Guess that 10-6 record won’t do
PITTSBURGH — No sooner than I predicted a 10-6 season for the Steelers, that prognostication was rendered obsolete with a tie in Cleveland.
It took just four hours to make a season prediction totally incorrect.
Is it going to be that kind of season?
Picking apart the season opener:
n The Steelers didn’t win because they didn’t deserve to win. Six turnovers, a dozen penalties and a missed field goal doesn’t work against anybody. Not even the Browns.
n Go easy on the “See, they don’t Le’Veon Bell” talk. James Conner did a great job — somewhat negated by a fumble at the worst time — but who knows if he can do that over 16 weeks?
n There was no need for Conner to carry as heavy a load as he did. His efficiency diminished as the game wore on. The Steelers have other backs on the roster. Don’t be afraid to use them. Conner will be better with a break every now and then.
n Antonio Brown has to realize there will be games when his greatest value is in attracting multiple coverage and leaving other receivers open. That said, the Steelers need a receiver who could be a legitimate third option.
n Even if Ben Roethlisberger didn’t see the third defender closing in on his intended target, he was still throwing into double coverage. Sometimes it seems like he tries to force the ball to Brown, even when that’s not the best option.
n Return specialist Ryan Switzer made a positive first impression. That’s one part of the game where an upgrade is needed.
n How many times do players have to be told it’s a penalty (both needless and costly) for taking off the helmet on the field?
n OK, instead of 10-6, how about 9-6-1?
CBS didn’t do rookie analyst Bruce Arians any favors by making him part of a three-man broadcast crew on the Steelers-Browns opener.
The former Steelers offensive coordinator did OK in his debut, but it’s tough to work with two partners instead of one.
In addition to keeping up with what the other two announcers are saying, there’s also the distraction of the producer communicating with the announcers through their headsets. That’s a challenge for a rookie broadcaster.
Stay in control
Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi went a little crazy in the early moments of Saturday’s game against Penn State, earning a 15-yard penalty in the process.
That’s an inexcusable mistake for a head coach.
No official has even changed a call because a coach yelled at him. When coaches are trying to teach players to stay under control, the message can be lost when the coach is acting like a madman and drawing a penalty flag.
It didn’t work for Serena Williams at the U.S. Open, and it didn’t work for Narduzzi at Heinz Field.
SUBHEAD: Bad buy
What if the Los Angeles Dodgers miss the postseason with a payroll just slightly north of $196,000?
You don’t spend that kind of money and settle for watching the playoffs on TV.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org