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Weekend mailbag: 'Troy Reed' edition

Let's see what's in the weekend mailbag.

Dan Finnegan from Bremerton, WA, writes: James, I think most old time Steelers fans would tell you the 1976 team was the best Steelers team ever, even though they didn't win the Super Bowl that year.

James Walker: Dan, we received a lot of email supporting the 1976 Steelers, which was another great team during the dynasty era. But staying healthy and finishing the job are big parts of the equation, and the '76 Steelers did neither. And for a franchise that’s won more Super Bowls than anyone, I don’t see the logic in picking a team that couldn’t win a it all as the greatest Pittsburgh team ever.


Darren from Dayton writes: With the latest injury to Willie Colon and the suspension of Big Ben, what are the Cleveland Browns chances to finish ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the division?

Walker: I don't think Colon’s injury was enough to have a complete shift of power between Pittsburgh to Cleveland, Darren. I really don't think people understand the talent deficit the Browns are working with. Despite making up some ground this offseason, they really lack playmakers across the board. Cleveland can make up for that with great coaching and playing extremely smart. But over a 16-game season, putting the best talent on the field usually prevails.


Bobby from Ohio wants to know if the Browns could be this year's sleeper team in the AFC North.

Walker: Cleveland was the only team with a losing record last year, Bobby. So the Browns would be the only "sleeper" candidate in the division. But I'm not picking them. I've been 2 for 2 picking the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. But I had a feeling about those teams early from watching them in practice and talking to the players. I don't get that same feeling with Cleveland this year. So it's official: there will be no AFC North blog sleeper pick for 2010.


Dan from Phoenix, AZ, writes: While you were at Bengals camp, can you give any evaluation on the performance of Dezmon Briscoe?

Walker: Dan, I didn't see enough of Briscoe in minicamp, to be honest. He has good size, but I'm not sure how quickly he can learn the NFL game. Briscoe seems a bit raw out the gate, which is probably why he fell so low in the draft. With the competition at receiver in Cincinnati, Briscoe will have to battle to make the 53-man roster.


Marcus from Hagerstown, MD, writes: Which super safety would you rather have in your secondary: Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu?

Walker: I knew someone eventually couldn't resist. Troy Reed…Marcus…Troy Reed.


Andrew from Baltimore writes: James, just read your comments that you might consider retiring from "Madden" this year. Are you crazy?!?

Walker: Not at all, Andrew. It comes out during football season, and that’s when I’m on the road the most, working and traveling. As you know, Madden is a game that you need to play constantly to stay sharp, and I don’t have that kind of time.

Complaint department

We received a lot of comments and complaints in our division inbox this week. Enjoy.

Zach from Delaware, OH, writes: Ok, first the Steelers will not win the division this year, with or without Ben Roethlisberger. Second, how are these Steeler fans so high up on a team that lost to the Cleveland Browns Week 13 last year? They had all their starters, (excluding Polamalu) AND Santonio Holmes. If ONE player missing makes your defense that bad, how do you expect to make it back to the Super Bowl? Even the playoffs? Lastly, the Baltimore Ravens WILL win the division, the Bengals won't live up to expectations and Cleveland will place somewhere around where they are expected to (4-6 wins). The Steelers will end up third and their "loyal" fans will be disappointed and will go on the same rants next year.

Bobby from Ohio writes: Hey James, can you persuade me as to why the Steelers will win more than six games? The O-line could be one of the worst around, "Big Ben" has his suspension problems and the D doesn’t seem to stay healthy (namely Troy Polamalu). And who will produce on offense? Mike Wallace did good as a slot but will a second-year player really be able to do well when being game planned against? The AFC North is tough with the Bengals and Ravens, and the Browns finally over the Steeler hump. They won't go .500 in the AFC North, and they can probably beat lower teams in the NFC South and Buffalo in the AFC East.

RJ from Virginia Beach, VA, writes: I see this year's bandwagon is "The Steelers will suck." That's cool, I'm not a bandwagon guy. Since so many predictions have been wrong over the last two seasons, I think it's kind of funny that people still think they can predict what will happen. In '08 it was "Steelers will go 8-8!" In '09 it was "Steelers will go 14-2!" Whatever. I just enjoy it as it unfolds.

Jake Uram from College Park, MD, writes: The Ravens are pretty scary right now. Truthfully, do the Steelers even stand a chance to win the division? The Ravens have upgraded every weak spot that they had.

Sean McMann from Pittsburgh writes: Why do Ravens fans think the Ravens are better then the Bengals? They should know the Bengals are 7-3 against the Ravens the last 10 games.

Eric from Cincinnati writes: I think the Browns are being underrated this upcoming season. The momentum from last year will continue and Cleveland will be a playoff contender. Jake Delhomme will manage the game and the Browns will finally master the ball-control offense. Oh, and that new secondary the Browns got will put fear in opponents.

Joseph from Los Angles writes: I guess Cedric Benson didn't heed your advice to be on his best behavior.

Will from Nashville, TN, writes: Is it football season yet?