The League

Larry Brown
National Blogger

Larry Brown

Works as an update anchor and show host at Sporting News Radio and also writes and runs the sports site larrybrownsports.com.

Pitt will right the ship

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Between Michael Vick, Brett Favre, and Pacman Jones, I think we've learned that the NFL may have storylines that dominate discussions during the offseason but they generally disappear in the regular season once games begin. With the Steelers, the scenario is different because Ben Roethlisberger's off-field issues can effect them directly on the field in two ways. One, the league may actually suspend him which would force the Steelers to use a backup quarterback (Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon aren't bad but they're not Big Ben) and that would decrease their chances of winning. Two, the distractions could keep Roethlisberger from properly preparing for the season. If you don't think off-field issues bother players, go see Antonio Cromartie for your answer.

Even though people examined Pittsburgh's disappointing season last year and viewed it in the "sky is falling" manner, I really don't think that is a level-headed approach. While the Steelers traditionally have been a power run and defense team, they changed with the times and became an air-it-out squad -- and they did it well. What they missed last season was the tough defense that defined the Steelers during their successful seasons. Don't underestimate the value of Troy Polamalu; with him back and healthy, they should go back to their dominating ways on D, and that should go back to winning.

Based on the way the investigation in Georgia is going, I think the Roethlisberger allegations will blow over. Yes he is a marked man now and the organization is quite unhappy with him -- as they should be -- but I still anticipate Pittsburgh being a playoff team in two of the next three years. Expecting Super Bowl titles on a regular basis is unrealistic for any franchise but the Steelers will return to being a post-season team.

By Larry Brown  |  March 30, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Ben Roethlisberger , Crime , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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