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Steelers News: What if Keith Butler isn’t the real problem with the Steelers’ defense?

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

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-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 whether or not Keith Butler, the hot seat defensive coordinator, is the actual problem with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.

Let’s get to the news:

Ron Cook: Keith Butler isn’t the problem for the Steelers defense

By: Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There is outrage in the city.

Why is Keith Butler still the Steelers defensive coordinator? Why wasn’t Gregg Williams hired after his successful run in Cleveland? Wouldn’t anybody else be better? Now the team is thinking about adding to Butler’s responsibilities by having him coach the outside linebackers? What’s going on at 3400 South Water Street? Are they out of their minds? The anger is palpable.

I’m sorry.

I can’t get worked up about it.

The problem for the Steelers defense this season wasn’t Butler or bad coaching.

It was too many mediocre players.

Butler is a good coach and has been for a long time in the NFL. I’m glad Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin haven’t given in to outside pressure and made him a scapegoat for the Steelers’ lost season.

I just wish Tomlin would allow Butler to run the defense without so much interference.

Being involved in the game plan is one thing. That’s a must for any head coach.

Correcting calls that he doesn’t like during a game is another thing.

But taking over the play-calling, which I believe Tomlin frequently does, is too much. It’s hard to blame Butler exclusively when things don’t go well.

It should be noted things didn’t turn sour for the Steelers defense with the promotion of Butler from linebackers coach after the 2014 season. It was fading fast before him under Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau.

I didn’t blame LeBeau at the time. It’s not like he suddenly took stupid pills. It wasn’t his fault that players such as Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor got old.

But I’m not going to put all the blame on Butler now. It’s certainly not his fault that Ryan Shazier was injured in Cincinnati in December, 2017. I also don’t think it’s his fault that Artie Burns, Bud Dupree and Jon Bostic – among others – weren’t good enough this season.

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

Tight games were the NFL norm in 2018. Just ask the Steelers.

By: Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The eight teams that participated in the first round of the NFL playoffs put the wild in wild-card weekend. Three of the four games were decided by seven points or fewer with two that came down to the wire. The Eagles won by one point, the Cowboys by two and the Chargers by six.

The finishes that had fans on the edge of their seats mirrored a regular season with more close games than any other season in NFL history.

• Seventy-three games were decided by three points or fewer, the most in a season in league history.

• Nearly half of the games in 2018 were decided by seven points or fewer. There were 125 games decided by that margin, tied for fourth-most in a season in league history. That represented 49 percent of all games (125 of 256).

• Taking it one step further to include all one-score games, 136 games were decided by eight points or fewer, also the fourth-most in a season in league history. That accounted for 53 percent of all games (136 of 256).

• And finally, 175 games — 68 percent of all games played this season (175 of 256) — were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter, tied for third-most in a season in league history.

The dream of former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle is alive and well. There is more parity in the NFL than almost any time in history.

Anyone who watched the Steelers play this season can attest. Twelve of their 16 games were decided by seven points or fewer. That was nothing new. In 2017, they played in 10 games decided by seven points or fewer. Over the past five seasons, 43 of their 80 regular-season games were decided by seven points or fewer.

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

Kevin Gorman: Antonio Brown knew score about his legacy with Steelers

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“I t’s all about being a champion. People remember champions who played with the Steelers. They don’t remember guys with a lot of yards and a lot of catches. They remember guys who won championships: i.e., Hines Ward, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann … ”

Those are the words of a Steelers superstar seeking his first Super Bowl championship, spoken just after being named first-team All-Pro on the eve of the AFC playoffs two years ago by Antonio Brown.

To borrow a phrase from Brown, actions speak louder than words.

“What he’s chasing is a little bit of football immortality. His legacy and those things are always evolving in championships and championship play.”

Those are the words of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who won a Super Bowl before the arrival of Antonio Brown. It appears the Steelers will have to win another without Brown, who went AWOL the week of the season finale and is more likely to be traded this offseason than to ever wear a Steelers uniform again.

“When you get a chance to play in the playoffs, that’s Steelers football,and every wide receiver that has put on that Steelers jersey and made a name for themselves … did it big in playoff time. That’s what Antonio Brown is looking for, that moment to put his place up as a Steeler great in the playoffs who performs and helps his team get an opportunity to play in a Super Bowl.”

Those are the words of Santonio Holmes. Like Swann and Ward before him, Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP who will be remembered for making the greatest catch in Steelers history and arguably the greatest play in Super Bowl history.

Brown and Holmes have an interesting connection in team history. The Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets in April 2010 for a fifth-round pick, then dealt that pick to the Arizona Cardinals for cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-rounder, which they used to draft Brown.

Holmes was coming off his best season, with 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns, when the Steelers traded him just a year after his tiptoe touchdown catch against the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Holmes was facing a lawsuit for a nightclub incident in Florida, was accused of telling a fan to “kill urself” on Twitter — to which he claimed his account was hacked — and a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

Brown also is facing a Florida lawsuit, made national headlines with his “trade me” tweet and for a speeding ticket where he was clocked driving more than 100 mph. Yet, in what could be his final game with the Steelers, Brown had 14 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints.

Even so, they lost the game and missed the playoffs.

“Anytime you’re a part of the Steelers organization, you understand that it’s about being a champion. It’s a championship culture, a championship-type atmosphere, a championship team. All you’ve got to do is walk in here on the second floor and you see those guys’ legacy on the wall and you see what it’s about. So being a part of it, me being here for a long time, I’m excited to have the opportunity of … that experience of hoisting a Lombardi.”

Those are the words of Brown, who isn’t just a guy with a lot of yards (11,207) and a lot of catches (837) but one who performed in the playoffs. He had 51 catches for 837 yards and four touchdowns in six postseason starts but will be remembered for not winning a Super Bowl with the Steelers.

Somewhere along the way, he lost sight of the Lombardi.

Brown also will be remembered for his locker-room live stream video, for his social-media meltdowns, for being benched for the Bengals game that had playoff implications, for missing meetings and mocking Tomlin with James Harrison and, now, smoking cigars with Chad Ochocinco. But that’s all a sideshow to a career that saw him speed to receiving records, make memorable game-winning catches and shoot to NFL superstardom.

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