First Call: Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones mocks newest Steeler; Mitch Trubisky backs up Kenny Pickett’s concerns

A hated rival of the Pittsburgh Steelers is mocking their recent acquisition of William Jackson III. One Steelers quarterback is backing up the opinions of the guy who took his job.

Speaking of quarterbacks, which one will Pitt see from Syracuse when the Orange visit Acrisure Stadium on Saturday?

We also preview Saturday games for the Penguins and Duquesne football in Friday’s “First Call.”

Rivalry restocked

We’ve long known that former Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones hates the Steelers organization.

It also appears that Pac has a particular dislike for the newest Steeler in particular.

Jones posted a profanity-laced tweet — with an accompanying video — targeting newly acquired Steelers corner William Jackson III.

“now your (backside) really on the Hot Seat!!! I new (sic) you wasn’t (expletive),” Jones posted. “now you over there with (expletive)burge!!!! @steelers great job lol, you (backside) bout to get barbecue grilled, you run but you can’t hide!!!”

Jones appears to have had some beef with Jackson for years, even though Jackson once praised Jones for being a good teammate when they overlapped in Cincinnati.

But I suppose Jones harbors some ill will since he was released by the Bengals after the 2017 season. Jackson was drafted at his position in 2016.

Meanwhile, Jackson told Pittsburgh media members that he is not on social media. That’s not quite true. He has a Twitter account. But Jackson hasn’t tweeted in about 14 months. That dates back to, roughly, one of Jones’ nasty attacks via social media.

More sports

• Tim Benz: Sharper goaltending would help, but Penguins’ pattern of blown leads goes well beyond that
• Steven Sims, another jockey to replace Chase Claypool for 2022 Steelers
• Jaromir Jagr gives thumbs up to Penguins winger Jason Zucker’s salute

Truth from Trubisky

Before leaving for the bye weekend, Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky echoed many of the same complaints about the Steelers offense that Kenny Pickett recently made.

After the team’s loss in Philadelphia on Sunday, Pickett was critical of the Steelers’ study habits, practice focus and attention to detail.

The man Pickett replaced voiced the same frustrations this week.

“You are seeing basically the same thing (as) when I was in there,” Trubisky told me Tuesday. “It’s frustrating. We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals. Eliminating penalties. Just everybody being on the same page. Eleven guys playing as one. Find ways to score. Find ways to get some points.”

Trubisky also seemed to lend a second voice to some of Pickett’s concerns about long drives that stall out without points.

“We are moving the ball a little bit. We have to be better in the red zone. We have got to get better on third down. Everybody knows that,” Trubisky continued. “But, for me it all starts in practice. We’ve got to practice harder. We have got to be more detailed. We’ve got to be locked into the walk-throughs. We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals.”

To be fair, another similarity between results under either Trubisky or Pickett this year is that both have struggled to identify, target and hit receivers downfield with any semblance of consistency.

And that’s on those two as much as it is the other offensive players or offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Crackin’ the code

The Seattle Kraken come to PPG Paints Arena on Saturday night. They’ll try to send the Pittsburgh Penguins to a defeat for a seventh straight time. If that happens, it’ll be just the second such losing streak in the Sidney Crosby era.

Seattle has been a part of this streak, beating the Penguins 3-1 in Washington back on Oct. 30 by a score of 3-1.

The Kraken are having a solid start to the franchise’s second season. The team is 6-4-2 to open the year after beating Marc-Andre Fleury and the Minnesota Wild 4-0 Thursday night. Ex-Penguins defenseman Jamie Oleksiak had a goal.

That’s Oleksiak’s third goal of the season already. The most he has ever had in his 11-year career is six.

Seattle is 4-1-1 on the road this season. Justin Schultz, Daniel Sprong and Brandon Tanev are also ex-Pens who played for the Kraken last night. Jared McCann was a scratch with an injury.

No questions about the QBs

As the 6-2 Syracuse Orange prepare to visit Acrisure Stadium to face 4-4 Pitt on Saturday, Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi isn’t fretting over the Orange’s quarterback uncertainty.

Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader had an excellent season going for the undefeated Orange (20 total touchdowns), until the second half of a loss at Clemson two weeks ago. But like many of his teammates, Shrader got beat up in that game and eventually was knocked out at halftime of the game against Notre Dame last week.

Shrader — a Mississippi State transfer — was eventually replaced by Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. He was decent, finishing with 190 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. But SU lost to the Fighting Irish.

It’s still unclear who will start Saturday on the North Shore. But Narduzzi insists his team’s defensive gameplan won’t be affected much.

“The offense is not going to change a lot,” Narduzzi said. “If you had a big stiff guy in the pocket compared to an athlete, we’d be able to get that. But they’re both athletic guys, so they both can move around and they both throw a nice ball. It’s not like there’s this big difference.”

One big difference is experience. Del Rio-Wilson had thrown just five passes prior to Saturday. Shrader has thrown 579 over three-and-a-half years of Power 5 experience.

Shot through the heart

The Duquesne Dukes are back in action at home Saturday, following a heartbreaking loss last week.

The Dukes fell to 2-6 on the season, losing to Long Island University 50-48 in double overtime on The Bluff last Saturday. Duquesne blew a 14-0 lead, only to come back from 35-21 down to tie it up, then lose it when Sharks quarterback Luca Stanzani hit Michael Love for a game-winning two-point conversion in the second OT.

That was the first win of the year for the 1-7 Sharks.

Now Jerry Schmitt’s club hosts 4-4 Sacred Heart at Arthur J. Rooney Field at noon Saturday. The Pioneers won the conference last year at 6-1.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

Leave a Comment