The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over
Sutton Smith Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey , 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 defenseBy: Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThere 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-GazetteThe 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.鈥?Seventy-three games were decided by three points or fewer, the most in a season in league history.鈥?Nearly half of the games in 2018 were decided by seven points or fewer. There were 125 games decided by that margin Sutton Smith Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey , tied for fourth-most in a season in league history. That represented 49 percent of all games (125 of 256).鈥?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).鈥?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 SteelersBy: 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 鈥?”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 Sutton Smith Jersey 2019 ,and every wide receiver that has put on that Steelers jersey and made a name for themselves 鈥?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 Cheap Sutton Smith Jersey , I’m excited to have the opportunity of 鈥?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...) Cam Newton spent a portion of the summer studying Ben Roethlisberger and working out alongside Antonio Brown, something the Carolina Panthers quarterback did out of a mix of curiosity and respect.Newton found himself enamored of Roethlisberger's footwork 鈥?"The play is never over for Big Ben" 鈥?and Brown's relentlessness."He's literally like a nocturnal beast," Newton said of Brown. "I thought I was bad. ... We had late workouts. I'm talking like 10 p.m-.ish. It was like our second or third one of the day. Whenever he feels the urge to work, he works and I respect it."Newton will get an up-close look at Roethlisberger, Brown and the rest of the Steelers (5-2-1) when the Panthers (6-2) make a rare trip to Pittsburgh. Maybe it's the workouts with Brown. Maybe it's the rapport he's developed with offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Maybe it's the emergence of running back Christian McCaffrey. Whatever it is, Newton is in the midst of his finest season since winning league MVP in 2015.Maybe that's why Roethlisberger just laughed when asked if there's any wisdom he might pass along to Newton."I do not need to give him advice," Roethlisberger said. "He's Superman."A Man of Steel who could be a handful for a resilient Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers were a hot mess during the first month of the season but have figured out things during their four-game winning streak. Pittsburgh is allowing just 275.5 yards per game over the last month. That's from a combination of the rapid cohesion of a revamped secondary and spending less time on the field thanks to an offense starting to hog the ball behind second-year running back James Conner.Still Jon Bostic Jersey , the Panthers present their own unique challenge. Carolina might be the NFL's closest approximation to a throwback. The Panthers have run for at least 121 yards in seven of eight games, with Newton serving as the catalyst. At 29 he's on pace for a career high in rushing attempts, a mixture of Turner's creative play calling and Newton's pragmatic approach to when he tucks the ball and takes off. While he's still happy to deliver a shot now and then, he's more likely to slide before getting hit.Pittsburgh, fourth in the league in sacks, is determined to make sure Newton doesn't get loose."There's no way he can duck 10 bullets," Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward said. "If everybody is shooting their shot, someone is bound to hit. That's got to be group effort. ... It's a heck of a test."Some things to watch for as Pittsburgh looks to extend its hot streak while Carolina searches for the franchise's first win in the Steel City:LE'VEON WHO?Wayward Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is nearing the end of his months-long standoff with the club. He has until Nov. 13 to report and sign his one-year franchise tender if he wants to make sure he accrues the service time necessary to hit the open market next spring. After some initial angst, Bell's teammates have moved on. Conner is thriving in Bell's absence. He's second in the league in total yards and is the first player in team history to have 10 total touchdowns through eight games."James Conner has been rolling and bulldozing people," Brown said.GIMME THATCarolina is winning the turnover battle. The Panthers have been even or positive in turnovers in seven of eight games and are 6-1 in those games. They are 5-0 when winning the turnover battle outright.Carolina is fourth in the league in turnover differential with a plus-8, sixth in points off turnovers (51), seventh in total takeaways (15), and tied for fourth in interceptions (11) behind speedy rookie cornerback Donte Jackson, who has four picks.Since 2015, Carolina leads the NFL with 102 takeaways and is second with 62 interceptions.FEISTY FEILERPittsburgh right tackle Matt Feiler will likely make his third straight start in place of injured Marcus Gilbert. An undrafted free agent, Feiler is thriving while opening up holes for Conner and helping keep Roethlisberger clean. Roethlisberger has been sacked twice during Pittsburgh's winning streak. Feiler's success isn't exactly unprecedented. Three members of Pittsburgh's current starting offensive line 鈥?Feiler, left guard Ramon Foster and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva 鈥?all went undrafted."It's how we're built Carnell Lake Jersey ," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's what we expect, and (Feiler) is just the latest example of a guy that is meeting that expectation like we talked about. He's capable, so it's understandable to expect those types of performances from him."STOPPING ADDISONFuture Hall of Famer Julius Peppers may have more name power, but Mario Addison has been the more productive defensive end for Carolina. Addison leads the team with 7 陆 sacks, including a sack trifecta last week against Tampa Bay.Over the past 38 games, Addison has 28 sacks."I'm a pretty strong guy," said the 6-foor-3, 260-pound Addison. "People underestimate me because I look kind of small, but I pack a punch. By the time they miss and my hands get on the inside of them, I'm running them back and they're like 'Dang, this guy's stronger than I thought.'"AP Sports Writer Steve Reed contributed to this report.