Player News - Steelers

Date: Team: Pos:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted big plays as an issue for the Steelers defense after Pittsburgh fell to Buffalo 43-19 in Week 3 of the preseason.

Safety Will Allen told the Post-Gazette, "You better be concerned about it, especially when it’s happening to the first-team defense, or any defense that’s out there." Buffalo started the big play fireworks with bursts from running back Fred Jackson and tight end Charles Clay on their way to a blowout win. The Pittsburgh defense will not be worthy of starting in Week 1 of the regular season as the Steelers travel to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots, despite the absence of Tom Brady.
Aug 30 - 2:14 AM

Markus Wheaton had one catch for 20 yards in Saturday's preseason game.

Wheaton played only two series. With Martavis Bryant suspended the first four games, he'll open the season as the clear-cut No. 2 behind Antonio Brown. Wheaton is worth a WR4 flyer.
Aug 29 - 6:42 PM

Martavis Bryant caught three passes for 138 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's preseason game.

The Steelers rested their starters after one series, but Bryant played most of the first half. All of his production came against Buffalo's first-team defense. Bryant burned Bills rookie CB Ronald Darby for a 63-yard catch, and drew two pass interference calls. His touchdown was a 39-yard deep post over the middle of the field. Bryant will miss the first four games to suspension and is behind Markus Wheaton in two-wide sets, but has a high ceiling as a buy-low WR3.
Aug 29 - 6:12 PM

Antonio Brown was held without a catch in Saturday's preseason game.

The Steelers only played Brown for one series. He'll likely be rested for the preseason finale. Brown should be drafted as a top-three wideout.
Aug 29 - 5:35 PM

DeAngelo Williams had three carries for 15 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's preseason game.

With Le'Veon Bell suspended the first two weeks, Williams started the regular-season dress rehearsal. He went untouched into the end-zone on his one-yard touchdown, and also scored on a two-point conversion. Williams has short-term RB3 value, but will be a strict backup when Bell returns.
Aug 29 - 5:26 PM

Ben Roethlisberger completed 2-of-4 passes for 30 yards in the Steelers' fourth preseason game.

Roethlisberger was removed after the first series. He should finish the preseason 16-of-21 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Roethlisberger is locked in as a mid-range QB1.
Aug 29 - 4:56 PM

Michael Vick is expected to play in the Steelers' fourth preseason game Saturday.

Signed this week to back up Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers need to get Vick reps in the offense. He could play most of the second half.
Aug 29 - 12:47 PM

Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey's fractured left fibula/ankle is expected to sideline him until Week 12.

He'll miss the first eight games on I.R./return, then is expected to miss two more weeks rehabbing and conditioning. The Steelers' bye falls in Week 11, and the early expectation is Pouncey will be available in Week 12. Pittsburgh remains strong at guard and tackle, but will ask a lot of Cody Wallace to replace Pouncey at the pivot. 26-year-old Wallace has made six spot starts the past two seasons, earning positive PFF grades in 2013 but floundering mightily last year.
Aug 28 - 1:51 PM's Ian Rapoport reports Martavis Bryant's four-game suspension is for "multiple failed marijuana tests."

Per Rapsheet, Bryant's appeal is in "the latter stages." Bryant now has all the makings of a boom-or-bust WR3, especially since Markus Wheaton has supposedly looked ready to break out as the Steelers' No. 2 receiver. Bryant's touchdown upside makes him worth a later-round draft pick and stash in re-draft leagues, but it can't be assumed he'll simply pick up where he left off in his impressive rookie campaign.
Aug 27 - 7:06 PM

ESPN Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler is expecting a breakout year from Markus Wheaton.

Wheaton was tabbed for a breakout last season, but instead limped to a 53/644/2 line as he was soundly out-played by Martavis Bryant. With Bryant suspended for the season's first four games, however, Wheaton is getting another shot with the first-team offense. Wheaton has been getting puffed up by his teammates and local media all summer. He's worth a WR4 flier.
Aug 27 - 5:03 PM

Markus Wheaton is locked in as the Steelers' No. 2 receiver following Martavis Bryant's four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Bryant's impending ban explains why the Steelers have gone to great lengths to talk Wheaton up this summer, and why he was running well ahead of Bryant in last week's preseason game. The No. 79 overall pick of the 2013 draft, Wheaton has been thoroughly underwhelming through the first two years of his NFL career, but his role puts him on the WR3 fringes to begin the season.
Aug 27 - 2:51 PM

NFL suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Bryant is appealing, but this explains why the Steelers have gone to great lengths to talk up Markus Wheaton this summer. It's a massive blow to an offense already missing Le'Veon Bell for Weeks 1 and 2, and severely curbs Bryant's upside appeal after his promising rookie season. Bryant was inactive for Weeks 1-6 last season, but scored eight touchdowns in just 306 snaps upon joining the fray. He played 62-of-76 snaps in the Steelers' Wild Card loss. Bryant's absence puts Wheaton on the WR3 fringes, and forces thus far unimpressive third-rounder Sammie Coates into a role on offense.
Aug 27 - 2:42 PM

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said C Maurkice Pouncey (broken fibula) has a chance to return this year.

Pouncey will likely be placed on injured reserve/designated to return, meaning he will miss at least the first half of the season. How his leg heals after surgery will determine if he can make it back at all. Cody Wallace will start at center with Pouncey sidelined.
Aug 27 - 1:04 PM

Steelers placed QB Bruce Gradkowski on injured reserve with finger and shoulder injuries, ending his season.

Gradkowski underwent finger surgery, and has a shoulder issue. Now 32, Gradkowski hasn't attempted a regular season pass since 2012. He could be on his way out of the NFL.
Aug 25 - 7:45 PM

Steelers signed QB Michael Vick to a one-year contract.

He'll back up Ben Roethlisberger after Bruce Gradkowski was sent to injured reserve. Now 35, Vick's transformational athleticism is long gone, and with it, his ability to be anything more than a mediocre backup. Vick completed just 52.9 percent of his 121 attempts for the Jets last season, and has a mere 10 total touchdowns over his past 17 appearances. The Steelers will hope he doesn't have to make starts behind the mostly-durable Roethlisberger.
Aug 25 - 7:41 PM

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