Happy Friday to yinz around the world and I hope the Memorial Day weekend is off to a great start for everyone.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their first week of OTA practices on Thursday and outside of a few Twitter faux pas, it appears the team had a very good week overall. The team will be back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for their second week of OTA practices on Tuesday.
As of Thursday, there are now just 11 weeks remaining until the Steelers first preseason game of 2019 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and roughly just 9 more weeks until the team reports to Latrobe for the start of training camp. Football in shorts season will be over with before you know it.
Not much is on tap for me on this holiday weekend other than maybe venturing out to a casino here in Las Vegas on Saturday or Sunday. I’m also about to make some spaghetti to nibble on this weekend and then settle in to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As usual, I have five questions for yinz to answer on this Friday night and I hope several can partake in this weekly site ritual.
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend and thank yinz for visiting the site this past week. Peace and love, peace and love!
1 – What would have likely been the trickle-down effect, if any, had Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown on 3rd and goal late against the Denver Broncos last season instead of an interception? Would the Steelers have gone on to win that game and ultimately made the playoffs? Would Brown still be a member of the Steelers? Deal in a few hypotheticals for me as it relates to that one play and let’s see how creative and imaginative a few of you are.
2 – Which Steelers offensive player, other than Roethlisberger, do you consider to be the biggest X-factor on that side of the football in 2019?
3 – Are you fine with the Steelers opening up their 2019 regular season against the New England Patriots, or would you rather them have to play them after Week 1?
4 – What does Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton deserve to be paid in regard to a new money average on a possible two or three-year contract extension later this offseason? Is a $3 million new money avenge just right? Too high, too low?
5 – In your opinion, what was the most-notable thing to come out of the Steelers first week of OTA practices other than no players being seriously injured?
Question 1: It will be interesting to see how Steelers veteran ILB Vince Williams, free agent Mark Barron and 1st round draft choice Devin Bush are utilized at inside linebacker this season. Steelers Depot respondents foresee Bush ultimately getting the lion’s share of defensive snaps with 70%, Vince Williams getting 60% & Barron 45%. Last year, Vince Williams led the inside linebacker corps with 71.17% of defensive snaps followed by Jon Bostic with 53.64% and LJ Fort 29.21%. Will we see more plays with two inside linebackers on the field in 2019?
Question 2: Respondents named nine different UDFA’s they would like to see with the Steelers. Only four got more than one mention with two already on the Steelers 90-man roster. Safety Dravon Askew-Henry and TE/LS Trevor Woods were each mentioned twice. Buffalo Bills WR David Sills was the most popular UDFA among respondents with 5 mentions. Bears TE Dax Raymond got two mentions.
Question 3: The best UDFA in Steelers history came down to a contest between Donnie Shell and James Harrison. Deebo the 2008 defensive player of the year, 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time first team All-Pro versus Donnie Shell 5-time Pro Bowler and 3-time first team all pro. The edge went to Shell with 54% of the vote versus Deebo’s 37.5%. Willie Parker & Roosevelt Nix also got mentioned.
Question 4: Many folks have talked about working Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell into the lineup to spell James Conner during the upcoming season. However, respondents see Conner as the workhorse especially in the red zone with 68.2% believing he will score more touchdowns than Samuels/Snell combined.
Question 5: 54.5% of respondents believe Zach Gentry will exceed the 5 receptions that Matt Spaeth recorded in his rookie season back in 2007. A sizeable minority of 45.5 believe he won’t, many believing that he will not make the 53-man roster. If Gentry does make the roster, it would be nice if he matched Spaeth’s scoring. 3 of Matt Spaeth’s 5 receptions in his rookie season were touchdowns.