Where do you think the issues surrounding the Steelers lay?
With the players (15%)
With the coaching staff (15%)
With the front office (5%)
Each one shares equally (65%)
Steeler Dan: Is this a personnel issue or is this a coaching issue regarding the Steelers? How long will Haley last?
Jerry Micco: To me, there is shared credit in victory and shared accountability in defeat. So all of the parts of the team deserve to have this placed upon them. I think Mike Tomlin made it clear yesterday that the offense has to get better. I'd say that's directed at Todd Haley as well as the players. Some folks think Haley won't last the season. He won't get fired in mid-season. The Steelers don't operate that way. But he may be coaching for his job the rest of the season.
The Chief: Jerry, hi hope you had a good week. The most frustrating thing from Monday nights game was the fact that every time a Bengal player was named, he was the 1st or 2nd draft pick of a certain year. When it cam to the Steeler player it seemed like the NFL had put out its trash and the Steelers picked it up!
Jerry Micco: Ray Fittipaldo did an excellent blog post that next morning on PG+ that pointed out how poorly the Steelers had drafted in Round 2. That round, arguably, is more important than Round 1. They have their share of good high draft picks: Ben, Pouncey, Woodley, Timmons, Polamalu. But they have not had great drafts the past couple of years and that will come back to haunt you. They have lost a big part of the 2012 class and when you nearly lose a class, it's a killer on the field.
Phil: Hey Jerry, these Steelers are reminding me of the 5-11 1988 team. Felix Jones is Warren Williams, Dwyer is Earnest Jackson, Gay is Dwayne Woodruff, McClendon is Gerald Williams...oops that was insult to the underrated Gerald Williams...maybe Edmund can make a comeback.
Jerry Micco: The fact that you could come up with the names from 1988 is impressive. Still a lot of the season left, but the Steelers offense has to get going for this Sunday, or they will be 0-3 headed to London to face the Vikings. Who very well could be 0-3 themselves. What an NFL dud.
Guest: In regards to the PG announcement of articles/blogs, etc. moving to a paywall. I currently have a PG+ account and enjoy the Pens and PBC blogs there. On Oct.1 will it now cost $10/mo. to view these same blogs and will it require a Facebook account to post comments (FYI - I currently do not have a print subscription).
Jerry Micco: PG+ subscribers will be on a special plan for a few months. You should have already received that information. If not, email me at the paper at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can get you to the right person.
The Chief: Jerry, some say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Why don't the Steelers give up on their offensive plan and just play to Ben's Strengths!
Jerry Micco: I'm not sure how much of what's happening is the result of Haley's play-calling or Ben's audibles. I don't know that it isn't Ben calling changes at the line that are changing plays or not. Maybe more hurry-up at times, maybe some new personnel (Markus Wheaton) or maybe just better blocking for the run are the answer. But right now, I don't see many answers forthcoming.
The Chief: Jerry, ESPN has rated the top 25 NHL goalies heading into the 2013/2014 season. MAF was nowhere to be found, your thoughts.
Jerry Micco: He's fallen a long way because of his playoff performances. He's got a make-or-break year coming up. He's always been a very good regular-season goalie. Now he needs to do that again, but match at performance in the playoffs. We've seen him do that in the years when they won the Cup, and even when they lost in the Final.
The Chief: Who wins the NL Central the Bucs, Cards or my pick the Reds?
Jerry Micco: I think the Cardinals will win it, and I've said that for a while. I still think they have the best lineup of the three teams. The Pirates and Reds will beat up on each other down the stretch.
Bill L: The next three games after the bye are the Jets, Ravens and the Raiders. If they could somehow be 1 and 3 after London, they could be 4 and 3 in late October. Hard to believe. And they do have some talent.
Jerry Micco: Well, the Raiders in Oakland will not be an easy game. Never is for the Steelers. The Ravens are the Ravens, but the game is in Pittsburgh, so there's a fighting chance there. The Jets should not be a tough game, but it's on the road. I don't know. When I look at the Steelers I don't see any walk-overs.
Jack Splat: This off season is there any chance the Steelers switch gears and spend some money on some top tier FA O linemen? While a noble effort, trying to draft and develop the OL is a miserable failure.
Jerry Micco: Depends on how much cap room they will have. They have many contract decisions in the offseason with key players such as Keisel, Polamalu and Clark. And they'll have to decide if they want to sign Sanders to some sort of deal. That's a lot of people to replace and while you can do some FA work, you tend to grow through the draft. And besides, you have to see where the OL is at the end of the year to see who has improved and who has not. Have to give the young guys a chance, even if they fail.
Ken: Since we usually have beaten the Pedro horse to death--negative and positive- by this time of year, he's currently getting a major pass for his non-production. His stats after the all star game must be pathetic.
Jerry Micco: I can't quote you his post ASG stats, but he's in another one of his unproductive slumps. Here's the thing though: How do you replace 35-40 HRs and 90-100 RBIs in that lineup? Yes, he must be more consistent, but nonetheless, he is producing big numbers. I think he'll get better, too. I don't think he'll ever hit more than .250, but if he can be more consistent with runners on, that will be a huge improvement.
Paul: Pedro--I wonder how many 30 homer 100 rbi guys have ever hit below .230. It's probably a small number.
Jerry Micco: Guys like Dave Kingman used to do that. He stayed around forever because he could hit 40 HRs a year and drive in close to 100. Those guys aren't easy to find, and the Pirates have one. I'm not saying Pedro is going to be Albert Pujols. He's not, and neither are a lot of guys. But you are going to want his power numbers around through the years. There isn't anyone else on the team that can match them.
The Chief: You surprised the Penguins did not extend Orpik, or is he the odd man out since they now have Rod S?. Do not like seeing Matty Nis leaving .
Jerry Micco: One of those veteran D are going to be out, and I'd imagine Orpik is one being considered along with Niskanen. Orpik is in his 30s and has had injury problems the past couple of years. But he's healthy now and the team could use his physical presence. Niskanen is more the puck-moving defenseman Bylsma prefers, but perhaps he needs a better mix on the blue line. We'll see. It will be the most important cut/trade of camp.
The Chief: Jerry, how many years do you think it will take the Steelers to rebuild. Three of the guys in their secondary are 11+ year vets and the offensive line is going to take a couple of years off of Ben's career?
Jerry Micco: I think this year, and possibly next could be tough years. The issue, and Ed Bouchette wrote about this in our NFL special section earlier this month, is if they keep going 8-8. That's mediocre and can kill you in the NFL. You don't draft high enough to get can't miss guys, but you aren't so low that you can take a flyer on someone. So you have to be perfect. Better sometimes to have a couple 6-10 or 5-11 years and get a top 10 pick or two to anchor your team than go 8-8.
The Chief: On a more positive side can 8-8 win the AFC North?
Jerry Micco: I think someone will break out to 10 or 11 wins. But 9-7 may keep you in the hunt.
Phil: I don't want to jump all over Burnett, but he has to remember that beers are $8.25, hot dogs are $5, sodas are expensive. It's a pricey night out for some. A beer and a couple of burgers is $30, which is fine, but don't expect some to embrace a night out at the ball park more than here and there.
Jerry Micco: Not to mention parking. That said, Burnett has never kept his emotions to himself, so this does not surprise me. And he later Tweeted that he loved the fans and appreciated them. Sure, the players want packed houses every night. But it doesn't always work that way, especially on week nights. The Pirates fans have been great. Through 20 years of losing they kept showing up, which always amazed me. This year, they are showing up in a big way, which is a credit to them, and to the product on the field.
Guest: How bad must Markus Wheaton be to not be on the field at this point?
Jerry Micco: That's the thing, though. Coaches said he was great in camp, and reporters there said the same thing, and he made some plays during the preseason. Tomlin said yesterday fans will see more of him. But WR is a tough position for a rookie, even the great WRs have a learning curve. Wheaton will go through that, but I suspect he'll see more reps as the season moves along, likely to the detriment of Jericho Cotchery.
hammerdog: Jerry, with the $9.95 paywall beginning October 1, will these chats and Steeler chats be free or will you have to pay $9.95?
Jerry Micco: As of Oct. 1, you'll have to be a digital subscribe for chats. Just the nature of things in our business today. Many newspapers are either already there (pay sites) or they are in the works.
Ralph The Plumber: Jerry I honestly believe this team would be 2-0 with Mike Wallace, What's 2 or 3 million to the Steelers, Ben should have restructured.
Jerry Micco: Ben has restructured, but Wallace wanted $9+ million and frankly, he's not worth that kind of price tag. He may put up good numbers in Miami, but at some point, he's going to see double-teams everywhere and he's not good beating double teams. I think the corps of receivers the Steelers have is good. But they are missing Heath Miller, which then makes them very good.
Ken: Now we will realize what we had in the great Casey Hampton. I think he's a hall of fame candidate down the road. He was just as good as Wilfork of the Pats who will probably get in. The Bengals convert on a run on a third and 4 late in the game was disturbing.
Jerry Micco: You miss a guy like Hampton in his prime. But the past couple of years, he's been on the downgrade. And he's not playing anywhere now, so I think others saw that he'd been fading. But your comment is on the mark in that with guys like Foote injured and McLendon being a new guy, the middle has not been sound for the Steelers.
Guest: What happens if the Bucs get beat by the Braves in game 7 by a Paul Maholm slide?
Jerry Micco: We'll put a watch on all the city's tallest bridges. You have an evil mind.
hammerdog: Thanks Jerry. It's unfortunate, but I work in the newspaper business myself, so I understand the situation.
Jerry Micco: We just hope what we do here is in that kind of demand. We do our best to be the most complete media company in Western Pa. But we need to have money to do that and to deliver that coverage. It's a chance we're all taking that we can deliver the goods and that folks will pay for it. We think we can do that.
The Chief: Jerry after week two, what are your surprises and disappointments in the NFL?
Jerry Micco: Steelers are a disappointment. Should be 1-1 at worst. Surprised at how good Seattle is. I know they were favored to win the NFC by some folks, but they are scary good. Especially on defense. And the Titans may be better than expected, beating the Steelers and taking Houston to OT in Houston.
Sid: Is Gene Collier going to London to cover the Steelers/Vikings and how will the British treat Gene?
Jerry Micco: He's going and they will welcome him with open arms. I'm pretty sure they will, anyhow. .
Jerry Micco: Poker night. Sorry folks, inside joke.
Zack: Lots of people are blaming Haley, but how do we know Ben doesn't ask for specific calls or audible at the line? I also think our overall talent is either weak, or we are too young on offense. I think Haley is getting a raw deal by fans.
Jerry Micco: I think some of this falls on Haley, some on the players. It's a shared concern. And I alluded to this earlier in the chat that we don't know if Ben is changing plays or not.
Wookie, yes, that Wookie: I think the Pirates need to win the division or else they lose the one-game playoff vs. Cards or Reds - your thoughts?
Jerry Micco: It's always tough in that one-game wild card. The Reds and Cardinals may have more pitching depth now that guys like Locke are kind of fading. But the Pirates are just as good as those two teams. And if the game is in Pittsburgh, they'd have an edge.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to get back to some other stuff. Great chat today, even though it seemed we got busy only for the last 20 minutes. Doesn't matter to me when you get here though, just that you come on board! I'll be back next Wednesday at noon. Until then, have a great week everybody! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
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