The Optimist Angle: 8-8 Season still more likely than a disaster 4-12 type season

 

The stats don’t lie. An 0-3 start to the NFL season is almost always a death sentence for NFL teams. Especially for ones without a franchise caliber QB behind center. Only six teams have made the playoffs since 1980 after an 0-3 start with the 2018 Houston Texans being the sixth team to it. While Mason Rudolph is capable of keeping the Steelers competitive in games as he showed vs the Seahawks in week 2 and the 49ers Sunday afternoon, unfortunately for the Steelers Rudolph is no DeShaun Watson. There’s every reason to think the Steelers are done and they probably are, but in a conference filled with mediocrity with little separation after New England and Kansas City, there’s reason to still have some slight optimism that a 2013 type situation is going to be in play where Pittsburgh could get to around 8-8 and at least be in theRead More »

Biggest Disappointments in 0-3 Start: James Conner, Offensive Line

 

Conner, O-Line Top List of the Most surprise disappointments in 0-3 start There’s a number of reasons the Pittsburgh Steelers are off to an 0-3 start. The week 1 debacle vs New England highlighted glaring issues with this roster from the lack of playmakers on offense that is going to be a season long problem, to a talented defense that is a group of misfits from executing a complexed scheme with coaching that has shown no ability in elevating the group. Those two areas continued to be problems in the losses to Seattle and San Francisco, but what has been the most surprising development with the Steelers 0-3 start is the dreadful play of the offensive line and running back James Conner. If there was one position that was well down the list of worries going into the season, the offensive line topped the list. But, almost one quarter throughRead More »

Latest Penguins Roster Buzz entering final week of camp

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday reduced their camp roster to 27 players. 17 Players were assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton including Kasper Bjorkqvist, Pierre-Oliver Joseph, Thomas DiPauli, Sam Lafferty, Ryan Haggerty and David Warsofsky. Warsofsky, DiPauli, and Ryan Haggerty are among six players who have to clear waivers to join WBS. The headliners of today’s cuts were 2019 1st round pick Sam Poulin and 2019 3rd round pick Nathan Legare who were assigned to their junior teams. Poulin had some nice moments in camp, he fit the scouting report to a ‘T’ in being hard to play against, got to loose pucks well, but the ability to create offense is nowhere near ready to pushing for NHL time. His ETA to the NHL has always been 3-4 years and nothing in this camp suggested that won’t be the case. Legare who can already shoot the puck at an NHL level, made aRead More »

Steelers deal 1st rounder for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

 

Steelers betting on Rudolph How much the Steelers like Mason Rudolph in the short term to keep the team competitive in 2019 and the long-term in being the heir-apparent to Ben Roethlisberger is even more evident with the Steelers trading their 2020 first-round pick to the Miami Dolphins tonight for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, the 11th overall pick of the 2018 draft. The bold trade for Fitzpatrick is the Steelers sending the message that Mason Rudolph is the future but that the organization is also not punting on the 2019 season and in a sense, trying to still maximize the Ben Roethlisberger window were Ben to return next season as the Big Ben of old. While the organization believes Rudolph will show the football world over the next couple months he is indeed the heir-apparent to Roethlisberger, the Steelers internally are also adamant there is still another year or two runRead More »

Penguins Day 1 Training Camp Buzz Report

 

Penguins Training Camp Buzz Day 1 Penguins Top Line on Day 1 of Camp: Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Dominik Kahun The Penguins brass in studying film on Dominik Kahun prior to and after acquiring Kahun is a belief he has the offensive instincts to play with top-line players and be a complementary piece. Kahun who produced 11 goals and 22 assists during 5 vs 5 play with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, played over 400 minutes with Jonathan Toews in 2018-2019 “Dominik is a guy that has really good offensive instincts,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said today. “He’s elusive, really quick, he’s good in tight spaces. We thought we’d try him with Sid and Jake and that’s where those guys excel.” Kahun’s chances of actually starting the season on Sidney Crosby’s line will come down to the comfort level Crosby will have in Kahun. Crosby puts aRead More »

Latest on all the Evgeni Malkin pre-camp talk of improving in areas off the ice & how legit the trade talk in June actually was

 

(Photo: David Hague) The Pittsburgh Penguins report to training camp on Friday, which means the start of multiple feel good puff stories. There will be a ton of hot takes ‘so and so is in the best shape of his life’ ‘Alex Galchenyuk is going to score 50 goals playing with Evgeni Malkin’ We’ll probably even see an article emerge by Sunday night from someone that ‘Jack Johnson is having a great camp and is going to be a ‘Norris Trophy Candidate’ On a serious note, Evgeni Malkin is the hottest topic as the Penguins are just days away from hitting the ice. There’s been a strong consensus from scouts I’ve talked with this summer when breaking down the Penguins roster that it’s a roster evaluators look at as a one-round type of team where Malkin will be the biggest X-factor on whether Pittsburgh re-emerges as a legitimate Stanley CupRead More »

What We Learned: Steelers Out-Classed, Look like pretenders against the Champs

 

Steelers – Patriots What We Learned It was Groundhog Day once again for Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight at Foxboro. There were just no answers as Pittsburgh was out-classed in all phases and talk about a talent discrepancy that wasn’t supposed to be the case. “No need to sugar Tom Brady was doing Tom Brady things as the Patriots built up a 20-0 halftime lead, en route to a 33-3 win on Sunday night. Picks, crossers and play-action torched the Steelers where Pittsburgh was completely out-manned and stuck in constant confusion. Tom Brady has always been masterful at spreading the Steelers out, picking on the weak ones with his eyes and he was exceptional again in that area. Pittsburgh’s LB’s, notably Devin Bush, biting on play-action fueled Brady’s big first half. In the first half Brady was 6/7 for 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 QB rating againstRead More »

Most Intriguing Storylines for the 2019 Steelers

 

TIOPS MOST INTRIGUING STORYLINES FOR THE STEELERS 2019 SEASON No Antonio Brown, less turnovers for Ben Roethlisberger in 2019? What will the loss of Antonio Brown mean for Ben Roethlisberger & Co? Even at age 37, Roethlisberger is primed to prove that the show goes on, even when you take a superstar talent like Brown out of the equation. Roethlisberger threw for 5,129 yards with 34 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 2018. Anybody will sign up for those numbers again in 2019, but many in the organization believe Brown constantly taking plays off and running wrong routes, some believe on purpose, has led to a spike in Roethlisberger’s interception numbers the last two seasons. Steeler coaches believe Roethlisberger can drop the INT numbers by 4-5 this season. James Conner destined for a great season, Jaylen Samuels a wildcard James Conner will be a fantasy football favorite in 2019. Look forRead More »

Patriots swoop in and sign Antonio Brown

 

Bill Belichick believes he can coach anybody so here we go as the New England Patriots have agreed to a one year deal with WR Antonio Brown. The Patriots taking a swing at Brown isn’t a surprise, it’s the financial commitment they’ve made. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Brown will receive a one year deal worth around $15 million that includes a $9 million signing bonus. The Raiders took away Brown’s guaranteed money and agent Drew Rosenhaus was able to work his magic and get Brown a $9 million signing bonus from the Super Bowl Champs. What wild times in the NFL. If Brown and Josh Gordon can actually stay on the field, what a group of three wide receiver sets Tom Brady will have at his disposal.