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Steelers News: How the Steelers offense could thrive, even without Antonio Brown

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

Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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 the Steelers’ offense could be better, possibly thrive even, without Antonio Brown. Some may shake their head in disapproval, but there might actually be something to this...

Let’s get to the news:

Joe Starkey: Steelers offense would survive, maybe thrive, without Antonio Brown

By: Joe Starkey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Apologies for starting like a “30 for 30” episode here, but what if I told you there was an NFL offense with an elite quarterback, a legit No. 1 running back, a top-15 receiver, a good tight end and a very good line?

You’d say it had the basic ingredients for success, no?

There is an offense like that. More than one, actually. But the one I’m referring to is the Steelers’ offense — without Antonio Brown.

To deny Brown’s greatness would be silly. He helped this team win a ton of games. Trading him would create significant challenges. But to pronounce the offense dead without him would be equally silly.

Have you seen the New England Patriots lately? Tom Brady wins with lacrosse players, Colts castoffs, Julian Edelman and a 103-year-old tight end (Rob Gronkowski’s only 29; he just runs like he’s 103).

That isn’t new. I just watched one of those addictive NFL Network Super Bowl shows, on the Patriots beating Carolina with Deion Branch and David Givens catching the ball and Antowain Smith running it.

Did you see last year’s Super Bowl? The Patriots got beat by Nick Foles, LeGarrette Blount and Nelson Agholor. So don’t tell me the Steelers cannot win a Super Bowl without “Tony Tap Out.”

Did they win one with him?

I heard Bill Cowher the other day, marveling at how the Patriots keep winning despite a dearth of game-breakers. Cowher told 93.7 The Fan the Patriots utilize a team approach, smart schemes and in-game adjustments.

You cannot convince me an offense with Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald and a relatively intact line would die. That does not include what the Steelers would add via the draft, free agency or trade (and they would need a No. 2 receiver, though James Washington showed promise late).

Is Conner as good as Le’Veon Bell? Probably not, but before he got injured he replicated just about everything Bell did. Conner outperformed Bell in some areas, too, and they weren’t minor ones. They were average yards per run, average yards per catch, long runs and touchdowns.

And you better believe JuJu is a top-15 receiver. I’m getting real tired of people attributing all of his success to Brown. They make it sound like 11 guys were chasing A.B. while JuJu ran free.

Go back and watch JuJu rise like Lynn Swann along the sidelines to make that catch against Jalen Ramsey late in the Jacksonville game. Watch him turn an errant Roethlisberger throw into a spectacular touchdown in Oakland. Watch him turn all kinds of contested catches into something much bigger.

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

Ron Cook: Roger Goodell has somehow put the NFL on solid ground

By: Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Six questions relating to the officiating fiasco at the end of the Ram-Saints game. Two questions about Colin Kaepernick. One question about the Rooney Rule. One question about a Donald Trump tweet, although not one that you would expect. One question about the cancellation of the Maroon 5 pre-Super Bowl press conference, which was one more than about the national anthem, concussions, players leading with their head, roughing-the-passer penalties or television ratings.

There’s a good reason Roger Goodell had it easy Wednesday as he delivered his annual State of the NFL address.

“I think this season has demonstrated that there’s never been a better time to be a part of the NFL. As a fan, as a player, as a team and as a partner,” Goodell said in his opening remarks.

I can’t argue.

I can’t believe the NFL’s ability to not just bounce back from major controversy, but thrive.

Goodell’s goal of making the NFL a $25 billion-a-year industry by 2027 seems back on track.

Think about where the NFL was two years ago. Goodell had to answer for his mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic-abuse case with many suggesting Goodell be fired. There were fresh questions about Kaepernick and the anthem controversy. Deflategate was a topic. Concussions were very much in the news.

Look where the NFL is now as it prepares for the Super Bowl on Sunday. Television ratings were up 5 percent this season from 2017. More than 180 million fans tuned in each week to watch the games. Concussions were down nearly 24 percent from the year before. Early-season complaints about the game becoming too soft with too many helmet-related and roughing-the-passer penalties — as Trump suggested in a tweet — turned out to be much ado about nothing. Perhaps most significantly, there wasn’t one Trump tweet after early September criticizing Goodell for his and the league’s handling of the anthem protests. Trump had been relentless with that criticism for the better part of a year.

Somehow, Goodell made the anthem issue go away. The NFL looked foolish in May when it instituted, without input from the NFL Players Association, a new policy giving players the right to stay in the locker room for the anthem but requiring they stand if they are on the field. The league looked even worse in July when it tabled the policy and pledged to work with the union to come up with a viable solution.

Those must have been some meetings.

Suddenly, there no longer was a controversy. All but a handful of players stood for the anthem. Even Trump was appeased. You almost could hear NFL owners exhale.

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

Steelers’ Antonio Brown does some confusing interviews at Super Bowl

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Antonio Brown is speaking again publicly. So that’s a recipe for disaster.

Forget the big interview reveal, Brown is starting to do a bunch of little ones.

Although Brown is not saying much. Mainly because I don’t know how capable he is of doing so.

I thought he came off like a space cadet. Then again, maybe I’m just too focused on the blonde mustache.

For instance, when Brown says all options are on the table, no they aren’t. Either the Steelers keep him, or they trade him where they want. That’s it. He’s not a free agent.

Also, at first Brown talks about “keeping things quiet” and about “moving forward with “positivity” with a “business” like approach.

That’s good.

But then he refuses to say that he wants to come back to Pittsburgh, thus making all those other things impossible.

And, again, THAT MUSTACHE! I ... can’t take ... my eyes ... off it!

My attention is so drawn to it I don’t really know what he is saying. Maybe he doesn’t either.