Bob Smizik: Ike Taylor is outta here!

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Nobody asked me, but . . .

• If you read the story in yesterday’s Post-Gazette by Ray Fittipaldo about the 2013 Steelers defensive backfield, you had to come away with one inescapable conclusion: The team has no choice by to cut cornerback Ike Taylor. It’s not so much that the Steelers will save $7 million against the salary cap with such a move, but also that Taylor, who will be 34 in May, was terrible. He allowed 71 receptions for 1,043 yards, the most in the NFL.

• The belief that payroll is all-important in determining the success of an MLB team is not correct. The belief that it is unimportant also is incorrect. What is pretty much indisputable is that high payroll gives a team a better chance at success.

• Please stop with the talk that Pittsburgh can, will or should host a Super Bowl. It’s not going to happen.

• The speculation that Kendrys Morales will soon be a Pirate makes no sense for three reasons: Signing him would cause the Pirates to lose their first-round draft choice; Morales is a better DH than he is a first baseman; his asking price figures to be too high. Any one of the three is a likely dealbreaker.

• If you haven’t seen the anti-NFL rant by Dallas TV personality Dale Hansen, you can see it here. Hansen was understandably furious that in a league where lawbreakers of all stripes are invariably welcomed back, a man’s draft stock might be lowered because of his sexual orientation. Good stuff!

• The immense excitement that regular-season college basketball games create, as we’ve seen here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, should completely nullify the notion held by some that expanding the college football playoffs from two to four teams will take something away from that regular season.

• Not good news for the Pirates: St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was hesitant to fully utilize defensive shifts last season because he believed some of his pitchers did not completely buy-in and the result would be a not very well-executed pitch. Matheny plans to push the shifts harder this spring and utilize them more in the regular season.

• Duquesne sophomore guard Micah Mason not only leads the nation in 3-point field-goal accuracy at an amazing 58.3 percent, the runnerup is a distant second at 49.2. All of which begs this question: Why isn’t Mason shooting more? Creighton’s Ethan Wragge (48.2 percent) averages a 3-point attempt every 3.8 minutes he’s on the floor. Mason shoots one every 6.1 minutes when he’s playing. It's not like the Dukes don't need more scoring.

• For what it’s worth, in a ranking of NFL coaches by Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld, Mike Tomlin was 16th.

• Money, not his family, would appear to be the primary factor in A.J. Burnett deciding to play for Philadelphia this year. And if he really wanted to play in Pittsburgh, he could have moved his family here for the six-month MLB season. As always, follow the money.

• Now that his grandfather has been dead for more than a quarter of a century, you think maybe the Steelers president could just be called by media and fans just Art Rooney, with the suffix II removed?

• The Dodgers signing of Paul Maholm for a deal that guarantees him only $1.5 million is one of the best bargains of free agency. Maholm can earn as much as $6.5 million with incentives.

• Of the 15 National League teams, maybe four go to spring training with no hope of making the playoffs -- Chicago, New York, Miami and Colorado.

• During Pitt’s recent six-game slide, leading scorer Lamar Patterson made only 29 percent of his shots (24-for-82). Patterson is a nice player but it’s time to remove him from ACC Player-of-the-Year discussion.

• If you don’t know the meaning of nepotism, he’s a two-word definition: Pat Knight.

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