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Steelers defense looks familiar

Commentary

November 27, 2013
John Mehno (jmehnocolumn@gmail.com) , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers had a turn-back-the-clock game Sunday in Cleveland, and they didn't need to wear any silly throwback uniforms.

The Steelers defense looked like it used to: Turnovers, consistent pressure on the quarterback, Troy Polamalu flying like a crazy man, the whole package.

Does this mean the Steelers' defense is back? Or does it mean they feasted on a bad offense?

It's probably more of the latter.

But that doesn't really matter. The Steelers will face a different challenge Thursday night in Baltimore, even though the Ravens have been struggling this season.

Can the Steelers salvage this season? Who knows? Aaron Rodgers might be back in the Packers lineup when they have to play in Green Bay on Dec. 22.

Other opponents (Miami and Cleveland at home) look like pushovers, but the NFL is funny that way.

Just enjoy the ride, and hope it doesn't end up like last year: Out of the playoffs, but with a record too good to claim a prime drafting spot.

Shipping out

It looks like Garrett Jones' days in Pittsburgh are over, given the Pirates' decision to designate him for assignment.

If there's no trade, the Pirates will simply not offer Jones a contract, allowing him to become a free agent.

Jones simply isn't productive enough as a platoon player to justify the salary - probably over $5 million - that he would likely get through arbitration.

Jones was an ideal pickup for the Pirates, a minor league free agent who made the most of his opportunity. He hit 100 home runs while he was here and gave the team adequate service at first base and the outfield.

On top of that, he was a good guy who helped in the community. Now it's time to move on and find someone else.

There's no animosity on either side. It's just business.

Thanks

It's that time of year when I save a portion of the column to simply say thanks for reading and participating.

A lot of sportswriters come across as grumpy sorts. The reason for that is we know that underneath all the aggravations, we have a pretty sweet deal.

Not only do we not pay our way into the games, we get paid to write about them. We don't get paid much, but we also don't have a dress code or 7 a.m. traffic. Life is all about trade-offs.

Joe Falls used to write a column in The Sporting News. One of his occasional themes was how much he liked his job.

Once, in an overcrowded and hostile post-game locker room, a colleague snarled at Falls, "Next time you write another column about how much fun sportswriting is, I'm going to strangle you."

Point taken. But all things considered, we're fortunate to do what we do.

It wouldn't work without readers. So thanks, and enjoy the holiday.

Now get focused. Kickoff isn't that far away.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

 
 
 

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