Happy Friday and welcome to another June weekend.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their 2018 mandatory minicamp on Thursday and that means the annual six week NFL dead period is now underway. As usual, we will do our best to keep you entertained during that span of time. As usual, we are open to content ideas so pass them along if you have any.
On a personal level, my sleep study last Friday night did not go well at all. I expected that, and it went so poorly they are considering having me come in for yet another one. How can one sleep with so many wires attached to them and especially if one has problems sleeping in the first place?
I snuck out to a movie theater in a casino in the middle of the night a few days ago and saw Solo because I could not sleep. I enjoyed it and also enjoyed my $4.95 steak and eggs breakfast at 4:00 a.m. in an also near-empty casino diner. I may or may not have counted a few cards after that and may or may not have come home with a little money in my pocket. I might try that whole process again a few more times before training camp gets underway. I had fun with very little human contact. God bless Vegas and my patient wifey.
Ok, as usual, I have five questions for yinz to answer on this Friday night and I want to see the comments below full in a few hours from now. Keep me entertained tonight, please.
Have a great weekend and to all the fathers reading this, enjoy your special day on Sunday.
Peace and love, peace and love!
1 – What do you remember the most about the play of Ben Roethlisberger during his 2004 rookie season other than Steelers winning every game he started until the playoff loss to the New England Patriots?
2 – True or false: Tyler Matakevich will be the starting inside linebacker alongside Vince Williams in the Steelers preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
3 – If wide receiver Eli Rogers is ultimately re-signed before the start of training camp, should he be considered a slam-dunk to make the final 53-man roster barring him getting injured again?
4 – Can you name me the current backup quarterbacks around the NFL that have started at least three games that you would want on the Steelers roster right now instead of Landry Jones? (See list below for choices)
Robert Griffin III
5 – With training camps set to open next month, name the teams you currently believe will win at least 10 games during the 2018 regular season.
Question 1 – Over 89% of respondents believe that Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt will NOT combine to have more than 20 sacks during the 2018 season. Last year, the two outside linebackers combined for 13 sacks (Watt 7 & Dupree 6). Anthony Chickillo (3) & James Harrison (1) chipped in 4 more sacks giving the OLB group 17 sacks compared to 23 for the defensive line. This reflects a change in approach where the line has been freed up to penetrate more rather than soak up blockers for the linebackers to clean up the plays. From 2008-2010 James Harrison & LaMarr Woodley combined for 27.5, 23.5 & 20.5 sacks. In those same years the defensive line combined for 11.5, 9.5 & 8.5 sacks respectively. One could argue that the current defense is more balanced in terms of where the sacks come from: 23 by defensive line; 17 by OLB’s; 16 by ILB or secondary.
Question 2 – Over 89% also believe that the Steelers will pick-up the fifth-year option on cornerback Artie Burns by the 2019 May deadline. Several folks believe he has underperformed so far but recognize that he is still young and can develop. With Joe Haden approaching 30; it will be a necessity to keep Burns on the roster with the other young secondary players. Let’s see if he has a break out year in 2018!
Question 3 – Steelers Depot readers are bullish on James Washington. Nearly 93% of respondents believe he will catch 300 or more catches during his NFL career. He did have 226 receptions in his four years at Oklahoma State. Let’s see if he adapts to the NFL and can compete for Ben’s attention with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster over the next 4-5 seasons.
Question 4 – According to Steelers Depot readers, Marcus Gilbert could be approaching “the end” in Black & Gold as Jim Morrison would sing it. Only 22% believe that Gilbert will sign a contract extension by the start of the 2019 season. Over 74% see no change and that Marcus will be asked to play out the final year of his contract. One person believes he will be released outright. It is hard to imagine the current starting offensive line still being together beyond 2019. Though, I believe underrated Ramon Foster is the first to be gone.
Question 5 – A full ¾ of respondents will not be attending the Steelers 2018 training camp. Of those that will attend; they intend to attend 1-5 practices. The median response among those planning to attend is 1-2 practices. If you do attend; make sure to say hi to Alex Kozora who will be representing Steelers Depot at all 15 of the training camp practices that will be open to the public.
Bonus – Ten folks unjustifiably said that there would not be a Triple Crown winner in 2018. Only six people were Justified. A lot of folks did not voice an opinion on the bonus question – that could cost you points during the regular season.