Dunlap: The Truth About AB Might Hurt

Are we kidding ourselves here in Pittsburgh?

Colin Dunlap
September 09, 2019 - 1:28 pm
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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Are we kidding ourselves here in Pittsburgh?

I mean, we all watched the game against the Pats on Sunday night, right? Or, at the very least, we watched the first half as that was pretty much all you needed to see to observe Tom Brady undertake his normal surgical beatdown of the Steelers. 

We saw it and now we’re left in the aftermath. We watched and now we are all wondering where exactly the Pittsburgh Steelers stand in terms of talent. 

So as the Steelers were set to enter this 2019 season, perhaps we tricked our minds some. 

We lied to ourselves. 

We kept repeating some things --- both out loud and silently to ourselves --- so much that we took them to be true. 

You know what I’m getting at here, right? 

This whole “addition by subtraction” stuff. 

This whole “the Steelers will be better without Antonio Brown” stuff. This whole “the offense will be just fine without him” stuff. 

Ugh. 

Maybe that won’t be the case. And you know what? Maybe that was never going to be the case --- it was just all something we tricked ourselves into thinking because the guy was about the most-rotten teammate in the history of the NFL. He was a locker room menace and a person who was early for something if he was only an hour late. He was a mischief-maker and led the league for a few seasons in the “least self-aware human” stat. 

But, here we stand today. 

We are on the heels of Donte Moncrief dropping everything he kind of got his hands on and JuJu Smith-Schuster having a bit of a dinged-up toe. We are also in the aftermath of the Steelers’ passing game seemingly not knowing what to do with James Washington and/or Vance McDonald and it all adds up to a lack of creativity, depth and production. It’s just one game --- one bad loss to the Patriots --- but do you see that passing-game production suddenly taking a big spike toward the positive? 

I don’t know how unless something fundamentally changes. I don’t know how unless JuJu starts to catch a bushel-full of balls each game and an unmitigated and absolute No. 2 receiver is cultivated behind him.

This isn’t a column saying the Steelers got it wrong by shuttling off Antonio Brown. No way in the world am I saying that. He had togo. His time in Pittsburgh was up and he was going to be too much of an irritation off the field to justify his production on it. 

That said, though, when he did step on the field he produced. We saw that more than ever as he wasn’t there against New England for the Steelers on Sunday night --- AB was the man who you could go to in any situation. 

Again, this isn’t saying the Steelers made an error in letting him walk. They had to. He needed ferried out of the Steel City. It was the right move. 

But when many of us said the offense wouldn’t take a big hit, or we tried to find ways to move some pieces around and think all would be just about the same, well … I’m not so sure now. 

Seems there were many who were lying to themselves because they wanted it to be true, not because it really was. Antonio Brown had to go, he just had to. There is zero way around that.

There is also, maybe, zero way to replace what he did at game time. Perhaps that’s going to be his legacy. 

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