Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 10.17.12
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James_Pittsburgh: The AFC only has two teams over .500 (Baltimore and Houston). It should be an interesting 11 weeks over the remainder of the NFL season.
Jerry Micco: NFL's ultimate dream, total parity! I think it shows that the league is extremely balanced this year and that on any given Sunday...well, you guys know the rest. A lot of upsets this past weekend, too.
Chunkles: Jerry, you see where Philly fired their DC after the Eagles blew another game after having the lead. Could this be a Pennsylvania thing? I love coach LeBeau but maybe he is one of the many changes the Steelers could/should make, next year?
Jerry Micco: I think they look at the entire staff after each season. And you wonder if it's the scheme or is it the personnel? It's a question as old as the NFL itself. If you have great players, does the scheme matter all that much? The great Steelers of the 70s played a pretty basic defense, but they were just better than everyone else. That said, I think if they do need to look at every department on the field and the front office to make sure they are all on the same page. And if changes need to be made, then so be it.
James_Pittsburgh: It is pretty said that the Pirates only had 8 home grown players on the field before September 1. If that isn't enough evidence to fire Huntington and Kyle Stark I am not sure what is? (I do realize that the top priority of Bob Nutting is to turn a profit.)
Jerry Micco: I think when Huntington came in, the minor league system was a vast wasteland. But contained in that system were Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen, so in that sense, the Littlefield era produced those two guys. But there is no question that the Pirates have not developed players like they should. And if you're not going to spend big dollars, then you need to have players ready to play relatively soon.
Dave: Why did the Steelers add another defensive lineman to the roster instead of an offensive lineman? The nose tackle in legal trouble never played anyway
Jerry Micco: I can only imagine that this is a practice thing, or they think Pouncey will play so that means Beacham and Legursky go back into the depth pool. Also, they aren't done yet. They could sign an OL this week, too.
James_Pittsburgh: Where do you see the Penguins probably needing to upgrade at the trade deadline?
Jerry Micco: I'd like to see if they have a season, first. Way too early to think about that.
James_Pittsburgh: In the age of parity it is funny that some people anointed the 49ers as basically unbeatable after their 600+ yard performance. Then they lost to the Giants. People need to calm down. In the NFL you need to peak at the right time. Having a clutch quarterback like Rodgers, Brady, Eli Manning, or Big Ben helps in the playoffs as well.
Jerry Micco: I'm one of the guys, and I said this before the season started, who thought the 49ers were the best in the NFC. Despite that loss to the Giants, I still think that. But you are right. You have to peak at the right time and you need momentum going into the playoffs. And having any of the QBs you mentioned on your team certainly won't hurt your playoff chances.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I will take Eli Manning and the Giants over the 49ers any day!
Jerry Micco: I think they could have a rematch in the playoffs, but I think the 49ers were just flat on Sunday. I think their defense is better, though Manning is certainly better than Alex Smith. But would you have made that statement prior to Sunday's game? Most oddsmakers said the 49ers were favorites in that one, and for good reason. But we also know they play on the field and the Giants were truly superior.
James_Pittsburgh: I know if depends who is available, but do you see the Steelers drafting a linebacker or cornerback with their top pick in 2013?
Jerry Micco: Depends, as you say, on who's available and where they pick. If it's a deep CB draft, then they'll probably take a CB. If it's LBs, then they take a LB. Remember, they passed on Dont'a Hightower for DeCastro. I thought that was the correct move at the time because DeCastro had top 12 value and you get him at 24. I think it would have been nice to see what a Sean Spence could do in certain situations if he weren't injured. And I think the Steelers have to do a better job picking down in the draft. I'm not sure they've mined a lot out of there in the past couple of drafts.
Guest: Any word on if Mendenhall is running the rock on Sunday?
Jerry Micco: Not yet, but he's listed as probable. We'll see how practice goes the next couple of days.
The Chief: Jerry, your thoughts on Pirates having the second most explayers in the NL and AL Championship series?
Jerry Micco: Sometimes, guys develop late (Vogelsong) and a team like the Pirates can't afford to hold out long-term on them. I mean, when Vogelsong was here, people weren't exactly screaming to keep him. Just the opposite. I think the Pirates need to do a better job developing and recognizing talent. And it has shown the past couple of years when the team just imploded due to one part or the other falling apart in the final 60 games.
James_Pittsburgh: Other than the obvious play better defense, what do the Steelers need to do to turn around this season?
Jerry Micco: Be more consistent on offense and get the ball into the end zone. I think the offense is capable of 30+ every game, but they aren't hitting that number. Run it better and that'll help, but make the game about trying to outscore them rather than putting it on the defense, which has been shoddy late in games this season.
The Chief: Any thoughts how the NHL would get the full 82 game schedule after missing three weeks?
Jerry Micco: The Stanley Cup final would be in mid-June in that scenario. They'd likely add an extra game a week for one part of the schedule to catch up. And the season wouldn't end in early April. More like late April. Just load up the schedule and play a bit later into the season. But if this goes on another 2-3 weeks, then they'll have to shorten the season for player safety. It would mean too many games a week to play 82.
James_Pittsburgh: As someone suggested on Bob's blog, money well spent for the Pirates would be trying to lure away some people from the Cardinals minor league system, coaches and talent evaluators. 18 of the 25 players on the Cardinals roster for the NLCS are home grown!
Jerry Micco: Which is why year in, year out, the Cardinals are contenders. And they've always been that way. In my mind, the Cardinals are the Yankees of the National League. Not as many titles, but I believe they are second to New York in World Series titles. I think the Cardinals are one example of a team that develops talent. I think Detroit develops guys, too. But who's to say the Pirates don't have some talent in the minors right now? And the question is, can they develop it for the big leagues? That has been their downfall.
The Chief: As much as we like to think small market teams can suceed in an uneven playing field in baseball. All four teams left standing have are in the top eight in spending. That translates to years of mediocrity for Pittsburgh Baseball fans as long as they are under the same ownership.
Jerry Micco: I think you have to spend some money to compete. And yes, big spending teams usually rise to the top, though moderate to low spending teams also are competitive. But if you develop talent and are willing to spend some money on big free agents, you have the perfect mix. The Cardinals lose Pujols, but get Beltran. Save money and are just as good. That's a smart front office. The Giants, somehow, are in this thing. When you look at the lineup, you wonder how they got there. But they did. Why? Because Brian Sabean is one of the best GMs in the league. And he's been there something like 15 years or so.
James_Pittsburgh: The Cardinals are second with 11 championships followed by the A's with 9.
Jerry Micco: And most of those were in Philadelphia, though Oakland has 3 or 4 itself. I just think the Cardinals are great at developing talent, and they are good at getting just the right free agents. Or, they trade some minor league talent for a proven big leaguer. When you have that farm system, you can do that. I guess for fans, this would be the question: Would you trade Cole or Taillon for, say, Hunter Pence?
The Chief: Seeing how the Nationals went down in flames, what do you think about their decsion to shut down Strasberg, For example if they thought they had a contender, why not wait until June to start his season?
Jerry Micco: I think long-term, the Nationals did the right thing. And let's face it, you cannot blow a 6-1 lead in game 5 and expect to be doing anything but watching the next series from home. They had a golden opportunity to advance even without Strasburg, but simply blew it. I had no problem with them shutting him down. He's one of the big pieces of their future, and you'd hate to see him damaged in his third year in the bigs.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, we have seen the Pirates have drafted talent. They have 14 players playing in the championship series. They just failed to develop it. I don't blame the Pirates for trading Jose Bautista, but they should be faulted for not developing him. I believe that most people thought he had 20-30HR potential with the Pirates, but never hit more than 16HR in Pittsburgh.
Jerry Micco: Well, is that stadium (PNC not friendly for right-hand hitters), development or patience? If they suffered through another OK season from Bautista does he then blossom into what he is today? And I didn't realize 14 former Bucs are in the championship series'. How many of those are key players besides Vogelsong? I'm not sure.
hulk: are you a pro wrestling fan?
Jerry Micco: No so much. Ever since the Rock left, I've not really followed that circus.
Chunkles: Jerry, the way the new Browns ownership is taking shape, it looks as if he will go after Andy Reid, next year. The Steelers have to make some changes, soon. Someday the Browns are going to climb out of the basement and someone has to take their place.
Jerry Micco: People keep saying the Browns will be better, but when is that going to happen? What year? I think the Steelers have been beyond competitive with Tomlin at the helm, and give them credit, they play well year in and year out. But every team takes a slide over time. The Steelers need to get back on track for this season, then worry about what happens in the offseason. Can only control what's right in front of you.
JAMESH: If Pouncey is out for Sunday, who becomes the backup to Legursky at C?
Jerry Micco: My understanding is Pouncey is probable. I really don't know who backs up Legursky at center. Used to be Trai Essex, but I'm not sure who would do that if Legursky was hurt. But what you'd probably see is unless one of those guys had a catastrophic injury, they'd come back in a bit wounded and play.
roger_jolly: Smiz today in his blog said the NCAA gave PSU an extremely unfair deal. Just curious what you think a fair deal is for a football culture that allowed child-rape to occur?
Jerry Micco: I don't know. A lot of national people, including former NCAA presidents, thought the NCAA overstepped its bounds on the Penn State issue, instead saying it's a legal matter. But here's what I believe: Some people, even before the Sandusky scandal, didn't like Penn State and it's football coach/program. And some people liked them no matter what has happened before or after. I don't think a lot of minds are going to change or have changed. If you think the NCAA did a good job, that's great. Not everyone thinks that's the case, and that's great too.
The Chief: Ray lewis may have played his last game on Sunday, some say the Raven's Defense may be better without him, your thoughts.
Jerry Micco: I think they'll miss Lewis' leadership more than his playing ability. He's not what he once was, but he's still a good player. They'll miss Webb more, I think.
stan: i'm a big fan of Ed and Gerry. Can you give them a raise?
Jerry Micco: Funny, they usually ask the same thing of me. You their agent??
JAMESH: Does Gerry have a chat this week?
Jerry Micco: Should be 1:30 today
Jersey Boyz: If Ike Taylor has another real bad game, should he, and more importantly, will he be benched for one of the yonger corners?
Jerry Micco: If one of the younger corners shows in practice that they've earned that chance, I'd think so. But my sense is the coaches feel Taylor, despite a bad game Thursday, gives them the best chance to win.
Jack Ham: Woodley is playing this week correct
Jerry Micco: He's listed as probable.
The Chief: The Home team seems to have a distinct advantage in the NFL on Thursday night. Why can't the NFL schedule two teams coming off the bye week to play on Thursday night?
Jerry Micco: Very hard to do logistically, and besides, both teams have a short week. I don't think the hour or so flight to Nashville drained the Steelers.
The Chief: Jerry, have you booked your flight to London to see the Steelers in Wembley next season?
Jerry Micco: Not I, but we'll send our contingent there. Not sure I like those overseas games, the the NFL seems to like them.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I know most sports fans are emotional and not logical. However I don't think it is very logical to punish players and a university for something that was done by people who are no longer part of the Penn State program? Should we start punishing children for what their parents do?
Jerry Micco: The problem at Penn State, and hopefully this never happens at a university ever again, is that people high up in the administration knew of at minimum boundary issues with Jerry Sandusky. And you could argue, as Louis Freeh and the NCAA did, that institutionally it was a total failure. Now, was it that cut and dried? There's still a couple trials and according to reports, more investigations that are ongoing. Someone has to pay, and in this case it's the football team and the athletic department. But what I think is crazy is when I hear people blame every person who ever affiliated with the school for this. Now that is emotional and illogical.
Pigskin Pete: The Steelers DBs almost NEVER have a pass defensed or INT becasue they are playing so far off the WRs. Is a change in strategy/scheme needed? How often do we want so see Ike or Lewis making tackes 15 yards downfield after easy catches?
Jerry Micco: It's a bend-don't-break scheme that has worked for years. Don't give up big plays is the mantra. But what you're seeing more of are those big plays, and you also are seeing the Steelers fail to stop teams in the red zone. And that's the problem. Allowing teams to move the ball at will. And a big play doesn't have to be a TD. Look at the third down 25-yard pass to a crossing TE vs. Tennessee. Steelers were caught in a bad defensive call on that one.
Jack Splat: Any thought of not having Ike Taylor cover the #1 receiver this week? Give Lewis a shot and let Ike cover the #2 - maybe change would be good...
Jerry Micco: And despite what folks say, Lewis hasn't played all that badly. Maybe you'll see that this Sunday night, because the way Ike's been playing, AJ Green would be a nightmare for him.
Pigskin Pete: Timmons had a great game against the Eagles. Played like a stud. Then went back to being MIA against Titans. Is he being used incorrectly? Is he out of position ? Possibly not understanding the defense completely?
Jerry Micco: He made some decent plays vs. Tennessee, but you are right, he wasn't dominant. I don't think you can be from an ILB position with the Steelers. You can be disruptive up the middle, but his role is to drop into coverage (he did have a pick) and run blitz. I think he played OK on Thursday. But Sunday's game will give him another chance to make plays. He's a first round pick, so fans rightfully expect he should do more of that.
Jack Splat: Folks although I did not attend, I love Penn Stat. Great college great football team. But give it a rest already - move on. Paterno was allowed to saty too long and senior managemnt was not proactive enough in protecting the university's interests as a whole.
Jerry Micco: Pretty good summation. This is something Penn State will have to live with forever. It may dull some in time, but will never be forgotten. All they can do is move forward. But there is still some outstanding issues there that need to be resolved, such as the two trials and those investigations. But at some point I agree, time to move on and remember that the people there now are trying to get on with their lives. The unfortunate part of all this is there are victims of Jerry Sandusky that may never be allowed to move on. And that is the tragedy of all this.
Chris: With the Steelers ability to throw like they can and stretch the field wouldn't you think we should be able to run the ball better. Another dismal performance by our running game in cincy spells 2-4.
Jerry Micco: No doubt. They have beaten Cincy in recent years by hammering them on the ground. We'll see if that formula works on Sunday. Or if they even try it.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I think that is the problem with American society today. We seem to believe that someone always has "to pay." There are numerous academic studies that show punishment is not very successful in changing peoples behavior.
Jerry Micco: I can see where that's true. And while Penn State will pay both in the court of public opinion, and in huge monetary sums, I still think those victims will never be whole again. And that's just terrible. You are right, and I see this every day. Someone makes a mistake, and the collateral damage is huge because people think that's the way it should be. The person who did these crimes is in jail for the rest of his life. A convicted pedophile. But the collateral damage done by him and a handful of others, has crushed a university and all who care about it.
Lambert Lunatics: Is Mundy playing for Polamalu or is Will Allen? are they splittng time?
Jerry Micco: Don't know yet, but we'll know more after a couple of practices this week. I'd imagine they'll split time.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to run. Thanks for all the great questions and insights. Very interesting chat today. I'll see all of you next week at noon when we crank this up again. Also, I'll be doing the live Steelers-Bengals chat starting at 8 p.m. Sunday. So until then, have a great week everybody! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
First Published October 17, 2012 1:54 pm
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