Happy Friday to yinz and I hope the weekend is off to a great start for all.
It’s back to the doctor again for me on this Friday because of some not so great news from my blood tests. Such is life, right?
Not much really transpired with the Pittsburgh Steelers this past week outside of Matt Feiler and Mike Hilton both signing their second-round restricted free agent tenders. The slow offseason will likely get a lot slower starting on Monday. We’ll keep yinz entertained, however.
As usual, I have five questions for yinz to answer on this Friday night and I hope to see several participate in this weekly ritual. Have a blessed weekend and I look forward to reading the responses in the comments below thus post.
Peace and love, peace and love! Thank you to all that visited the site this past week.
1 – Which player is most-likely to sign a contract with a team first?
2 – Should the NFL cut preseason games down to two a team this year?
3 – Better chance of happening in 2020 for the Steelers?
Diontae Johnson 1,000 yards receiving
James Conner 1,000 yards rushing
4 – Will Cameron Heyward sign a contract extension before the start of the 2020 regular season?
5 – Of these Steelers big plays below from the 2000’s that I have recapped so far in my series, which one is your favorite?
2008 – Roethlisberger To Washington For 65-Yard TD Against Giants
2007 – Roethlisberger To Holmes For 83 Yards Against Rams
2006 – Batch To Miller For 87-Yard TD Against Dolphins
2005 – Roethlisberger To Ward For 85-Yard TD Against Patriots
2004 – Ward, Parker Each Register 58-Yard Gains Against Ravens, Bills
2003 – Miller To Hope For 81-Yard Fake Punt TD Against Ravens
2002 – Maddox To Ward For 72-Yard TD Against Titans
2001 – Stewart To Shaw For 90-Yard TD Against Ravens
2000 – Graham To Ward For 77-Yard TD Against Bengals
Question 1: The responses to this question revealed that Steelers Depot reader base has a chunk of younger Steeler fans with few recollections beyond the Roethlisberger era of the Black and Gold timeline. There are still many fossils like me who experienced the thrill of the Steelers first playoff win way back in 1972 with the immaculate reception. Impressively there are respondents with personal memories of the pre-Noll era which takes us to 1968 on back. The long offensive play from 1980-87 that we chose as our favorite was the 1981 Terry Bradshaw pass to backup quarterback Mark Malone for a 90-yard touchdown versus the Seattle Seahawks. The 1984 David Woodley pass to Louie Lipps for an 80-yard touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs closely followed. These were the two longest plays among the eight choices. The 1981 score helped the Steelers build a 21-3 second half lead that the Seahawks unfortunately overcame by scoring 21 unanswered points including 14 in the fourth quarter. The Steelers finished 8-8 in 1981. The Lipps play occurred during the first half of a home opener loss to the Chiefs. Lipps also caught a short fourth quarter touchdown pass from Mark Malone in the same game. The Steelers finished 9-7 in 1984 but qualified for the playoffs. They lost the conference championship to Super Bowl runner up Miami Dolphins that season.
Question 2: 75% of Steeler Depot respondents believe defensive lineman Cam Heyward will sign a new contract prior to the start of the 2020 regular season.
Question 3: Steeler Depot respondents ranked Bubby Brister as the top Steelers quarterback who played in the 1980s (Terry Bradshaw retired after the 1983 season). The Steelers reached the playoffs just four times from 1980-89. Respondents ranked Mark Malone at the bottom with Cliff Stoudt and David Woodley somewhere in the middle. David Woodley played just 16 games with 13 starts over two seasons splitting time with Mark Malone. Bubby Brister and Mark Malone started two playoff games with Malone reaching the AFC championship but threw three TD’s offset by three interceptions in a losing cause. Brister started against the Broncos losing narrowly 24-23 after a wildcard win over the Houston Oilers. Cliff Stoudt started one playoff game against the Oakland Raiders in 1983 (his last game as a Steeler). Mark Malone replaced Stoudt who was sacked five times in the 38-10 loss. My all-time Steelers list currently ranks the four as follows: Bubby Brister # 133, Mark Malone # 147, Cliff Stoudt # 287, and David Woodley # 500.
Question 4: 80% of respondents are more interested in watching wide receiver Chase Claypool play more than outside linebacker Alex Highsmith during the 2020 preseason. Several want to see how Claypool contributes on special teams.
Question 5: It was close but Ken Whisenhut narrowly edged Bruce Arians by an average ranking of 2.0 to 2.1 as the best offensive coordinator to work with Ben Roethlisberger. Todd Haley was third and current coordinator Randy Fichtner the caboose, but he had Ben for only one full season of his two as coordinator. Whisenhut was the coordinator when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. Under Whisenhut, Ben’s most yards throwing was 3513 in 2006 but he also had a career high 23 interceptions and sacked 46 times. Ben won another Lombardi in Super Bowl XLIII but lost super bowl XLV with Bruce Arians as coordinator. Ben was a pro bowler twice with Arians as OC (2007 and 2011) and 4328 passing yards was Ben’s high mark under Arians in 2009. However, his sack totals in those five years were 47-46-50-32-40 respectively. Todd Haley’s offensive schemes led to Ben’s selection to the pro bowl in four straight years 2014-17 with Ben’s 4952 passing yards in 2014 his high mark with Haley. Sadly, these teams never made it to the big dance. Randy Fichtner served as Steelers wide receiver coach 2007-09 then Ben’s quarterback coach 2010-17. In his only full season as offensive coordinator with him at quarterback, Roethlisberger recorded career highs in yardage (5129) and touchdowns (34). No playoffs yet. But wouldn’t it be nice for Ben to set new career highs while hoisting a Lombardi with Randy?