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Steelers News: Jerry Rice chimes in on the Antonio Brown saga in Pittsburgh

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how Hall of Fame, and greatest NFL wide receiver of all-time, Jerry Rice was recently asked about Antonio Brown’s situation in Pittsburgh, and what he thought about the San Francisco 49ers acquiring the prolific receiver.

Of course, Rice would be on board with such a transaction taking place, but he also said some stuff which doesn’t make any sense. Let me clarify, maybe he made a comment on something he doesn’t truly understand because he isn’t in Pittsburgh.

Either way, Rice has had better days, when it comes to commenting on current life in the NFL.

Let’s get to the news:

Tim Benz: Jerry Rice makes insane comments about Steelers’ Antonio Brown

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Updated 4 hours ago

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown may have a$20,000 G.O.A.T ring. But when it comes to NFL wide receivers, San Francisco legend Jerry Rice is still the G.O.A.T — Greatest Of All Time.

Rice is the all-time leader in receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns.

He isn’t the G.O.A.T when it comes to being a sports talk radio guest, though.

Rice appeared on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco this week and made some remarkably quizzical comments.

“If you can get a guy like that, a guy that can really add to the offense of the San Francisco 49ers, where you can just let those guys play, I think you have to go for it,” Rice said.

OK. That’s understandable.

Then Rice went off the deep end.

When asked about the notion of the 49ers trying to acquire Brown, Rice blew off any belief that the disgruntled star would be a clubhouse problem, simply pinning his insubordination on his unhappiness with Mike Tomlin’s relationship with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

”He wants to get out,” Rice said of Brown. “But this guy, he is a team player.”

Is he? Since when?

What part about skipping meetings and practices and refusing MRI’s makes him a team player? Do team players go AWOL for a full week, then show up for games expecting to play?

Do team players stomp around in anger on the sideline, stream live video from the locker room, show up their quarterbacks, sulk when they don’t get a lot of touches even when their team wins and absorb celebration penalties despite instructions not to do so?

That’s not being a team player. People think A.B. is a team player because he works hard. He does work hard. But working hard doesn’t counter selfishness.

As silly as that assessment may be, what Rice said next was even crazier.

”People have to realize, too, (tight end) George Kittle is going to get doubled. All of a sudden, defensive coordinators, they are going to want to take him out of the ball game,” Rice continued. “And you need someone on the other side that’s going to complement him where he can take that double-coverage off George Kittle, and they work together, and they become a tandem.”

I’m sorry, did Rice say that Brown would “complement” Kittle? Not the other way around?

Antonio Brown, a “complement” to a tight end?

Imagine someone telling Brown that.

Imagine someone telling Rice he was a “complement” to Brent Jones. Or a “tandem” with him. It is barely accurate to say Rice was a tandem with John Taylor.

It’d be Brown — with everyone else as a “complement” to him.

And, dear Lord, can you imagine how far into the ear of Jimmy Garoppolo Brown would be? He was starting to drive Roethlisberger nuts by the end of last year, if not before.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

Carter’s Classroom: Heyward, Tuitt tops at tackling

By: Chris Carter, DKPittsburghSports

All season, we kept track of the Steelers’ missed tackles to monitor how efficient their defense was at bringing down the ball-carrier. While the week-to-week numbers were always interesting, the season totals give us a wealth of information to evaluate.

The 2017 Steelers were one of the worst tackling teams in the NFL. Per Pro Football Focus, their tackle grades showed a group that was missing tackles left and right:

We decided to focus on tackling against both the run and the pass, considering how many offenses use short passes as an extended running game. The Steelers did improve this year, and the numbers bear this out.

There are interesting numbers to evaluate here, like Sean Davis leading the team in snaps, made tackles and missed tackles. But we wanted to give an in-depth look at what different numbers mean for a player’s effectiveness.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

Can underwhelming rookie James Washington take on bigger role in Steelers offense?

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

While the debate rages on about if the Pittsburgh Steelers should trade superstar Antonio Brown, an under-discussed aspect of the situation is how the organization would replace him.

It’s true, should Brown be shipped out, JuJu Smith-Schuster would assume the role as No. 1 wide receiver. But that leaves a trickle-down effect. In that scenario, Smith-Schuster will draw the focus of an opposing defense.

Who is good enough to take advantage on the other side?

Who will emerge as the No. 2?

With all apologies to Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer — each of whom have roles and perform them well — they aren’t No. 2’s. The only internal option with a ceiling like that is James Washington.

Washington was a highly-productive college star who wowed in training camp and during the preseason .

He was so good in August that, before he played a regular-season game, the Steelers PR staff was already comparing him to Steelers Pro Bowl receivers of the recent past.

Of course, Washington’s rookie season didn’t turn out how some predicted or how the Steelers hoped it would. The second-round pick had 16 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown. He was deactivated for two of the Steelers’ 16 games, was not targeted in two others and finished without a reception eight times.

According to Pro Football Focus, for any player targeted at least 33 times, Washington was tied for last in the NFL in receiving yards per route run (0.57).

In other words, it wasn’t a rookie season that would inspire confidence for 2019.

Pro Football Focus’ player grades can be subjective, but its evaluation of Washington over the season’s final three games express his inconsistency as a rookie. Washington had his best game in the Week 15 win against New England , his second-worst game the following week at New Orleans and then his second-best game in the finale against Cincinnati.

Then again, Washington’s usage by the coaching staff — perhaps this is more of an effect of the above than a cause — also was wildly inconsistent. Washington went from being inactive one week to playing 70 offensive snaps this next. Another time, he went from playing 11 snaps to playing 64 within an eight-day span.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)