The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Take 4 | NFL rule changes, Steelers and Caleb Williams

Southern+California+quarterback+Caleb+Williams+throws+during+the+NCAA+college+football+teams+NFL+Pro+Day+in+Los+Angeles+on+March+20.
AP Photo/Ryan Sun
Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws during the NCAA college football team’s NFL Pro Day in Los Angeles on March 20.

In this week’s Take 4, The Pitt News Sports Desk gives its take on the sports world, including polarizing takes on Caleb Williams.

Bears should draft Maye, not Williams // Ari Meyer, Staff Writer

With the trade of quarterback Justin Fields, it is all but inevitable that the Chicago Bears will take USC quarterback Caleb Williams, the consensus favorite No. 1 overall pick to mock draft creators. 

In my opinion, this is a mistake. While Williams has shown his ability to make tough throws and confound defenses, it seems to me that there is a possibility that this doesn’t convert to the NFL. 

Williams exhibits an incredibly high ceiling in terms of his potential, but a woeful floor. If everything doesn’t click, the Bears are primed for another long stretch of subpar quarterback play. “Da Bears” are the only franchise in the league without a 4,000-yard passing season. 

On the other hand, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels have both shown serviceable quarterback potential. Pitt fans might remember Maye’s trouncing of the Panthers in the 2023 season. Daniels’ Heisman Trophy in 2023 speaks for itself. Neither seems to have as high of a ceiling as Williams, but both seem like safer options for a team like the Bears. 

Ben Roethlisberger is partly responsible for the Steelers’ continued mediocrity and quarterback controversy // James Carter, Staff Writer

As much as former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is revered in Pittsburgh, he is partly responsible for the Steelers’ mediocrity, and it all traces back to the 2018 season. 

From Roethlisberger reacting poorly to the Mason Rudolph draft pick and refusing to take the young quarterback under his wing, to his feud with Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger hasn’t had the Steelers’ interests at the top of his mind. Roethlisberger was heavily involved in the promotion of Randy Fichtner to offensive coordinator, eventually paving the way for Matt Canada. 

In addition, his refusal to retire after his injury in 2019 and his disapproval of drafting quarterbacks cost the Steelers several quality quarterback classes. Thus, the Steelers had to wait until the underwhelming quarterback class of 2022. 

While the memories he provided were great, his stubbornness and power trip has landed the Steelers in the cycle of mediocrity they are now trying to crawl out of. 

Caleb Williams’ Bears make the Playoffs in 2024 // Alex Porter, Staff Writer 

In most drafts, the team picking first overall finished last in the regular season. However, this isn’t the case with the Chicago Bears and their presumed selection of USC quarterback Caleb Williams. The Bears received this pick from the 2-15 Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, Chicago finished 7-9, staying in playoff contention through week 17.

Williams will have plenty of support when he heads to Chicago. The Bears already have a solid defensive unit that tied for the league lead in interceptions with 22.

They also assembled the best receiving duo in the NFL this offseason. DJ Moore and Keenan Allen give Williams two elite options — both receivers finished top 15 in receptions and yards last season. Not to mention, the Bears’ signing of Pro Bowl running back D’Andre Swift — who finished fifth in rushing yards in 2023.

To top it off, the Bears hired offensive guru Shane Waldron, who helped reconstruct Geno Smith’s career in Seattle. With Waldron’s coaching, the sky’s the limit for the highly touted Heisman winner.

So with Williams under center in a revamped offense, it will not surprise me if Chicago sneaks into the playoffs in 2024.

The new NFL kickoff rule creates a win-win scenario for the league and its players // Sara Meyer, Senior Staff Writer

The new NFL kickoff Rule gives a notoriously dangerous play the best of both worlds — more kickoff returns with less catastrophic collisions. After changing the rules for the kickoff last season, returns became renowned for generating dead plays. Also, despite the rule change, high-impact collisions still occurred when returns happened.

With this new rule, the biggest change to protect the safety of players is their alignment. The kicking team’s defenders and blockers are both on the returning team’s side of the field. The kicking team’s defenders cannot advance until the ball is grabbed or it lands in the landing zone. To increase return rates, the NFL incentivized the kicker to kick the ball in the landing zone. If the ball lands outside of it, then the ball goes to the 40-yard line, and if the ball lands in the landing zone it is a live ball. 

With these new rules, the safety of NFL players is prioritized while making the game more exciting.

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