TE Leonard Pope - Pittsburgh Steelers
|6-7, 250||Born: 9-9-1983||College: Georgia||Drafted: Round 3|
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Week 3: at Carolina Panthers
Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. Ben Roethlisberger came back down to earth in Week 2 (22/37 for 217 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception) after a big game in Week 1 (23/34 for 365 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown). He has taken five sacks for -29 yards so far this season - the pass blocking needs to improve to keep Roethlisberger upright during 2014. Antonio Brown (12 targets for 7/90/0) and Markus Wheaton (eight for 5/38/0) saw the most targets last week, followed by Heath Miller (six for 4/35/0) and LeVeon Bell (five for 5/48/0). These four guys make up the backbone of the receiving corps in Pittsburgh this season.
The Panthers' pass D held Josh McCown to 22/35 for 162 net yards, two TDs and two interceptions thrown, with three sacks for -21 yards generated in the first regular season game. They followed up by limiting the scoring of Matthew Stafford and company in Week 2 (27/48 for 253 net yards allowed, one TD and one interception thrown, with four sacks taken for -38 yards), without their top DE Greg Hardy who was inactivated by the team under pressure from team owner Jerry Richardson, just an hour or so before the game started. Hardy is supposedly going to play this week, but he was supposed to last week, too. The latest news is that the NFL may intervene and punish Hardy based on a recent domestic violence conviction that Hardy is appealing. This is a fluid situation - stay tuned to Footballguys.com's Players in the News later in the week if Hardy is on your IDP roster.
Carolina has a great defense and they hold home-field advantage in this game - this is a tough matchup for Roethlisberger and company.
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