Those looking for the 2016 Steelers to dominate with their passing attack are disappointed.
Hope from coaches and fans on Dennard are high, but with injury concerns and Josh Shaw stepping up over the past two weeks, there needs to be some thought regarding the long-term outlook of the three-year pro.
Instead, he chose to stay home and play for Pitt, where he set numerous records and left his mark as one of the best pass-catchers to ever suit up for the Panthers.
"The feeling that we have as a Steelers defense", said Cockrell, "is as long as there's a blade of grass between them and the end zone, we're going to defend it".
And Ben Roethlisberger's sharp second half gave the Steelers an early leg up in the race for the AFC North title by shaking off a pair of first-half interceptions to finish with 259 yards and three scores and Pittsburgh held on for a 24-16 win on Sunday.
Nearly immediately after their 2015 season had ended with a loss in the playoffs to the Broncos in Denver, the Steelers started focusing on the importance of being home during the playoffs.
The rematch of the Steelers' ugly 18-16 win in the wild-card round in January was downright tame by comparison. Nugent and Chris Boswell each had a field goal in the second quarter, and Pittsburgh had a 10-6 lead at halftime.
Wells Fargo starts own probe as House hearing looms
In fact, a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles against Wells Fargo in May 2015 says that the bank was consumed by this goal. Tolstedt has also left the bank, earlier than her planned December 31 retirement.
One soggy, throwback day of football in Heinz Field validated all those defensive draft picks and free-agency signings over the past four years. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's first-quarter TD pass was the 276th of his career, moving him ahead of Vinny Testaverde and alone into 12th place all-time in the NFL. Bengals-Steelers isn't built to be high-scoring in even good weather.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called it "a necessary victory" for his team, but hardly lovely. "We didn't have enough positives on first down, and we didn't convert the third downs".
One of their most glaring problems in the first two games was their inability to run.
"They have a great defense and they played well up front", said left guard Clint Boling. Those are the type of abilities that he has, and he displays them consistently.
New England lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, then nearly the lost game, but held on to beat Miami and remain undefeated at 2-0. He dropped a bomb on them. Third-down dime coverage worked well for much of the game, with rookies Sean Davis and Burns on the field together. "He's impactful. He can change the game in the blink of an eye". If they can't establish a rhythm, their defense might find itself on the field for extended periods of time.
Maybe, but the 132 combined yards he piled up against Cincinnati meant plenty to the Steelers. Pittsburgh will soon have Le'Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton back on offense and Bud Dupree on defense.
The Steelers are in first place in the AFC North, the bloodiest and most blood thirsty division in the National Football League and although the Steelers are in first place in their division, they must remain vigilant because as we all know in the AFC North; the vampires come out at night. What was different was the Steelers got 132 yards from scrimmage and a receiving touchdown from DeAngelo Williams, plus two more touchdowns from a couple of tight ends who are afterthoughts on every opposing defensive coordinator's to-do list. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-16. And besides 2-0, there is nothing the better Steelers could be.