Browns haven’t bypassed Steelers
As a Steeler fan living outside Pennsylvania, I often get a much different take on things from the national sports media.
In 2019, no theme in that conversation is bigger than the idea of the Cleveland Browns winning the AFC North. I understand even the Las Vegas oddsmakers have been drinking that Kool-Aid by making the Brownies off-season favorites.
Before Steelers fans lose all hope, let’s consider a few facts during the summertime non-football doldrums.
The overwhelming narrative to be addressed in the Steel City surrounds the loss of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
The story goes to say that’s just too much talent to let walk out the door, and no team can simply bounce back and recover after losing two pro bowlers.
The fact is that Brown led the Steelers in receiving yards seven times last season — seven, not 16. To be totally accurate, the team leader in receiving yards is still here, and the quarterback who threw it to him racked up over 5,000 yards last season. That doesn’t sound like a bare cupboard to me.
The bottom line ask by Mike Tomlin is can the committee of second-year man James Washington, ex-Jaguar Donte Moncrief and rookie Dionte Johnson fill in the 100 receptions vacated by Mr. Big Chest? I think that is well within the realm of the possible.
As for Bell, well he departed the team long before last season. Bell last produced a 100-yard game in a black and gold uniform all the way back in December of 2017, so it’s kind of like they have moved on already.
James Conner and Jaylen Samuels produced over 1200 rushing yards in 2018, so yeah, I think they have figured that part out. Add bruiser Benny Snell to the mix, and the Steelers suddenly look deep in the backfield.
On the other side of the ball, it appears to we casual fans that the Steelers defense might now be the strength of the team. The secondary is quickly looking better than it has in years if the Stevie Nelson cornerback signing was worth the money.
That and Terrell Edmonds figuring things out, and we might not need to score 30 to win in 2019. We saw enough of Devin Bush against Penn State to know he should bring much needed stability to the glaring void at the inside linebacker position.
My only gripe about this offseason is that the Steelers lost four games by five points or less and three games by three or less. When you take into account that Chris Boswell missed seven field goals and a whopping seven extra points, suddenly 10 wins doesn’t seem too farfetched with just an average kicking game.
My bottom line that Pittsburgh went 4-1-1 in the AFC North, and despite the Browns bringing in so much hyped talent, I just don’t see that changing all that much this year.
I like Pittsburgh to win another division title in 2019, and tell the boys in Vegas I am coming to place that bet.
PSU lacrosse coach outschemed
With great anticipation last Saturday afternoon, I watched the most powerful offense in college lacrosse in many years take on fifth-ranked Yale, the Ivy League champion.
Penn State was ranked No. 1. Well, a different PSU lacrosse team showed up and humiliated itself in a 21-17 loss. The Nittany Lions never showed up as it was 5-0 within minutes and 10-2 by halftime.
If anybody deserves to get a finger pointed at them for the loss, it’s coach Jeff Tambroni, who didn’t learn a thing when his team played Yale in February.
Yale’s No. 6 faceoff specialist won close to 80 percent of his faceoffs. State had no answer until desperation set in when Tambroni inserted the No. l faceoff specialist in the Big Ten, who was a freshman.
By then, late in the first half, it was too late.
As for next year, most of Penn State’s stellar offense will return and probably will be a power in the Big Ten once again, But will the Lions return to the NCAA Tournament?
Out of adversity, let’s hope Tambroni and his staff learn to make very critical adjustments if they are to have another good season.