Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript

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MPM: I think Hines Ward is the most physical wide receiver in the NFL. I think he?s the best downfield blocker at that position in the game. What other receiver, or receivers, in the NFL would you say play as physical or block downfield like Ward?

Jerry Micco: I wish I could tell you I followed those types of things that closely, but I don't. There are some bigger guys in this league playing wide receiver, now more than ever, but I don't know how they grade out as blockers. But you can be sure that many receivers watching what Ward does would love to put that type of blocking in their game.

Homey: Why are traditional media outlets (newspaper, tv) so slow to cover MMA? CBS can have a third tier MMA event and it still gets more viewers than most basketball, baseball, etc, and it's PPV events are typically better than PPV boxing events. If the interest is there, why is the coverage so sparse?

Jerry Micco: I think it's a fringe sport, despite those numbers. I've seen the sport and to me, it has a theatrical, pro wrestling element to it. And we don't cover pro wrestling. Maybe I'm missing out on some readership there, but when I talk with people, I rarely, if ever, hear it come up. I'm sure that when this answer is emailed to all the MMA web sites that will change, but for now, it's not on my radar to cover in a regular way. Down the road, we'll see.

James_Taipei: Do you see the Steelers using a lot of quick drops against the NY Giants?

Jerry Micco: I think they will have to do whatever is necessary to negate the Giants pass rush. I think they'd like to control the ball and keep the Giants off the field, but I don't look for any major changes on how they do things. The Steelers feel they have a good game plan for any opponent, but there are always a few wrinkles. This week will have their share of those, too. But look for them to run the ball, pass when it's there and then try to control the ball.

James_Taipei: How should Pirates fans feel about Tampa Bay making the World Series? I am not sure whether I should feel hope or extremely angry that even a franchise that was so bad can make the World Series? I think it makes me want to strangle the Pirates ownership group.

Jerry Micco: Scouting, drafting and developing. The Pirates have done none of those well in the past several years and the Rays have. This new front office group promise to do more of those three better. Drafting Alvarez is a very good first step. But there is a long way to go for the Pirates.

gordo: Do you think that the recent recession will affect our local pro teams and how ?

Jerry Micco: Well, since most folks have season tickets for the Pens and Steelers, that money's already in their pockets. But it may affect people because maybe they don't have dinner out before a game or buy stuff at the concession stands like they once did. Souvenirs? Maybe not until we see how the money's doing. There's as much ancillary effect on the economy around it -- hotels and restaurants -- as there is on the teams.

James_Taipei: Do you have any information about what has lead to the resurgence of Joey Porter? Is Miami using another defensive scheme this year?

Jerry Micco: Could be that he's just having a good year and maybe a new coach has inspired him. I'd imagine without Jason Taylor on board that they are relying on Porter more to be their sack leader and he's responding to that. Or they are scheming to get him into those situations more often. I've not seen the Fish play this year, so I can't really say for sure.

theWellHungarian: Happy Wednesday Jerry- I was able to make it down to Annapolis for the Pitt-Navy game this weekend. If anyone wants to bash Coach Wannstedt for his questionable coaching calls, including the Bostick move, can do it all they want, but after he had his entire team at the end of the game salute the servicemen & women of the Naval Academy, he is all class & it made me proud to be a Pitt alum.

Jerry Micco: Certainly a class act, and one the Middies well-deserve. Those are special places and special men and women.

theWellHungarian: Also, if anyone else was in Annapolis, wouldn't it be awesome if the university could somehow, some way build a 35,000 seat stadium in the exact mold of Navy's Stadium. Heinz Field is great for NFL & Steelers but it is not College Football. I don't know how to do it, but may tear down some of the slums in South Oakland or buy some land from the city where Schenley Park is,, but it would be awesome

Jerry Micco: And that's probably a bit small, but a 45,000 to 50,000-seat stadium would be fine. And if you want a bigger crowd for WVU or when PSU comes back on the sked, use Heinz Field. Campus stadiums are much better for atmosphere, but the deal Pitt has with the Steelers for Heinz is a pretty good one.

theWellHungarian: I noticed this since last week when we had our bi-monthly "who's better Sid or Geno" talk. After listening to all the radio shows, etc everyone talks of how Sidney needs an established winger, but we never hear how Geno needs one. In my opinion, Geno can make an avg winger look great (ie Sykora) in the mold of Mario whereas Sidney needs a great winger to show his talents (ie Hossa) in the mold of Gretzky. I know it's premature to bring up Mario & Gretzky, but just using them two as examples ... Thoughts

Jerry Micco: I think you are on the money with that analogy. I think Sid is a terrific playmaker and will always be a 30-35 a year goal scorer. But he'll have 100-plus assists if he has a sniper for a winger. Malkin can score 50-plus goals. Maybe not 100 assists, but he can get you 75 or 80. Whatever you need. I always see Malkin as a better offensive player than Crosby. A lot of folks disagree with that, but that's what I see. I see Sid as a better all-around player. But it sure is fun to have both, isn't it?

yzguy431: Jerry, good afternoon. assume Pitt wins out, what bowl game could they get invited to?

Jerry Micco: Orange, Sugar or Fiesta I'd think. The Rose is locked up for Pac-10, Big Ten if they aren't involved in the national title game. If they are 11-1 I'm sure any of those other three bowls would love to have them. But they have a reputation as a team that does not travel well (brings fans). So that might hurt them in some situations. But you reward the team and you worry about the attendance later. If they are 11-1 they deserve as good a game as they can get.

James_Taipei: Do you think that Hines Ward can become a Hall of Famer?

Jerry Micco: I do. I think his body of work gets him there. The blocking just adds on to it.

yzguy431: your take on the world series matchup?

Jerry Micco: Fun series, but I think the Phillies are a bit better. The pitching is stronger for the Phillies and I see the hitting as a wash. Maybe a bit of a tilt toward Tampa. I think people will be entertained. A ton of good, young players on both sides.

PirateApologist: Hey Jerry, Prediction for the World Series?

Jerry Micco: See above. I think Phillies in 7.

yzguy431: explain, if you can, the Bostick move ...

Jerry Micco: Well, obviously they didn't feel a need to save his redshirt season. I don't buy the fact that Wannstedt "forgot" about that. Now if you want to get the kid ready to play in case Stull goes down, you could have done that in a couple other games late, too. My guy says they don't see him as their QB of the future so no need to save a redshirt. But that's speculation on my part.

Jerry: I don't understand the hope that Pirates fans are feeling from this year's playoffs. Yes, Tampa Bay is in the World Series, but 6 out of 8 playoff teams this year are from 4 of the 5 largest markets in the country. All this has shown is that the small market teams can compete once every couple decades while the big spenders can compete regularly.

Jerry Micco: Well, Arizona and Colorado where there last year and didn't the Twins make the playoffs in the AL in 2007? Those aren't big market, big money teams. They spend more than the Pirates, but they also scout and develop well, too. I think it's how you spend your money that counts. You can blow money on free agents who stink, but you'd have a higher payroll. Or, you can draft and develop guys and try to contend that way. Tampa is going to the Series. So one of those two teams beat all the other big spenders.

Chunkles: Jerry, good job with the PG. I have an idea for a story. "The other side of the Rooney Rule" How come 3 white coaches were let go, Kiffin, Linehan, and Nolan, and three other bad teams who are coached by blacks, Crennell, Lewis, and Edwards, still have their jobs?

Jerry Micco: You'd have to ask the owners of those teams why that is. I think black and white coaches get fired if they fail. And you can't be sure if any of the latter three coaches you mention will be back in 2009, can you? The Kiffin deal is because of who he works for. Linehan had obviously lost that team. The 49ers fans and front office expect more from that team and Nolan hasn't produced in 3-plus years. I don't think this is a racial thing at all. Besides, of the three coaches fired, white men replaced two. Only Mike Singletary, who has been mentioned the past couple years as head coaching material, was promoted in SF.

yzguy431: Jerry, will the layoffs/buyouts have any effect on the sports department at the P-G?

Jerry Micco: We have no idea at this point. All I can say is no matter what, we will do our best to deliver the best sports coverage we can to our readers. Things change all the time in our business. Our job is to make the decisions we need to make to bring the stories to our readers. And we'll continue to do that.

H.E._Pennypacker: Do you think the Giants regret not drafting Ben? Ben is far and away a better QB than Eli. If Eli's last name was Jones he probably wouldn't have been a first round pick.

Jerry Micco: I think Ben is a better QB, but Eli Manning certainly has moved up the charts don't you think? He won a Super Bowl and his SB game was much better than Ben's. Again, Ben's better, but Eli's not that far behind.

James_Taipei: How many carries do you think Moore will get the next few weeks?

Jerry Micco: I think maybe 8-10 a game. More if Parker gets out there and the knee feels funny. And maybe more this week than down the road because Parker's probably a bit rusty.

James_Taipei: Am I crazy but is the game against the Colts the easiest now division game on the schedule? I was going to say the game with the Patriots is the easiest but it is in Foxboro.

Jerry Micco: The Colts are a mystery. One week, they look terrific. The next, very ordinary. That inconsistency usually means you don't make the playoffs in the NFL, where consistency is always rewarded.

PirateApologist: The Rays never won more than 70 games and now they are in the series. So, looking ahead, who starts game one of the World Series for the Pirates next year?

Jerry Micco: CC Sabathia, who they get as a free agent from Milwaukee. OK, now that I've awakened from that dream, let's just see if they can get more than 70 wins next year. That's going to be tough unless Joe Kerrigan and the young starting pitching can make a major move forward. And I don't know if they can. Paul Maholm is their only effective starter. There's a lot of work to do there.

PirateApologist: What is your take on Troy's comments?

Jerry Micco: The "pansy game" stuff? He plays the game hard and he's a bit old-school about that. I think it's a game for very tough men, but the league, likely at the behest of the owners, is trying to protect star players. Quarterbacks in particular. They have huge investments in these players and I'm sure the league is whispering to officials to watch the cheap shots, even if they aren't really cheap shots because they are legal. It's a very dicey situation, because no matter how you cut it, football's a violent game and people are going to get hurt playing it.

jimmy_g: The Steelers have never been big spenders in the free agency market but they have done very well on occasion. James Farrior was a great pickup and now Mewelde Moore has followed suit. Hats off to whoever is responsible for these moves.

Jerry Micco: Kevin Colbert was there for both signings, so he gets the credit, I guess. But I'm sure scouts and coaches had a lot of input.

theWellHungarian: Here's my take on the Bostick Move ... Gregg Cross & Kevin Smith, In DW & MC's minds, don't have the tools to take over if Stull were to go down, Bostick does. Bostick has been assuming since Spring that he was going to be RS'ed. This was DW & MCs way of saying to him, "Get your act together (in practice) & Get Ready, You're RS is gone. If something happens to BS, you're in." DW & MC weren't able to do this in any other games because we weren't blowing the other team out

Jerry Micco: OK, that's fine, but then you probably have Bostick as a starter for one year at Pitt. Do you think he's going to hang around for the extra year? You can work a kid in practice an entire redshirt year and get him the reps he needs. If Cross and Smith are so bad, why are they on scholarship? I have to think that one of them could step in if Stull got hurt. And if Bostick is dogging it in practice, as you imply, then how good can he be if Stull goes down on play One against Rutgers this week?

RichP: Not real big on Rankings, but how is Fields not on the all preseason team? Dude has been so solid for the Panthers

Jerry Micco: He's injured or coming off an injury. And the Big East is so loaded this year it's not funny. Levance Fields is a terrific player. All-preseason or not, he'll be a star in the conference. Besides, it's how you end, not how you start.

H.E._Pennypacker: My take on the Bostik move - Wanny is a dope.

Jerry Micco: I've heard this sentiment from several folks since his decision to play Bostick. They're entitled to their opinion.

H.E._Pennypacker: What's the deal with ESPN not commenting on the Favre helping the Lions story? Sour grapes since they didn't break the news? If so that is lame and a sad reflection on them.

Jerry Micco: I have not watched ESPN lately did they completely ignore the story? That's seems out of character for them, but I can't say one way or the other. As far as breaking the story if they didn't report stories they didn't break, they'd not have all that much. That's not a knock, but most stories about teams are broken by newspapers in their cities. Daily beat reporters get stuff all the time before ESPN does. Don't get me wrong, they get their share, but I don't think they don't report stories they don't break. I find that to be a bit odd.

RichP: I know it's early, but when is Ray going to do some Hoops Chats? This team is going to be solid

Jerry Micco: My guess is once the season gets going in November or early December. But watch our Web site. He may start doing them once the exhibition games start early in November. We'll have a schedule posted on those soon.

H.E._Pennypacker: They ignored it but are now reporting it because Favre admitted today to talking to Millen about the Packers.

Jerry Micco: OK, I'll go with what you say because you are obviously following what they do.

H.E._Pennypacker: What about Favre? His reputation takes yet another blow with this news. Is this guy the biggest egomaniac/narcissistic guy in all of sports?

Jerry Micco: I'm not his biggest fan and it wasn't because of what happened this past offseason. He's got a lot of talent and he's going to the Hall of Fame. No doubt. His numbers certainly say he's a lock. But I've always thought he just came off as you say. I'm sure his teammates will deny that and I'm sure he's great in their locker room, but I don't know, just something about him. I guess people remember the TDs to win games and how he competed through his father's death and his wife's battle with cancer. Very noble, great stuff. But I also remember bad interceptions costing the Packers games and time when I thought he sought the spotlight and made it very much about him. I guess will all athletes -- and with all of us to an extent -- this is the case.

theWellHungarian: We can play the if's & but's game, but where would you guess Pitt would be ranked if they don't lose to Bowling Green?

Jerry Micco: Top 10, but not top 5. They are hurt by the Big East. While the ACC is not very good and the Big Ten is not great, the Big East is not a very good college football conference. Pitt's the best team in a bad conference. Could Pitt compete this year in the Big Ten and ACC? Absolutely, but I don't know if they'd be unbeaten if that were the case, even if you erase the Bowling Green game. That's no knock on what Pitt's done this year. You win the games you play and you get rewarded. Penn State's the same way. The Big Ten is OK this year, not great. But you keep winning, you deserve the big rewards.

H.E._Pennypacker: Too bad Steggy didn't follow Lanny into retirement. I don't know how many more times I can stomach the "USS Hal Gill". That's almost as bad as his "Wizard of Cros" nickname for #87.

Jerry Micco: You must watch a lot of TV. I guess the announcers don't move me one way or the other when I watch. They do their jobs and I concentrate on the action. Of course I pay attention to them, but not in detail. But hey, you should let FSN know that you're unhappy. I'm sure they listen to what their viewers have to say.

theWellHungarian: Oh, and what's your take on Ovie headhunting Malkin. I understand that it is a bit unprecedented (star attacking star) and you can't have Godard slamming Ovie, but c'mon, this is ridiculous! I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to the next Pens-Caps game ... Send a goon after #8? Thoughts?

Jerry Micco: I'd like to know the back story to the Ovechkin-Malkin feud. I think there is one and I'd like to get at it. As for how you stop Ovechkin from doing that. Hey, why not have someone go after him a bit. Not hurt him, but if you take a couple hard shots at him, you wake him up. He's a physical guy, it's part of his game, but the Malkin thing is a bit strange.

jimmy_g: OK Jerry, it's prediction time. Who will win the Big Ten "Game of the Year" between Penn State and Ohio State?

Jerry Micco: I'm going to be in California this weekend to see an old friend and mentor retire so I'm going to watch this game a day or two late. But this might be the year Penn State can beat them in the Shoe. Tight game. Maybe 28-24 PSU. If OSU won, I'd not be surprised in the least.

Pork_Chop: Will Ron Cook or Smizik be ripping PSU if they lose Saturday? I'm sure they're running out of column ideas without Paterno to kick around.

Jerry Micco: You'll have to ask them. Their email addresses are with every one of their columns. Ron Cook will be there. And hey, if you're a columnist, you call it as you see it. That's your job. Ron has also said Joe Paterno is the greatest college football coach in history. But we write in the here and now. So we'll see after Saturday's game.

Jerry Micco: Folks I need to get back at some stuff on my desk. Wow, that was a fast hour. Great stuff and enjoy the games this weekend. Got a few good ones. Thanks for taking the time to visit and we'll see you next Wednesday at noon.


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