Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 12-30-18: In-game report

The Steelers squeaked past the Bengals but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs.  Despite a 16-13 victory, a number of midseason disappointments allowed the Baltimore Ravens to walk away with the AFC North division title. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Steelers spread attack

The Steelers employed the spread attack as its primary offensive set during the regular season and this included the season finale against the Bengals.  It allowed them to get their playmakers out in space but it did leave quarterback Ben Roethlisberger susceptible to increased pressure from four-man fronts.  Cincinnati only sacked Big Ben once, but they were able to get him off his throwing spot without blitzing while still keeping two safeties high.  With Antonio Brown out, Roethlisberger started the game by throwing seven completions to five different receivers.  A majority of these passes were wide receiver screens and slants.  As was my concern early in the season, Roethlisberger did fall back into a pattern of turning the football over, not only against the Bengals but all season long. For the game, Roethlisberger finished with one passing touchdown, one interception and 287 passing yards on 68-percent passing.  James Conner led the team with 64 rushing yards on 14 carries. As the Steelers assess their 2018 season offensively, look for them to carry over their spread principles into next year while also finding ways to cut down on the turnovers. 

Turnover differential 

Pittsburgh ranked sixth in scoring offense and were in the top ten in passing yards and rushing yards allowed.  The offensive and defensive stats tell a story of a successful season but turnovers doomed the Steelers and almost cost them their game against the Bengals.  In 2018, Pittsburgh finished with a -11 turnover differential, which ranked 28th in the NFL.  The other four teams with a worst differential than the Steelers were Arizona, Jacksonville, San Francisco and Tampa Bay, all teams who finished with losing records.  Against Cincinnati, Roethlisberger threw a pick- six to Shawn Williams, which represented the Bengals’ only touchdown for the game.  Defensively, Pittsburgh was not able to force the Bengals, who were missing wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton, into any mistakes. 

Cincinnati playmakers 

Cincinnati All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green caught 46 passes for 694 yards and six touchdowns despite appearing in just nine games in 2018.

With A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert out, it was evident that the Bengals just didn’t have the firepower to get players open against the Steelers.  Alex Erickson caught all six of his targets for 63 yards and was able to work over the middle but his longest catch was for just 13 yards.  The Bengals next most productive reviewer was Auden Tate, who caught one pass for 15 yards. Joe Mixon ran for 105 yards and finished with 1,168 yards on the season. The 22- year-old running back should be able to be relied upon for the long- term, but look for the Bengals to continue to try and develop their young playmakers like John Ross, a former Top 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9-24-18: In-game report

One team regressed to the mean on Monday Night Football while the other showed flashes of being a playoff contender. The Steelers used a dominant first half en route to a 30-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Ben Roethlisberger 

Roethlisberger is a gunslinger in every sense of the word. The veteran quarterback will evade pass rushers, pass up open reads and throw into triple coverage, sometimes all on the same possession. However, it’s tolerated because every now and then it leads to a big play.  For the most part, Roethlisberger’s antics paid off against the Buccaneers. He threw for 353 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception despite having a non-existent running game. Even without Leveon Bell, the Steelers have enough weapons to put up 35 plus points per game as they did against Tampa Bay.  But as always, it will be worth monitoring if Big Ben can avoid the costly turnovers and the unnecessary hits. As Roethlisberger showed on Monday, when he is under center, you take the good with the bad. 

Steelers Secondary 

A week after getting shredded by first-year starter Patrick Mahomes, the Steelers secondary looked better against the Buccaneers.  There wasn’t any personnel switch but a clear point of emphasis during the week had to be the importance of playing assignment football.  Mahomes looked good against the Steelers, but a portion of his yards and touchdowns came against blown coverage (see Travis Kelce’s touchdown up the seam), where Steelers defensive backs were seen confused and pointing at each other at the end of plays.  People will pick up the box score and see Fitzpatrick threw for three touchdowns and 400 plus yards.  But he also threw three interceptions and the Buccaneers receivers made some great catches as well, including an over the shoulder catch by Mike Evans in double coverage and a Chris Godwin catch over the middle in between a cornerback and a safety.  If you’re the Steelers, you can live with players making good plays if you’re in the right spots. The Steelers secondary was more active and engaged than they’ve been all season, an example of that is cornerback Artie Burns, hustling behind the play to force a fumble.  When this team plays well on the back end, it allows them to get into their zone blitz schemes, which netted them a few sacks and countless third down stops in the first half.   The Pittsburgh Steelers will go as far as their secondary takes them this year.

Buccaneers QB Dilemma 

Jameis Winston will return from suspension this week but he may not see the field. Ryan Fitzpatrick has come into the starting lineup and provided a level of consistency to the Buccaneers offense. What you see is what you get with Fitzpatrick.  He’s not as mobile as Winston but he will stay in the pocket and take a hit.  The quarterback also knows where his bread is buttered.  Winston has more physical tools, but Fitzpatrick makes up for his shortcomings with his decisiveness and trust in his eyes. Fitzpatrick doesn’t overthink the game, if Desean Jackson is open, Desean Jackson will get the ball, and the same goes for any of the other receivers. On the season, Fitzpatrick has thrown 11 touchdowns and four interceptions for the Buccaneers, who currently sit at 2-1. 

New Cleveland Browns placekicker Joseph looks to solve team’s woes

After a Sunday afternoon 21-18 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (1-1), the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) released former seventh-round draft pick Zane Gonzalez.  Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt blocked a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal by Gonzalez in an overtime season-opening tie versus the Browns.  He then missed a go-ahead extra point and potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's three-point loss to the Saints.  Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals in the Superdome.

The kicker that the Browns signed to replace the NCAA's all-time leader in field goals didn't leave college with the same resume', but his work in college was still impressive.  Former FAU kicker Greg Joseph had a knack for forcing teams to drive the length of the field versus the Owls 34th-ranked scoring defense in 2017.   Here's a quick snapshot of Joseph, our sixth-ranked kicker in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Greg Joseph PK 6’1 214

School: FAU

DraftNasty's 2018 Grade: 4.05 (7th Round)

What makes this player Nasty....(Strengths): He’s a two-by-three-yard kicker who aligns right outside of the LT (left tackle).  2 ¼-step placekicker with ample leg strength.  Kicked a 54-yard FG with at least six yards to spare vs. Navy in 2017 (3-step). Rarely punches at the ball. Keeps his shoulders parallel during his motion.  Kicked the ball well in windy conditions vs. Western Kentucky in 2017.  Hit two 40-yard field goals from both hash marks (2nd FG-RT hash, 48-yd FG inside left uprights; 3rd FG-left hash, 42-yd FG).  Posted a 76-percent touchback rate on KOs in 2017.  Capable of kicking balls in the 75-to-77-yard range with 4-second plus hang times (77 yards, 4.06, Tulsa ’15;  77 yards, 4.03, Tulsa ’15).  Posted five touchbacks vs. North Texas in 2017 and three in the 74-to-77-yard range.   He’s capable of kicking directionally to his right on kickoffs.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent in 2015. When he drags his first step (plant foot), he’ll push kicks to his right from the collegiate left hash (missed 40-yd FG, Tulsa ’15).  Some of his kickoffs were held up in the wind vs. Western Kentucky in 2017 (4th KO-directional right, 60 yards, 4.03 hang).  He also had his fifth kickoff get held up in the wind (vs. WKU ’17).

Other Notes:

  • Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Attended American Heritage-Delray HS (Fla.) and was a standout soccer and football star
  • Earned All-State honors as a senior
  • 2014: 14-of-20 FGs (Long-43), 5-of-7 (30-39 yards), 4-of-7 (40-49 yards), 34-of-35 XPs; 60 KOs, 23 TBs, 1 onside
  • 2015: 18-of-27 FGs (Long-48), 2-of-4 (30-39 yds),  5-of-10 (40-49 yds), 0-of-1 (50-99 yds); 28-of-28 XPs; 62 KOs, 33 TBs, OOB (out of bounds)
  • 2016 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-5 (30-39 yds), 3-of-3 (40-49 yds), 1-of-2 (50-99 yds); 39-of-39 XPs; 54 KOs, 41 TBs
  • 2017 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 15-of-21 FGs (Long-54), 3-of-4 (30-39 yds), 4-of-7 (40-49 yds), 1-of-3 (50-99 yds), 64-of-68 XPs; 101 KOs, 77 TBs, OOB, 2 onside kicks
  • Career Stats: 57-of-82 FGs (Long-54), 165-of-170 XPs

Time to get Nasty...(Our Summary): Joseph’s ability to drive kickoffs through the end zone could help him vie for a roster spot alone.  He has been better in each of the last two seasons with accuracy but there are a number of pressure performances missing on his resume’.   A four-year starter with upside, the Johannesburg native will need to monitor the location of his plant foot moving forward.

DraftNasty's projection:  If there's a significant concern for the Browns, it is that Joseph -who hit on all three of his field goals for the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason- simply didn't have an extreme amount of pressure-packed field goals at any time during his collegiate career.  In addition, he missed seven kicks in the all-important 30-to-39-yard range during his time in school.  This has relevance due to the NFL's 33-yard extra point attempts.  After playing in the relatively weather-friendly environments of Boca Raton, Florida in college and then Miami, Florida this preseason, will he adapt to the ever-changing conditions off the lake in Cleveland, Ohio?  This was somewhat of a concern for Gonzalez up until he handled it admirably as a rookie in 2017.  We were able to see Joseph kick twice in person during his time in school and he impressed on both occasions.  He handled a torrential downpour seamlessly versus Marshall in 2017 and even kicked a 31-yard field goal after three consecutive timeouts by Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday right before the end of the first half.  Joseph posted six touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in the preseason and matched his collegiate career-long with a 54-yard field goal versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. 

 

 

Related Images:

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: AFC North

Baltimore Ravens
Hayden Hurst (No. 81 pictured) runs over tacklers in a game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Vanderbilt Commodores at Dudley Field in Nashville, TN Photo by Thomas McEwen/Draft Nasty

Notable pick: Brown could make this a home run in the draft. If his pre-draft workouts were any indication, a simple uptick in work ethic may be in order to match his impressive on-field play. Hurst and Andrews extend the middle of the field from Day 1, as does former New Mexico State high-riser Scott.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (25) Hayden

Hurst

TE-6’5 250

South Carolina 39 (2nd Round Smooth. He even spent a game tracking punts in 2016 (Georgia).   Underrated run after the catch skill.
1 (32) Trade from Philadelphia Lamar

Jackson

QB-6’2 216

Louisville 10 (1st Round) Underrated as a passer, Jackson will make tacklers miss in the NFL…too.
3 (83) Orlando

Brown

OT-6’8 345

Oklahoma 158 (3rd Round) Brown’s barrel-chested approach extended itself into the fourth quarters of games.
3 (86) Mark

Andrews

TE-6’5 256

Oklahoma 92 (3rd Round) Andrews has the ability to run routes from a flexed position and is strong enough to make contested catches.
4 (118) Anthony

Averett

CB-5'11 183

Alabama 206 (4th Round) Averett’s uncle Bryant McKinnie once played for the Ravens.
4 (122) Kenny

Young

LB-6’1 236

UCLA 187 (4th Roiund) Young’s coverage ability is reminiscent to former UCLA LB Jayon Brown (Titans).
4 (132) Jaleel

Scott

WR-6’5 218

New Mexico St. 208 (4th Round) Scott’s one-hand grab vs. Arizona State in 2017 was just one of many spectacular on-ball adjustments he made as a senior. Catch radius (34-inch arms) helps his cause.
5 (162) Jordan

Lasley

WR-6’1 203

UCLA 259 (4th Round) Lasley is a smooth receiver who balanced concentration lapses with an ability to roll speed cuts.
6 (190) DeShon

Elliott

S-6’1 210

Texas 115 (3rd Round) Elliott has some stiffness, but he reacts well breaking downhill on the ball. His eyes have been undisciplined. He has potential as a special teams cover guy.
6 (212) Greg

Senat

OT-6’5 302

Wagner 434 (5th Round) Senat brings an 84-inch wingspan and a look reminiscent to former Boise State Bronco Charles Leno coming out of school.   Leverage issues need to be corrected.
6 (215) Bradley

Bozeman

OC-6’5 317

Alabama  482 (6th Round) More of a position than drive blocker, Bozeman uses his size to win as a run blocker. A lack of foot speed is evident.
7 (238) Zach

Sieler

DE-6’6 288

Ferris State N/A Wins during the second phase of downs. His combination of size and strength could help him land a roster spot.

 

Cincinnati Bengals
Former Texas LB Malik Jefferson (No. 46 pictured) will look to break into a crowded Bengals linebacking corps.
Photo by: Corey Chavous, DraftNasty Magazine

Notable picks: Price has to be able to create more forward movement for what has been a stagnant rushing attack. In addition, his line calls will be important for a unit that struggled giving up sacks. Bates III and Jefferson will have a tough time earning playing time with a number of veterans currently on the roster. The Bengals added quality depth at a number of spots on the defensive side of the ball. Harris may be the surprise of the group.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (21) Billy

Price

OC-6’4 306

Ohio State 37 (2nd Round) Price’s addition will help a unit that averaged just 3.6 yards per rushing attempt in 2017.
2 (54) Jessie

Bates III

S-6’1 200

Wake Forest 18 (2nd Round) Bates III’s eye speed is elite and his ball skills are above average. His range could enhance the Bengals’ coverage packages.
3 (77) Sam

Hubbard

DE-6’5 270

Ohio State 50 (2nd Round) Hubbard has impressive change of direction (6.88 3-cone) at 270 pounds. Needs to work on developing more speed-to-power as a pass rusher.
3 (78) Malik

Jefferson

LB-6’2 236

Texas 88 (3rd Round) Jefferson- an underrated blitzer- improved his key-and-diagnose in DC Todd Orlando’s schemes.
4 (112) Mark

Walton

RB-5’10 202

Miami (Fla.) 148 (3rd Round) Walton’s ability to break tackles is aided by an ability to run routes out of the backfield.
5 (151) Davontae

Harris

CB-5’11 205

Illinois State 98 (3rd Round) This is a player who impressed at every stop of the postseason process. He will challenge for playing time either outside or inside due to his physicality.
5 (158) Andrew

Brown

DT-6’3 294

Virginia 125 (3rd Round) Brown never quite lived up to his pre-collegiate hype, but he still produced 26.5 tackles for loss in his career.
5 (170) Darius

Phillips

AP-5’10 188

Western Michigan 190 (4th Round) Phillips, an all-purpose maestro, scored 14 touchdowns five different ways in school. He needs work on his coverage techniques at corner.
7 (249) Logan

Woodside

QB-6’1 213

Toledo 402 (5th Round) Woodside’s proclivity for the big stage shined when facing teams like Miami (Fla.) in 2017. His efficiency, athleticism and moxie make for a good combination.
7 (252) Rod

Taylor

OG-6’3 320

Ole Miss 111 (3rd Round) Taylor has started at LT, RT and RG in school.   He projects inside but could be a backup at a number of spots.
7 (253) Auden

Tate

WR-6’5 228

FSU  239 (4th Round) Tate led the ACC in touchdown receptions as a senior (10), but there are questions surrounding his ability to create separation in short areas.
 

 

 

Cleveland Browns Notable pick: The Browns may have found their new lockdown cornerback in Ward (No. 12 pictured). Could he be an even better version of former Browns Pro Bowler Joe Haden? The team has now created quality depth at the cornerback spot with Ward, Howard Wilson, Boddy-Calhoun, Taylor and recent signee Travis Carrie.
Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (1) Baker

Mayfield

QB-6’0 216

Oklahoma 54 (2nd Round) Mayfield’s mentality may be the juice that the Browns need as an organization. He will need to prove he can handle the elements.
1 (4) Denzel

Ward

CB-5’11 183

Ohio State 9 (1st Round) Ward brings immediate nickel potential from Day 1 with his level of footwork and quickness. He will need to improve playing with his back to the quarterback. Rare physical skill-set.
2 (33) Austin

Corbett

OL-6’4 310

Nevada 42 (2nd Round) Corbett- a college LT- can provide assistance at any of four offensive line spots. He is one of this draft’s smartest prospects.
2 (35) Nick

Chubb

RB-6’0 227

Georgia 26 (2nd Round) One of the SEC’s all-time best runners, Chubb will be a workhorse if he can remain healthy.
3 (67) Chad

Thomas

DE-6’5 281

Miami (Fla.) 142 (3rd Round) Thomas may eventually morph into a four-technique DE, but he already can be a factor inside on third downs for Gregg Williams’ multiple fronts.
4 (105) Antonio

Calllaway

WR-5’10 200

Florida 163 (3rd Round) Callaway has to become more consistent in his decision-making both on and off the field. Just as quick as he is fast.
5 (150) Genard

Avery

LB-6’0 248

Memphis 59 (2nd Round) Powerball player who runs over opponents.   Impressed scouts with his 4.5 speed in the postseason.
6 (175) Damion

Ratley

WR-6’3 200

Texas A&M 405 (5th Round) Ratley has 4.4 speed and is shifty after the catch. He will need to eliminate the concentration drops and speed up his release vs. bump-and-run.
6 (188) Simeon

Thomas

CB-6’3 203

Louisiana-Lafayette 625 (7th Round) Off-and-on starter whose size allows him to recover down the field. His cousin, Marvin Bracy, was a two-time All-USA selection in track & field

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Notable pick: Edmunds (No. 22 pictured) will challenge for playing time immediately and put pressure on whoever is in front of him at safety. He could very well play the role of former Steeler and current free agent Mike Mitchell.
Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (28) Terrell

Edmunds

S-6’2 220

Virginia Tech 133 (3rd Round) Edmunds has covered the slot, played in the box, and also contributed on special teams. Impressed the Hokies’ coaching staff with his toughness playing through a shoulder injury in 2017.
2 (60) James

Washington

WR-5’11 213

Oklahoma St. 48 (2nd Round) Plays faster than he times in T-shirts and shorts. Has the length of an offensive tackle. Tracks the ball.
3 (76) Mason

Rudolph

QB-6’5 234

Oklahoma State 102 (3rd Round) Rudolph goes into a situation where he can develop behind a quarterback who is similar in size.
3 (92) Chukwuma

Okorafor

OT-6’6 320

Western Michigan 138 (3rd Round) Okorafor actually played LT when Willie Beavers was in school but he will likely project to the right side for the Steelers. He may be a better run than pass blocker.
5 (148) Marcus

Allen

S-6’2 215

Penn State 119 (3rd Round) One of college football’s best tacklers, Allen has to improve his ability to steal second base off the hash.
5 (165) Jaylen

Samuels

AP-5’11 225

NC State 95 (3rd Round) Samuels never seems to be going at a speed where he allows himself to get out of control. While it works offensively, he will need to play with more of a sense of urgency to contribute consistently on special teams.
7 (246) Joshua

Frazier

DT-6’3 321

Alabama 494 (6th Round) Frazier exhibited a powerful long-arm to post back guards and centers. He is active but too often gets tied up losing to the spot.