Remember those days when you were a child and the lights were out in your room at night and that coat hanging over a chair took on the shape of a monster if you stared at it long enough?

That’s kind of what’s going on with the Steelers now.

People are seeing drama monsters in the shadows where none exist.

The week began with Ben Roethlisberger doing his best to downplay any issues between he and Antonio Brown, saying he was sorry things went sour and he wishes he could have a do-over.

Brown, as he has continued to do, saw Roethlisberger’s quotes from his interview with KDKA and tweeted out, “Two Face.”

Before knowing what Brown was referencing, Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds “liked” Brown’s post. Almost immediately, some people jumped on that as Edmunds taking a shot at Roethlisberger. That left Edmunds with some explaining to do this week.

“I just go through and like things all the time,” Edmunds said. “I didn’t think about it. I didn’t see what was going on, see the whole picture of everything until people started tagging me in it. I would never put down a teammate or anybody I previously played with.”

That won’t be a good enough explanation for some. They see this as just the next chapter in the Steelers being in turmoil. Of course, many of those people don’t know how easy it is to make a mistake like that on social media.

  • Edmunds was one of several young players who worked out with Brown in the offseason.

Why would they do that when Brown was going on a scorched-earth rampage against the Steelers?

Quite simply, they wanted to better themselves by seeing how he works out.

“Young guys, growing up, you look up to somebody and it’s a great thing to be able to talk to one of the best in the game and get little tips on what to do and how to work,” said second-year linebacker Ola Adeniyi, who was another player who worked out with Brown.

“I had that connection with him. I’m going to keep that connection with him. Hopefully, he works with JuJu (Smith-Schuster) and works with Ben and they get back together at some point.”

  • The Steelers, like all teams, put a point of emphasis on certain things when they start their offseason workouts. Last year, it included communication, better tackling and not allowing big plays.

This year, it’s creating more turnovers and better leadership.

The Steelers did improve on their missed tackles, big plays allowed and on-field communication last season.

If they can do the same with this year’s goals, they’ll be in good shape.

  • On any given night, the Pirates can look like the best team in the major leagues or the worst.

How else can one explain how a team that has been outscored by 42 runs in its first 47 games – going into Friday – being three games over .500? By comparison, the Washington Nationals have been outscored by 40 runs and are 12 games under .500.

Clint Hurdle takes a lot of heat, but considering the injuries he’s dealt with this season already, Hurdle should be an early frontrunner for manager of the year.

That said, cbssports.com has projected win totals included with its current standings. And that site has the Pirates’ current win total projected at 73.3. To get there, the Pirates would have to go 48-67 the rest of this season.

Unless the wheels completely come off – which is a possibility – it’s hard to see this team playing 19 games under .500 the rest of the way.

  • How much longer will teams continue to pitch to Josh Bell in tight games with runners in scoring position? Bell is averaging an RBI per game this season and needs just 15 to surpass his total from last season in 501 at bats.

He’s already hit more home runs (16) than he did last season (12). And let’s face it, he doesn’t exactly have a lot of protection in the Pirates’ lineup. Yet to this point, he’s only been intentionally walked four times.

Then again, that’s two more times than he was intentionally walked last season. And it matched his total from 2017, when he hit 26 home runs and drove in 90.

  • The Penguins are closing in on trading Phil Kessel. Considering he’s 31 and makes $7 million next season on a contract that runs for two more years after that, the return is not going to be great.

It will probably wind up being a contract-for-contract swap, with the Penguins taking on another aging, big-contract player to get rid of one of their own.

Dale Lolley covers the Steelers for DKPittsburghSports.com and writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.

Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Lolley is a contributor to the Observer-Reporter and has been covering the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1993.

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