Tom T: Colbert's draft picks may not all be with the Steelers but he still has an above average players in the league. I see his problem more as unable to attract talent (even for depth) from other teams. For being a class organization, why can't the Steelers attract any outside free agents or even a O-line coach?
Jerry Micco: They do attract outside talent (James Farrior, Jeff Hartings, Ryan Clark), but the issue is they have not sought much big-time free agent talent in the past few years, preferring to grow with the draft and rely on guys who are in-house. That's a philosophical issue more than anything else.
The Chief: Jerry, hope you has a good week. I thought we might see a very good match between the Pens and Caps tonight, but The Pens have set the tone by bringing up PL3, their resident Heavyweight from the Baby Pens.
Jerry Micco: I think this fellow, who probably has caused more of a stir with his name more than anything else, is there for security more than anything else. That won't be the tone for this game. The Penguins need the 2 points and don't want to turn things into a goon fest.
The Chief: Jerry, it appears like the Pirates are going to wait until all their players arbitration hearings are complete before making any further roster moves. your thoughts. Jerry Micco: The Pirates have only gone to arbitration with one player over the last year and that was Garrett Jones and he lost. I think they'll try to settle these cases long before they get to arbitration. They can work to the very end to do that, too.
Tom T: Free Safety, ILB, Corner, WR, TE...any position you think the Steelers should go after in free agency? Even an average player from FA could help us remove a need for rounds 1 and 2.
Jerry Micco: If I read Ed Bouchette's interview with Art Rooney II correctly, they are going to be minor players in free agency again this season. So it depends on who is out there, but it sounds like they would be looking at depth guys. Maybe an inside backer or a safety type.
Guest: Why is Pitt ranked so low this season, is it there non conference schedule?
Jerry Micco: That could be it, but before the Georgia Tech game, Pitt's RPI was No. 16. That's with its non-conference schedule. I think the pollsters saw the Cincinnati loss, the non-conference schedule and lack of a signature win and kept Pitt out of the Top 25. But their body of work has been good enough through 16 games to eventually deserve a ranking. And now it's off to No. 2 Syracuse.
JamesinNYC: Crazy ealy prediction for PSU next year in football?
Jerry Micco: Oh, way too early. I think most PSU fans are happy with the hire of James Franklin, but the Nittany Lions are lacking depth in a lot of places and the scholarship limits will start to hurt the next couple of years. I think there could be a couple of 7-5 or 6-6 type years ahead. But way to early to tell.
Gus: Why would James Franklin leave the SEC for the Penn State job?
Jerry Micco: Seems it's a job he's always wanted and at some point, it's going to be a much better job than Vandy. It probably already is a better job than Vandy. It isn't like he left Alabama or LSU for Penn State, either. A lot of people think Penn State is a sleeping giant once it emerges from the sanctions. We'll see. But the fanbase and money will be there. It just depends on if the program can regain the prominence it once had. Long road back.
Guest: Being objective Jerome Bettis at first blush does not appear to me to be a HOF'er. He was very effective, but not great.
Jerry Micco: If you compare him to guys like Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, maybe not. But you have guys in the Hall with similar numbers to him so why does Bettis not rate getting in? That's the problem. There was once a time when you had to be truly great, such a cut above the rest, to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I think though in recent years it has been somewhat diluted. So when you start that type of thing, you ask why a guy who is 5th overall in NFL rushing history isn't in, it's a head-scratcher.
Dormont Dave: Who is Roger Goodell rooting for this week in the Brady/Manning matchup?
Jerry Micco: Big TV numbers. And big sponsorship.
The Chief: Of the new NFL coaching class of 2014: L.Smith, Gruden, Whiz, Caldwell, O'Brien. Who do you think will have the most success?
Jerry Micco: O'Brien because Houston can't get worse than 2-14. I think of that entire bunch though, Lovie Smith is the best coach. I'd watch Tampa Bay very closely next season.
JamesinNYC: Does it sound like Franklin would only leave PSU for the Steelers or Eagles to go to the NFL?
Jerry Micco: In a few years? Maybe. But I don't know. It sounds like he really loves coaching the college game. We'll see how he does at Penn State first.
Phil: Everything about the Browns is depressing these days. Yes part of me says "haha", but this is ridiculous.
Jerry Micco: They will be the last club to hire a head coach with Minnesota hiring their guy today, at least according to reports. I don't even know who is interested in that job anymore. I think a couple of guys pulled out of the running. It's a great football town, but I think guys fear the front office people so much that they'd rather turn down what should be an NFL plum job than take the chance on working for that bunch.
Tom T: Is that philosophical issue to build from the draft really a different way of saying they bought into the media hype? They have the ego to only draft players, but not the wallet to sign them..ala K. Lewis and Wallace. That philosophy has taken them from the top to middle of the pack in a hurry, right?
Jerry Micco: I think in today's NFL, you look at all avenues -- including trades -- to make your team better. Things can swing wildly in one year to make teams contenders. I believe you should build your foundation through the draft. I also believe you should scour the FA market for more than depth. I think if you have a guy out there that fills a need, especially when you have a lot of needs, you should fill it if it fits your cap. What you cannot be in today's NFL is consistently mediocre.
Penman: Hi Jerry, Who are you picking to win the AFC and NFC championship games on Sunday?
Jerry Micco: Broncos-49ers, though my preseason picks were Broncos-Seahawks. I think the 49ers are playing so well and are peaking at the right time.
Bill L: It was there for the taking. It would have cemented Bettis's legacy as an all timer. The Super Bowl awaited against Favre and the Packers. But what's this, Cowher is putting the ball in Kordell's hands! Steelers lose and Broncos advance. Do you remember 1997? It's Cowher's and Chan Gailey's fault that Bettis is having trouble with Canton.
Jerry Micco: I was not here in 1997, but I remember the game. It might have helped if Bettis had been to more than one Super Bowl. Championships certainly don't hurt your chances with Hall voters.
Walt: Like Chuck Noll, Belicheck never gets considered as Coach of the year, how can you deny what he has done this year. Watching a genius at work.
Jerry Micco: I wonder how much people hold against him, and I believe rightfully so, for the cheating scandal? I think that will always be a mark against Belicheck, even though I believe he has been one of the best coaches in the modern NFL. He consistently wins no matter the situation. And of course, having the best QB in the NFL for the last 15 years doesn't hurt, either.
The Chief: Do you Fred Shero pulling the trigger on a deal for a top 6 forward before of after the Sochi games ?
Jerry Micco: I think that will happen, but likely after the Sochi Games.
The Chief: Next member of Mike Tomlin's staff to be considered for a NFL Head Coaching position?
Jerry Micco: Hard to say right now. I don't think Haley will get another shot unless he stays here for a few more seasons and really cranks this offense up and shows he and Ben are working hand in hand. Maybe Keith Butler down the road, but he's got to go somewhere, or wait out Dick LeBeau and become a coordinator first.
404 no more: Jerry, Ron Cook called Bill O'brien despicable for leaving Penn State, but had high praise for Franklin and he did the same thing. Don't you exercise any editorial control? Or does this fall in line with the speak no evil policy you have when it comes to PSU?
Jerry Micco: Well, I don't exercise a censorship of opinion for our columnists, but of course, that's not what you're asking me about, is it? Or is this in line with certain fan bases that love asking me this question? Anyhow, I think the fact that O'Brien interviewed with the NFL after both season as PSU's coach said loads about where his heart was. And as I recall, Franklin never called players and said he was staying. O'Brien did. Franklin didn't have his deal redone after he was courted by the NFL. O'Brien did. I liked Bill O'Brien. Thought he did a fine job. But Ron's opinion of him, I thought, wasn't all that inappropriate. Just the nature of the coaching game today. And Franklin's not pristine, either.
Phil: Jerry, I've concluded that we have to root for the harmless Seahawks. I think the 12th man is annoying, and of course they always whine about 2005. But this is the far lesser of the other evils. I forgot about the scenario of Elway hoisting the trophy, smiling and fist pumping...yuck.
Jerry Micco: Seattle has put together quite a team. But I'd rather see Denver in the Super Bowl. Never thought about it, but annoying is probably a good word to use. Though their team is rugged. Quality defense there, and Russell Wilson is a gutsy QB.
Tom T: Follow up...Is it a philosophical issue or an ego problem? Seems to be the Steelers bought into the media talking about how they build through the draft when it wasn't really true (i.e. Farrior, Clark, Hastings etc). Can we afford to not use FA when we lose our draft picks to other teams (Wallace, K. Lewis)?
Jerry Micco: I think it's philosophical. And maybe now, because it's a veteran team that has veteran contracts on the books, it's a bit of a cap-strapped team.
Southside Stash: Next Pittsburgh Coach/Manager to get fired. Blysma/Tomlin/Dixon or Hurdle?
Jerry Micco: None of the above. At least not for a while.
Tom: Jerry, lost in the recent Dennis Rodman absurdity is the fact that other ignorant, selfish millionaires joined him and were used as puppets while singing Happy Birthday to a very evil man. One of whom was Chares Smith. I guess duty, honor and country are foreign concepts to these losers. Absolutely repulsive and uncalled for.
Jerry Micco: I think Charles Smith said afterward he regretted doing the entire mess. I think a lot of those guys did. Rodman's got a load of issues, and while I respect free speech and defend his right to it, you have to question his relationship a dictator who a known tyrant.
404 no more: Jerry, PSU paid over 4 million per year for their coach, who may or may not be involved in a scandal cover up similar to what got PSU in trouble in the first place. Doesn't sound like the culture is changing much, what say you?
Jerry Micco: I know one thing: I'd never want you on my jury if I was on trial. As far as the "culture," that is prevalent on every campus in the country. Big money and collegiate sports are hand in hand. And if you don't think that happens all over, then you need to pull your head out of the sand. As for a cover up, aren't there still trials that have to be held to decide this? Seems like a never-ending thing.
Dude_From_Cali: Jerry: when do we know how many and what round of COMP PICKS for departed Wallace, K Lewis and Mendenhall?
Jerry Micco: Not yet. I think that comes in March.
Guest: How come you never get called a Robert Morris or Duquesne apologist?
Jerry Micco: I don't know, though I do say many nice things about both programs because I think there are many good things to say about both programs. Andy Toole is a great young coach. RMU women's hockey is terrific. It would be really nice to see Duquesne's men's basketball get back on the map, though. I grew up a huge Dukes fan.
Teton_Steeler: Jerry, thanks for the chat. Curious... how is it that Tony Dungy has leapfrogged Jimmy Johnson and Bill Cowher for HOF rights?
Jerry Micco: Ed Bouchette, who is a HOF voter, can answer that better than me. Must be a veterans' committee thing. I really don't know.
Doug Froebel: Will Polanco make the 25 man roster out of Spring Training? Any surprises, Josh Bell, Jameson Tallion?
Jerry Micco: Polanco is on the bubble, but I expect him to start in Indy. I don't see any of the other guys you mentioned making the 25-man roster out of spring.
The Chief: Jerry, with Franklin now in control at PSU any chance we will se PITT - Penn State resume their rivalry?
Jerry Micco: They start a 4-year series in 2016 for football. I think that's a good thing for fans of both schools, but for many younger PSU fans, it's not a rivalry game. For us old-timers, it was THE game of the year. Both schools were very good when I was around in the mid- to late-70s. Pitt was national champs during that time. PSU almost was in 79. They were Eastern independents and were both terrific. But when they stopped playing, the rivalry was lost on younger fans. I'd like to see it returned, but we'll see if that happens on a yearly basis.
Ken: The Fan Morning Show played a clip of a Bradshaw interview where he's dengrating himself and his numbers. I wish we could get past this comparison of the NFL across eras. No one ever had an arm like Bradshw's. His incredible 70 yard pass to Swann in SB X is the most underrated play in NFL history. He was the second best quarterback in the 70s. The game's changed. Passing is refined now. Enough of the stupid criticsms of past numbers that have no relevance to today.
Jerry Micco: But numbers are where you have to look so you can do some comparison, so I can see where Bradshaw's coming from. That said, there are few people who would argue that Terry Bradshaw isn't a Hall of Fame player. An outstanding QB and leader of the best team of the 1970s. A dominant team that won 4 Super Bowls.
Guest: Speaking of Duquesne...bring back Everhart!
Jerry Micco: I think you have to give Jim Ferry more time. They'l recruit some good kids to go there, but the cupboard was pretty bare when he got there. Everhart did a good job and got the Dukes into the NIT. But Ferry had to start over again, so he deserves that chance.
Guest: Any chance the SB will be moved to another day if there is a blizzard?
Jerry Micco: I have not heard that from anyone. I can't imagine it would become a Monday night game, though.
Phil: I'm one who thinks Canton has become kind of a problem. Claude Humphrey who I remember as a very good, not great defensive end is up for enshrinement--again, after being rejected by the vets committee a few years ago. What's that about? I can name ten players off the top of my head who are more worthy.
Jerry Micco: Well, that's the other thing about the NFL HOF. They have to induct a certain amount of players, I believe. Unlike baseball, who can have zero players put in, as they did last year. I'm wondering if at some point the halls of fame take a long look at how people are nominated? I still think the writers do a very good job for both entities, but with veterans' committees and things like that, you may be seeing some dilution of the product. Guest: Ferry lost TJ to Arizona, the cupboard wasnt that bare.
Jerry Micco: That's a good point. But the fact that he couldn't keep him, showed that when he lost his only good player, that he was in real trouble. And you see the result. Though I think this season, the Dukes have improved greatly, the LaSalle game not withstanding.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, need to get back to some other things. Thanks so much for doing the chat with me today. I appreciate you taking the time to be here and for all the good questions. Quick programming note: I will not be here next week, so the next chat will be on Jan. 29. Til then, have a great couple weeks and enjoy the weekend's football games. See you soon! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco