Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 1.30.13

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Poll Question:

If you're Ray Shero, what do you do to get the Pens back on track?

Answer #1:

Make a big trade, bring in fresh blood (18%)

Answer #2:

Fire Dan Bylsma (18%)

Answer #3:

Make a minor trade just to send a message (0%)

Answer #4:

Do nothing. No time to panic. (64%)

Jerry Micco: Hi everyone and welcome to the weekly chat. Please submit any early questions and participate in our poll. I'll be back in a few minutes to officially start the chat. See you soon!

The Chief: Jerry, I realize coach Bylsma is trying to get a jump start, but why the constant changing of personnel on the lines. let the guys play together!

Jerry Micco: I'm rather mystified by that, too. It seems almost like a panic move to me when maybe one doesn't need to happen. The other side of that is with a one-week training camp, the first few games for every team is a time to experiment a bit. But the constant changes certainly haven't increased the scoring.

Ray Lewis bloody suit: Were you ever suspicious about Ray-Ray's amazing ability to recover from a triceps injury that usually ends someone's season?

Jerry Micco: Since I didn't follow it closely, I wasn't sure how severe it was. Was it completely or partially torn? Usually, a fully torn tricep has a long recovery period. I was surprised to see him play, but figured he would be willing to fight the pain to get a shot at a Super Bowl. The deer antler thing is bizarre and if true, puts a black mark next to his name.

Chunkles: Harbaugh-vs-Harbaugh, this will be the first Super Bowl I miss in 25 years! I could care a less. This should be dubbed the "Smug Bowl". Either one of them makes me cringe!

Jerry Micco: But I think it'll be a very good football game, and I watch the game for the players, not the coaches. I think the matchup is a very good one and plenty of stars on each side.

Zack: Does Mendy come back or do the Steelers sign a FA or draft a rb? Considering the tenders will be low, Redman or Dwyer could be poached from them as well for almost nothing.

Jerry Micco: After the season, Kevin Colbert pretty much said they need an overhaul at RB, and they do. I think they'll use a No. 1 or a No. 2 and get a running back. There are guys worthy of late first or second-round picks. Also will depend if they lose Dwyer or Redman. If they lose both, they'll have to go FA for sure as well as use the draft. If they lose one or both, they will definitely draft one and maybe go after one in FA.

Ray Lewis bloody suit: When Sid was out, Kunitz was on the line with Geno & Neal, right? With all the shuffling, has that happened this year?

Jerry Micco: Not that I've seen, but I've not watched every moment of every Pens game this year. There is some talk that Kunitz should be reunited with Malkin and Neal and that someone else should skate on Crosby's other wing. I don't think Tyler Kennedy is a top-2 winger, but would be excellent with Cooke and Sutter. The only other guy left to try there would be a guy like Dustin Jeffrey, who showed some promise, but the coaching staff soured on him after he was hurt last season.

The Chief: If Flacco and the Ravens win the Super Bowl, is he the best QB in the AFC North?

Jerry Micco: Well, if the Ravens win it they will be the best team in the NFL. I think Flacco's play in the playoffs shows what he's capable of doing. Though I'll take a healthy Ben over Flacco.

Ken: Jerry, Todd Haley must have had some influence on the Bicknell hiring, right?

Jerry Micco: Bicknell didn't work for Haley in KC, but I'd imagine that Haley would have some input on any offensive position coach that's hired. I don't know if the two have a history or not.

Will: Can someone please tell it like it is? Randy Moss was a jerk. Throwing water on a referee. Almost running over law enforcement. Crude use of the goal post at Lambeau, Treating people poorly. Why can't the media remind those who don't remember?

Jerry Micco: Because that's all in the past and all reported. I know on the field he had a very good, probably Hall of Fame type of career. But he's not the best WR to ever play the game as he stated. Another guy who wore No. 80 for the 49ers is the best I've ever seen. Jerry Rice could do it all and he didn't have all the physical gifts of Moss. And he was better in just about everything he did.

Ray Lewis bloody suit: With a new special teams coach for next year, are the Steelers going to be able to extend their streak of having a holding penalty on any return over 10 yards?

Jerry Micco: That unit was so underwhelming last season, it probably cost them a game or two. Except for Suisham's accuracy, every other part of it was terrible. Punting was awful. Punt returns nearly non-existant. Needs a huge upgrade, and you might see the Steelers draft guys who can do both, especially return kicks.

The Chief: Can't understand why the Steelers let special teams coach Bobby April go and are interviewing Danny Smith of the 'skins.

Jerry Micco: The head coach has to hire guys he's comfortable with. I think Tomlin wants a guy who can not only coach, but fit in with the other assistants

The Chief: Your poll today asks what should the Penguins do based on their lackluster play in three out of the last four games, what's your thoughts?

Jerry Micco: I'd vote for No. 4, don't panic. But I think the coaching staff has to go in with their eyes wide open. They aren't as fast as people think. Their stretch passes to get out of the zone are being clogged by trapping teams. And so everyone tries to do that. The power play, which should be great, seems stagnant. Something's up with all the line changes, and I don't think that helps. They have no goals from any 3rd- or 4th-line players and that's a major issue. You can't panic after 6 games, but if they are playing this way 20 games in, there will be some sort of change I'd bet.

Bill: Will the great Jerome Bettis get the call on Saturday?

Jerry Micco: I think he deserves a spot in Canton, but I'm not sure the voters do. I think it'll be close. Eventually though, he'll get in. Maybe not this year.

Ray Lewis bloody suit: Has James Harrison played his last game as a Steeler? What about Mike Wallace?

Jerry Micco: I think Wallace is gone. At one time, I thought Harrison was gone, but you heard people saying that as he regained strength in his knee late season that he was playing better and better. I don't know. He's a big cap hit and he'll be 35. There are a lot of good 3-4 OLB types in the draft and you can get one picking 17th. I think Harrison is 50-50.

Ken: So Moss and Rice--who else is on that list? Lance Alworth, Don Hutson, John Stallworth, TO....

Jerry Micco: Michael Irvin, Raymond Berry, Paul Warfield, Calvin Johnson will be in the HoF one day if he stays healthy. Best WR in the game now. Larry Fitzgerald a close second and he'll get in, too.

DormontyDawson: I think the Pens miss Jordan Staal more than they thought they would. I know I miss him. Your thoughts?

Jerry Micco: He's a top-rated talent, at least if you're going by salary, and Sutter isn't Jordan Staal. But the Pens knew that when they made the trade. He has been missed, though Sutter has done pretty well defensively and on face offs. But I think the Pens thought they'd get a bit more scoring from him. That's where they miss Staal the most. And on the penalty kill. While Sutter is good on the PK, he's not Staal.

The Chief: You surprised by the increase in the $$$ spent by the Pirates for 2013 ?

Jerry Micco: The Pirates front office has said if they think they have a shot at contending, they'd spend accordingly. The last two season have shown that they can battle it out and be very good. But the back-to-back collapses have crushed them and the fans. If they can resolve that, they are a team, I think, that can contend for a playoff spot. And I'm on record saying the streak ends this year.

Ken: Paul Warfield, Cris Carter....

Jerry Micco: I said Warfield, but Carter should be on that list, too. Art Monk should be there, too.

The Chief: Your thoughts on Denver persuing a Super Bowl, afterall it will be in East Ruitherford NJ next year.

Jerry Micco: I've got no problem with Super Bowls in cold weather sites. NYC area is big enough and has enough people that you won't have a problem with people coming around before the game. After all, that's why cities want the game: The hotel and tourist dollars a enormous. And NYC is a natural for that. I can't wait to see the prices on hotels for that one. Denver is a nice city from all I've been told. But if they are in a cold snap, you could get a game with a kickoff temp of 10 degrees. Brrrr...

Chunkles: I agree Jerry, it should be a good game but I cannot stand the "Murder" and how many times do we have to hear about the Harbaugh brothers and who their parents are rooting for? If I had to pick a team it would be the 49'ers because then it would hopefully light a fire under the Steeler organization to win a seventh SB?

Jerry Micco: I think the Steelers always want to win that 7th SB. Every season their goal is to do exactly that. And they nearly did it, but lost by 6 to Green Bay. That said, I tend to ignore all the stuff around the game. I watch none of the pregame stuff, preferring the "Puppy Bowl" instead. I just love a good football game, and I think this has the chance to be a very good one.

Ray Lewis bloody suit: Will Jamie Dixon ever recruit a superstar who could take over a game? I know he doesn't coach that way, but his teams will get destroyed in the ACC if he doesn't start getting some scoring.

Jerry Micco: I think he has some guys who can score, and this year's team is capable of scoring more. But they tend to shoot themselves in the foot in some part of their game, particularly in big games. They had Louisville beaten if they make their free throws. And while they didn't play a great game, they did all they could to stick close. Remember, the Panthers signed Dante Taylor four years ago as a McDonald's All-American. Didn't work out. I think playing in the ACC will introduce players in another part of the nation to Pitt basketball. And it will help them in recruiting.

The Chief: A guy by the name of Woods won the PGA event this past weekend. Is he back?

Jerry Micco: I thought he was back last year when he won three Tour events. But he looks even better this year. I think his drought in majors will end this year. I could see him winning one, maybe two. As long as his putting holds up and if he can keep it steady on the weekends, he'll be in the hunt in all four. But we'll see. He did win those three events last year, but couldn't pull out any majors.

Bob: Do you remember a player as hyped as Ray Lewis? I don't, but the world is alot different from the Hollywood Henderson days. Maybe Tim Tebow?

Jerry Micco: Lewis is getting all the hype because he's going to retire and it makes for a great storyline if the Ravens win it all. I don't necessarily like all the talking and over-the-top acting he has always done, but he's one of the best LBs to ever play and a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Paul: Is the Journalism community embarrassed at all by the general lack of actual investigative reporting? I guess I'm thinking of the Te'o hoax, but you got scooped on the PSU thing pretty badly too. Deadspin and Patriot News are not exactly heavyweights.

Jerry Micco: Who didn't get scooped by Sara Ganim and the Patriot-News on the Sandusky story? As for Te'o, I guess the folks at ESPN are a bit red-faced, but hey, it was good work by Deadspin to do the investigation. I think all outlets want to do investigative work. But we all have fewer people and less money, so it's difficult. Doesn't mean all of us don't try, but sometimes investigations don't turn up enough for a story. And it really helps to have sources get some info to you so you can start looking in the right places. Those reporters on the above mentioned stories did that. And they should be lauded for their efforts.

The Chief: You were out in the Bay Area for a time in your career, can you compare Steeler fans with 49er fans.

Jerry Micco: San Francisco fans are a bit more subdued, but just as rabid for their team as they are in Pittsburgh. The Raiders fans like to refer to the 49ers fans as the "wine (or whine) and cheese crowd." There's some truth to that, but they tailgate really well and they love the 49ers. It's a very good fanbase that no one would confuse as a rowdy fanbase overall.

Jerry Micco: By the way, our Shelly Anderson just Tweeted that Dustin Jeffrey is skating on the second line today with Malkin and Neal. Just remember though, it's practice. Worth noting.

Bill L: Dominating SB performances--three come to mind. Shell and Upshaw destroying the Vikings. Montana against that bad Denver defense. Dallas 52-17 or something against Buffalo. Any others?

Jerry Micco: I think the Redskins and Doug Williams crushed Denver something like 55-24. Steve Young's lone SB was a 49ers drubbing of San Diego.

The Chief: OK, who you got on Sunday and who is your MVP?

Jerry Micco: I like the 49ers, and I think the MVP will be Frank Gore. I know Kaepernick will be the popular choice, but I look for the great OL of the 49ers to hammer the Ravens defense behind Gore and maybe he gets a couple of close-in scores. And gains well over 100 yards.

Bill L: How about Griese throwing the ball 10 times against the Vikings and otherwise handing off to Csonka?

Jerry Micco: Old school NFL. And Franco Harris running for 159 vs. the Vikings. That's the way it was done for years. But not in today's NFL, unless you have an Adrian Peterson. But I think the 49ers will want to control the ball and use the option, but run Gore as much as they can.

sms: bucs done for the year or they make another roster move/trade/aquisition

Jerry Micco: I'm not sure Huntington wouldn't like one more pitcher in camp to compete for that fifth starter spot. Liriano might be out until late May, early June. The same with Charlie Morton. But by and large, they are done.

sms: think the bucs going in this year with somewhat of a set and healthy lineup they will be a little more cohesive and maybe get over the july hump

Jerry Micco: Actually, played well into early August last season. I think they still have some questions, but if guys like Cutch, Walker and Alvarez are healthy and improving, they have a nice middle of the order. But there are always questions. Will Jones produce 27 HRs again? Will Russell Martin produce more offense than Barajas? Are Marte and Snider going to provide the numbers to be effective starters? Seems pitching is in good shape, but will Burnett repeat his 16-win season? How about McDonald? Can he do it for a full season?

The Chief: Really think Bylsma should put Kunitz back with Gino and Neal. Then give Tancridi a shote with Sid and Dupris. I seem to remember what a #1 center did for a guy named Robbie Brown!

Jerry Micco: But Tangradi has to show he can score. He simply doesn't display, at least to me, any type of offensive talent. Maybe he needs to keep playing and hope that comes around, but i just don't see it. Jeffrey, I know, can score some. He's proven that. And I hope they give him some time to see if he can develop on Malkin's line.

sms: i think we will stop losing when we can describe the season without saying "IF"

Jerry Micco: Hard to do when you are a small-market club. There are "ifs" on all those teams, but sometimes you hit the lottery on guys and it all comes together. At one time last year, the Pirates looked exactly like that team. Then the collapse came.

Henry: Wouldn't it be great to see one more Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl? Maybe Super Bowl 50? Where would they have SB 50? They can't favor one site over the other. LA Coliseum?

Jerry Micco: The Rose Bowl is one of the great stadiums in the world. And should have Super Bowls on a rotating basis. Probably doesn't have all the luxury boxes and amenities the NFL wants, but what a venue. One of my bucket list things: Go to a Rose Bowl. Still the Grand Daddy of them all to me.

Jerry Micco: OK folks I need to head back to some other stuff. Tremendous chat today with a ton of good questions. Thanks for taking the time to be with me today. I'll be back next Wednesday at noon. Until then, have a great week and enjoy the Super Bowl! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco

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