In writing parlance, a "hack" refers to someone who not only lacks talent, but doesn't put the effort in to understand his/her subject, and creates a "mail-it-in" feel in the work s/he produces.
As half of a hack, I know hack-ish effort when I see it, but the better half of me avoids going after writers in this space.
Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston is in my crosshairs, though, and I can't let it go unchallenged. After all, it's Steelers/Ravens Week. What better way to kick it off than to throw out hack-ish work and denigrate it?
A recent column penned by Preston goes over the general blanket information - Baltimore can bury the Steelers this weekend with a win, although a loss would drop them to sub-.500 levels.
He also casually points out a comparison between the two teams; their quarterbacks.
The Ravens and Steelers have a lot in common with the most interesting parallel being both teams gave lucrative contracts to quarterbacks who are good, but can't carry teams. Unlike a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, they don't make other players around them better. Both teams are starting to see the fallout from not having other vital parts.
This isn't in any way to attack any receiver on either of these teams, but Torrey Smith and Antonio Brown are not among the top three of the league in receiving yards and receptions, respectively, because they're phenomenal talents. They both have quarterbacks who can get them the ball.
And both of these quarterbacks, Roethlisberger over the past two weeks in particular, are performing well despite woefully ineffective offensive lines.
This all goes before the simple fact an impressive playoff run and a big contract does not make Roethlisberger - a quarterback with a career rating of 92.5 - and Joe Flacco equals. If nothing else, they're both tough quarterbacks who have won at least one (or only one) Super Bowl. Game per game, over the regular season, Roethlisberger is a vastly superior statistical quarterback to Flacco. And instead of their respective teams spending money on a free agent receiver, like Denver and Wes Welker, both teams lost receivers who carried at least a decent chunk of their respective offenses (Anquan Boldin in Baltimore and Mike Wallace in Pittsburgh) not to mention both passers started this season without their high-level tight ends (Dennis Pitta in Baltimore and Heath Miller in Pittsburgh).
In the spirit of the start of Steelers/Ravens Week I for the 2013 season, the bulk of this game is going to come down to how Flacco and Roethlisberger carry their respective teams. They both leads offenses that are still searching for an identity but their issues aren't with their quarterbacks, and simply because Manning and Brady have those things - neither Roethlisberger nor Flacco do - does not mean they're able to carry their respective teams.
I saw Manning turn the ball over twice against Jacksonville, and had New Orleans bothered to implement a running scheme this offseason, they could have run out the clock on Brady's Patriots - which would have been his second straight game without a touchdown pass.
You see, I'm not one who is still over-excited at the idea of a game-winning touchdown pass that I forget the entire body of work of a player. Brady hasn't played well in two weeks, and while Manning is in robo-Manning mode, let's see what happens in December.
Whatever you do, don't tell me Roethlisberger can't carry his team. He has been carrying them, kicking and screaming, and watch what happens when the Steelers are able to establish something of a running game.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers/Ravens Week: Everything you need to know"
- Roethlisberger: Cheering for injury "truly unfortunate"
- Sean Spence: 'I know I'm going to beat the odds'
- Brown, Allen, Clark receive top marks from Pro Football Focus
- Steelers add somersaults into the end zone to their list of banned activities
- Steelers Antonio Brown is on fire