Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 1.23.13

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Poll Question:

The Penguins have 2 super star players in Crosby and Malkin. If you were starting a franchise today, which would you pick first?

Answer #1:

Crosby (63%)

Answer #2:

Malkin (37%)

Jerry Micco: Hello everyone and welcome to the weekly chat. Put in your early questions and give us your opinion on today's quick poll. Back in a minute or two!

Tom: Ravens/Steelers...One team has used free agency amazing well and the other has avoided it the past few years completely. One is in the Super Bowl one missed the playoffs; coincidence?

Jerry Micco: I think you use free agency to fill holes because it's rare to find a franchise type player that way. I think the Steelers have not been players in that market because of all the great players they've developed over time had to be paid, and when you do that, free agency isn't necessarily an option. But I agree that the Steelers used to use it more and it certainly helped. But until they clear some cap space, that's not going to happen.

Tom: PS...please don't give me the standard line "The Steelers got there before through the draft" Farrior, Bus, Clark... etc were all free agents

Jerry Micco: Bettis was a draft day trade. You forgot Jeff Hartings, too. But like the draft, free agency is a bit of a gamble. You can whiff on it, too.

Ken: This Tim Brown-Bill Callahan story is weird! Two takes: If anyone's going to change a game plan on Super Bowl Friday, it's the guy wearing the jump suit and glasses with chain. And why did Jerry Rice come out and support Brown on this--he's always struck me as a little strange underneath the veneer.

Jerry Micco: I was a sports editor in the Bay Area and we covered that Super Bowl heavily. I have no idea why now Tim Brown is saying this. And why Jerry Rice would support what he's saying. I don't think many people are giving it credence. I don't think that Bill Callahan tried to throw a Super Bowl. It didn't help when his center left the team and was tortured by mental issues.

Troybellringer55: Jerry, Any chance given his injury history that the Steelers will take a look at Michael Matui has a later round pick maybe 5th-7th. He might lack some ability, but I think he makes up for it in leadership.

Jerry Micco: Mauti will get drafted, but you're right, it'll be a late-round pick. Injury issues will be the main drawback. I think he can play in the NFL, but I'm not sure he can star in the NFL. Has a huge heart, though. More intriguing might be Gerald Hodges, Mauti's running mate at LB. Might be as high as a 3rd-round pick.

Frank: I really liked the Bucs signing of Karstens with Liriano's injury. If Liriano is able to pitch effectively early in the year I REALLY like the depth of the rotation.

Jerry Micco: I think the Karstens signing was a very good move on their part. He's a fine No. 4 or 5 type starter. If he can stay healthy, he's a bargain. Liriano is an unknown quantity for now. He may not be able to pitch until late May or early June. Our Bill Brink wrote today that the injury is the right arm bone between the shoulder and elbow. Those take time to heal and he'll need to rehab a bit, too. But if he can regain some of what he had with Minnesota, he'll be another bargain. But it's wait and see on him.

Will: jerry, why is everyone jumping on Belichick for not doing the CBS interview. It's Belichick. What was everybody expecting?

Jerry Micco: That he'd do what every other coach in the NFL does after losing in the championship games. Come out, spend a minute or so with a network reporter. Say nothing of real note, then go back to the locker room. He's no bigger than any other coach, so why not do what you're supposed to do in that situation?

Bill L: Which new NFL coaching hire do you like best? Least? Can't you see a defensive player giggling behind Marc Trestman's back?

Jerry Micco: Truthfully, I can't even remember who hired whom. I thought all of them were either retreads or guys who were reaches. None of the hires impressed me all that much. And how Lovie Smith doesn't get rehired and guys like Andy Reid do is astonishing.

Andrew: Jerry, what are your thoughts on the local gateway coach, Terry Smith getting a D-1 shot as a wide receiver's coach at Temple?

Jerry Micco: Good for him, but I'm sure he'll be missed at Gateway High School. Two of the big 3 PA schools, Pitt and Temple, have former PSU wide receivers as WR coaches. And Matt Ruhle, Temple's new coach, was a teammate of Terry Smith's.

paul: Looks like Tim Brown paved the way for Cris Carter into Canton. And Parcells, Strahan, Larry Allen, Will Shields...that leaves no room for the Bus, especially if Charles Haley has support. May have to wait another year.

Rich in NYC: Hello Jerry and thanks for taking my questions. Re: free agency - the Steelers also signed Flozell Adams late in his career and he was a good bargain and played well for them. Where would you say id the biggest need the Steelers need to address in the draft? Thanks.

Jerry Micco: They have many needs. I think they will go linebacker in the first round, either inside or outside depending on who's available. And now, they'll need a RB as high as round 2. There are some good RBs out there, but I don't think there's a first-rounder out there. I also think safety is a need. If Lewis leave in free agency, you may need a CB in round 3 or 4. And WR is in the mix, too, since I'd be the house Wallace is gone.

Ken: Seems to me that this is an era where you eventually hit a celing if you're expecting the qb to do everything and then some. Look at Brees, Brady and Manning--maybe the final four but that's it. So, can we please get better running backs to support Ben?

Jerry Micco: That will be an early need for them, via the draft or free agency. Another FA from the past was Duce Staley, who before he got hurt, was a productive guy. A great QB can take you far, but you need all the parts. The Steelers are from from being that team right now. But it can turn around in an instant as we have seen many times.

Troybellringer55: Through two games. Crosby and Malkin Zero goals, Paul Martin One Goal. Martin seems much improved over just two games, offense and defense included. Plus the Penguins look leaps and bounds better than the Flyers and Rangers. Give Sid credit for keeping the boys working even during the lock out.

Jerry Micco: That's why Crosby wears the "C" on his sweater. It's his job to do that and he does it very well. I want to see more Paul Martin before I'm ready to pronounce him a top-flight D. He's playing better, although I'm in the vast minority who say he didn't play terribly last season. He had problems and was disappointing, but the Pens had some late-season breakdowns that can't all be assigned to Martin. And the Pens, for now, are making the oddsmakers look good with their 2-0 start. The Flyers are surprisingly bad.

Andrew: Jerry, how should I take this WVU basketball season? The games are hard to watch, but they put up a fight in just about every game. Do you see a bright future ahead for Huggy Bear's team?

Jerry Micco: This year I think is a transitional year. Maybe they make the NCAAs, maybe not. But I think they have a good future in the Big 12. I've only seen one of their games this year, so it's hard to comment specifically on them.

Austin: OK, so after Sunday, it goes Montana, Unitas, Brady, Elway, Staubach/Manning (tie)--is that the right order?

Jerry Micco: As best all-time QBs? You don't include Marino in that mix? Favre? And if you're going to put Unitas there, how about Otto Graham? Those lists are tough to put together so yours is just as good as mine. But mine would have Marino on it for sure.

Austin: Favre, Bradshaw, Aikman and Van Broklin on the next tier. Good one--Otto Graham

Jerry Micco: Where do you rank guys like Sonny Jurgensen? Bart Starr? Lenny Dawson? Lots of great QBs over the years.

Troybellringer55: Jerry, What's is up with Pitt basketball? They play down to teams. I seriously almost watched them blow a 10 point lead with 2 minutes left last night to Providence.

Jerry Micco: Tough team to understand, but the bottom line is they are winning games. A colleague and I were going through the rest of the schedule and we can see them 10-8 in the Big East and 22-9 overall before the conference tournament. That's enough for an NCAA bid. I think they have a couple freshmen who are trying to find their way and at times the team seems to go to sleep. You never know which team is going to show up. Still, they'll be at the Dance come March and may even win a game or two there. All depends on the draw.

Andrew: What's the latest on the Francisco Liriano deal with the buccos?

Jerry Micco: Still pending, though FOX is reporting it's a done deal with qualifiers based on his injury. We'll keep you updated on any progress.

The Chief: Jerry, your thoughts on the Glass/Asham fight to start the Ranger game.

Jerry Micco: Thought it was a draw. And it's hockey. I don't particularly care for it, but it's what guys like Asham and Glass do sometimes.

Andrew: ...good fit for the rotation?

Jerry Micco: Liriano? He's a very good fit if he can find some of what he had with the Twins. Only lefty starter and he still has a high K/9 innings ratio.

The Chief: Your thoughts on Tangridi after two games.

Jerry Micco: Invisible. I guess they need to give him more time, but unless he's not showing me something I should see, he's keeping that spot warm for a guy like Beau Bennett.

James_Pittsburgh: Is the Penguins defense good enough to avoid another playoff collapse?

Jerry Micco: I think so. I like what Despres has brought to the team, and Orpik looks much better. And a 48-game season really favors the defense of this team.

Will: Jerry, take it it Vegas--the Niners OL is the x factor. Best in the league. Should be able to wear down Ravens in third quarter.

Jerry Micco: Unless the Ravens start to score early and put the 49ers in a hole. Then it's going to be on Kaepernick and the WRs to get them back into the game. And the Ravens are much better defensively now than they were six weeks ago. Ngata and Suggs are healthier and playing better. And Lewis isn't what he once was, but his presence is still very good.

James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I am back from two weeks in a time warp. I was working on a movie set for two weeks and never knew what days it was. It sort of was like the movie "Groundhog Day".

Jerry Micco: So should we all expect to see you in a feature film at some point this year? A movie star in our midst!

Guest: Jerry - I asked Paul Zeise yesterday the following question which he suggested to ask you today:

Jerry Micco: Fire away.

Guest: Sorry - hit the enter button...But the question I have is why does the PG conveniently omit the comments section in every article related to Paterno?

Jerry Micco: We don't allow comments on all of our articles. That decision is made above me, so you might want to address that to our Executive Editor, David Shribman.

James_Pittsburgh: If Thomas Volcum plays well, do you see Blasma giving him a few starts in the playoffs?

Jerry Micco: Bylsma has said Vokoun is going to get 20 starts in 48 games. But I think Fleury will play all the playoff games, unless he's cold and Vokoun is hot. That's why they got Vokoun. He's a very good goalie who could start for many teams.

The Chief: If the Steelers drfat/replace the back up QB, will he be in the running type. How about a guy like Tebow?

Jerry Micco: I'm not sure they'll draft a QB, but may look for one in free agency. Right now, their offense isn't geared to a running QB. You need to have personnel that fit the system. If you're Washington or SF, you adapt the offense to that type of QB.

The Chief: You OK with the 60/40 split for Flower and Vokoun?

Jerry Micco: I want to see how Vokoun does for a few games. I was thinking he'd start maybe 12-15 games.

Guest: Nice cop out.

Jerry Micco: How is that a cop out? It's the truth. We don't stop people from writing letters to the editor, so feel free to go that route.

James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I was working behind the scenes even though I am an extra in the movie as well. The film was covered by the Post-Gazette.

Jerry Micco: Can you tell us what it is?

James_Pittsburgh: Can the Steelers come up with an impact defensive player in the draft?

Jerry Micco: Well, with the draft, it's always a gamble. Drafting at No. 17, you could get a very good player, but this draft is not a great one. So they need to catch some lightning in a bottle with that pick.

Zack: Any FA rb's out there you think we should look at? Reggie Bush, Green?

Jerry Micco: I hear a lot of people clamoring for Stephen Jackson of the Rams, but I'm not sure how much he has in the tank. I think there are some good 2nd round RBs in the draft and you may see the Steelers go there come April.

James_Pittsburgh: The Steelers lost 5 games by 3 points or less, will we see them in the playoffs again next season?

Jerry Micco: I think that's 50-50. Have to see if some of the younger guys step up and play better and if the veterans who disappointed this season (Woodley) can come back and play to their potential. Could be a very different team this coming season.

Paul: The PFT show on NBC is the best NFL analysis by far. Their ex-jocks aren't afraid to offend. NFL Network is vanilla, ESPN has an agenda to hype celebrity. Have you tried it?

Jerry Micco: I've not watched PFT, but have heard it is as you say. I'll have to tune in. NFL Network is owned by the NFL, so I take that for what it's worth. Generally watch ESPN for the games, not so much the other programming. Outside the Lines is a good show, though.

James_Pittsburgh: I was working on the set of the Pro Wrestlers movie that was being filmed in Parkersburg, WV.

Jerry Micco: I'll have to look for it.

Guest: Have you heard anything about how Sean Spence's rehab is going?

Jerry Micco: No. But I was intrigued by that pick and hope he can regain most or all of his speed. I always thought he was drafted to cover Ray Rice, meaning, he had the speed to stay with backs and TEs. But we may have to wait to see that. It's tough coming back from that type of knee injury.

Jerry Micco: No. But I was intrigued by that pick and hope he can regain most or all of his speed. I always thought he was drafted to cover Ray Rice, meaning, he had the speed to stay with backs and TEs. But we may have to wait to see that. It's tough coming back from that type of knee injury.

James_Pittsburgh: Will Jason Worilds get his shot in 2013, even though he may have not earned it?

Jerry Micco: I think when you use a 2nd-round pick on someone, you need to play him. He's shown flashes, but I'm not sure he's ever going to be the guy the Steelers thought he'd be. You'll know more if on the first night the Steelers take a pass-rushing OLB. Harrison likely will be gone and they'll draft his replacement. And then Worilds will be a back up at best.

Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to head back to some other stuff. Great chat this week on a lot of topics. I appreciate you taking the time to be here today and to participate. I'll be back next Wednesday at noon, and I look forward to seeing all of you then. Have a great week everybody! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco

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