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  1. Great point, Mike! It leads to another point I’ve been trying to make for years, that Bell isn’t all that special. Conner has better numbers than Bell last year. It’s all about that line. That’s why they shouldn’t pay Bell. He’s not worth it.

  2. I’ve been buzzing around him for 14 months!

  3. Ben hasn’t had a big performance against the Bengals in many games. It’s been more the defense and the run game the Steelers have used to beat them. Maybe Ben will have an unusually good game this weekend, but I’m thinking Conner and the defense will do most of the heavy lifting if they win. JMO

  4. That “Zac” really knows his stuff wow

  5. Never throw in the towel! Well, not unless they become mathematically eliminated.

  6. As much as I’m hoping they can flip the switch and rebound, I just don’t see them doing it this season. Making it as a wildcard this yr after the 1-2-1 w/a historically bad defense would be a “rebound” imo. Sadly I just can’t see it happening.

    • If they were playing at their maximum potential I’d agree, but they’re not. The offense isn’t even close to being a well-oiled machine. Defensively, it will come around. I know it appears to be bleak, but if they were 2-2 I wonder if there would be the same panic? People just can’t accept that Cleveland is a way better team than they’ve been the last two seasons and are benchmarking the next 12 games based on that tie… in bad weather, and 47 yards of offense against the Ravens, due to their own lack of execution.

      I see a lot of bad defenses in the NFL this season. Just look at the scores 🙂

  7. Great article. I concur. I personally don’t think he makes much difference in how our record stands. And as much as this pains me to say it, I have been so pissed about his off-field comments and BS, that there is at least a small part of me (yet, large enough to recognize it;’s there!) that would just as soon go 1-14-1 without Bell than to play with him if he’s going to be at or giving us less than 100% (to preserve his body). Yeah, that’s a brutal thing to say, and I definitely don’t want that to happen, but man has he pissed me off over the last couple of weeks…

  8. As much as it feels frantic this (young) season, I concur 100% Joe! A) We are one spoiled group of fans, and B) I’ll wait a little longer before I officially throw it in!

  9. Just like all players, some are better than others, but I began to realize quite awhile ago that on offense, RB is very much a plug and play position, because it is so heavily dependant upon the supporting cast. Not that every position isn’t dependant, just that RB results are very tied to supporting cast, specifically the OL. Bell has been a solid workhorse for the team, but his averages and TDs scored are not exceptional, even with an exceptional OL. He has accumulated some record setting totals, but that’s mainly due to part of what he’s been away from the team over, excessive touches. Bell is different than Conner. Is he better overall? I agree that it’s very debate able. Currently? Perhaps, but Bell is declining and Conner should be rising. Whatever the case, Bell is not nearly worth the money, and when you add in all the off field negatives…. If he’s the starter for the clowns game, and has a great day, I will attribute that to two things, that the OL gelled over the bye, and that Conner already showed we can run on them. A healthy Bell already demonstrated his decline last season. If our running game improves this season, it won’t be because of Bell or Conner. It will be because of the OL performance. JMO

  10. Good Morning, AFC North! – The Sideline Report on Steelers takeaways from the first quarter of the 2018 season

    […] Steelers takeaways from the first quarter of the 2018 season […]

  11. Conner is averaging more yards per reception than Bell did last season. Perhaps the problem is the OL…..

  12. Thank you for pointing out how poorly the OL is blocking for Conner! A number of media “experts” are talking about how much the team’s results are due to the absence of Bell. Maybe the OL has forgotten how to block for a back who likes to hit the hole. I don’t think the poor running game is any more due to the absence of Bell than the poor defense is due to the absence of Shazier. I’d say they miss Shazier more, but this defense would be awful, even with him.

  13. The Steelers do NOT find themselves playing for first place tonight, which makes a win tonight even more important.

  14. My understanding is that you are eligible for a compensatory pick when you LOSE someone to FA, but not if you cut the player or rescind their tag. Basically, you have to be offering them something to stay.
    If Bell doesn’t sign his 2018 tag this season, can the Steelers use the same $14.5MM tag next season, or would it move to 144%? And would the Steelers even want to tag him next season? I think they would just let him walk. They would get no compensation, and he would be a fresh FA, exactly what he wants.

  15. “…LOCASH is the Country music duo made up of singer-songwriters Chris Lucas and Preston Brust; natives of Baltimore, Maryland, and Kokomo, Indiana, respectively…”

    Haha. I’ll be at this game and this is hilarious because I am coming in from Kokomo, IN! Not only that, but I’ve been working with Preston Brust’s younger brother here in Kokomo on a real estate deal. Too funny! Kokomo IN getting a little love!

  16. Joe, everyone else on the team was in the same shoes as Brown (defeated), but didn’t behave like that. Again, I didn’t say he is the enemy, or should be jettisoned. But he repeatedly sets an awful example with his selfish tantrums, and should be disciplined. EOM

  17. You think Washington was wide open on the pass before Boswell’s miss? LOL

  18. I don’t have a problem with AB defending himself. My problem with him is that he’s being selfish with all the public complaining when he doesn’t get targeted as often as he’d like. The Steelers all know that if AB is open, he’s going to catch the ball. Ben only throws to other players when he sees them more open, probably due to double coverage on AB. He’s not complaining because poor choices by the QB or coordinator are costing the team points. He’s complaining that it’s not HIM that’s getting targeted. And him not showing up for the team today only reinforces my point. I don’t want him gone, just disciplined.

    • We don’t know precisely what he was talking about. If it were a RB and not AB (a WR) would we have the same perception? What if it were JuJu and not AB?

      That’s why I don’t hang my hat on this stuff. Same goes for Monday. There wasn’t a practice but everyone freaked out about it. We don’t know why he was or wasn’t there. We may never know. His teammates don’t seem too concerned about it (unlike with Bell’s absence) so that’s enough validation for me that’s a nothing burger.

      • While it’s true that we don’t know it for sure yet, we do know that this wouldn’t be the first time, if that’s what he was doing. Either way, I have a problem with him for going off publicly on the coach and coordinator. But I’m with you, in that I’m OK with him defending the quality of his play.

        • Not sure if you listen to our podcast or not, but I just so happened to pull my binoculars up when this supposed situation was going on on the sidelines. I didn’t see him and Fichtner but I did see AB with WRs coach Drake and it looked like absolutely nothing. Ended up going to the bench. He was noticeably upset (took of his helmet) but he wasn’t screaming down anyone’s throat. So I’m not sure what happened between then, but I never took it as a “me” issue.

          Then again, he is the best player out there, so it must be frustrating when losing.

          By “first time” do you mean the Gatorade cooler deal? I may have done similar if I knew I had a sure touchdown. I’m willing to bet AB is all about perfection. You don’t get to where you are without setting high standards. Ever see him at camp? He’s STILL practicing afterward after all of these years!

          • AB wasn’t a part of JuJu’s celebration either, but he was a part of Washington’s (first ever) TD along with Big Ben… Ben usually doesn’t join in the celebrations either. Should we read into that more like everyone is with AB?

            Honestly this isn’t the guy you need to make out to be the enemy.

            I was in the stadium, I didn’t see many huddles because they were using hurry-up A LOT Sunday after they got behind. Therefore a lot of players weren’t in the huddle.

            Ever see the look of a defeated opponent? That factors into all of this too.

            Just have to put ourselves in their shoes. That’s all I’m trying to say.

          • His efforts and technique are nearly flawless. There was the Gatorade event. This week when Ben ran it in, he avoided celebration. There was the time he didn’t get back to the huddle when they were in hurry up because he wasn’t getting the ball. I really don’t need to give more examples. It’s been well documented for years that he’s that way. It’s ok that you excuse him due to his great skill. Many of us don’t.

  19. Yeah, I’m more worried about Kelce and Hunt. Worried about Ben and Brown being on the same page. Worried about the outstanding players who will be missing or limited for this game. At least motivation won’t be lacking.