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  • 11/22/2019
In the locker room this past Monday morning Vince Williams Jersey ,  into the facility in first place in the division after how things started."It took a lot of hard work.” The laughter of both Pouncey and the reporters told the story of Week 7 for the Steelers. Without playing a game, they were able to catapult from third place in the AFC North to having the lead in the division thanks to losses by both the Ravens and Bengals. To top it all off, the Browns also fell in overtime. So as the Steelers watched at home, the rest of the division went 0-3.By not even putting on the pads, the Steelers did something which had never happened in the history of the AFC North: they jumped from third place to first place without playing a game.I was curious to see if this would be the case. Moving from third place to first in the division with tight standings was something I assumed happened quite often, especially the first few weeks every season. But pulling it off while not playing a game was something I wanted to investigate. In my research, not only was it the first time this happened with the team being on the bye, a team has moved from third place to first place in the AFC North only five other times since its inception.Before getting into the details, I wanted to make one thing clear: no team has ever gone from last to first in the AFC North in a single week. Since 2002 when the division was created, it has never occurred. before 2018, there have only ever been four seasons in which an AFC North team has jumped to the top from the third position. And in each of those seasons, it was a different team who made the leap.The most recent team in the AFC North making the third-to-first leap was the Baltimore Ravens in 2016. The Ravens finished Week 8 of the season in third place with a record of 3-4. The Steelers held the top spot with a record of 4-3 while Cincinnati followed in second place at 3-4-1. After Baltimore defeated Pittsburgh 21-14 in Week 9 while the Bengals were on a bye, they jumped up into the division lead. The Ravens held the top spot until Week 14 when Pittsburgh took over in route to winning the division. Going back two seasons earlier Terry Bradshaw Jersey , Cleveland made an unprecedented jump from third place to first place in the division from Week 9 to Week 10 in 2014. During the season, all four teams were very closely grouped through the middle of the season. After Week 9, Cincinnati was in the lead at 5-2-1, followed by Pittsburgh (6-3), Cleveland (5-3), and then Baltimore (5-4). The Browns crushed the Bengals 24-3 in Week 10, and with the Steelers falling to the Jets, Cleveland grabbed the top spot. But it was very short-lived, as the Browns fell all the way to fourth place the following week with a loss and were the only AFC North team to not make the playoffs.It was the previous year in 2013 when the Bengals made the third-to-first jump. It was the Week 5 when the Ravens, Browns, and Bengals were all tied at 3-2 with Cincinnati coming out on the short end of the tiebreakers. It didn’t take much to move in to first place with a win in Week 6 as both Baltimore and Cleveland lost. From Week 6 on, Cincinnati held the top spot to win the AFC North.The 2011 season was quite intriguing as teams shuffled around for a large portion of the year. In this season, the Steelers moved from 3rd to 1st in one week of the season on two separate occasions. The first time was from Week 6 to Week 7 when the Steelers improved from 4–2 to 5–2 after defeating the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens had held the top spot at 4–1 Joe Gilliam Jersey , but dropped after a defeat to the Jaguars. Cincinnati fell one spot during their bye as they held steady at 4-2.The other occasion where the Steelers jumped from third to first in 2011 was after they fell back to the third spot in Week 9. Pittsburgh had an extra loss at 6-3 and trailed both Ravens and Bengals who were 6–2. The Steelers defeated Cincinnati in week 10 while Baltimore lost to Seattle, which catapulted the Steelers in to first place. The Ravens reclaimed the top spot the following week as the Steelers were on bye and Baltimore matched their record and held for tiebreaker as they had already defeated the Steelers twice. For the final six weeks of the season, the Steelers and Ravens held identical records the entire way while Baltimore won the division with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati also making the playoffs.With a total of 279 weeks in which the AFC North has existed, this past week was only the sixth time a team jumped from third to first. For those keeping track, it means this occurs 2.2% of the time. The fact the Steelers moved up to lead the division during the bye is a first for the AFC North. If it takes just as long to see this again, set your alarm for Week 15 of the 2034 season. LATROBE, Pa. (AP) — The message couldn’t have been clearer when the Pittsburgh Steelers called Sutton Smith on the final day of the NFL draft.Yes, the Steelers liked Smith’s production at defensive end at Northern Illinois. His 15 sacks as a senior were kind of hard to miss, particularly for a 6-foot, 233-pound guy who doesn’t exactly fit the physical profile of an elite pass rusher.None of it mattered, however, once the Steelers took a flyer on Smith in the sixth round. Asked what he remembers about his first conversation with the coaching staff, Smith laughed."‘Time to be an athlete Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey ,'” Smith said with a laugh.They weren’t kidding. The star high school running back who scored 32 touchdowns as a senior before transitioning to a defensive end in college is getting a crash course at outside linebacker and fullback in the NFL, often in the same practice."It’s a slow work in progress right now,” Smith said. "Just trying to figure out the kinks and do what’s best for me and the organization right now.”Smith is up for whatever, which is a good thing because there’s a decent chance head coach Mike Tomlin might ask Smith to do. The 23-year-old is among a handful of rookies who arrived at their first training camp being asked to do a job far different than the one they were recruited to do in college."Young guys with versatility, young guys that are capable to do multiple jobs is an asset,” Tomlin said.Third-round pick Justin Layne signed with Michigan State as a highly coveted wide receiver prospect. Now he’s a defensive back. Fifth-round selection Zach Gentry was the first splashy signing for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, a big-armed quarterback who figured if he ever reached the pros, he’d do it heaving passes to the end zone. Instead, he evolved into a 6-foot-8 tight end long on athleticism if admittedly a little short in the finer points of run blocking."It’s a little surreal,” Gentry said.Not that Gentry is complaining. At least, not now anyway. That wasn’t exactly the case during Gentry’s freshman year. He remembers rolling out on a bootleg shortly after joining the Wolverines and juking a defender, maybe a little too well. Harbaugh asked Gentry to play scout team wide receiver to mimic a player from BYU, Michigan’s next opponent. When he excelled at that too Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey , Harbaugh approached Gentry and asked him if he’d consider switching positions.It didn’t go well."I was upset,” Gentry said. "I was really upset. I tried to transfer. Coach Harbaugh kind of sat me down a handful of times and explained that if I stick it out, do his regiment and do what I’m supposed to do, I’d go to the NFL as a tight end. I didn’t want to believe him because I wanted to play quarterback. But I believe in him and his record with tight ends. I just stuck it out and luckily everything happened the way it did.”That perseverance is one of the reasons Gentry found himself stretching to make a leaping grab at the goal line at Saint Vincent College on Thursday. His fingertip catch drew a nod of approval from Tomlin and a roar from the crowd nestled in the shade behind the end zone.OK, so it’s not as glamorous as quarterback. But it’ll do. Gentry admits he can still "sling it around” and yeah, there’s a part of him that wouldn’t mind standing next to starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to see just how he measures up."He’d probably school me there,” Gentry said. "I haven’t been working like that.”Not that an extensive work history is required to get a look at a position. Smith never played a down of fullback in his life until the Steelers started having him moonlight at the position during organized team activities. Smith knows the odds of earning a fullback job over starter Roosevelt Nix — himself a former college defensive lineman — are slim. He also knows nothing is guaranteed for players taken with the 175th overall pick.If he wants to carve out a spot on an NFL roster, be it in Pittsburgh or elsewhere, he can’t get picky about where he lines up. Besides, proving himself is half the fun."I’m not going to really have anybody tell me that I can’t do something,” Smith said. "That’s just not who I am and that’s not my mentality in this sport. I want to show I can do anything.”Good, because he might have to.
  • 11/23/2019
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