The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Who will have the ‘hot hand’ for the Steelers receiving corps against the Baltimore Ravens?
The Steelers will probably not face a better trio of cornerbacks this season than what they are about to face in Baltimore, with Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith. In spite of a history of injuries, Smith continues to play well, now as the team’s nickel corner, who plays on the outside, with Humphrey moving into the slot, since Tavon Young’s injury.
I can’t help but wonder if this is an opportunity for Eric Ebron to have a big game. The Ravens rank 11th in allowing 55.3 yards per game to tight ends so far this season on 5.33 receptions per game. Overall, tight ends have caught 32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns against them.
With the wide receivers having their hands full, might it be Ebron’s turn? He is coming off his second-best game of the year, having caught six of eight passes for 50 yards. On the season, he has 22 receptions for 215 yards, and you know he’s looking to get back into the end zone.
This also could be a game in which the running back position plays a bigger role in the passing game, which is something the Steelers haven’t done a lot so far this year. Conner only has 15 catches in six games for 112 yards, but they tried to get him involved more this past Sunday. He even had a touchdown taken away via penalty (and dropped another one).