Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 10.24.12

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Poll Question: Who will win the World Series?

Answer #1: Detroit Tigers (86%)

Answer #2: San Francisco Giants (14%)

James_Pittsburgh: Looks like no hockey in November. Well it looks like I will get a lot of reading done next month instead of watching the Penguins.

Jerry Micco: And you may be doing a lot of reading in December, too. I'm not sure they can get a deal done and play a game before the Winter Classic. That would be a shame, but it seems both sides are far apart and are really digging in. The game and the fans lose out in these things, but it's now fairly common in professional sports. Which is unfortunate.

James_Pittsburgh: The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn in 2015. I wonder whether it will increase attendance or not?

Jerry Micco: It might because they will be somewhat of a novelty in Brooklyn. And it's not a long drive or train ride for their fans out on the Island. I think there's certainly a big enough fan base to have good attendance in Brooklyn. But if the team isn't any good, some of the early novelty will wear off in a hurry.

DNY: Jerry, your reaction to Dejan Kovacevic's article on "Hell Week"?

Jerry Micco: It's a good column. Read it last night.

James_Pittsburgh: How disturbing is it that the Steelers didn't have a sack against the Bengals?

Jerry Micco: Not all that disturbing because they won the game. There was enough pressure there to force Andy Dalton into some poor throws and that's all you really need to do. Of course, sacks would be preferred, especially this Sunday when Robert Griffin III is in town.

Ken: Why no negative reporting on the Don Fehr factor. OK, he's working for the union, but he also has the capacity to ruin a sport.

Jerry Micco: I think our reporting, and that of the national outlets, has been pretty down the middle on who to blame. But it is the league that is locking out the players, not the players on strike. I think both sides need to continue to give til it hurts so this thing gets settled. But I don't think there's a reason to spin positively or negatively on Don Fehr.

doyle37: Jerry, you know I bleed blue and white having picked PSU for the past 3 games. However, Ohio State comes to town this week. Surprise, I pick O'Brien's Lions to upset the Buckeyes. White out at the White House!! What think you ?

Jerry Micco: Will be a close game and will have that big-game atmosphere you get when OSU and PSU meet. I think Penn State is capable of beating Ohio State and will have the home field advantage. PSU, though, doesn't want it to come down to a FG late. Sam Ficken has been shaky at best, and you don't want to put this on his shoulders. If PSU can avoid turnovers I think it can knock off OSU.

The Chief: Jerry, looks like the key to the Steeler defense is to keep them off the field. Only 22 minutes+ vs the Bengals!

Jerry Micco: If you can control the ball the way the Steelers have in several games this year, you always give yourself a great chance to win. Steelers offense needs to end more drives with TDs than FGs, but if they can keep the ball 35-40 minutes a game, it's going to be tough to beat them.

James_Pittsburgh: The Steelers defense hasn't played well. However in someways I feel that the offense is more disappointing. They are 17th in points scored per game. What do you feel is the biggest contributing factor to the Steelers not being able to score?

Jerry Micco: Closing out drives in the red zone. I think their red zone offense is wildly inconsistent. And aside from the Cincinnati game, the run game has been mediocre at best. I think those two are linked.

Will: Red flag that the Bengals ran the ball down the Steelers throats in the first quarter? I'm not surprised. I think the Steelers need to target a 250 pound ILB in the draft.

Jerry Micco: I'm sure they'll look at such a player, though they did pass on Dont'e Hightower for DeCastro when their pick came this year. Not criticizing the pick because that was the way to go, but ILBs are tough to find. I think Foote and Timmons are playing OK. After that first drive, Bengals did little on the ground.

The Chief: Do you belive the Steeler game plan this week be basically the same as it was against Vick and the Eagles?

Jerry Micco: I think they see RG3 as a better passer than Vick, but you can bet they will pressure him and try to contain his runs. And likely a spy will be put on him. The Redskins will score some points, no doubt, but their defense is porous. Especially their pass defense, which could lead to a big day for Big Ben.

James_Pittsburgh: It is really disturbing that the Pirates made Gregory Polanco go through Hell Week with his sprained ankle. Nutting needs to make changes in minor league personnel. Kyle Stark should be fired.

Jerry Micco: There are some who dispute those facts. I don't know because we've not done much reporting on this topic. As for Stark, Nutting has had a chance to change his front office. Apparently, he's not doing it.

Guest: As a diehard all sports Pittsburgh fan, I'm having a tough year, and am holding out high hopes for Pitt basketball. They've been picked 6th in the Big East this year, after last year's disappointment, but they have 3 projected high impact players coming in this year. How do you rate their chances of pulling off something big this year?

Jerry Micco: I think they can be a top 4 Big East team. Patterson is going to be a very good player, and Steven Adams seems to be a big man who can make a difference. I think they'll be much better than last season and will make a bit of noise in the conference. Not much of an out of conference schedule, so they have a chance to rack up some early wins.

James_Pittsburgh: Is Penn State eligible to win the Big Ten championship?

Jerry Micco: No. They can get a trophy for winning the division, but doesn't qualify for the Big Ten championship for four years.

The Chief: You surprised at how WVU's fortune has turned around the last few weeks, from the penthouse to the outhouse!

Jerry Micco: That's what not having a defense will do to you in that conference when you run up against good offenses. I thought WVU could win in Lubbock and knock off Kansas State at home. But I had no idea that they'd be suffocated by either team's defenses. It has been a rapid drop.

Bob: Jerry, want to feel old? In his weekly spot on WFAN, NY, Terry Bradshaw said he's 64 now. Yikes!

Jerry Micco: Wow, really? OK, I do feel old after hearing that! Amazing that I still see him in my mind running around and flinging balls all over the place to Swann and Stallworth. Or handing it to Franco for those tough runs.

jiminVT: How much of the good performance last week would you attribute to the Bengals' ineptitude (From coach on down) as opposed to a good Steeler performance?

Jerry Micco: A bit of both, but it's always that way. The Steelers clobbered the Jets, but the same Jets pushed New England to overtime. Was the Steelers win because they played well, or were the Jets just terrible that game? It's always a bit of both. I think the defense really stepped up, and the running game got going against a team that you should be able to run against. Nothing wrong with the latter, it's what they should do.

doyle37: Actually, I think Ficken has been ok as of late. Early on he was horrible but with more than half of the season gone and lots of practice under his belt as the #1 kicker, I think he'll be ok.

Jerry Micco: But you need more than "OK" to win a big game like this one Saturday night. But for both teams, it doesn't mean anything down the road because they are both under sanctions. So they'll pull out all the stops to win this one, which will make it a fun game.

Jack Splat: May not be fair but Steeler Special teams under Everest were not a liability as they currently are. What was the rationale for firing Everest, especially so late in the year (preseason)?

Jerry Micco: My understanding from what I've read and heard, was it was not philosophical differences. That means it's something personal perhaps? I really have no idea. But I agree, special teams have been an issue for the club.

August West: Back to Kovacevic's "Hoka Hey" column: Does the P-G have any plans to follow up these important revelations with its own reporting? It looks like the Pirates are far more dysfunctional than even its worst critics could have imagined.

Jerry Micco: I'm sure we'll look into it.

James_Pittsburgh: The Steelers are a flawed team, but at 3-3 do you see them as serious contenders to win the AFC North?

Jerry Micco: I do because Baltimore has had two tough injuries on defense. And I don't think the AFC is exactly loaded this year, so if they can string some wins together, they got a shot. Maybe a longish shot, but a shot nonetheless.

BillL: If the Steelers had lost, I think Wallace would be getting a lot more heat for his drops. This is looking more and more like someone else's problem in 2013. I know the vertical threat, but c'mon. And after a selfish holdout too.

Jerry Micco: Well, on the holdout, by contract he could have held out until week 10 and still been eligible for free agency this year. So being here for 16 games helps the Steelers. And while I agree the drops were terrible, he managed to catch 8 passes in that game. And he leads the team with 4 TDs this season. I'm not sold on him completely as a WR beyond his vertical speed, but I'm not ready to throw him under the bus, either.

The Chief: Jerry, Mike Adams looks to be an excellent run blocker. Do you belive he will push Gilbert to LT and become a OLine fixture for as long as he stays healthy?

Jerry Micco: I think that possibility certainly exists. I think most people thought Gilbert was a much better LT than RT and that Adams was made to play RT in the NFL because of his run-blocking ability. I want to see how Adams does this week. You can't get better unless you play, but it also can show your warts. Let's see which shows up on Adams this week.

James_Pittsburgh: Are Penn State and Ohio State allowed to play in the Big Ten championship game? Or would the third place team play in the championship game if OSU and PSU finish 1 and 2.

Jerry Micco: Yes. The third-place team in that division would play the winner of the Legends Division for the Big Ten title. Wisconsin is really liking that since right now they are the likely highest finisher, or could even leapfrog PSU and/or OSU in the division.

Bas: Is Ray Graham fully recovered from his knee surgery? Do you think he'll ever reach his pre-injury level? Does he have any pro prospects?

Jerry Micco: Knee injuries generally take a year for a full recovery, and the fact that he's playing on it means he played with less than a year of recovery time. To me, he does not look to be the same back he was before he was injured. That's to be expected. That said, in time, he may return to that form. I think you have to be patient about these things, but it is hard for RBs to come back 100 percent from those types of injuries in general.

James_Pittsburgh: I don't think we will know how good or bad the Steelers are until after they play the Giants and Ravens.

Jerry Micco: Certainly tough tests. The Giants are on the road, which will be a very tough game for the Steelers to win. I think if the Steelers got a split with Baltimore, they'd take it in a minute.

Newman: Jerry, I think Heath might be looking at first team all-pro if Gronk loses any time. Do you think the stats geeks would slip in Antonio Gates and ignore Miller's all around game?

Jerry Micco: Tough to ignore what Miller has done so far this year, and how important he is to the Steelers. I think he's one of the best 3 tight ends in the AFC, so in my mind, he's a Pro Bowl player. No doubt.

James_Pittsburgh: What team do you see going after Mike Wallace in the offseason? Indianapolis, Cincinnati, NY Jets, Washington, St. Louis?

Jerry Micco: Anyone who needs a fast outside receiver who's capable of putting up some fairly big numbers. Will they be Larry Fitz or Calvin/Andre Johnson numbers? Probably not, but Wallace is capable of getting into that neighborhood. Or, he can collapse like he did the second half last season. He's done both. I think some team will reward him with a big contract, but likely it won't be the Steelers.

August West: What do you make of the alleged rift between Big Ben and Todd Haley? Much ado about nothing - or was BB accidentally telling the truth with his "dink and dunk" quote?

Jerry Micco: Ed Bouchette says Ben and Ken Whisenhunt weren't buddy-buddy in Whiz's time here, but they won a Super Bowl. Tension is fine as long as everyone is on the same page during the games. Winning can cure a lot of personal ills.

August West: Why are Steve McLendon and Cameron Heyward not receiving playing time? Are they having a tough time learning the schemes, or are they simply not good enough to push out the incumbents?

Jerry Micco: Heyward does get some playing time, but he's behind Keisel, and I think Keisel is playing pretty well. I don't know what McLendon's deal is. Hampton seems to have solidified himself more over the past couple of games and McLendon doesn't get much time. I thought by midseason he may replace Hampton. Doesn't look to be the case.

August West: How is the P-G Plus experiment working out? My one-year subscription expired and I elected not to renew because, frankly, I found I get more varied Steeler content for free from the wingnut paper across the river.

Jerry Micco: To each his own. We think the content we provide on Plus is very good and the access to the reporters is worth the $3.99/month. But while we'd like to keep everyone, we can't keep 'em all. Actually, the site continues to grow.

Fightin Irish: is this the year the ghosts are finally awoken?

Jerry Micco: Seems to be. Oklahoma may have something to say about that, though. Should be an entertaining game.

The Chief: Nice World Series match up, but I think Detroit is a better team on paper. Got to like Jim Leylans'd team to win!

Jerry Micco: I think Detroit can win this in 6 games. On paper. But the Giants just keep refusing to die. I think it'll be a close Series. The Giants will not go down easy.

Ken: I think sometime in the future a wave of nostalgia in favor of the Super Steelers will hit the Canton vets committee and the beloved LC Greenwood gets in the hall of fame. Possible? How about Andy Russell? I say no.

Jerry Micco: Greenwood has a chance, but I don't think Russell makes it.

doyle37: Looking passed the Sandusky horror. I was a staunch JoePa defender and felt he should be able to stay until he decided to go. He earned it. In hindsight, it appears he stayed 10 years too long. PSU now has an outstanding offense and the head coach looks like he may be able to pull off keeping PSU competitive during the sanctions.

Jerry Micco: I think Bill O'Brien has done a terrific job with a group of players brought in by Paterno and his staff. But you cannot take anything away from O'Brien. He's done remarkably well this season, which is why you see some already touting him as a coach of the year candidate. As for Joe, I'm torn in many ways. I wish he'd done more, too. I wish he'd pounded on a couple of doors to make the point louder. But that chance is gone now, and Joe's legacy will always have that taint to it. Just the way it is.

Chunkles: I got to give the Steelers props for the way their defense showed up against the Bungles. One guy who stood out was Keenan Lewis. It is young backs like him that need to step up and take the reins from the older guys who are hurt and or ready to get on with their lives work. I hope it isnt a one game performance like Lawrence Timmons!

Jerry Micco: It was Lewis' best game of the year, but I think he's played pretty well all season long. And you are right, some of the younger guys need to step up, including Timmons, who is showing signs of regaining his 2010 form, but still needs that consistency in his game.

Will: Re: Where will Wallace go? You know who's ready with a 12 million dollar bonus as soon as free agency begins. He'll be in town on Sunday and hopefully they'll blast some of Cope's "Washington Redfaces" insults over the loud speakers.

Jerry Micco: I'm sure RG3 would love to have that outside speed. There are plenty of people willing to spend money. The Steelers have showed a willingness to do that, too. But I think you have to be careful who you spend it on. And Wallace, to me, is a bit of a gamble right now. At the end of the season, he may be worth $10 million/year and a bunch of guaranteed money. But I don't see that now.

WyattBurp: Afternoon, Jerry. I'm a Detroit Tigers fan. I'm thinking we'll go six games before winning this series. Giants are a formidable team, but Detroit fans were expecting the Cards. Have the Giants been lucky to get this far?

Jerry Micco: Not lucky, they've been good. They have the pitching to stay with anyone, but you wonder when their hitting is going to go into the tank. I don't think Marco Scutaro gets 14 hits in the World Series. I think the Tigers hitting will win out eventually over the Giants pitching.

WyattBurp: World Series. It's a big deal in Detroit. I'm seeing folks were lots of Tiger gear in the streets. Tigers made fans nervious by not having any momentum, this season. Will they final get the hang of it when it counts?

Jerry Micco: They seem to have the hang of it right now. Actually, sweeping the Yankees may have cooled their momentum because of the long layoff. But it sure is nice to have Verlander ready to go in Game 1. What a great pitcher to put out there to get yourself off to a fast start.

WyattBurp: Jim Leyland. There's sports media wonks that want Tigers to move on from Leyland. This was his best season as a manager, in my opinion, because he kept the ship pointed in the right direction all year. I think he's a great manager, and if he feels healthy enough to keep going, why not?

Jerry Micco: Tough to get rid of a guy who guides you to the World Series, isn't it? I think he's proven over the years to be a terrific manager. The Tigers are fortunate to have him.

WyattBurp: Bullpen. One aspect that might get the Tigers is the Giant bullpen. Tigers learned last year from the Rangers what an awesome bullpen can do for a club. Should the Tigers "Fear the Beard?"

Jerry Micco: The Giants bullpen is top notch, but you have to get a lead to get to your bullpen in a significant way. If the Tigers' bats get hot, it's not going to matter. As I said earlier, I like the Tigers in 6.

The Chief: Pro Hoop starts next Tuesday. 10/30. Is the PG gong to do any articles on the NBA?

Jerry Micco: We'll probably do some stuff preseason, but not like we would the other sports, which are represented in our city. And we'll also have a daily roundup of games and news in the paper and on our Website.

WyattBurp: Hey, Jerry, thanks for giving the fans a forum. Have to go buy some popcorn, peanuts and beer. Should be an interesting series. You have a great day.

Jerry Micco: My pleasure. Enjoy the Series.

doyle37: My buddy says " Dick LeBeau's defense does not lose to rookie QBs...Steelers are the bet of the week -5.5 "

Jerry Micco: I think the Steelers win this one 34-21.

Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to get to some other stuff. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. I'll be chatting the Steelers-Redskins game live on Sunday, so feel free to join me then. Til next time, have a great week! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco sportsother


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