Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 10.16.13

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Guest:

Jerry, in the Viking game chat you took me to task for criticizing Leveon Bell's somersault. Does Mike Tomlin know more than you do?

Jerry Micco:

About football? Probably. OK, I'll give him that one. I don't criticize those things because I think it's today's NFL and you see celebrations all the time. Note he did not ban it after Bell's tumble, only after Sanders'. Why? Because Bell's was just a summersault, which guys on the football field do all the time. Sanders' was a front flip, where he landed square on his back. That could have lead to an injury, but then again, I saw Byron Leftwich injure himself tripping over his own 2 feet on a TD last year, so there's that. You don't have to like the showboating, but I guess I see so much of it, I'm numb to it.

Sam:

Good Afternoon Jerry, assuming the Steelers are about 5-8 after the 13th game, will we see more of the younger players so the coaches can evaluate them more such as S Thomas, D Moye, and so forth?

Jerry Micco:

That rarely happens in the NFL. Those guys are evaluated in practice every day, so coaches know how they are progressing. You might see them if injuries crop up, but in the NFL, no games are given away unless you have a playoff spot sewed up. Just the nature of the beast.

Tship:

Hi Jerry and thanks for the chat. I understand every team has a runing back rotation but considering that Bell was drafted to be the workhorse seems like he should be getting more snaps and carries than his is. Am I of base with this?

Jerry Micco:

He may not be ready to handle 20-25 carries a game because he missed nearly all of the preseason with his foot injury. And he missed the first 3 games of the season, so he's still a work in progress and it seems the Steelers don't want to hand him such a heavy load early.

Guest:

In the Red Sox win on Sunday with the bases loaded and a 4 run lead should Jim Leyland have walked Big Papi?

Jerry Micco:

No, I wouldn't have done that. The only time I've seen that is people intentionally walking Barry Bonds with the bases loaded when he was hitting 73 HRs. I think you pitch to him there. Obviously you want to be more careful, but I'd not have walked him intentionally.

Sam:

Jerry, speaking of debt ceilings, when will the Steelers be free of dead cap space in order to sign an above average player or two?

Jerry Micco:

Going to be a while because you have Ben's huge contract as well as a couple of others. Polamalu is up after this year as is Ryan Clark. I think Ike Taylor has a year or two left on his deal. They may have one more year where they have to be careful on who the look at in free agency. Then the cap space could clear up some.

James_Pittsburgh:

Would you be in favor of a Pedro Alvarez clone in the Pirates lineup next year? How about the Pirates pursuing Chris Carter 29 home runs and 212 strikeouts to play right field?

Jerry Micco:

That's a lot of strikeouts to put into the lineup. Such non-productive outs. Love the power numbers he brings, but I'm not sure they could have two guys, perhaps batting back to back, who strike out that much. Interesting thought, though.

Zach Taylor:

What happened to Wesley Saunders the tight end for the steelers?They really liked a year ago and now hes gone.

Jerry Micco:

I believe he was suspended for four games and then was cut. I cannot recall the circumstances, however.

Guest:

Who gets a BCS Championship game nod an undefeated Clemson/FSU or Ohio state?

Jerry Micco:

Unless Ohio State vaults Clemson/FSU in the polls, the winner of that game, provided they win the ACC championship, should be in the BCS game likely vs. Alabama. But, don't underestimate the interest folks would have seeing Ohio State there.

Phil:

I wish everbody would stop throwing dirt on the Steelers season. This team is very young in some areas and has Hall of Famers at quarterback and safety, and I see a chance at 3 and 5 after New England with nobody being a juggernaut in the division. Yes, September was bad but let's turn the page and get behind one of the greatest franchises in professional sports. Stop being so spoiled.

Jerry Micco:

That's one way to look at it.

James_Pittsburgh:

You are the Pirates GM, what moves do you make this offseason?

Jerry Micco:

I see if I can get Alvarez to sign an early deal to get him past arbitration because that's where he's headed and it's going to be very costly for the Pirates. I'd look for another starting pitcher, maybe not the chance they took on Liriano, but I don't think you an have enough starters. I'd try to sign Marlon Byrd if for nothing else to hold RF for Gregory Polanco for a season. I'd also sign Clint Barmes as a backup SS if it could be worked out. First base is an issue. Sanchez is fine as a platoon guy, but I don't know if Andrew Lambo would be a good fit there or if you'd need to go find a lefty who can hit with some power.

Chunkles:

Jerry, the Steelers used to draft well. What happened? Sean Lee-vs-Jason Worlids, no brainer. A lot of draft experts said the Steelers should have taken Ed Lacy. The Steelers, whether it was a gut feeling or arrogance, took Bell. I know, its too early to tell but their drafts have really hurt them lately. Tomlins favorite line is "Next man Up" but there is no one there.

Jerry Micco:

They have not drafted well lately, and injuries have played a part in that, too. But let's take you 2 examples. I thought they should have taken Sean Lee, but they needed an outside linebacker and Lee wasn't going to be an OLB in the NFL. I thought if they took him, they'd have Harrison and Woodley for a few more years and that would work. But it hasn't. As for Lacy, a lot of teams passed on him because of injury reports. Le'Veon Bell was considered the 2nd best RB in the draft, and I think he'll be a very good pro player. Lacy's got a much better OL in Green Bay.

Guest:

Do you think Kevin Colbert got taken in the Levi Brown deal, was he already damaged goods like when I bought my first used car?

Jerry Micco:

I don't think so. He was playing some in Arizona and had no injury issues there, so it might have been bad luck what happened. And because of the injury, they'll give up next to nothing for him. And who knows, if he's healthy next season they may take a good look at him again. Unless they draft another tackle.

Zach Taylor:

If the Pens decide to keep Matta when Letang returns, who is the odd man out on defense?

Jerry Micco:

I'd think Engelland as far as numbers and Bortuzzo as a starter.

James_Pittsburgh:

Jerry, considering the work that Ray Searage has done with pitchers, do you think the Pirates might go after Josh Johnson? Johnson 2-8, 6.20ERA

Jerry Micco:

Sounds like a reclamation project, but you are right about Searage. He seems to find a guy's strengths and make them work. Remember too, Jeff Karstens is healthy and likely will get a look.

Guest:

How can the Red Sox be so much better this year, was Bobby Valentine just a lousy Manager?

Jerry Micco:

Sometimes teams don't play well when they should. And sometimes a change at the top is all that's needed. The Red Sox tanked last year, and probably felt good about it because they didn't like the boss. This year, they got their act together and look like they are headed to the Series. Sometimes it is a change at the top that makes all the difference.

James_Pittsburgh:

I think the previous poster forgot about Oregon. There is a goo chance that Oregon will be playing for the College Football National Championship. I think we will see an Oregon vs. Alabama championship.

Jerry Micco:

The Pac-12 is very good, though Stanford stumbled against Utah. Oregon and UCLA seem to be the last 2 unbeatens standing. And Oregon is very good. I'd not be surprised if the Ducks did manage to make the title game this year.

Jeep:

Chuckles, many of the rookies that we've drafted recently have had to have an immediate impact, unlike many past years. They are learning on the fly due in large part because of the injuries and losses in the offseason.

Jerry Micco:

True. And some rookies can make a big impact, but most can't. Sometimes, kind of like Cam Heyward, it takes a couple of years to figure things out. Not that Heyward is a world beater, but he at least now can compete. I thought Mike Adams did a serviceable job as a rookie at RT. But he's a disaster at LT. Problem is, the Steelers drafted 2 RTs (Gilbert) and that's on the scouting department. I think they thought that after they jettisoned Starks that Gilbert could play there. But they were wrong, and Adams was all they had left.

James_Pittsburgh:

Jerry, I prefer Marlon Byrd, but think that Chris Carter could be a reasonable option if Byrd asked for to much or another team gives him a three year contract.

Jerry Micco:

The only thing I wonder about Carter is as a RH hitter, are his numbers a bit inflated from playing in Houston? Right-hand hitters are usually not power hitters at PNC Park. That 383 in left-center seems to gobble up a lot of long fly balls. Byrd, because he hits for a higher average, might be more of a gap guy. But I don't dispute that the Pirates should be interested in Carter. Power is power, and they are in need of more.

Bill L:

Sometimes have to wonder about the Mannings. I don't know the details, but you're going to be honored before a game when you're still active, in a game that you're playing in? And yes, he's an all timer and won a Super Bowl, but that 9 and 11 post-season record is part of the story too.

Jerry Micco:

I'm guessing this will happen this weekend in Indianapolis? Sorry, haven't followed this story. I think Peyton Manning is a Hall of Fame QB and one of the greats. But like you, I remember him being beaten in big games, especially by Tom Brady, when it really counts.

James_Pittsburgh:

Josh Johnson lead the NL in ERA in 2010. He is also ground ball pitcher who would be an excellent fit in PNC Park. Not to mention, he has a lot more upside than Jeff Karstens.

Jerry Micco:

I don't think that an either/or situation. Johnson has not been good for 2 seasons now, but he has proven in the past to be a pretty good pitcher. They probably should look at a guy like him. But I'd not discount Karstens, who is going to come for less money and can fill a fifth starter role.

Jeep:

How does everyone assume that the Red Sox will head to the World Series?! They have to face Sanchez and Scherzer in games 5 and 6 and then Verlander again in game 7 and we all know how Verlander does in win or go home games...I see the Tigers winning this series in at least 6 games

Jerry Micco:

They'll have to get on the move then. The Red Sox have regained home field with last night's win.

Chunkles:

Jerry, do you know when Pirate fest is this year?

Jerry Micco:

I do not have exact dates, but it has been before Christmas the past two years.

Phil:

Jerry, I don't think TBS was ripped enough for their coverage the last couple of weeks. My biggest complaint was our spectacular crowd was somehow muffled. It sounded like Stockton and whoever were doing the game from the hotel.

Jerry Micco:

Since I was at all the home games, I didn't watch them on TBS. But I've heard complaints from people on your exact topic. I don't know if that's a technical thing or not.

Chunkles:

Jeep, I understand to a point, look at Vince Williams, he might be a keeper. But, Google the Steelers past five year drafts and you would be surprised of how many players never stuck or didnt make the impact they were drafted to make.

Jerry Micco:

The killers are the 2008 and 2009 drafts, where you only have 2 players left on the team from those drafts: Ziggy Hood and TE David Johnson. None from the 2008 class. Not that they all washed out, some left as free agents because of the Steelers cap issues, but when 2 drafts can't net you starters 4 and 5 years later, you are going to be in a world of hurt. Add to that, 2012's class was at best average. Tough to find depth when that happens.

Rich:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a PBS Frontline peice on NFL concussions last week got very little notice. It featured Pittsburgh prominently relating to the Mike Webster story. Did you see it?

Jerry Micco:

I did not. Our Ray Fittipaldo did a story published on Oct. 6 about the retired players and concussions speaking with a Pittsburgh attorney who represents hundreds of those players. And we've written quite a bit on the Webster case and family. But I understand the Frontline story was well done, though didn't break a lot of new ground.

James_Pittsburgh:

Considering Francisco Liriano's track record, should Neil Huntington consider shopping him for a bat? He may not repeat 2013.

Jerry Micco:

Only if he can secure another starter to take his place and replace his 16 games. I'm a bit worried about him repeating this success, too, but he seemed to do well in the playoffs and looks like he's good to go for one more season. We'll see.

James_Pittsburgh:

Chris Carter hit 16 home runs in 218 at bats in Oakland in 2012. So I think he would be alright in PNC Park. Carter is not the perfect solution, but we both know that the Pirates don't sign .280 hitters with 20 home runs that are in their prime.

Jerry Micco:

No, they don't. And whoever they sign in RF is just a place-holder for Polanco. Again, my concern is his big strikeout numbers. Pirates already strike out too much. Adding 200 more to the lineup isn''t going to help.

Jeep:

Chuckles, I'm looking at the top 5 draft picks the Steelers drafted since 2010 and most seem to be in starting roles with the team now, I'd say that's pretty solid drafting of talent.

Jerry Micco:

And many of those guys do start, or play quite a bit. But few would be considered top players. Arguably their best player from those drafts, Antonio Brown, was a sixth-round pick. I think there are solid guys in those drafts, but you need a couple of them to start making a mark soon.

ross:

Jerry could Adams problems be that he has not fully recovered from his stabbing wound. He looked tough last year.

Jerry Micco:

I don't think that's it. I just think as a RT he's a pretty good player who would only get better. As a LT, he's too slow to set up for the speed of the NFL. Worked fine at Ohio State, but in this league, you'd better have quick feet and get set if you want to play tackle. I'd not be surprised to see Adams at RT and the Steelers let Gilbert go down the road. I think if they get a top 8 pick this year in the draft they'll look at a LT if one is available.

James_Pittsburgh:

Jerry, if the Pirates can resign A.J. Burnett, they can trade Liriano and not need another starter. Burnett, Wandy Rodrigez, Cole, Charlie Morton, Locke/ Josh Johnson/ Jeff Karstens (eventually Tallion).

Jerry Micco:

True, but signing Burnett may not be in the cards. He's hinted at retirement and he may want too much money to stay here. I think the Pirates will shop some of their pitching (not Cole) in the offseason to see if there is a bat worth getting. I think their problem is on offense, not pitching.

James_Pittsburgh:

Jerry, if the Pirates can resign Byrd, would that change your mind? There are really no major free agent upgrades at first(James Loney, but he doesn't have much power). Unless he Pirates find a way to land Mark Trumbo, by trading pitching, I don't know that much can be done.

Jerry Micco:

I'm not opposed to them offering pitching for power hitting. But I'm firmly in the re-sign Byrd camp because he can fill RF for a season, or a half season. I know first base is an issue because as you correctly state, there's not much out there unless you can make a deal. It could be a very interesting offseason for the Pirates.

Ken:

I saw the Frontline peice. There was new stuff about a doctor in the county coroner's office who examined Webster's brain and then was ostracized by the NFL. But overall it was a show for someone in New York who didn't know the Webster story.

Jerry Micco:

I read the NY Times piece on it and their take was the show was very good, but not a lot of new ground was broken. Certainly a huge issue, though, and give credit to Frontline for doing the documentary. They do great work over there.

James_Pittsburgh:

Jerry, I think there is a good chance that Clint Barmes returns unless Neil Huntington overrules Clint Hurdle. I think the Pirate can resign Barmes to $2.5 million and I doubt any team is going to offer him much more.

Jerry Micco:

I'd think not. And I'd like to keep him around for defense and a start or 2 a week. At that price, that's a bargain.

Jeep:

How do we get Tony Sanchez to throw out runner like Russell Martin? I think having Martin start in front of him obviously helps, but should the Pirates consider bringing in Manny Sanguillen this off season like they did with Mazz in previous offseasons to help devolop some of the young talent? We saw how much of an asset it is to have an arm behind the plate.

Jerry Micco:

I'm sure Sanguillen works with all the catchers during spring training, so he's involved. I think Sanchez will have 2014 as a back up for Martin, then it'll be his job in 2015. His defense doesn't concern me, but his hitting does. Saw that come around a little last season, but he's got 2014 to work on it. And I don't know if many catchers have Martin's arm.

Nate:

Crosby scoring champ this eason?

Jerry Micco:

If he's healthy, that's very likely.

Jerry Micco:

OK folks, need to run off to a meeting. Thanks for taking the time to join me and all the great questions. I always enjoy the hour. Program note: I will not do a chat next week as I'm out of the office. I will return on Oct. 30. I will do my Steelers chats on Sundays, though. See you next time!

Steelers - mobilehome

First Published October 16, 2013 11:00 AM


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