By Scott Brown and John Harris
Friday, September 21, 2007
Steelers columnist John Harris and beat writer Scott Brown go back and forth about the Steelers defense giving up a total of 10 points after the first two games.
Harris: How good is the Steelers defense? Good enough to get Cleveland quarterback Charlie Frye traded to Seattle. Good enough to make Buffalo receiver Lee Evans look like Linda Evans following some tough hits in the secondary. Good enough to make San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith ask for max protection on every pass play this Sunday.
Brown: In all fairness to Lind, er Lee Evans, he doesn't exactly have Jim Kelly throwing him the ball. In fact the one common denominator between the Steelers' first two Hostess snacks is each started a player that has yet to prove he is a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. Let's hold off on those "Steel Curtain" comparisons until the Steelers play against a Carson Palmer, a Tom Brady or even an Alex Smith. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft. By the way, the Steelers may have abused Charlie Frye through the years but they did a real nice thing for him by getting him traded to Seattle and out of Cleveland.
Harris: Scott, I know you can turn a clever phrase, but how in the name of Bud Carson did you manage to turn "good enough" into Steel Curtain? There you go again, trying to put words into my mouth. After two games, the Steelers have yielded a touchdown and a field goal, and looked good enough doing it. No, they haven't been tested by a big-time offense, unless you consider that Cleveland, their week one opponent, dropped 51 points on Cincinnati. That's 44 more points than the Browns scored against the Steelers.
Brown: Geez, I know math isn't my strong suit but I do know how to add (or at least I know how to add on a calculator). Actually, for once, I agree with what you are saying. The defense has looked great, and it's not the Steelers' fault that their first two opponents qualify as bigger stiffs than even you. I do reserve the right to withhold judgment on how good the defense really is until the Steelers play a team with a good passing game. Anyway, shouldn't Steelers fans be more concerned with the offense considering the lack of killer instinct it has shown?
Harris: Wow, I'm impressed. You actually know how to use a calculator. Next you'll be telling me you believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. By the way, flattery will get you everywhere, but don't try to change the subject. This is about the Steelers defense. Repeat after me: D-E-F-E-N-S-E. Tell you what. How about we talk about the offense next week? The Steelers will be preparing to face the Arizona Cardinals, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be going up against Ken Whisenhunt, his old offensive coordinator. In the meantime, try focusing on the subject at hand. Defense, remember? However, I'll understand if you can't.
Brown: What else is there to say about the defense? It's been great but it hasn't been tested and it might not be Sunday. San Francisco has musted all of 380 yards on total offense in its first two games, and geez did I put a ball on a tee for you when I pointed out that Alex Smith was a No. 1 overall draft pick. Had you taken a swing and connected you would have pointed out that David Carr and Tim Couch were taken first overall in their respective drafts. Maybe Alex Smith is legit. Maybe the 49ers were so desperate for a quarterback in 2005 that they took the better of two questionable choices (Smith over Aaron Rodgers). I do know this: Smith won't look nearly as good Sunday as he did the last team he played against a team with the first name "Pittsburgh."
Harris: David Carr? Tim Couch? Man, you are scraping the bottom of the barrel just to win an argument. OK, OK, you win. The Steelers current defense isn't the Steel Curtain, and Alex Smith shouldn't be mistaken for Joe Montana. Now where were we?
Brown: Hey, the defense could turn out to be a reprisal of the "Steel Curtain." At this point we just don't know how good it is but I'll give the Steelers credit. They beat two teams they were supposed to beat, and them beat them badly. Now put away your white flag.
Harris: No chance. You wanna crown me, then crown me.
Brown: Another week, another victory for me. Just like the Steelers.