Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 04.16.14

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12:02
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
Who do the Steelers take with their first pick?
12:03
 
Jerry Micco: 
That's a tough question right now, because I'm thinking more position than person. If one of the top corners is there, that's going to be the pick. I'd think WR is the second choice. My guess is if Darquese Dennard is there, he's the pick. If not, you may see a WR selected or another CB like a Reggie Roby or the Fuller kid from Va. Tech because the WR depth is excellent. But it's going to be from one of those two groups. At least that's my guess this week.
12:03
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
Penguins in four, your thoughts. I see the Penguins losing to the Bruins again in the Eastern Conference finals.
12:05
 
Jerry Micco: 
I like the Penguins in 5 and if they get the Rangers in round 2, I like the Penguins in 6. I don't think they are better then the Bruins, however. But we'll see. There's a long way to go before the conference finals, and a lot can happen in between. Injuries, guys get hot all of a sudden, or guys cool off. First things first: The Pens have to get by Columbus.
12:05
 
Comment From Gus 
It seems in his career so far McCutcheon can't hit in the clutch, proven again last night. Is this an unfair statement?
12:06
 
Jerry Micco: 
I think that's a bit unfair because he's hit in clutch situations. What you can say, and I think it's fair, is that he's a very streaky hitter. Not as consistent as you'd like.
12:06
 
Comment From The Chief 
Hi Jerry hope all is well, its been awhile. I think regardless what the Penguins have achieved this year in the face of losing over 500 man games is remarkable. Your thoughts on their season?
12:08
 
Jerry Micco: 
All is good Chief. I feel great and this is my most fun hour of the week, taking questions and talking sports with you guys. I think it has been a very good season for the Penguins despite the injuries. Part of that has been a very weak division and the East itself has been down. Part has been they have some good depth and their stars, when they have been healthy, have played very well. But this is the time of year when they have to play a level above that and that starts tonight.
12:09
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
The Pirates are 7-7. What do you see as their biggest weakness?
12:10
 
Jerry Micco: 
Right now I think it's the starting pitching. It's not getting into the 7th inning and it's getting rocked by long balls in some cases. Their most effective pitcher, really, has been Volquez. I thought they'd hit better than last year, and by and large they have, despite McCutchen not killing it yet and Alvarez not hitting for average. Marte needs to get untracked, too. But until the starters become more consistent and dominant, they are going to be around .500.
12:10
 
Comment From Nate 
Jerry, 1st off, congrats to you and Ray as i think you 2 are the only ones that stick to your chat time. Is Malkin back tonight and if so, is he 100%?
12:13
 
Jerry Micco: 
I can only speak for me, and it's easy for me because I work out of the office and rarely am I pulled away by stories, etc. The reporters often are. We all do try to stick to our times, or announce changes. That said, I believe Malkin will be back tonight, He skated with his normal line mates and worked the first power play at the morning skate.
12:13
 
Comment From Guest 
Jerry, if I'm the Texans I try to trade down a few slots if somebody wants Manziel, and I draft Sammy Watkins, the only sure Pro Bowler on the board. You can't have enough playmakers in the NFL.
12:15
 
Jerry Micco: 
Not if you're the Texans and you want Jadeveon Clowney because he could be very special as a pass rusher. I agree Sammy Watkins is going to be a Pro Bowl WR, but it often takes a year for WRs to figure things out at the NFL level. I think if Clowney gets with the right coach and the right system (3-4) he can be very special.
12:15
 
Comment From Zio Guido 
Gerry, is this years May NFL draft a one off, or is this going to be the time frame going forward?
12:17
 
Jerry Micco: 
I've heard it was originally moved because Radio City Music Hall wasn't available, but I've also heard the NFL likes this time frame because it gives teams time to strategize more for the draft and free agency, so it may not be a once-off. I think it's way too long in between the peak of free agency and the draft. I say bring it back to late April.
12:18
 
Comment From jd 
Jerry, Do you see any upsets in the first round of NHL playoffs
12:19
 
Jerry Micco: 
Maybe some what I'd call milder upsets. I think Chicago can knock off St. Louis. I also think Montreal can beat Tampa Bay. And I'd not be surprised if the Flyers took care of the Rangers, but New York has had Philly's number this year. The Penguins got a real break because they play the winner of that series in the next round and it likely will be the Blue Shirts.
12:19
 
Comment From Chunkles 
Jerry, does Eddy O get another shot in the NHL as a head coach? He seems like such a good guy who is chalk full of hockey knowledge.
12:21
 
Jerry Micco: 
Not if you base it solely on his stint as Penguins coach he's not get another look. He seems to be a good guy and he's very knowledgeable. No question on those attributes. But there's a lot more than that required to be successful behind an NHL bench. I'd like to see him get a shot, but a lot of teams have passed him by over the years.
12:21
 
Comment From Guest 
I have doubts Jamie Dixon will adjust his style to attract top recruits to his program. How do you see it?
12:22
 
Jerry Micco: 
I think Jamie Dixon has a style and a way he does things and he can point to many years of NCAA tournaments to back up how he does things. Does he want to get further and get better? Of course he does. He wants to win championships. And you need players to do that. So let's see how this new batch of recruits he's got coming in for 2014-15 does with the returnees comes together. I think Pitt can be pretty strong next season.
12:23
 
Comment From Guest 
Nowadays youre lucky to have an assistant coach last the whole life of their contract. Why have lebeau Butler and mitchell all hung around here for over a decade? They are certainly qualified enought to be head coaches elsewhere.
12:24
 
Jerry Micco: 
Well, LeBeau was head coach in Cincy, but not a very good one. Maybe he's happy being on a winner as a defensive coordinator. Butler has always been discussed as the heir apparent at DC here, so he may be waiting his chance. And Mitchell has been around a long time and may be comfortable here. The Steelers are a terrific football organization to work for according to the people who have stayed around a long time. I don't know if they are or not, I just hear that from their long-time employees.
12:24
 
Comment From Zio Guido 
What can we expect different form the Pens this playoff? Do they have the players and the grit to go against the Flyers and Bruins?
12:27
 
Jerry Micco: 
They have shown in the regular season that those two teams give them much trouble. They certainly have the talent, but the intangibles seem to be lacking. Physically, they are not a match for either team. Doesn't mean they can't play with them, but it means if they have to bang all game, they are going to get worn down. Dan Bylsma has a system that if the Pens can play it against any team, they have a good chance to win. Possess the puck in the offensive zone and play solid in the defensive end. Sounds simple, but it's not always executed very well.
12:27
 
Comment From Guest 
Is there any chance the Pirates pick up a first baseman this year?
12:30
 
Jerry Micco: 
Well, they certainly could pick up a first baseman should the right one become available. The combination of Sanchez and Ishikawa is hitting .250 at the moment with 3 HRs and 7 RBI. Not exactly lights out, but if you extrapolate that over the course of the season, it's 33 HRs and 77 RBI. You'd take that, right?
12:30
 
Comment From Blaze 
Not that this has anything to do with the Steelers but what team do you think will come out of nowhere like the 2011 49ers 2012 Seahawks or 2013 Panthers and establish themselves as one of the elite teams in the NFL?
12:32
 
Jerry Micco: 
Tough question. Really tough. You could say the Ravens or Steelers because they were both 8-8, but people expect them to be winners. You also forgot the Chiefs last season, who no one saw coming from nowhere, as well as Arizona. Maybe Tampa Bay under Lovie Smith, who I think is underrated as a head coach.
12:33
 
Comment From Rick Trocano 
On what planet is Tom Savage now possibly a 2nd round guy?
12:35
 
Jerry Micco: 
A few talent evaluators love the guy as a very high 2nd round pick. I think it was ESPN's Todd McShay has him atop Round 2 to the Texans. Ray Fittipaldo and I are in agreement that is way too high for him. I see him as a 3rd or 4th round pick. But I don't get paid to evaluate talent. He has a big arm. He's very strong. But he's immobile and his college stats aren't that great. But I wish him well. He's a Pitt guy and we know his teammate Aaron Donald is a first-round guy.
12:35
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
If Neil Walker continues to post an .892 OPS, hits 25 home runs, can the Pirates afford him? He will get $10 million in arbitration this off-season.
12:37
 
Jerry Micco: 
He's never been the guy the Pirates wanted to extend for a number of reasons. Maybe now he gives them a reason to do that. I've always felt they needed to extend him because he gives them some punch, when he's healthy, at a position that doesn't always provide power. Yes, they'll have to pay him handsomely in arbitration because he will not take a hometown discount, and I wouldn't blame him.
12:37
 
Comment From Guest 
Wandy Rodriguez, will he be in the rotaion by year end? He stinks.
12:38
 
Jerry Micco: 
Right now, Rodriguez is not pitching very well. But in stretches, he's very good. Some of that, I think, is rust. Some of it is he's making bad pitches in bad counts. It' bears watching, because the Pirates need him to be a guy who can eat some innings and win some games. He's doing neither now.
12:39
 
Comment From Stosh from Pitcairn 
Now that the Winter Olympics are a few months behind us, what happened to all of the uproar with the speedskating uniforms? Were the uniforms indeed the reason the US skaters faltered, or were the skaters simply hacks who skated like Rod Buskas?
12:39
 
Jerry Micco: 
I think the uniforms might have been a part of it, but the speedskating team itself underperformed in the Olympics, period.
12:40
 
Comment From Chunkles 
Jerry, after the draft and before training camp starts, why not do a series in the PG on the Steelers from the 80's and 90's, "Where are they Now?"
12:40
 
Jerry Micco: 
We can take a look at doing that, thanks for the suggestion.
12:40
 
Comment From Sports Joey 
Jerry, how big a loss is Slice Rohrssen for the Pitt Hoops programs? Do their recent blue chip commits go by the wayside now?
12:43
 
Jerry Micco: 
If that happens. We don't have confirmation of that yet. I know other outlets are reporting it's a done deal, but we can't confirm. That said, if Rohrsson leaves, it will leave a hole in Dixon's staff and won't help recruiting. Dixon and his other assistants will have to work hard to keep their best recruits.
12:43
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
Will the Pirates be looking for a shortstop in the off-season?
12:45
 
Jerry Micco: 
Not many out there, but unless Jordy Mercer picks it up in a hurry, they'll be looking around I'd think. But let's give that a bit of time. We're only a couple weeks into the season. Mercer needs some time, but can't wait until June to get the bat in gear. There isn't a lot behind him in the minors, either.
12:45
 
Comment From The Chief 
Jerry, where is the sign AJ Burnette fan club now that he has a hernia?
12:45
 
Jerry Micco: 
Sounds like he needs the support more than ever.
12:45
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
Despite the Pirates strong minor league system they lack a true shortstop prospect. I hope the Pirates can find a young shortstop via trade.
12:46
 
Jerry Micco: 
That's what it may take, or they may have to look to a college player in the draft.
12:46
 
Comment From James_Pittsburgh 
Jerry, honestly, I see this year's Pirates team as an around .500 team. I predicted 83-79 before the season. The team has many issues. Marte will have a difficult time continuing to get on base due to striking out so often. They don't have a left handed hitting first baseman and Jordy Mercer may not be the answer at short. However, I would give Mercer all the playing time in 2014 to see what he can do.
12:48
 
Jerry Micco: 
I had them in the high 80s in wins, and I'm more concerned about Marte than Mercer only because Marte is more important to the offense. If they are going to hit him lead-off, they need to get him back to taking more pitches and being a bit more selective. He did that for a few games at the beginning of the season, but has gotten back into some bad habits lately.
12:48
 
Comment From Shooter McGavin 
Your thoughts on Augusta now being a haven for left handers since they have Tiger proofed the course. Are these green jackets now diminished won by Lefty and Bubba?
12:50
 
Jerry Micco: 
I don't think so. Mickelson and Watson are both excellent shot makers who when they are on, can putt the ball well, too. You have to make your putts at the Masters to win because the greens at Augusta are usually very tough.
12:50
 
Comment From The Chief 
Jerry, I disagree with your thoughts on starting pitching. Its spring, it cold and the pitchers are usually slow coming out of the gate. I think the number one problem with the Pirates is Shortstop. Your thoughts.
12:52
 
Jerry Micco: 
One position can't undermine an entire team. I think the starters, and you may have a point about it being cold and early, are much more critical than shortstop. Mercer, and Barmes when he plays, have been fine defensively. Neither has excited with the bat, but that's kind of what the Pirates expected. They did not expect the starters to be mediocre, except for Volquez, and barely give them six innings per start. Liriano is having trouble already today, too.
12:52
 
Comment From Guest 
Are you hearing any rumblings of trading an outfielder to the Mets for Ike Davis as theys eem to need help there. Also could include a reliever for their pen?
12:53
 
Jerry Micco: 
Not hearing that yet, though we've been hearing Ike Davis to the Pirates all offseason. I don't think Ike Davis is the answer to all their problems at first, either. And as I said above, extrapolate the two guys who are at first right now, and you get 33 HRs and 77 RBI over the course of a season.
12:53
 
Comment From Guest 
What does Adam Podlesh bring to this team?
12:54
 
Jerry Micco: 
Another punter to look at in training camp.
12:54
 
Comment From The Chief 
Jerry, your thoughts on Donald Trump as an NFL owner.
12:56
 
Jerry Micco: 
Just so it's not the Steelers, I don't care.
12:56
 
Comment From Stosh from Pitcairn 
With the Wells report being released and all the attention workplace bullying has gotten, have you had to step in and reign in any of the Sports Department? Is it true that Dulac hazed Fittipaldo and forced him to be his caddy?
12:57
 
Jerry Micco: 
Well let's see, Gerry was on the golf team at Penn State. Ray was a starting offensive lineman at Holy Cross. I'm thinking that Gerry was smart enough to ask Ray to be his playing partner rather than his caddy. But I don't think Ray is a golfer. I am, however, one of the worst you'd ever see. When I play a round of golf with anyone it is considered bullying.
12:58
 
Comment From Guest 
Just a shoutout to all of you in Pittsburgh I'm a big fan from Canada and love my trips down there. Beautiful city, great people and awesome venues. You're lucky to have all three in one place.
1:00
 
Jerry Micco: 
Thanks so much. We who live here would agree with you wholeheartedly and hope you will visit our city over and over again. Side note: As a kid, my family used to vacation in a little town in Quebec called Kipawa every summer. Been there 8 times. Loved it every time. Boating, fishing, stayed in a cabin. No running water, electricity, etc. But great people and fun times. Some of the best times of my life. Great people, great country.
1:00
 
Comment From Ivan Drago 
If there seems to be a player to a team in this draft it's Justin Gilbert to the Steelers at 15. Is the name already written on the card, and if CB's are a premium in the NFL how does he last that long?
1:01
 
Jerry Micco: 
I don't think he does. I think someone like Detroit might grab him. I think he's gone before 15.
1:01
 
Comment From JamesinNYC 
Who do you like better Dennard or Gilbert? Tape says Dennard but clock says Gilbert...I hope for either?
1:02
 
Jerry Micco: 
I like Dennard because he's a better tackler and more physical. Gilbert may be a better cover corner and he can return kicks. In LeBeau's defense, tackling is a premium. I just think Dennard fits the Steelers better. But he, too, could be gone by the time the Steelers pick.
1:02
 
Comment From The Chief 
Jerry, in hindsight, did the ACC make a mistake inviting Pitt instead of UConn to join their conference?
1:03
 
Jerry Micco: 
No, not at all. Pitt is a strong member and will be a strong member for years. Football is king and Pitt football will be just fine under Chryst. And basketball, while not in UConn's atmosphere, will continue to be competitive in the ACC. Other sports will grow as well.
1:03
 
Comment From Mel Jr 
Jerry my latest mock draft has the Steelers taking Odell Beckham Jr from LSU.
1:04
 
Jerry Micco: 
I think that is a distinct possibility if both Gilbert and Dennard are gone. But WRs are so deep, they may go another direction, like the TE Ebron if he's there.
1:06
 
Jerry Micco: 
OK folks, time for me to get back to some other stuff. I must apologize for leaving so many questions, but I got to as many as I could. I appreciate all of you taking the time to chat with me today. I'll be back at noon next Wednesday and we'll do it all over again. Until then, have a terrific week! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco

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