PITTSBURGH - To huddle or not? That seems to be one of the hot button issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won four of their last six games.
The perception is that the Steelers have their greatest success when they run a no-huddle offense.
Ben Roethlisberger likes it, because it gives him the freedom to call the plays.
How much did the Steelers run it in Sunday's comeback victory against the Detroit Lions?
A lot, according to Heath Miller.
But a weekly breakdown of the game tape by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review showed that the Steelers were just as successful passing the ball after they'd broken a huddle.
The real answer is probably a split, the only variable being the percentage. That is likely somewhere between 60-40 and 40-60, depending on the opponent and the degree of success the Steelers enjoy as the game progresses.
The players seem to embrace the no huddle. At least the quarterback and his receivers do.
We haven't heard from the 300-pound-plus linemen who probably wouldn't mind getting the breather than comes from assembling for a huddle.
It's not as simple as running the no-huddle on a steady basis. The NFL has a lot of smart people. If something works consistently, it's not long until defensive coordinators find an answer for it. A steady diet of no-huddle may not work as well as a sudden outbreak.
The Steelers would probably be best served by staying the course, and serving a mix of looks and approaches.
That isn't as much fun as screaming for a full-time no-huddle plan, but it's likely the most practical solution.
A.J. Burnett is holding the Pittsburgh Pirates' offseason hostage.
Burnett hasn't decided if he wants to pitch in 2014, and his hesitation is forcing the Pirates to put their plans on hold.
If Burnett is willing to come back, the Pirates have a proven starter who provided 191 innings last season. They will probably seek another starter, but they know Burnett will solidify one spot in the rotation.
If he's not back, the Pirates need to look for two starting pitchers. There are too many questions in their rotation otherwise.
If they need two starters, that's less money they have to spend to plug holes at first base and right field. They also need to make a decision about shortstop, including finding a reliable backup if Jordy Mercer is the starter.
Their priority list will become more clear once they know if Burnett is coming back.
Is his delay a product of genuine indecision about playing again in 2014? Or is it some form of payback for the slight he felt when Clint Hurdle told him at the last minute that he wouldn't start Game Five of the National League Championship Series?
The Pirates need to know what his plans are, and they need that information soon.
If you saw the end of Monday night's New England-Carolina game, you know one thing for certain:
Even an extensive replay policy doesn't prevent officials from missing calls.
Mehno can be reached at email@example.com