AM
I think we will have to spread around the catches that 84 had and that will enable Washington can have 50+ receptions. I think JuJu may have fewer since he will be targeted as the #1 guy...probably around 85-90. I think Moncrief will also have 50-60.

I think the biggest beneficiary of 84 leaving could be the TEs.

I really hope Vance can stay healthy.

hawaiiansteel
07-05-2019, 09:28 PM
Nate Burleson Believes JuJu Smith-Schuster Will Have Better 2019 Season Than Antonio Brown

By Dave Bryan
Posted on July 4, 2019

Is there any chance that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster winds up having a better 2019 season than his former teammate, wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is now with the Oakland Raiders? At least one former NFL wide receiver and current NFL analyst seems to think there’s a very good chance of that happening. In fact, he’s even predicting that to happen.

While in London this past week for the launch of the new NFL Academy, former NFL wide receiver Nate Burelson, who is now a morning analyst on the NFL Network, was asked during a short interview with Oddschecker to give his thoughts on Smith-Schuster and specifically how he thinks the third-year wide receiver will perform in 2019 without having Brown playing opposite him in the Pittsburgh offense. Burelson certainly didn’t beat around the bush with his answer.

“I think JuJu‘s going to be incredible,” Burelson said. “I feel like JuJu’s going to have a better season than Antonio. I’m not saying that right now that JuJu is a better wideout, because he still has some growth to do, but he definitely has a better quarterback. And for me, if JuJu is really close to the talent and skill level of A.B. as a young wide receiver, what puts him over the top would be Big Ben, who is a Hall of Famer.”

While that’s a strong prediction on Burelson’s part, it’s not an overly outlandish one. After all, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is indeed quite a better quarterback than the Raiders Derek Carr. Additionally, it’s hard to expect that Carr and Brown will have great chemistry right away during their first season playing together. While Brown should still be expected to have a strong first season in Oakland, it would be outlandish to bet that he wont hit last year’s totals of 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns.

While Smith-Schuster might also struggle in 2019 to duplicate his 2018 receiving stat line of 111 catches for 1,426 yards and 7 touchdowns, he figures to still hit 85% of those numbers just the same, so 95 catches for 1,212 yards. Will such numbers be enough to top Brown’s in 2019? We’ll certainly see.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/nate-burleson-believes-juju-smith-schuster-will-have-better-2019-season-than-antonio-brown/

hawaiiansteel
07-16-2019, 12:15 AM
Three Under-The-Radar Offensive Players Worth Watching During Steelers Training Camp

By Dave Bryan
Posted on July 15, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 training camp will get underway later next week and as we count down the final days until the team arrives at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, it’s also worth discussing a few under-the-radar players ahead of the first practice taking place at Chuck Noll Field a week from Friday. Today we’ll discuss my three under-the-radar offensive players ahead of the start of training camp and none of them were draft picks. All three are currently considered to be very long shots to ultimately make the team’s 53-man roster.

WR Diontae Spencer – Can Spencer become the Steelers 2019 version of Stefan Logan? It’s hard to know for sure right now but after reportedly having a strong showing during the team’s offseason practices, Spencer, who to date has had a very nice CFL career, is almost sure to get a chance to make some explosive plays during training camp and the preseason. While Spencer is easily one of the shortest players on the Steelers current roster at 5076, he might just be the fastest player currently under contract as well. From 2016-2018, Spencer registered 3,123 receiving yards on 258 receptions in the CFL and only a few players had more of each in that span. He had 13 receiving touchdowns and registered 23 total plays that gained at least 30 yards. Spencer was also an accomplished punt and kickoff returner the last three seasons in the CFL. He averaged 11.5 yards per punt return from 2016-2018 and 22.6 yards per kickoff return. Two of those punt returns were returned for touchdowns. Spencer’s path to a 53-man roster spot likely includes him needing to win the punt returner job, which right now belongs to fellow diminutive wide receiver Ryan Switzer. Spencer will also need to make quite a few big plays out of the slot and down the field to warrant him being kept. He’s a long shot entering training camp, but it’s not totally out of the question that he might can stick as a No. 6 wide receiver if he has a very impressive summer showing.

https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/three-under-the-radar-offensive-players-worth-watching-during-steelers-training-camp/

Oh wow
07-16-2019, 08:27 AM
I just want wins. I don’t care who has better production. I want these WR’s to make plays at critical times in the game when we need them the most.

hawaiiansteel
07-26-2019, 04:00 PM
Alex Kozora
@Alex_Kozora

In 12 personnel, JuJu and Moncrief open up as the starting WRs. #Steelers

Players in punt return line: Eli Rogers, Ryan Switzer, Diontae Johnson, Dionte Spencer. #Steelers


https://twitter.com/Alex_Kozora?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp %7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

hawaiiansteel
07-26-2019, 11:07 PM
Roethlisberger Impressed With Rookie Johnson’s Run Test: ‘I Think He Was Barely Breathing’

By Dave Bryan
Posted on July 26, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson impressed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at times during the team’s OTA sessions in the limited time the two players worked together. Not long after the Steelers reported to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe on Thursday for the start of their 2019 training camp, Johnson, the team’s first of two third-round draft picks this year, quickly impressed Roethlisberger again as the quarterback noted on Friday how well conditioned the rookie wide receiver out of Toledo appears to now be.

“Yeah there’s some excitement there for sure,” Roethlisberger said of Johnson. “Any young guy that comes in needs to always work conditioning, no rookie ever comes in and is in great condition. And I saw him run his conditioning test yesterday and I think he was barely breathing. And I heard he was here a lot in the offseason working. So you can tell that he really took that to heart, that he needed to get into shape and I’ve seen that so far, eve though it’s early.”

That’s a great sign when it comes to Johnson as Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith hinted during team OTAs that Johnson needed to show up at Latrobe for the start of training camp in much better shape than he was during the spring.

Outside of maybe not being the most conditioned player during team OTAs this past spring, Johnson, who turned 23 at the beginning of July, seemed to impress in all other areas while the team played football in shorts. While reportedly impressive this spring without any pads on, Roethlisberger is now is looking for that impressiveness from Johnson to continue on at Latrobe once the pads are put on.

“The next thing I want to see is how he plays and reacts with pads on,” Roethlisberger said Friday. “Because a lot of us look good with shorts and t-shirts, but once the pads come on and you have the capability of getting hit and stuff, we’ll see what happens. But I’m excited for it.”

Johnson will likely be doing battle with veteran wide receiver Dontae Moncrief for the right to be the team’s starting X receiver in 2019. While it wont be surprising if he’s unable to beat out Moncrief for the starting spot by the end of the preseason, he, along with several of the other wide receivers that make the 53-man roster this year, should all have plenty of opportunities to catch plenty of balls from Roethlisberger this season and make plays. Roethlisberger made it clear on Friday that while he does know a lot about several of his wide receivers currently on the roster, he’s now excited to see the improvements made this summer in the little subtle nuances associated with the offense and the wide receiver position.

“I know what they can do. I know they can catch. I know they can play,” said Roethlisberger. “I want to see who makes the least amount of mistakes. Who can get a subtle handle signal. Who can interpret even visual signals, looks and things like that. That is the fun part. That is the part I enjoy and they have enjoyed so far. Just seeing how we can mesh together.”


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/roethlisberger-impressed-with-rookie-johnsons-run-test-i-think-he-was-barely-breathing/

hawaiiansteel
07-27-2019, 09:49 PM
• Johnson continued to be largely invisible at practice, the third-round pick noticeable more for his drops or missed connections than for receptions. The best receiver named “Diontae” through two days has been CFL star Spencer and not Johnson. Spencer had two nice plays in one 11-on-11 session, once beating Artie Burns for a long touchdown, another time putting a nice move on Herb Waters for a catch.


https://triblive.com/sports/steelers-inside-the-ropes-chris-boswell-passes-first-test-of-camp-albeit-an-easy-one/

Captain Lemming
07-27-2019, 10:00 PM
• Johnson continued to be largely invisible at practice, the third-round pick noticeable more for his drops or missed connections than for receptions. The best receiver named “Diontae” through two days has been CFL star Spencer and not Johnson. Spencer had two nice plays in one 11-on-11 session, once beating Artie Burns for a long touchdown, another time putting a nice move on Herb Waters for a catch.


https://triblive.com/sports/steelers-inside-the-ropes-chris-boswell-passes-first-test-of-camp-albeit-an-easy-one/


I hope Spencer gets a fair shot at pt. I have a feeling he might be a real asset given the chance.

fordfixer
07-28-2019, 02:11 AM
• Johnson continued to be largely invisible at practice, the third-round pick noticeable more for his drops or missed connections than for receptions. The best receiver named “Diontae” through two days has been CFL star Spencer and not Johnson. Spencer had two nice plays in one 11-on-11 session, once beating Artie Burns for a long touchdown, another time putting a nice move on Herb Waters for a catch.


https://triblive.com/sports/steelers-inside-the-ropes-chris-boswell-passes-first-test-of-camp-albeit-an-easy-one/
Add one more name to the long list of people that have beaten Artie Burns for a touchdown.

Steel Maniac
07-28-2019, 06:04 PM
Not looking good for Burns.

fordfixer
07-29-2019, 12:05 AM
Not looking good for Burns.
I’m hoping for him to break out this year.

hawaiiansteel
07-30-2019, 06:20 PM
James Washington Admits He Felt Pressure Of Expectations, Following JuJu’s Footsteps, During Rookie Season

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on July 30, 2019

While the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t need him to be a starter—let alone a star—coming out of college, as a second-round pick serving as an encore to a very successful second-round pick at the same position a year earlier, James Washington felt the pressure of the expectations that came with his slotting and his environment.

The Steelers entered the 2018 already very well-positioned at the wide receiver position, with Antonio Brown a perennial stud and then-second-year JuJu Smith-Schuster coming off a rookie season in which he emerged as the clear number two receiver with 58 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games played.

In 2018, the pair combined for over 200 catches 2700 yards, and 22 touchdowns between them, quite a feat that isn’t regularly matched even in today’s high-octane NFL. To have two wide receivers that accomplished at the same time on the same team, working with a quarterback as good as the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, is rare.

And so Washington was brought in, for the long-term to have a major impact, but for the short-term just to serve as a complement to two true stars at the position. They would soak up most of the attention, and he would just have to take advantage of his spots. By and large, for most of his rookie season, he didn’t.

The 23-year-old recently told Will Graves that he felt himself pressing “for sure” last season, pressing to perform and to live up to the expectations that he felt being set up for him, even from the fanbase who just saw Smith-Schuster come in and play like a veteran right away at 20 years old.

“It wasn’t just me. It felt like coaches and fans and everybody, ‘oh, he’s got to do what JuJu did’”, Washington told the Associated Press scribe. “I’m like, ‘I’m not JuJu. You’ve got to realize that’. We’re two different people. You know. Some guys run faster than others and some learn slower than others. It just takes time”.

Though even now Washington remains the elder individual between himself and Smith-Schuster, there is no debate as to who is further along in their development as an NFL wide receiver. A year separated from the draft and of the pressure cooker that is your rookie season, however, perhaps he can settle down into a more comfortable role.

Not that that is going to make him understand the playbook any better, to run more precise routes, or to be in better physical condition. Washington didn’t struggle during his rookie season just because he felt the pressure of the moment. He struggled because he was behind and was never able to catch up by the end of the year.

This year, once again, the demand for him to be a starter isn’t necessarily there. Brown is gone, but in comes Donte Moncrief, the veteran, and they have multiple slot options. The pressure to perform and to carry the team is not his burden.

Now the pressure is not being left behind as others pass him as the forgotten second-round pick. And perhaps that will be the motivation that takes him to the level needed to live up to his potential.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/james-washington-admits-he-felt-pressure-of-expectations-following-jujus-footsteps-during-rookie-season/

Steel Maniac
07-31-2019, 10:08 AM
We are so loaded at WR's. To me, that's where we can move someone to get something else we need in an area of need.

Oh wow
07-31-2019, 10:18 AM
James Washington Admits He Felt Pressure Of Expectations, Following JuJu’s Footsteps, During Rookie Season

By Matthew Marczi
Posted on July 30, 2019

While the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t need him to be a starter—let alone a star—coming out of college, as a second-round pick serving as an encore to a very successful second-round pick at the same position a year earlier, James Washington felt the pressure of the expectations that came with his slotting and his environment.

The Steelers entered the 2018 already very well-positioned at the wide receiver position, with Antonio Brown a perennial stud and then-second-year JuJu Smith-Schuster coming off a rookie season in which he emerged as the clear number two receiver with 58 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games played.

In 2018, the pair combined for over 200 catches 2700 yards, and 22 touchdowns between them, quite a feat that isn’t regularly matched even in today’s high-octane NFL. To have two wide receivers that accomplished at the same time on the same team, working with a quarterback as good as the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, is rare.

And so Washington was brought in, for the long-term to have a major impact, but for the short-term just to serve as a complement to two true stars at the position. They would soak up most of the attention, and he would just have to take advantage of his spots. By and large, for most of his rookie season, he didn’t.

The 23-year-old recently told Will Graves that he felt himself pressing “for sure” last season, pressing to perform and to live up to the expectations that he felt being set up for him, even from the fanbase who just saw Smith-Schuster come in and play like a veteran right away at 20 years old.

“It wasn’t just me. It felt like coaches and fans and everybody, ‘oh, he’s got to do what JuJu did’”, Washington told the Associated Press scribe. “I’m like, ‘I’m not JuJu. You’ve got to realize that’. We’re two different people. You know. Some guys run faster than others and some learn slower than others. It just takes time”.

Though even now Washington remains the elder individual between himself and Smith-Schuster, there is no debate as to who is further along in their development as an NFL wide receiver. A year separated from the draft and of the pressure cooker that is your rookie season, however, perhaps he can settle down into a more comfortable role.

Not that that is going to make him understand the playbook any better, to run more precise routes, or to be in better physical condition. Washington didn’t struggle during his rookie season just because he felt the pressure of the moment. He struggled because he was behind and was never able to catch up by the end of the year.

This year, once again, the demand for him to be a starter isn’t necessarily there. Brown is gone, but in comes Donte Moncrief, the veteran, and they have multiple slot options. The pressure to perform and to carry the team is not his burden.

Now the pressure is not being left behind as others pass him as the forgotten second-round pick. And perhaps that will be the motivation that takes him to the level needed to live up to his potential.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/07/james-washington-admits-he-felt-pressure-of-expectations-following-jujus-footsteps-during-rookie-season/

I definitely thought Washington would look better than he did his rookie year. Hopefully it clicks this year.

hawaiiansteel
08-02-2019, 11:36 PM
Steelers Rookie WR Diontae Johnson Suffered Injured Hip In Friday Night Practice

By Dave Bryan
Posted on August 2, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers just wrapped up their 2019 Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium and after the session was over, head coach Mike Tomlin revealed that three players suffered injuries during the evening. Those three players were wide receiver Diontae Johnson (hip), inside linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring) and outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo (hamstring).

“Diontae Johnson has got a hip that’s going to be evaluated,” Tomlin said of the team’s rookie wide receiver. “Vince Williams has got a hamstring that’s going to be evaluated. Chickillo, same thing. Happened late, don’t know a lot about those guys. Hopefully it’s day-to-day. Can’t afford to miss a lot of time, we’ve got a lot of work here in front of us as we start readying ourself to step into a stadium.”

Williams and Chickillo are both veteran players so them missing future practice time due to injury obviously isn’t as a big of deal as Johnson missing time. Johnson has been reportedly working as the team’s second-string X wide receiver to date behind starter Donte Moncrief.

If Chickillo is sidelined for an extended amount of time the Steelers might end up adding another outside linebacker to their roster as T.J. Watt is still on the team’s Active/PUP list with a hamstring injury. However, it’s worth noting that staring outside linebacker Bud Dupree reportedly practiced some Friday night after sitting out Thursday’s session.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey and tackle Alejandro Villanueva were just a few players that were given Friday night off. It rained Friday night in Latrobe and the wet football field probably played a big part in several veteran players being held out of practice.

Sitting out injured Friday night were safety Sean Davis (finger), wide receiver Johnny Holton (hamstring), outside linebacker Sutton Smith (undisclosed) and Kameron Canaday (groin).


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/steelers-rookie-wr-diontae-johnson-suffered-injured-hip-in-friday-night-practice/

hawaiiansteel
08-03-2019, 10:43 PM
Raiders' Brown to see foot specialist, source says

Paul Gutierrez
ESPN Staff Writer

NAPA, Calif. -- Antonio Brown, who has missed a significant portion of his first training camp with the Oakland Raiders, was scheduled to see a foot specialist Saturday, a source confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The injury is not believed to be long term, the source said.

Brown, who began camp on the non-football injury due to what sources told ESPN were sore feet, participated in a pre-practice walk-through last Sunday and was limited in practice on Tuesday. That night, he posted a picture of the bottom of his feet that showed them blistering and peeling. The team was off Wednesday, and he was not seen on the practice field Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden acknowledged Friday he was getting frustrated with Brown, whom the team acquired in the offseason, not being available.

"I think we're all disappointed," Gruden said. "We think he's disappointed. We'd like to get the party started. We'd like to get him out here. He's a big part of the team.

"I want the guy out here as soon as possible. I'd like him to never leave and stay in the huddle every play. But life goes on and you've got to continue to work and the other guys got to take advantage of these opportunities, and so far, they have."

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said Saturday he anticipated the chemistry he built with Brown during the offseason would return as soon as the receiver came back to practice.

"We wish that the healing process of whatever's going on be fast," Carr said. "We want it to be fast, but at the same time you can't rush things for training camp when you know you have a season and, hopefully, a playoff run to think about."

Carr said he had not seen the picture of Brown's feet. When shown it after his media session, he recoiled.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EBEbESsUcAAJqlo.jpg

"We just know that when he does show up, we can't wait to welcome him with open arms, hopefully healthy and just ready to hit it running," Carr said. "We had so much time in the offseason, we spent a lot of time at my house, throwing. We spent hours upon hours throwing. So there is chemistry, there is development. I'm used to throwing him the ball, so it won't be brand new when he shows up. It will be just more on him, and the details of the routes, getting out and doing it and correcting it on film and going and fixing it the next day. Those kind of things. But besides that, the timing aspect, the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of what we need is there."


https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27315912/raiders-brown-see-foot-specialist-source-says

Steel Maniac
08-05-2019, 09:24 AM
I"m taking Moncrief in the final rounds of my fantasy draft for sure. The upside could be WR2 numbers for sure.

Oviedo
08-05-2019, 12:48 PM
Raiders' Brown to see foot specialist, source says

Paul Gutierrez
ESPN Staff Writer

NAPA, Calif. -- Antonio Brown, who has missed a significant portion of his first training camp with the Oakland Raiders, was scheduled to see a foot specialist Saturday, a source confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The injury is not believed to be long term, the source said.

Brown, who began camp on the non-football injury due to what sources told ESPN were sore feet, participated in a pre-practice walk-through last Sunday and was limited in practice on Tuesday. That night, he posted a picture of the bottom of his feet that showed them blistering and peeling. The team was off Wednesday, and he was not seen on the practice field Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden acknowledged Friday he was getting frustrated with Brown, whom the team acquired in the offseason, not being available.

"I think we're all disappointed," Gruden said. "We think he's disappointed. We'd like to get the party started. We'd like to get him out here. He's a big part of the team.

"I want the guy out here as soon as possible. I'd like him to never leave and stay in the huddle every play. But life goes on and you've got to continue to work and the other guys got to take advantage of these opportunities, and so far, they have."

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said Saturday he anticipated the chemistry he built with Brown during the offseason would return as soon as the receiver came back to practice.

"We wish that the healing process of whatever's going on be fast," Carr said. "We want it to be fast, but at the same time you can't rush things for training camp when you know you have a season and, hopefully, a playoff run to think about."

Carr said he had not seen the picture of Brown's feet. When shown it after his media session, he recoiled.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EBEbESsUcAAJqlo.jpg

"We just know that when he does show up, we can't wait to welcome him with open arms, hopefully healthy and just ready to hit it running," Carr said. "We had so much time in the offseason, we spent a lot of time at my house, throwing. We spent hours upon hours throwing. So there is chemistry, there is development. I'm used to throwing him the ball, so it won't be brand new when he shows up. It will be just more on him, and the details of the routes, getting out and doing it and correcting it on film and going and fixing it the next day. Those kind of things. But besides that, the timing aspect, the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of what we need is there."


https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27315912/raiders-brown-see-foot-specialist-source-says
A flesh eating bacteria would be Karma for Brown. Maybe not that but a good case of trench foot would be justified given his lies and lack of integrity

Oh wow
08-05-2019, 01:19 PM
Ugh... I’m not a fan of feet. I didn’t need to see that

hawaiiansteel
08-05-2019, 02:56 PM
Ugh... I’m not a fan of feet. I didn’t need to see that

Rex Ryan would love to see them...

fordfixer
08-05-2019, 10:00 PM
Rex Ryan would love to see them...
Haha that’s just wrong...funny but wrong :D

hawaiiansteel
08-06-2019, 03:00 PM
Setting The Record Straight On James Washington’s Speed

By Daniel Valente
Posted on August 5, 2019

If you focus in on one specific target too hard, you will often miss all the background context. That has been the case with second year wide receiver James Washington and his speed or lack of speed to be more accurate.

After Washington’s rookie season, the narrative surrounding Washington is that he lacks speed or any standout athleticism at all. The second year receiver has found his play style boxed in but a trip down memory lane should give a few reminders on Washington’s speed and the connection between top-end speed and elite receivers.

While Washington is not going to be fool anyone as the next Mike Wallace or Randy Moss, it was not too long ago that the former Oklahoma State receiver was being praised for his speed. Lance Zierlein wrote the following about Washington in his pre-draft profile.

“Washington is a top-heavy receiver with dangerous build-up speed who has a three-year history of hitting chunk plays thanks to his speed and ball tracking.”

Zierlein was not kidding, as while Washington may not be a receiver who will beat you with his speed right off the line, his long speed has been talked about since his days at Oklahoma State. Let’s not forget that it was Washington who posted the fastest speed during one of the practice sessions during the 2018 Senior Bowl.

Washington was not up against any slouches at the Senior Bowl either as he was among other speedsters as D.J. Chark (4.34) and Tre’Quan Smith (4.49). Washington posted pedestrian numbers during the 40-yard dash, running a 4.54 but it was not long ago that he was a Texas track star.

In 2014, Washington was victorious in the 100 metre and 200 metre dash according to his track profile. And while he was not able to replicate the same success during the 2018 Scouting Combine, 40-yard dash times are not everything.

Former Steelers’ receiver Antonio Brown posted a 4.47 time but that did not stop him from developing into a credible deep threat later in his career. Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green posted a 4.5 time and even the Steelers’ very own JuJu Smith-Schuster could only match Washington’s numbers, running a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash.

If speed and athleticism were the sole indicators of a wide receiver’s future success then Al Davis’ Oakland Raiders would have won more than a handful of Super Bowls with Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford leading their offense. Last I checked that was not the case.

Receivers get open with more than just speed, as technique and route running ability are probably more valuable to the position than anything else. Smith-Schuster and even the now retired Hines Ward were never the most athletic players on the field but that did not stop them from being successful.

While Washington may never be a feared deep threat such as Wallace, his speed should not be overlooked. He may have struggled down the field as a rookie last season but a large portion of that was due to drops and concentration lapses. There is reason to believe that the Steelers’ receiver could come out a step faster as well. Washington has admitted to dropping from 225 lbs last season to 209 lbs, which will surely help him take the top off defenses if that is how the Steelers intend to use him.

Narratives surrounding the second-year wide receiver’s speed rolled and peopled rolled with it, but now a slimmer and hopefully more polished Washington will have a chance to set the record straight this season.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/setting-the-record-straight-on-james-washingtons-speed/

RuthlessBurgher
08-06-2019, 03:31 PM
Simms: Antonio Brown’s got frostbitten feet in a cryotherapy machine

Posted by Mike Florio on August 6, 2019, 2:47 PM EDT

Today’s edition of PFT Live featured an amusing (but obviously somewhat serious) anecdote regarding the inability of Raiders receiver Antonio Brown to practice due to what has been characterized as blisters on his feet.

On Monday, PFT Live co-host Chris Simms said that the photos posted by Brown don’t reveal blisters but the peeling of layers of of skins from the bottom of his feet. Simms said that he once had a condition like that, thanks to what he called an “unidentified Buc fungus” in Tampa.

After Monday’s show, Simms got word from someone with knowledge of the situation that Brown burned his feet by entering a cryotherapy machine without the proper footwear, and his feet were frostbitten.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not respond to a request for comment.

The former Steeler started training camp on the non-football injury list. He exited NFI, practiced for a few days, and then was unable to practice. He has seen a specialist, and is regarded as day to day.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/08/06/simms-antonio-browns-got-frostbitten-feet-in-a-cryotherapy-machine/

hawaiiansteel
08-07-2019, 04:14 PM
Q: Juju, Moncrief, Washington and Johnson are 4 WR locks. Who would you say is the leader for the 5th WR spot?

Gerry Dulac: Switzer for sure


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/08/07/Gerry-Dulac-s-Steelers-chat-08-07-19/stories/201908070088

hawaiiansteel
08-08-2019, 08:07 PM
Chris Wesseling
Verified account
@ChrisWesseling

Some people in Steelers camp have Diontae Johnson ahead of James Washington in the WR pecking order


https://twitter.com/ChrisWesseling?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etwee tembed%7Ctwterm%5E1159589388214386688&ref_url=http %3A%2F%2Fwww.steelersuniverse.com%2Fforums%2Fshowt hread.php%2F30683-Mike-Tomlin-Devin-Bush-%25E2%2580%2598Has-A-Lot-To-Learn%25E2%2580%25A6A-Lot-To-Prove%25E2%2580%2599%2Fpage2

Steel Maniac
08-08-2019, 10:12 PM
https://www.rotoworld.com/football/nfl/player/51685/diontae-johnson

Northern_Blitz
08-09-2019, 10:57 AM
https://www.rotoworld.com/football/nfl/player/51685/diontae-johnson

I hope DJ's groin issue doesn't become a nagging thing. It would be great if Montcrief, Washington, and Johnson all end up being viable weapons in the O. Makes us harder to prepare for, especially if Ben spreads it around now without AB crying every time he doesn't get a target.

RuthlessBurgher
08-09-2019, 11:14 AM
Ben Roethlisberger is excited about his options in the passing game

Posted by Mike Florio on August 9, 2019, 11:06 AM EDT

Receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell (who caught plenty of passes) are gone. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants them also to be forgotten. Whether that happens depends on the performance of the players who will take their place.

“I’m really excited about what we have,” Roethlisberger recently told Chris Simms. “JuJu [Smith-Schuster] just keeps getting better and I’m excited for what he’s going to do, especially with a new challenge. Every year he’s presented with a new challenge and he’s answered the bell.”

It’s going to take more than JuJu to get it done, but Ben is also excited about the rest of the receiving corps.

“I’m excited to see what [Donte] Moncrief [does],” Roethlisberger said. “I’ve been really excited about him. We got a battle inside between him, Eli [Rogers] and [Ryan Switzer], two guys who are really fun to watch work. James Washington has shown improvement. He’s lost weight, gotten faster, and [is] making plays.

“There’s going to be a lot. There’s some catches that went to Oakland that are going to have to get dispersed among a lot of guys. Not one guy and that’s going to be the thing, it’s not one guy who needs to pick up the slack. It needs to be everybody, and that includes me. Making sure every guy gets the ball and make sure I don’t try to do too much.”

When trying to understand why the Steelers have had so many mid-to-late-round receivers over the last decade, rarely if ever does anyone credit Roethlisberger for it. This year, he’ll have a chance to prove that he’s had something to do with the stellar performances of so many Steelers receivers.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/08/09/ben-roethlisberger-is-excited-about-his-options-in-the-passing-game/

pittpete
08-10-2019, 12:10 PM
Im not so sure Switzer is a lock any more.....

ikestops85
08-10-2019, 08:51 PM
Im not so sure Switzer is a lock any more.....

I agree with you Pete. I like Switzer but damn, we are loaded. Washington looked like a superstar. Holton and Jones looked very good and we haven't even seen the rookie 3rd rounder and Moncrief. Toss in Eli Rodgers and of course JuJu and we are stocked. The only one I was disappointed in was Spencer. I did like his return ability though.

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2019, 10:05 PM
I agree with you Pete. I like Switzer but damn, we are loaded. Washington looked like a superstar. Holton and Jones looked very good and we haven't even seen the rookie 3rd rounder and Moncrief. Toss in Eli Rodgers and of course JuJu and we are stocked. The only one I was disappointed in was Spencer. I did like his return ability though.

I think only 4 WRs are safe: JuJu, Moncrief, Washington and Johnson.

if we keep 6, the competition for the last two spots will be between Switzer, Eli, Spencer, Tevin Jones and Johnny Holton.

Ernie
08-10-2019, 10:42 PM
its amazing to think back to the offseason discussion.. with guys on here saying we were "talent deficient" at the WR position.

pittpete
08-10-2019, 11:19 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioiUVgZ_K-A

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2019, 11:21 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioiUVgZ_K-A


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioiUVgZ_K-A

hawaiiansteel
08-12-2019, 04:13 PM
Silly in PHILLY: Call me silly...but the Steelers have some tough cuts at WR, right? u think they go w 5 or 6 wr’s- and who are they?

Ray Fittipaldo: JuJu (lock), Moncrief (lock), Diontae Johnson (lock), Washington (lock), Switzer (near lock)... No. 6 up for grabs if they keep six. Could be Eli Rogers. Could be Johnny Holton. Could be Tevin Jones. Could be Diontae Spencer.


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/08/12/Ray-Fittipaldo-s-Steelers-chat-08-12-19/stories/201908120075

Oviedo
08-12-2019, 04:14 PM
Silly in PHILLY: Call me silly...but the Steelers have some tough cuts at WR, right? u think they go w 5 or 6 wr’s- and who are they?

Ray Fittipaldo: JuJu (lock), Moncrief (lock), Diontae Johnson (lock), Washington (lock), Switzer (near lock)... No. 6 up for grabs if they keep six. Could be Eli Rogers. Could be Johnny Holton. Could be Tevin Jones. Could be Diontae Spencer.


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/08/12/Ray-Fittipaldo-s-Steelers-chat-08-12-19/stories/201908120075
As players get hurt during pre season I could see Rogers having some trade value

Eddie Spaghetti
08-12-2019, 06:20 PM
I guess i just don't see the steelers WR corp as strong as sone people here seem to believe

phillyesq
08-12-2019, 06:28 PM
I guess i just don't see the steelers WR corp as strong as sone people here seem to believe

Of the guys competing for spots 5-6, I think Switzer, Rogers, Holton and Tevin Jones are all rosterable NFL players who could provide value in different ways. Spencer could be an interesting return guy but needs more consistency catching the ball. Seems like a practice squad candidate. Not saying they are stars, but I think all could be contributors.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
08-12-2019, 07:26 PM
I guess i just don't see the steelers WR corp as strong as sone people here seem to believe

A lot of question marks on the WR roster. It can be looked at several ways:

JuJu - Rising star or guy who has to prove he can put up numbers without a stud across from him.
Moncrief - Guy has always looked the part with questionable (at best) QB play. Can he perform when he is finally in a balanced O with a real QB?
Washington - Guy who is ready to step up in year two or continued disappointment?
Diontae 1 - Guy's a rook, looked good so far, who knows what he is?
Rogers, Switzer - Quick slot guys who have the ability to make big plays or drop a ball on third down. What will we get?

I see the glass half full. Even if half of what we want to see comes to pass then we have a good WR corps. Add Vance and Conner/Samuels/Snell to the mix and there are plenty of weapons at the team's disposal. Should give those who don't show right away an opportunity to grow and ease into the mix.

Eddie Spaghetti
08-12-2019, 07:28 PM
my point is that none of these guys are tough cuts because of talent and neither are any of them legitimate trade bait

after juju it's a bunch of question marks

hawaiiansteel
08-12-2019, 08:04 PM
On the upswing

Steelers receiver depth: The sudden passing of Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake on Sunday is a tragic blow to the entire organization, but the work he did with this group of wideouts will live on. Rookie Diontae Johnson got the early publicity in training camp, but second-year pro James Washington is making a push now. Washington followed up a strong stretch of practices with a four-catch, 84-yard performance in the preseason opener that included two impressive plays down the field and a textbook back-shoulder touchdown. Those were the types of plays Washington often failed to convert as a rookie.

Whether Washington or free-agent pickup Donte Moncrief starts opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster is almost beside the point, because the Steelers will play them both plenty. The following two things can both be true: 1) The Steelers' receivers are not nearly as good without Antonio Brown. 2) The Steelers' receivers are plenty good enough, and the unit looks deeper than it did a year ago.


http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001040935/article/nfl-preseason-winners-and-losers-raiders-delightfully-chaotic?campaign=Twitter_atn

flippy
08-12-2019, 11:21 PM
I see Juju and Washington starting on the outside with Switzer in the slot.

I think those are the 3 that will take a huge step forward.

I also hope to see Samuels in more of a hyrbid HBack role this year. He's got so much upside as a receiver, I hate to see him waste away on the sideline.

Oh wow
08-13-2019, 06:12 AM
We don’t have depth. We have potential.

Ghost
08-13-2019, 08:03 AM
As long as none of the WR's get frost bitten feet in August, we're definitely better off...

Steel Maniac
08-13-2019, 08:09 AM
And that ladies & gentlemen, is the final answer.

RuthlessBurgher
08-13-2019, 10:14 AM
I see Juju and Washington starting on the outside with Switzer in the slot.

I think those are the 3 that will take a huge step forward.

I also hope to see Samuels in more of a hyrbid HBack role this year. He's got so much upside as a receiver, I hate to see him waste away on the sideline.

I think it's more likely to have Juju as our starting flanker and Moncrief as our starting split end, and then when we go 3-wide, Juju moves into the slot and Washington enters as the new flanker outside.

I agree with using Samuels more in roles other than a traditional RB. He lined up all over the place at N.C. State...total utility man. I think since our depth at TE behind Vance is not as strong this year with only X. Grimble and Z. Gentry back there, Samuels could be a quasi-TE H-back type for us like, say, Chris Cooley was in Washington back in the day. Or he could also be like former Cardinal Larry Centers out of the backfield.

phillyesq
08-13-2019, 12:08 PM
my point is that none of these guys are tough cuts because of talent and neither are any of them legitimate trade bait

after juju it's a bunch of question marks

I think Rogers and Switzer probably have a bit of trade value. Not a huge return, but maybe swapping a 5th for a 6th, or even a conditional 6th/7th rounder. The rest - I'd agree. No trade value.

RuthlessBurgher
08-13-2019, 12:18 PM
I think Rogers and Switzer probably have a bit of trade value. Not a huge return, but maybe swapping a 5th for a 6th, or even a conditional 6th/7th rounder. The rest - I'd agree. No trade value.

Or just a player-for-player swap to a team who might be hurting at WR but has more depth than we have at TE or safety.

We could give a WR-needy team our borderline WR5/6 guy on the roster bubble for their borderline TE3/4 on the roster bubble or whatever.

hawaiiansteel
08-13-2019, 03:02 PM
Or just a player-for-player swap to a team who might be hurting at WR but has more depth than we have at TE or safety.

We could give a WR-needy team our borderline WR5/6 guy on the roster bubble for their borderline TE3/4 on the roster bubble or whatever.

I suggest a trade with the Raiders...:D

Mark
08-14-2019, 10:14 AM
we are fooling ourselves, Huge step back in the passing game this year

Sugar
08-14-2019, 10:35 AM
we are fooling ourselves, Huge step back in the passing game this year

I'm curious as to why you think that is the case. Is it because of WR personnell? Perhaps, because of a changed emphasis back to the run?

Steel Maniac
08-14-2019, 10:46 AM
we are fooling ourselves, Huge step back in the passing game this year

Totally disagree. We are a better WR corps then last year. But...we will run the ball more this year so expecting Ben to lead the league in passing yardage isn't going to happen.

RuthlessBurgher
08-14-2019, 10:51 AM
I think we throw the ball less, but not by a truly significant amount. Maybe 1 less pass per quarter...that would come out to 4 less passes per game, and thus 64 less passes over the course of a season. Maybe 500 or so less yards through the air over the course of a whole season. Instead of 34 TD passes, maybe Ben falls back into the usual amount in the high 20's instead (28 or 29 TD). More importantly, though, I could see his interception number dropping from 16 down into single digits (8 or 9 INT). That's the most important stat right there.

Essentially, I see our raw passing numbers being lower across the board, but I expect his overall efficiency to improve as he stops trying to force the ball into tight spots to appease an egomaniac diva type and just distributes the ball to whoever happens to be open on a given play.

And if we pass the ball a few times less per game, we can run the ball a few times more, controlling the clock a bit more to help our defense, and if we balance those carries out a bit better between Conner, Samuels, and Snell (maybe something like a 60%-25%-15% distribution rather than just running the wheels off your bellcow every year), we'll be better off for it as an overall team.

flippy
08-14-2019, 11:08 AM
I think it's more likely to have Juju as our starting flanker and Moncrief as our starting split end, and then when we go 3-wide, Juju moves into the slot and Washington enters as the new flanker outside.

I agree with using Samuels more in roles other than a traditional RB. He lined up all over the place at N.C. State...total utility man. I think since our depth at TE behind Vance is not as strong this year with only X. Grimble and Z. Gentry back there, Samuels could be a quasi-TE H-back type for us like, say, Chris Cooley was in Washington back in the day. Or he could also be like former Cardinal Larry Centers out of the backfield.

You may be right on Juju playing in the slot a lot because that's where he's been most effective. But I suspect he'll move inside and have Moncrief come in on the outside. Time will tell between Washington and Moncrief, but the first game looked to me like Washington is a completely different player and ready to step up. Of course they paid Moncrief to start, so there's probably a 95% chance you're right. But I really like what I've seen out of Washington so far and think he defies the odds.

Where does that leave the other WRs? I'm not 100% sure. But I think Switzer is going to take the biggest step forward of anyone on the roster, especially now that he has a full offseason with the team. He could easily become Ben's safety valve in this offense. Ben seems to like him and I could see him getting a lot of the newly available looks/targets.

RuthlessBurgher
08-14-2019, 11:20 AM
You may be right on Juju playing in the slot a lot because that's where he's been most effective. But I suspect he'll move inside and have Moncrief come in on the outside. Time will tell between Washington and Moncrief, but the first game looked to me like Washington is a completely different player and ready to step up. Of course they paid Moncrief to start, so there's probably a 95% chance you're right. But I really like what I've seen out of Washington so far and think he defies the odds.

Since we are in 3 WR sets way more than we are in 2 WR sets anymore, essentially Juju, Moncrief, and Washington should all be considered to be starters.

If Diontae Johnson improves as the season moves along, perhaps he could steal some snaps from Moncrief as we get deeper into the season.

Steel Maniac
08-14-2019, 11:34 AM
You may be right on Juju playing in the slot a lot because that's where he's been most effective. But I suspect he'll move inside and have Moncrief come in on the outside. Time will tell between Washington and Moncrief, but the first game looked to me like Washington is a completely different player and ready to step up. Of course they paid Moncrief to start, so there's probably a 95% chance you're right. But I really like what I've seen out of Washington so far and think he defies the odds.

Where does that leave the other WRs? I'm not 100% sure. But I think Switzer is going to take the biggest step forward of anyone on the roster, especially now that he has a full offseason with the team. He could easily become Ben's safety valve in this offense. Ben seems to like him and I could see him getting a lot of the newly available looks/targets.

We gotta see what Moncrief does with all things being even as well. Washington looked wonderful but Moncrief has to be given an opportunity.

AzStillers1989
08-14-2019, 11:50 AM
we are fooling ourselves, Huge step back in the passing game this year

Okay “Mark”. ����

RuthlessBurgher
08-14-2019, 11:58 AM
Okay “Mark”. ����

https://thumbs.gfycat.com/IncompleteBlaringBee-size_restricted.gif

https://img.memecdn.com/oh-hai-mark_o_237535.jpg

Steel Maniac
08-14-2019, 12:47 PM
Okay “Mark”. ����

yeah............

hawaiiansteel
08-14-2019, 04:03 PM
Tomlin On WR Holton: ‘He Has NFL Resume In Tape’

By Dave Bryan
Posted on August 13, 2019

Earlier in the offseason the Pittsburgh Steelers signed wide receiver Johnny Holton following him being waived by the Philadelphia Eagles. At the start of this year’s training camp, however, Holton missed a lot of practice time due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately for him, he was able to get over that injury in time to play in the Steelers preseason opener Friday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only did Holton play, he provided the game’s longest play from scrimmage, a 59-yard gain after a short reception.

Holton also had one other catch Friday night good for 10 yards in addition to drawing a defensive pass interference penalty good for another 27 yards. Oh, he also returned two kickoffs Friday night for a total of 45 yards in addition to registering one assisted tackle on special teams.

During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to disclose how aware he was of Holton prior to the team signing him back in May.

“Very, very,” Tomlin said. “He has NFL resume in tape.”

Holton, who originally entered the NFL with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, indeed does already have some limited NFL playing time on tape. In his 2016 rookie season with the Raiders, Holton registered just 2 receptions for 34 yards in the 51 total offensive snaps that he played. He did, however, play 137 special team snaps as a rookie and ended the 2016 season with 12 total special teams tackles, the second-most on the team.

In his 2017 season with the Raiders, Holton registered another 9 receptions for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns in 230 total offensive snaps played. He also logged another 187 special team snaps in his second season and contributed 5 tackles, which tied him for the team high.

Last season, Holton spent most of the year on the Raiders practice squad. He did, however, get promoted to the Raiders 53-man roster for one game in November but logged just 5 offensive snaps in that contest and finished without any catches. He also logged 5 special teams snaps in that one game but failed to register any tackles.

While it doesn’t appear as though Holton has returned any kickoffs thus far during his NFL career, he did do a lot of that in college. In his two seasons of college football at Cincinnati, Holton returned 45 kickoffs for 942 yards. Also, in case you’re curious, at his 2016 pro day Holton reportedly measured in at 6005, 190-pounds and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42-seconds.

This past January, the Eagles signed Holton to a futures contract but waived him not long after the NFL draft took place. The Steelers quickly signed him off the street. During an offseason practice interview, Holton discussed the role he played during his previous time spent on the roster of the Raiders.

“My role with the Raiders was pretty much a ‘gunner,’” Holton said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “And on other special teams. And just a vertical route runner, too.”

As our own Daniel Valente pointed out in a May post, Holton can essentially be described as a younger version of former Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey with a lot less pedigree. Heyward-Bey, who the team chose not to re-sign this past offseason, was a backup deep threat for the Steelers for the last five season and a key contributor on special teams. While the former first-round draft pick of the Raiders only managed to catch 33 passes for 517 yards and 4 touchdowns in the five seasons that he spent in Pittsburgh, he did contribute 13 total tackles on special teams. He also served as a veteran leader to the wide receivers in the locker room.

Now that Holton has one nice preseason showing with the Steelers under his belt you can probably count on him get another long look in the team’s second preseason game Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field. An even better showing in his second time in a Steelers uniform under the stadium lights is sure to result in Tomlin being even more aware of him than he already is and that could ultimately result in the wide receiver landing a spot on this year’s 53-man roster to start the regular season.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/tomlin-on-wr-holton-he-has-nfl-resume-in-tape/

hawaiiansteel
08-14-2019, 10:12 PM
Steelers inside the ropes: Moncrief back to making plays

CHRIS ADAMSKI | Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Over the first three days of training camp, before he suffered a finger injury, Donte Moncrief was wowing onlookers at Saint Vincent. The Pittsburgh Steelers marquee free-agent signing on offense looked as if he could be a quality No. 2 receiver to complement JuJu Smith-Schuster.

A two-week absence related to the dislocation of his left ring finger muted the hype surrounding the former college star who had underwhelming production during his first five NFL seasons. But Moncrief returned for a full (and fully-padded) practice Wednesday at Chuck Noll Field. And he once again was making plays.

Moncrief’s tough catches in the end zone during an 11-on-11 scramble drill and during a 7-on-7 were the highlights of what was a strong practice for him. On the former, Moncrief’s “touchdown” was from about 25 yards, beating defenders to the ball coming back to the goal-line pylon. On the latter, Moncrief leaped and got his feet down in the back of the end zone on a throw from Ben Roethlisberger, outmaneuvering a pair of defenders to the ball.

• Wednesday’s practice was the last of camp to feature pads. It also was situational heavy, and it featured all healthy players. It was spirited in its hitting and its celebrating after positive plays, a departure from the more somber rain-affected practice Tuesday that was the first after the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.

• The offense was successful on four of the Seven Shots snaps, splitting the four using first-teamers. McDonald had an easy score, and JuJu Smith-Schuster beat Terrell Edmunds to the ball at the goal line. But Smith-Schuster threw a wounded duck that was intercepted by Mark Barrron on a trick play after an end-around. Edmunds also knocked down a looping Ben Roethlisberger pass to Smith-Schuster in the middle of the end zone.

• Diontae Johnson caught touchdowns on the final two snaps with second-teamers, albeit the first might not have happened in a live game (and perhaps in a different era) because a looming Marcus Allen would have hit him very hard. Earlier, Xavier Grimble couldn’t get his feet down in play in the back of the end zone off a pass from Josh Dobbs.

• Malik Williams was figuratively invisible over the first week or so of camp, but the big first-year running back has raised eyebrows with athleticism and playmaking in recent practices. Wednesday, he beat defenders to the corner of the end zone after catching a pass from Dobbs in a 7-on-7 situation. Earlier, Williams earned coach Mike Tomlin’s praise when he executed an ankle-breaking cut back to the inside on Allen. “Ohhhhh, the juke!” Tomlin exclaimed.

• Tomlin was in a talkative mood, perhaps his way of guiding his team back to a normalcy after the death of Drake. After the Williams’ move on Allen, Tomlin reminded the latter, “It’s an angle-tackling drill! This is an angle-tackling drill we’re doing. Stay inside him!”

• A pair of simulated 2-minute drills ended practice: ball at the offense’s 35, one timeout and 1 minute, 51 seconds on the clock. The defense won each. The first-team offense managed just one first down (a 25-yard completion from Roethlisberger to McDonald) before an ill-advised spike to stop the clock and an incompletion and short gain to Smith-Schuster brought up a fourth-and-long, on which Tyler Matakevich nearly had an interception. On the second snap of the “drive,” the offense was “flagged” for a false start. Tomlin initially instructed to leave the ball where it was in lieu of walking off a 5-yard penalty. Matakevich, though, yelled over toward Tomlin, “We don’t allow re-dos, Coach!” Tomlin smiled and used Matakevich’s nickname when he relented by saying, “I hear ya, Dirty Red!”

• The second-team defense ended its 2-minute drill after one first down when Cameron Sutton intercepted a Dobbs pass intended for Ryan Switzer.


https://triblive.com/sports/steelers-inside-the-ropes-moncrief-back-to-making-plays/

hawaiiansteel
08-19-2019, 10:29 PM
Diontae Spencer hopes big plays for Steelers in preseason opens NFL eyes

KEVIN GORMAN | Sunday, August 18, 2019

Diontae Spencer didn’t play in the first half of Saturday’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, so he told himself to make the most of every touch.

Spencer knew he would be handling the returns for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half, so he told himself to be ready to be successful whenever he got an opportunity, even if he didn’t have a catch.

When the Chiefs punted to Spencer, he darted right, made one defender miss and then cut to the outside and slipped another tackle on his way to a 38-yard return to the Kansas City 47.

“That was my job, to come in and start the offense off in good field position,” Spencer said, “and I felt like I came in and did that.”

A 5-foot-8, 170-pounder who spent four seasons in the CFL, Spencer has a resume as an explosive playmaker. That’s especially true as a return specialist. He averaged 11.3 yards on punt returns with two touchdowns and 22 yards on kick returns.

“That’s what I do: I make plays,” Spencer said. “When I settle down and get a feel for this game and how fast the speed is, it’s going to come. It’s going to come to me. I just don’t want to press it, press it, press it. I felt like that’s what I was doing last week. This week, I just felt a lot better. I was able to have some good plays, some good exposure plays. Hopefully, I can carry that on to the next one.”

Spencer’s next play involved a carry, as he ran an end-around 19 yards to the Kansas City 29 in the fourth quarter. Three plays later, Devlin Hodges threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson in the 17-7 victory over the Chiefs at Heinz Field.

The 27-year-old Spencer realizes he faces long odds to make the Steelers, as veterans Johnny Holton, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer have NFL resumes, and Johnson was a third-round draft pick. All four also are vying for slot receiver/return specialist roles.

As much as Spencer’s ability to break a big play opened eyes, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was blunt when asked if Spencer has done enough to earn a higher ranking on special teams.

Tomlin’s answer: “No.”

But Spencer knows he put plays on film, whether that’s for the Steelers or another NFL team. And he plans on making more plays when given the opportunity.

“Any position I’m at, it’s all about making plays and trying to be successful,” Spencer said. “That’s not my job to determine. If I can go out there and make plays, there’s always a spot for me.

“Last week was my first NFL game. It took me awhile to get here. There were a lot of emotions running through my head. This week, things started to slow down. I was kind of myself a little bit, going out there and playing fast and not thinking too much.”


https://triblive.com/sports/diontae-spencer-hopes-big-plays-for-steelers-in-preseason-opens-nfl-eyes/

hawaiiansteel
08-21-2019, 11:57 PM
Young Steelers receivers James Washington, Diontae Johnson making impression

GERRY DULAC
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUG 18, 2019

Ben Roethlisberger has maintained it will take a committee of targets to help replace the production loss of Antonio Brown, who has more catches since 2013 than any player in any six-year period in NFL history.

Roethlisberger knows he has one receiver with big-time production already — JuJu Smith-Schuster, who actually eclipsed Brown’s receiving numbers in 2018. But, if the past two preseason games are any indication, he might have two more receivers he can depend on to be part of the committee.

James Washington has shown in victories against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs he can be a big-play receiver catching any type of throw, whether deep over the middle, a toe-tapper on the sideline, a leaping two-hander or a back-shoulder touchdown. He is averaging 20.3 yards per catch on his eight receptions in the preseason and appears ready to make a big jump in his second season.

And now there’s rookie Diontae Johnson, who showed in his Steelers debut Saturday night at Heinz Field he can be as good as advertised.

“When he’s been in there at practice, we identified him as a guy who can really run any route and get open,” quarterback Josh Dobbs said. “We were expecting that. For him to go out in his first opportunity in a stadium, to do it and deliver, is definitely a good thing to see.”

It was for the Steelers because they hadn’t seen much of Johnson since the spring. The third-round draft choice from Toledo was limited in OTAs by a hamstring injury and in training camp by nagging hip and groin injuries. But, in his first game in a Steelers uniform against the Chiefs, he caught three passes for 46 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown, and had what appeared to be another 24-yard touchdown catch negated by a debatable offensive pass interference call against him.

Granted, it’s only the preseason and defenses will start to game plan once the regular season begins. But, like Devin Bush in his debut, Johnson showed in his opening performance he can be a good addition for the offense. He runs solid routes and catches the ball with ease, and will be a nice extra target for Roethlisberger when he makes his expected preseason debut Sunday night in Nashville, Tenn.

“The catches he makes, you anticipate,” Dobbs said. “Throw him the ball and he’s able to snap his head around make catches. He can hold the ball in the air, make contested catches with big strong hands. He has a big catch-radius for his size. I think he’s going to be a really good player.”


https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2019/08/18/Steelers-young-receivers-JuJu-Smith-Schuster-James-Washington-Diontae-Johnson-Ben-Roethlisberger-NFL-Josh-Dobbs-Mason-Rudolph/stories/201908180150

RuthlessBurgher
08-22-2019, 10:31 AM
JuJu Smith-Schuster working to improve as a deep threat

Posted by Josh Alper on August 22, 2019, 8:01 AM EDT

JuJu Smith-Schuster knows the big question that everyone is asking about him as he heads into the 2019 season.

“How is JuJu going to do without AB?”

Smith-Schuster is the No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh now that Antonio Brown is on the Raiders and he’s spent the offseason working to make sure that the answer to that question is a positive one. One of the things that he’s done on that front is focus on improving as a deep threat.

Smith-Schuster has a pair of 97-yard touchdowns on his resume, but both came on long runs after the catch and he wants to try things the other way this season.

“Being able to catch the deep balls down the field, those go balls, those free balls that they send down the field where I’ve got to go make those plays,” Smith-Schuster said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s what I’ve focused on a lot, catching the ball over the shoulder and being able to be a threat on the outside.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he already feels Smith-Schuster “can do kind of everything” the team asks of a receiver, but polishing up that aspect of his game should help him make good on hopes that the Steelers offense won’t miss a step this year.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/08/22/juju-smith-schuster-working-to-improve-as-a-deep-threat/

hawaiiansteel
08-23-2019, 11:23 PM
Film Room: Diontae Spencer Knows How To Make You Miss

By Alex Kozora
Posted on August 23, 2019

Diontae Spencer is comfortable with winning in space. When you played in the CFL’s wide open fields and have 4.3 fields, you can make defenders look silly. That’s what Spencer has done through his first two games. By my count, on offense and special teams combined, he’s forced nine missed tackles.

Let’s take a look at the damage he’s done already.

His change of direction and lateral mobility is evident most times he has the ball. What I love about him as a return man is that he’s able to routinely make the first guy miss. Cut to his left, force the miss, get a couple extra yards out of this punt return.

Same thing his next punt return. Good posture, catches it cleanly, plants that left foot in the ground and gets upfield. Another solid return.

Same thing in the kick return game. The initial impression of what he did against Tampa Bay didn’t feel great, sullied by an ugly 3rd down drop, but looking back, he was productive. Those two missed tackles aren’t as obvious as the first pair but he has the speed to beat the angle of two coverage players and get past the 30 yard line, a huge win for the return game. Offense an extra seven yards ahead of where they’d be had he taken a knee.

And from last week. Three missed tackles on this punt return. Well blocked, we covered that yesterday, but he has the speed to beat the angle of the first two would-be tackles while juking out the punter (I know, hardly counts) for a 38 yard runback.

Another ankle-breaker in the punt return game. And again, making the first man miss.

And one more on offense for good measure. End around to him. Plants that foot, cuts upfield, wins in space. That’s what Spencer brings to the table.

In the return game, I can’t stress enough how important it is to make the first guy miss. You do that and your return is even half-decently blocked and you can make big plays. Make the initial defender miss and factor in the kicker/punter and now it’s 11 on 9. Advantage offense.

The Steelers’ kick return game has been horrible the last two years and the punt return game has only been average. Already, Spencer feels like a better return man than Ryan Switzer though he’s less proven as a receiver and might not have the level of trust in the coaching staff. Then there’s the lack of consistency that’s plagued the Steelers forever (the last time they had the same kick returner in consecutive years since Rod Woodson in 1992 and 1993).

Spencer still has work to do. His path to the roster comes as a return man only, essentially, and to do that, you have to prove consistency and big-play ability throughout. But he, like Johnny Holton, haven’t taken themselves out of the running for earning a roster spot, making these next two games critical for both of them.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/film-room-diontae-spencer-knows-how-to-make-you-miss/

hawaiiansteel
08-24-2019, 04:00 PM
2019 Steelers Training Camp Recap: Wide Receivers

By Alex Kozora
Posted on August 24, 2019

For the rest of the preseason, we’ll give a recap, position-by-position, player-by-player of what I saw during the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers training camp and preseason games. Rounding out the skill positions with the wide receivers.

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster: Not that you needed to know much about him at this point, at least not in the preseason, but he had an excellent camp. Led the team, predictably, in receptions, targets, yards, and touchdowns. His average was impressive, a healthy 12.8, and he led the team in 20+ yard receptions with eight of them. Good stuff all around.

Camp Grade: A

James Washington: A very good camp for him. And yes, we were saying the same things a year ago. But by all accounts, he’s in better shape, conditoning, and much improved above the neck to instill the confidence and create the consistency he lacked during that miserable rookie year. Washington balled out in his first two preseason games, winning vertically and showing the ability to attack and high point the football. Fully confident he’ll be the #3 receiver in 11 personnel, allowing JuJu kick to the slot. His numbers will probably be inconsistent, he’s primarily a deep threat, but there’s every reason to expect a jump Year One to Year Two.

Camp Grade: A-

Diontae Spencer: Spencer’s camp can be described by a series of ebbs and flows. Quiet-ish initial start, really picked it up around practices #5 through #9, came back to Earth in the preseason opener and end of camp, but rose again versus Tampa Bay. We profiled his ability to make the first man miss and he’s already up to nine missed tackles in the first two games, an absurdly good number. If he makes the team, it’ll be as a returner, not a receiver, though in the latter, his straight-line speed is legit. Not just a product of facing lesser competition in the CFL. He averaged 14.3 yards per catch in camp.

His hands though? Different story. Not the best.

But he has his work cut out for him and to bump Switzer off the roster, will have to make a compelling case these next two games. That means returning at least one kick or punt for a touchdown.

Camp Grade: B

Eli Rogers: Rogers didn’t see the ball a lot in camp but he, as you’d expect, was a much bigger downfield threat than Ryan Switzer was in Latrobe. Rogers averaged 9.8 yards per catch. Switzer only 6.5. Rogers consistently ran ahead of Switz in the slot though Rogers lacks some of the extra value that Switz does (multi-facet return game, less versatile to move around the formation). If Switzer is the lock the media has made him out to be, then Rogers is the man whose spot is in danger though for now, I think he’s safe. He’ll just have to hold off Johnny Holton.

Camp Grade: B-

Johnny Holton: Holton missed the first portion of camp with a hamstring injury but got himself right in the nick of time. He had one of the best individual practices of any of the receivers, catching two deep balls the final session before the Bucs’ game, and then carried that over to a long 59 yard catch and run in the opener. He’s able to separate himself from the gaggle of small, slot receivers with his big frame, long stride, and coverage ability. Though he can return kicks too. To make the roster, he’ll likely have to find a way to push Rogers off of it. It does seem he’s practice squad eligible and I wouldn’t be mad if they stashed him on there. If he’s on the 53, he has value as a receiver and gunner.

Camp Grade: B-

Donte Moncrief: Unfortunately, pretty quiet for him. Blame that one a left finger injury that caused him to miss the middle chunk of camp. By the end of Latrobe, he showed chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger that bodes well for the two in the regular season. Despite the lackluster month, and the fumble in the Chiefs’ game, he’ll begin the year as the team’s starting X receiver opposite of JuJu.

Camp Grade: C+

Ryan Switzer: Switzer had a fine camp. It was as expected. He made plays underneath, often targeted by Roethlisberger, and looks like a trust and sure-handed return guy. I was hoping for him to do more damage downfield though. He had just one reception of 15+ yards. Compare that to Rogers who had three of them (with fewer overall catches). The value he brings as a kick/punt returner though is huge and probably enough to secure his roster spot. He also led the team with the most receptions – 22 – without a drop, though he did let one through his hands during one of the preseason games.

Camp Grade: C+

Diontae Johnson: Johnson definitely flashed his ability to do damage after the catch. I remember him turning Brian Allen around early on for a big run-after-catch. But he struggled to win vertically consistently during camp (he did flash that against the Chiefs though neither were really contested) and the dings he’s dealt with throughout have set him back. He’s looked shaky as a punt returner too and it’s hard to trust his judgment and ball security right now.

There could still be a role for him and he will make progress as the season goes on but he’s taking a back seat to start. It’s possible, likely, even, he begins the year inactive.

On the field, he’s probably a little better than the “C” grade I’m about to give him but the lack of availability pushes him down. That’s hurting him. But I want to be clear – his future remains bright.

Camp Grade: C

Tevin Jones: After a terribly quiet start, Jones picked it up in the middle and finished second on the team in receptions and third in targets. No one saw more jump balls/back shoulder fades than Jones, who uses his size and frame well to box guys out. But he doesn’t seem to offer much more than that. Some versatility, he can play inside out, but not a strong route runner, questionable hands (five drops in camp alone, at least one at Heinz Field) and I haven’t seen much out of his coverage ability this year. I still think they like him and his potential and he may be kept on the practice squad, he should root for Holton to make the 53, but he didn’t wow me this year and I doubt he’ll ever be more than a practice squad-bubble player.

Camp Grade: C

Trey Griffey: Griffey knew how to make a splash. Only 11 receptions despite practicing every single day but he averaged over 14 yards per snag, including two of 35+ on nine routes down the sideline. But he disappeared most days and there’s no standout trait about him. If they want to keep a special teams/coverage guy on the practice squad, it’ll be Holton. Not Griffey. Team kept him around all of last year but they’re probably moving on now.

Camp Grade: C-

Brandon Reilly: Barely enough information to get an evaluation here. Reilly was signed during camp after injuries to the position caused the lines to get thin. Decent size, questionable hands, and a below average athlete. He’s about an easy to move on from as anyone on the 91 man roster. If I had to rank ’em, he’s probably in that 88-90 range.

Camp Grade: D


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/2019-steelers-training-camp-recap-wide-receivers/

RuthlessBurgher
08-27-2019, 11:58 AM
Steelers' James Washington believes big-play preseason isn't a tease this time

12:32 AM ET

Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- James Washington is not all that impressed with his big-play August. He's been through this before, tearing up the 2018 preseason only to disappear for parts of his rookie year.

This time around, he even looks unimpressed with himself after each leaping catch. That's because he expects it to last.

"I'm just trying to show coaches something and put it on their minds that I've gotten better," the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver said.

That improvement is on the minds of many inside the Steelers' building. Motivated to rebound from last year's quiet 16-catch, 217-yard campaign, Washington has nine catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns through three preseason games. Sunday's untouched 41-yard score might have been his best, easily beating Tennessee Titans coverage up the middle as former Oklahoma State teammate Mason Rudolph found him in stride.

Though Donte Moncrief appears to have solidified a starting outside receiver job opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster, Washington looks like an X factor the offense needs with his ability to make difficult catches.

Moncrief, Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers were on the field with the first-team offense Sunday as the Steelers employed a quick passing game to ensure two things for QB Ben Roethlisberger: release the ball quickly, stay healthy.

The offense still needs an additional vertical threat, and Washington's playmaking elicited this reaction from staff members a few times during camp: 'That's a heckuva catch.'

On deep balls, Washington is getting open consistently enough that he often has to back-track to secure throws in practices and games.

Washington is quick to point out he's facing vanilla preseason defenses and isn't always going up against first-string defenders. But that hasn't quelled the excitement from Smith-Schuster, who sees a "huge difference" in Washington.

"... As you guys can see during preseason, he’s making plays left and right," Smith-Schuster said. "Like I said, there is no doubt in my mind he’s going to be doing that during the season. Super excited to watch him.”

Natural ability was never an issue for Washington. Last week, a contest broke out in the Steelers locker room to see which players could touch the roughly-12-foot ceiling off a vertical jump (no running start). Washington (5-11) and safety Terrell Edmunds (6-2) were the only players to do it.

But Washington was uncomfortable in the offense a year ago and lost his confidence. Roethlisberger and tight end Vance McDonald were among teammates to call him out, obviously seeing the potential.

Coming off two 60-plus-yard games in the final three weeks of 2018, Washington invested in the Year 2 jump. Losing 15 pounds in the offseason while working on the family farm in Stamford, Texas, should help Washington sustain a 16-game season.

Now, Washington wants to be more than a niche receiver.

"Just making plays and taking everything that comes my way," Washington said. "Doing what I can do to be successful for this team...I'm more effective with (the offense). The playbook, I know it better now. Things are fluid and that helps me react faster."

https://www.espn.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/31135/steelers-james-washington-believes-big-play-preseason-isnt-a-tease-this-time

hawaiiansteel
08-28-2019, 03:40 AM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EDAqBPNU4AAl4wv?format=jpg&name=small

Ernie
08-28-2019, 04:37 AM
And to think the term "Talent deficient" was used to describe the WR corp in the off season :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Oh wow
08-28-2019, 08:09 AM
Washington has stepped up but it’s still preseason.

Oviedo
08-28-2019, 09:57 AM
Washington has stepped up but it’s still preseason.

Just look at the Washington glass as half full and adding more to it. Embrace the positive

Steel Maniac
08-28-2019, 10:26 AM
And to think the term "Talent deficient" was used to describe the WR corp in the off season :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: :rolleyes:

boom........

hawaiiansteel
08-31-2019, 05:00 PM
how quickly things change, JuJu Smith-Schuster is the only Steelers WR who was in the roster in 2017.

Captain Lemming
08-31-2019, 05:16 PM
how quickly things change, JuJu Smith-Schuster is the only Steelers WR who was in the roster in 2017.
And before that? Nobody.

So easily REPLACEABLE. :)

Eddie Spaghetti
09-01-2019, 08:18 PM
looks like all the talk of how deep and valuable the steelers WR group are was a tad overblown

they may cycle back and add a 6th but the quality depth was never as good as some made out

you can add guys like Spencer and Holton every year and Ben will make them look good

Ernie
09-01-2019, 08:30 PM
looks like all the talk of how deep and valuable the steelers WR group are was a tad overblown

they may cycle back and add a 6th but the quality depth was never as good as some made out

you can add guys like Spencer and Holton every year and Ben will make them look good

may consider waiting until we get into the regular season before we make that call for certain

Captain Lemming
09-02-2019, 12:33 AM
Their coach is 10x better than ours.



......Said the fans of EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE NFL about Bill Belichick. :)

Steel Maniac
09-02-2019, 09:45 AM
looks like all the talk of how deep and valuable the steelers WR group are was a tad overblown

they may cycle back and add a 6th but the quality depth was never as good as some made out

you can add guys like Spencer and Holton every year and Ben will make them look good

Let's wait and see.

Eddie Spaghetti
09-02-2019, 09:50 AM
wait and see for what? they only kept 5 guys which tells me all I need to know. people here were claiming eli Rogers was some kind of trade bait when there are eli Rogers in every camp around the league

keeping only 5 is proof that the WR corp was overvalued here. it's a good group but hardly a great one with all this quality depth talk that got thrown around

raycafan
09-02-2019, 10:08 AM
Could also mean that Samuels may have a bigger part, as I just said in another thread.

Oh wow
09-02-2019, 10:59 AM
I think we had too many guys with the same skill set at the WR position.

No need to keep 3 of the same thing although I truly believe Eli Rogers is a better WR than Switzer.

Captain Lemming
09-02-2019, 11:39 AM
I think we had too many guys with the same skill set at the WR position.

No need to keep 3 of the same thing although I truly believe Eli Rogers is a better WR than Switzer.

I agree. Rogers has a little AB in him. I don’t get the love for Switzer as a returner, which is his edge over Rogers.

I’d go with Spencer as a returner as priority over either of the other 2. Once the rookie gets going you think we see Switzer or Rogers as a receiver?

I’d keep 6 (rumor is Holton comes back anyway soon as we put someone on ir )

If we kept Spencer and Holton:

We’d still be 4 deep in pure receivers, have a legit return specialist, and a great gunner with size and speed as a deep threat.

Blew it with Spencer, but I do hope we are planning to bring Holton up as rumored.

RuthlessBurgher
09-02-2019, 12:01 PM
keeping only 5 is proof that the WR corp was overvalued here. it's a good group but hardly a great one with all this quality depth talk that got thrown around

Perhaps keeping just 5 is proof that they believe they have 5 legit NFL wideouts and can afford to not keep a 6th WR on the 53 man roster, which thereby allows us to keep 10 LB and 10 DB.