About Greg Huston ...

Greg Huston is a local freelance writer with a passion for all things sports. His column appears each Tuesday on www.ncnewsonline.com.

I’m writing this column on Monday afternoon, so please pick and read the appropriate reaction below to the Steeler’s performance from Monday night against the Texans:

The Steelers lost again to another average team: Fire Tomlin! Fire Haley! Fire Colbert! Fire the Rooneys for their father putting us in this situation of having to root for a team that is so terrible and pathetic and has never once brought joy to our otherwise meaningless existences. At least that I can remember, anyway!

•The Steelers won, but barely, and played just a little bit better than in weeks past: Refer to previous bullet point.

•The Steelers won, played lights out on offense and defense and made the Texans look like a high school JV team: We’re going to the Super Bowl, folks! I knew Tomlin would pull things together, LeBeau still has it and, of course, we would dominate such a lowly franchise. But even still, fire Haley!

I haven’t taken much time to comment on the rest of the sports world lately, as overreacting to the Steelers’ recent performances has taken up the good majority of my time. So let’s take a look at what else is going on.

The Pitt football team is terrible.

The Penn State football team is terrible.

OK, that takes care of local college football. Moving onto the Penguins, who I have not seen play yet this season:

From what I’ve read and seen in highlights, things look to be going pretty well so far with new coach Mike Johnston running the show. The power play still seems potent, but it at least appears that the Pens are playing more under control and with more discipline. Time will tell how this Pens’ season will turn out, but with a record of 3-1 and a recent win over the previously undefeated New York Islanders, it’s at least a good start.

All has been quiet on the Pirates’ front, but some major decisions are fast approaching.

The first big one is what to do with catcher Russell Martin. He is a free agent, but the Pirates can make a qualifying offer of $15.3 million for one year, which gets them a draft pick if he turns it down and signs with someone else. The word is that the Pirates will make the offer, which only makes sense since Martin is so important to their success. Martin will most likely turn the offer down, so I hope the Pirates have a backup plan at catcher, since no one else on the current roster comes close to Martin.

The second big decision is how first base plays out next season. I still say they should open the season with Pedro Alvarez at first base, keeping Josh Harrison at third, which he earned, and all other positions besides catcher relatively solid. There have been reports that the Pirates are giving outfield prospect Josh Bell some Winter League starts at first base, which might be an eventual long term answer with Alvarez nearing the end of his contract. But as with all prospects, there are never any guarantees. Just ask Andrew Lambo.

(Questions, comments, ideas? Email Greg at: hustongregor@hotmail.com)

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