Steelers Study Notes, 8/18/21: Claypool Dodges Catastrophe, Ben Looks Crisp, Initial Roster Cuts Says Goodbye to McKoy, and Much More

By Jeremy Hritz

One day closer to Saturday’s third preseason contest against the Detroit Lions, and there is much news to cover regarding your Pittsburgh Steelers. Get updated on the latest happenings, including some of my current thoughts about the happenings surrounding the Black and Gold in today’s edition of the Study Notes.

Chase Claypool Injured But OK

In a scary, scary scene yesterday, Chase Claypool landed awkwardly in trying to pull in a catch, and had to be helped off of the field by Ben Roethlisberger and Eric Ebron. Steelers Nation held their collective breath, me included, that the injury was significant, and potentially, Claypool would be missing an extended period of time. Thankfully, later yesterday evening, it was reported that Claypool suffered a minor ankle sprain, and the news couldn’t be better. The team should be thanking their lucky stars as they dodged a big hit to the wide receiver room.

Big Ben Looks Crisp

Reports from camp practice on Tuesday indicated that Roethlisberger was on fire, firing precision passes, in addition to showing off his arm strength with a 60-yard bomb. Over the weekend, Ben had a 3-interception practice, so it is good to see him rebound with a nice performance. Heading into Saturday’s preseason game, Ben will get the start for a few series, which I have said multiple times I don’t like due to unnecessary risk of injury, yet if he is going to play, it would be encouraging to see him be productive in Matt Canada’s offense. Quick passes and handoffs through 2 series would be just fine for me. Keep the elder statesman safe!

OL Together at Last

Tuesday also marked the first day that the projected starting 5 offensive linemen had the opportunity to practice together with Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Trai Turner, and Zach Banner lining up side-by-side. This is important, as it is the start of the group building chemistry with each other and understanding each other’s nuances at the position. Hopefully this trend continues so they can be regular season ready for the September 12th contest vs. Buffalo. 

First 5 Roster Cuts

The first 5 players were cut from the roster on Tuesday, and they were: Isaiah McKoy, Brandon Walton, Sam Sloman, Abdullah Anderson, and Stephen Denmark. No true surprises here, though there was excitement surrounding what McKoy could potentially bring to the team as a receiver, and while I thought he would be cut, I didn’t think it would be this early. Additionally, multiple Steelers writers were high on Denmark in the early parts of camp, and this just goes to show that consistency and carry over of practice into the games is required to stick on the team.

Pierre Outside, Kicks Sutton Inside?

During the offseason following strong performances by James Pierre in OTAs and Minicamp, there was speculation that potentially in sub-packages on defense, he would move to the outside corner spot opposite Joe Haden, and Cameron Sutton could shift inside to the slot corner position. Yesterday, Keith Butler gave some credibility to that assertion when he said: “So could he [Pierre] be part of the starting deal? We’ll see. We’ll see as we go. But that certainly is a possibility.” The coaching staff is currently evaluating all options for the subpackages on defense, but now we have confirmation that this could be a viable option come September 12th.

Kendrick Green The Starter But On Skates When Bull Rushed?

Yesterday, Mike Tomlin left wide open the possibility that Kendrick Green would be the starter against Buffalo, but he also showed in practice something that has become somewhat of a trend for him, and that is a susceptibility to powerful defensive linemen. According to Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Green struggling with power is becoming a familiar sight. He was bull rushed and gave up a sack to the Eagles defensive tackle T.Y. McGill in last week’s preseason game in Philadelphia.” Is this something that Green can improve? Or, will this ultimately lead to JC Hassenauer or BJ Finney getting the nod at center?

My Random Steelers Notes

Butler was asked if he was disappointed in Devin Bush yesterday in light of the signing of Joe Schobert to which he responded that he was not, and nor was the coaching staff, indicating it will take time for Bush to recover from the injury. But you have to wonder with the trade for Schobert, and when reflecting on Bush’s antics from over the summer, in addition to his early performances in camp, is he meeting the expectations of the team? Hopefully his slow start is just a reflection of adjusting back to the speed and physicality of the game… Danny Smith praised Jordan Berry yesterday in talking with the media but no, just no, Danny. Pressley Harvin is the guy, and don’t even think about it. Ship Berry off for a 7th rounder and let’s move forward with the guy who has the potential to be an All Pro punter… The more I rewatch the first two preseason games, the more convinced I become that Mason Rudolph has reached the peak of his capabilities, which while not awful, they are just average. A strong showing for Dwayne Haskins on Saturday could be enough to tip the scales in his favor for the #2.

That is all for today! Make it a great Wednesday!


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