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January 8, 2014 1:38 PM
Peter Diana / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers safety Will Allen takes the helmet of Browns running back Edwin Baker in the third quarter of the season finale at Heinz Field last month.
Poll Question: Do you think James Neal should have been selected for Team Canada? Answer #1: Yes (60%) Answer #2: No (40%)
Drew: Jerry, let's get your take on the National Championship...did it live up to expectation for you?
Jerry Micco: It did, though I didn't think Auburn could stay as long as they did with Florida State. I thought the Seminoles could pull away in the second half, but did not think they'd come out and play so poorly in the first half. Give Auburn a lot of credit. It showed it belonged in that game and played toe to toe with FSU. I think all the BCS bowl games this year were excellent. The BCS went out with a bang, which is great for the fans of college football.
Coachfi: Is the coaching staff done with dismissals? Any candidates you know of for the OL Coach position
Jerry Micco: I assume you mean the Steelers staff. I don't know of any more dismissals that are imminent, but that doesn't mean Mike Tomlin is done making changes. There's still time to do that. But I don't think there will be any major changes. As for OL coaches, can't say I know of any candidates. Ed Bouchette has talked about Tunch Ilkin as a candidate and I've seen people toss out former Tennessee coach Mike Munchak's name.
Guest: What's the status on AJ Burnette? And does NH have another big F/A signing up his sleeve?
Jerry Micco: Have not heard much on the Burnett front, but that doesn't mean there have not been talks between his people and the Pirates. I would hope Huntington has another signing up his sleeve because there is still a hole at first base. While Sanchez is a nice fit there vs. left-handed pitching, there needs to be a platoon match there. Right now, I don't think that exists. And if Burnett isn't signed, they may need to go out and get more pitching. I'm not sure Edinson Volquez is going to pan out like Liriano did last year.
Stash: Are the Paterno people delusional thinking the Penn state job is still a top tier coaching position. why would anyone want to coach in the vast wasteland of the Big Ten.
Jerry Micco: Who are the Paterno people? Penn State fans in general? I don't think Penn State is a top-tier job right now, but it certainly has some cache to it with a huge fanbase. And while the Big Ten isn't exactly what it used to be, what football conference is? Beside the SEC, what college football conference is a real powerhouse anymore?
The Chief: Jerry, Happy New Year, hope you had a great Holiday Season! You surprised by any of the first round results in the NFL Tournament?
Jerry Micco: I had a great holiday Chief, and hope you did, too. Only surprise I thought was New Orleans winning in the cold in Philadelphia. Maybe that and Kansas City giving up 45 to Indianapolis. The Chiefs were pretty banged up on defense, but still. That team has made its mark on defense all season and it just got killed in the second half.
The Chief: Jerry, which Steelers did we see play their final game in the Browns victory?
Jerry Micco: Probably Ryan Clark and Brett Keisel, though maybe Keisel showed enough to make a case to be kept around for one more year. And maybe Ike Taylor played his last game unless he takes a huge salary cut. On offense, I think Emmanuel Sanders is gone. I don't think Felix Jones will be around next season, either.
keith: you ever read "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load"? Any good?
Jerry Micco: I did years ago and it's very good. Roy Blount Jr. is a very good writer. He ran into a bad Steelers season, but the book is still very good.
The Chief: Jerry, Flower not getting picked for the Canadian Team, may be a blessing in disguise as he continues to be sent out every night.
Jerry Micco: I think he deserved a spot on the team, but I agree that the time off will do him a world of good. He's played a lot this season, and I can't imagine him getting much of a break in the second half. Zatkoff his been a nice backup, but the Pens can't rely on him like they did Vokoun last season.
Guest: Do youi see the Steelers going with Woodley or taking a risk that Worlids is legit?
Jerry Micco: I think if they can sign Worilds, they'll do it. Woodley's injuries and lack of productivity make him too tough to keep at that price.
Guest: Did team Canada leave MAF out based only on his postseason meltdown? And is that a fair assesment? I think not.
Jerry Micco: I'm not sure why he was left out, but if he were selected and were the No. 3 guy again, that might have been worse. He was the No. 3 guy in 2010. GM Steve Yzerman might have looked at the playoff performances and that was part of his decision, I don't know, but he didn't think Fleury could help the team in Sochi. Again, if that's the case, at least MAF gets some needed time off.
Guest: "You can print this: You can print that I don't really give a [expletive] what the 'Paterno people' think about what I do with this program. I've done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I'm tired of it.What is O'Brien referring to?
Jerry Micco: I don't know what reporter David Jones asked him specifically because the question isn't part of the story. But if Bill O'Brien thought he was coming into a program that was run by the same guy for 46 years and he was never going to be compared to him, he was the most naive guy on Earth. I don't think for a minute that's why Bill O'Brien left Penn State. He wanted an NFL gig. And he got one.
The Chief: 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees get announced at 2:00 today. Who is in and who is out?
Jerry Micco: I think Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are going to get in. After that, I don't think anyone's a lock.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, what is going on with the Pirates bench? Jeff Baker is available and he has a career .760 OPS. Career .267 average and would clearly be the Pirates best hitter off the bench. Ideally he would replace Josh Harrison on the bench and start some games at second versus left handed pitchers (.875 career OPS versus left handed pitchers).
Jerry Micco: OK, who is Jeff Baker? I'm not being a smark-alek, but that's really inside baseball stuff for me. Sorry. It sounds like he's a nice hitter, but as you know, Hurdle loves Harrison's ability to play different positions and his uncanny knack to make the occasional big play. Or get the big hit.
keith: Is it just me, or is it remarkable that there are a few baseball HOFers who did not vote for Greg Maddux as a first-ballot HOFer? Sure, it seemed like the strike zone extended a few inches outside the black at times but 355 wins? Guess it has always been that way where a few writers don't vote a superstar in...
Jerry Micco: I don't think Willie Mays was unanimous. Sometimes, the BBWAA does those kinds of things. Pretty eclectic group, but they do take their jobs very seriously when it comes to the HOF voting. And they care deeply about it. They get attacked about it every year, but they do take it very seriously.
Guest: Curt Schilling a HOF'er? Craig Biggio? Tim Raines?
Jerry Micco: Biggio maybe. But probably not this year.
The Chief: Do you expect Bill O'Brien to be successful with the Texans, after all they appear to just need a good QB to be back in the hunt again?
Jerry Micco: O'Brien is an iffy game-day coach, at least I thought he was at Penn State. Now, things are much different in the pros than in college. I think he can be a pretty good pro coach, and I think he can win in the NFL. I think he's a smart guy who can coach offense. If he can find a really good defensive coordinator and work with a good player development guy, he can win some games and have some success in Houston.
James_Pittsburgh: Should the Hall of Fame ballots of writers who didn't vote for Greg Maddux be revoked?
Jerry Micco: No. Those guys earned that right to vote. Everyone has a reason for not voting for someone. And it's not going to keep a guy from getting into the hall.
James_Pittsburgh: Jeff Baker player for the Rangers last year. He hit 11 home runs in 154 at bats. Baker plays outfield, third, second, and first. He has played in 617 Big League games and would be the kind of power bat off the bench that the Pirates lack.
Jerry Micco: Now, I'd imagine a guy like that to be in demand. And it sounds like he would be a perfect fit for the Pirates. I would hope salary would not be the issue for the Pirates. It should not be after their success last season.
JamesinNYC: I don't understand Mike Piazza not getting in, usually catchers are D but Piazza was a feared hitter...the best in NY that I have seen in my 20 years here. Never busted for anything. Is it all guesses or just because he was a 50ish round pick?
Jerry Micco: I think Piazza is one of those guys whose numbers are very good, but not great and so he's close but not quite there yet. But in time as they see other catchers come through, you may see him start to rise. Sometimes, it takes several tries for guys to make it.
Jerry Micco: I think the Texans have some talent. I think they are in need of a QB, and O'Brien has proven in college he can work with a QB. I'd say he did it in the NFL, too, but when you work with an already-proven Tom Brady, that doesn't count, does it? The AFC is in a bit of a down period, so I'd not be surprised to see a team like Houston rebound and snag a playoff spot.
Guest: Rafael Palmero should be in the HOF, steroids or no steroids.
Jerry Micco: Steroids-era players are going to have that stigma and it is going to be hard for many of the BBWAA voters to look past it. Believe me, that is going to haunt them. And it's tough for the writers, too. Because I believe if Barry Bonds had never used a steroid, he'd still be an HOF player.
James inTel Aviv: The only way Mike Piazza is getting in the HOF is if he's buys a ticket.
Jerry Micco: So this person, I'd say, is a "no" for Piazza.
The Chief: It is apparent that the Penguins need a winger for Sid/Kunitz. They have a plethora of young D and Beau Bennett has shown us streaks of brilliance, but can't stay healthy. Your Fred Shero, what is your move?
Jerry Micco: Well, teams are going to be after your young defensemen, but I want a winger with speed who can get up and down with Sid. So I'm not just going to settle for someone because the other GM is going to ask for Letang, but I'm going to say no. I'll give him Niskanen, but he's going to have to give me quality in return because Niskanen has become a very good player. But I'm not trading Letang.
Guest: How concerned is the NFL with potentially not selling out playoff games or regular season games for that matter? And what is the solution? Lower ticket and concession prices? Really, that money is a drop in the bucket compared to the TV deal.
Jerry Micco: After the concussion issue, Roger Goodell has said the fan experience is the No. 1 concern for the league. He knows that with the advent of high-def TVs and the cost of going to games that fans are now enjoying his league at home. And what will it take to get the fans back? Lowering prices all around will work some, but NFL owners, like most pro sports owners, don't like to give money away. So they try to enhance the experience. Make wi-fi available. Better food/drink. More stuff for fans to do. But it's a battle the NFL has on its hands and it knows it.
James in Helsinki: Bobby Petrino back at Louisville. Is there no shame in college Football?
Jerry Micco: Rumored, anyway. And if you can win, everybody loves you.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, the Texans biggest problem in 2013 was turnovers. They had a negative 22 turnover differential last season after finishing second in the AFC in 2012.
Jerry Micco: That's why you wonder how they'd fare with a rookie QB at the helm. Rookie QBs are often turnover machines. Wonder if they'd consider asking O'Brien to resuscitate Matt Schaub, trade the No. 1 pick, but take a QB later in the draft and try to win that way? Schaub can't be as bad as he was last year.
The Chief: Watching the World Jr Championships and so to be Olympics it seems that a major move that the NHL could do to help with the Concussions issues is make the rinks comply with International Standards. Your thoughts
Jerry Micco: Anything the NHL can do to help the concussion issue is a good move in my mind. I'm not as familiar with those standards, though. I know international rinks are bigger, but that's all I know.
Mark Stock: How about going out and getting James Jones as a replacement for Sanders at WR?
Jerry Micco: Is the Falcons WR a free agent? If so, I'd imagine a lot of teams would be interested.
The Chief: Your thoughts on the soap opera by the Jerry Jones wannabe owner of the Washington Football team and his prima donna QB RG III.
Jerry Micco: Not a good situation at all in Washington. I think they are going to have a problem hiring a head coach, but someone will take the job because they'll make millions and even if they get fired, they get paid. I think RGIII has really taken a step back in his development and in how he handles himself in the last year. He didn't strike me as this type of person while at Baylor. He's a really good player and QB, but his leadership this past year certainly is questionable.
keith: I can't wait for next Steelers season...The offense looks like it might be ready to turn the corner into something special: Bell and the offensive line looked better as the season went on. We might lose sanders but Heath Miller should be back to normal and we'll get back Pouncey.
Jerry Micco: The offense should be the strength of the team next year provided injuries don't get in the way. Still need another WR and I'd like to see them get more depth on the OL. I also want to see Wheaton take a big step in year two. WRs take a while to develop and the offseason is big for him.
Guest: I'm curious, would James take Johnny Manziel if he were the Texans. They had that dilema before and drafted Mario williams instead of homegrown Vince Young.
Jerry Micco: I loved that Mario Williams pick, by the way. James can answer this, but I'd not take Manziel No. 1 overall.
James_Pittsburgh: Andrew Lambo had a.703 OPS in limited action. However he would likely have the highest OPS of likely bench players in 2014(Chris Stewart, Josh Harrison, Clint Barmes, Travis Snider,and Andrew Lambo). The Pirates need to act fast.
Jerry Micco: I think they are getting small pieces in place to fill out a AAA roster, but I agree. They have been quiet in the offseason. I do think they need to address first base. I don't think Chris McGuinness is the answer there.
Gus: Peyton Manning choke again this week or does he wait to choke against the Colts or Brady again next week?
Jerry Micco: Wow, not a Peyton Manning fan I see. I think they beat the Chargers, but maybe not by a whole lot. I like Denver to get to the Super Bowl because of home field. And would not be shocked to see Indy beat New England this weekend. Watch out for the Colts.
Dude_From_Cali: Gerry: What's Casey Hampton, Charlie Batch and Kemoeatu doing since retirement, these days?
Jerry Micco: Batch does work with his community service orgs here in town and some local TV work. Can't say what the other guys do.
James in Rancho Cuccamonga: You got Tiger winning any Majors this year?
Jerry Micco: I know Tiger has faltered in majors the past few years, but I still think he's got some left in him. And I always think the two he can win are the Masters and the PGA. Don't know that I'll pick him for either one, but I do think he collects a major this year.
James: No, I am not taking Johnny Manziel with the number one pick!
Dude_From_Cali: Gerry: Ppl have been complaining about Landry Jones pick but @24th spot of the 4th round, do you honestly could come up with a decent camp body 3rd stringer vs potential of Landry?
Jerry Micco: I think you were looking for Gerry Dulac's chat, which went from 11-noon, but I'll do my best to answer this. I guess people question this pick because it seems Jones was never projected as being an NFL starter. And probably won't be a backup this year, either.
The Chief: Speaking of Peyton living up to his playoff potential who you got in this weekends games?
Jerry Micco: In the NFC, Seattle and San Francisco. In the AFC, Denver and Indianapolis. I like the Colts in the upset.
Bart Giamatti: Does Pete Rose the Hit King ever get written in on ballots to the HOF?
Jerry Micco: I don't think so. Great player and on the merits as a baseball player, deserves to be in. But he bet on his team as a manager. And to me, that's the ultimate sin. Gambling.
James_Pittsburgh: Pete Rose got .05% of the vote according to one website!
Ralph The Plumber: Have we seen the last of Plaxico Burress? Does he retire as a Steeler?
Jerry Micco: I don't think Plax will be back. And if he retires, his last team likely will be the Steelers.
James_Pittsburgh: If the Pirates don't want to spend, here is a creative option for the team. Maybe try to convert him to first base. He has been knocking the cover off the ball in the Venezuela Winter ball.
Jerry Micco: We are talking Lambo here?
James_Pittsburgh: That is Bobby Abreau who had a .350 OPS in 2012. He did not play last year.
Jerry Micco: I thought I saw something on Twitter about him today. Seems Cleveland has some interest in him.
Joe Jo: After the league admitted the bad calls against the Steelers in both the GB game and the KC/Charger game will the Rooneys use this to combat King Rodger desire to take away a draft pick this year.
Jerry Micco: I don't think so, though the Steelers I'm sure have made their points on this. The decision on the draft choice over the Tomlin sideline flap won't come until March. And the jury is still out on that one. May not even happen. And if it does, my guess is it'll be a late-round compensatory pick.
Dude_From_Cali: Jerry: you wrote Landry Jones not a starter material nor a back up this year as well -- translated, Landry Jones won't make the roster in 2014?
Jerry Micco: No, he'll make it as the No. 3 QB. I just think he's got a long way to go to become a No. 2 QB in this league.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to move on to some other stuff. Thanks for all the great questions and for taking the time to chat with me today. I'll be back at noon next Wednesday and we'll get right back at it. In the meantime, have a great week! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
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