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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Steelers’ changing of guard?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column is on the Steelers’ Aaron Smith.

I really look forward to your feedback on this.

>> Was there a changing of the guard at wide receiver?

Not really. Hines Ward was injured, but it was clear that Bruce Arians and Ben Roethlisberger were aiming to get Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders more involved in the offense.

They did so with very good results, obviously, but show me what they do against New England and Baltimore before we get serious about some change.

>> Best observation of the day was shared with me by Craig Wolfley, lineman turned commentator. Wolfley watched the entry of Corbin Bryant into his first NFL game for his first NFL snap and noticed — just as Bryant went into the down position — that Bryant’s left leg was trembling.

“Reminds me of my first NFL play,” Wolfley said. “I wanted so badly to be out there, was so excited that I missed my guy by a mile and went down on my face. Good for Corbin. You should be nervous out there the first time. It tells me he was excited.”

Bryant was signed off the practice squad after Smith went on IR.

>> The ending to the Michigan State game was great. Really was. But man alive, let’s cool it with the “historic” and “miracle” hyperbole.

Focusing just on the finish, we’re talking about a 44-yard touchdown pass that decided what had been a tied game, and that pass bounced off the initial receiver’s face. It was not a great athletic play, it lacked the drama of an actual comeback, and it doesn’t come within the same solar system as Kordell Stewart throwing that Colorado pass 73 yards in the air a few years back.

Again, great finish. Not historic. Let’s take a deep breath.

>> James Neal finally scored on a high shot Saturday, sadly ending a run of scoring all seven goals on low shots. It was the right thing to do, though. Always, always shoot high on Johan Hedberg, even if it’s right between the Moose antlers.

>> I’ll be heading home tonight from this Manitoba/Minnesota/Arizona journey, but not before I check in with TribLIVE radio at 12:45 p.m. your time.

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