Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 8.15.12
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Jerry Micco: Hi folks. I'll be back in a moment to start the chat. In the meantime, please feel free to submit early questions and vote in our quick poll. Be back in a moment!
PoopyPantsJoe: Jerry, 7 articles in the college section of todays PG online and not one about the PITTSBURGH Panthers. Isn't this the PITTSBURGH Post Gazette?
Jerry Micco: We did have a story today, on the front of the sports page of the PITTSBURGH Post-Gazette, on Pitt football. I'll check to see why that story hasn't been posted. Why, wait a moment, it's right at the top of the Pitt page. By Sam Werner. Might want to try again. It's been posted for 12 hours. Next!
James Pittsburgh: Are the Steelers making a huge mistake not signing Plexico? The Jets improved to second in the league in red-zone passing last year with Plexico. He had 8 touchdowns. I think it is time for the Steelers to swallow their pride and sign Plexico.
Jerry Micco: I think they will look for a veteran WR if Wallace doesn't come into camp. But a I also think that if they sign Plex, he's the No. 3 or 4 WR on the team. And they'll have time to do that if Wallace doesn't join the team before the start of the season. But if they do sign Wallace, then there is no reason for Plex to be here.
James Pittsburgh: Your thoughts on James McDonald. How does 3 good months in your career earn you such a long leash? Locke and Wilson are waiting.
Jerry Micco: I think McDonald is on a fairly short leash, and while Locke and Wilson are good fill-ins, you can't entirely discount McDonald's first half completely. Even the meltdown vs. San Diego, he'd retired 10 in a row before he just seemed to get way off track. I think they are going to stick with him because I don't think there's anything mechanically wrong with him. I think it's a confidence thing, and my guess is the Pirates that that can work out. We'll see if they are right.
James Pittsburgh: There is a reason to have Plexico. The Steelers had problems scoring in the Red Zone last year. Plexico can help to alleviate that problem.
Jerry Micco: True, he's been a good red zone receiver most of his career. But I guess if Wallace signs, then you carry a guy who is really a goal-line specialist. Who do you take out? Your best overall receiver (Brown)? Your best route runner (Sanders)? Your speed guy (Wallace)? I guess in a 4 WR set you could use him. I'm not as sold as you are on him.
James Pittsburgh: Many contending teams have had rough patches. Can the Pirates rebound from how they have played the past three weeks?
Jerry Micco: I think so, but only if the pitching gets in line. And McCutchen has to hit better than he has this month. It's possible both could happen with this team, but it's important that they get back to winning series. They have not won one Cubs series at the end of July. They have to take small steps to get their momentum back. There is time, but at this juncture, every game is important.
James Pittsburgh: It doesn't appear that Wallace will play to week 10. So Plexico would be a great addition!
Jerry Micco: If Wallace is out that long, then I might agree that Burress would be a good pick up. However, I'm seeing where teammates say he'll be with the team "soon." Now, as you know James, "soon" is a relative term.
Dan the Man: Seems there is a small faction of PSU BOT and alum that don't get it or don't want to move on. I wish they just let it go and move on. This is hurting PSU ability to recruit but I see applications going down next year... your thoughts?
Jerry Micco: Well, a lot of things have hurt PSU's recruiting, including unprecedented sanctions from the NCAA. Not to mention how the university has handled this crisis from the beginning. I don't know if PSU has any legal standing as far as the NCAA goes, but if people want to look into this, it's their right. Does it really matter what PSU does for the next few years? Most people would just as soon the place shut down, so I really don't think folks at PSU much care how they are perceived from the outside. Nothing is going to change that perception. As far as applications, recruits, etc., go, we'll see. Didn't seem to harm this year's student interest. Of course, football is going to get clobbered. Wasn't that the NCAA's intent?
James Pittsburgh: What player do you see being the biggest surprise this year? What player outside of Big Ben, Harrison, Polalmua, Woodley, Wallace, and Brown will make the biggest impact?
Jerry Micco: Can you include offensive linemen? Maybe that group, as a whole, gets better if it stays healthy. Maybe Ziggy Hood finally plays up to his potential on defense, too. Here's one more: Cortez Allen. I think this guy is going to be an impact player for them at CB.
James Pittsburgh: I see Tino Sunseri as the key to the Panthers success this year. If he plays well, they can win the Big East. If he doesn't I would expect a .500 season.
Jerry Micco: I was surprised to see Pitt picked in the middle of the Big East pack by the media. I think it has a good shot to contend, and you are spot on about Sunseri. If he's healthy and can develop under Paul Chryst, Pitt will be a good team. Especially if they can use its deep stable of RBs to control the ball. The key for Pitt is the OL. Can that unit step up and control the line of scrimmage? That's more of a mystery to me.
Dave: Except for when Burnett pitches, isn't it about time to see what mcHenry can do with a substanital catching load. for wahtever reason Barajas can not hit
Jerry Micco: Barajas is a career .238 hitter, so he's never going to hit much. But I think he's a better catcher than McKenry, which may be why Hurdle sticks with him. And sometimes a part-time player like McKenry is exposed if he's the starter. Pitchers pitch him differently and get more of a "book" on him. I think a 3-4 split of games for those guys has worked pretty well this season. Maybe now McKenry gets the 4 games, but I think pitchers think Barajas calls a good game, so they do like working with him.
James Pittsburgh: I hope that Cortez Allen can pick up a few interceptions. The Steelers have had problems getting interceptions. Especially last year.
Jerry Micco: Hey, that's why they are not WRs, right? Seriously though, if you can get DBs to hold onto the ball, it's so huge. Breaking up a pass is good, but that INT is so much better. And it can absolutely demoralize a team if you have sure-handed DBs who can battle WRs for the ball. Makes your defense that much better in what is a passing league.
James Pittsburgh: Could Paul Jones be the biggest surprise at Penn State this fall?
Jerry Micco: Only if Matt McGloin falters early. Jones has gotten bigger and stronger, but he's really not played for 2 years while he got his grades in order. I think PSU is hoping Jones does get some opportunities and makes good on them. He is their QB for at least next year, so they are going to get him reps. He has the makings of a decent QB, so I'm sure he'll get some looks.
James Pittsburgh: Can Penn State manage to win more than 2 Big Ten games this year?
Jerry Micco: It is such a wild-card at PSU this year. I think their defense will be very good and keep them in games. The offense? Well, we'll see. You are talking a lot of young guys and a QB that has only flashed that he can be pretty good. Not great, pretty good. Bill O'Brien has a tough job ahead of him for some time. But he's working to make the best of it. I don't think victories are how you'd measure this year's PSU team. I think the fact that many guys stayed, even though they lost key players, says a lot. But no question, the next several years could be very tough for the Nits.
moral compass: Jerry, still seems like you are more interested in moving on with football at PSU. Your criticism has been awfully silent given the enormity of the scandal.
Jerry Micco: I'm not a critic, but I do supervise a couple. And you have no idea what I'm interested in, but I think football will go on at PSU because, well, it is going on. What should the PSU fans/students do? Not support the team because of the inaction of a few and the horrific actions of a convicted child molester?
moral compass: PSU should not even be playing this year....you don't seem to believe this to be true. Do you condone covering up child rape?
Jerry Micco: I posted this question because folks need to see that in today's world, if you support a group of people or a sport at Penn State, you are condoning child rape. And you wonder why some fans, students, alums of the school really don't care what others think? Wow, just incredible.
James Pittsburgh: The Steelers were last in the NFL in creating turnovers last year. So Cortez Allen and try need to step it up. Ike Taylor can't catch the ball if his life depended on it.
Jerry Micco: But Ike needs a good game 1, because he needs to get the taste of last year's playoff game in Denver out of his mouth. He is still the best CB on the team, so if the Steelers are to be successful, then they are going to need Ike Taylor to have a strong season.
James Pittsburgh: The one thing I am excited about for Penn State is having a guy in Bill O'Brien that can coach quarterbacks. Some past quarterbacks were really hurt by the way Joe Paterno handled QBs.
Jerry Micco: O'Brien brings a different mind-set to Penn State. That's good, and that's needed for the football program to improve. Considering what he'll have to operate under, and what the players will have to operate under, it'll be interesting to watch how they all develop and grow. And if they do. What will it be like in opposing stadiums? I think you will see a big change as the years go by in how PSU plays and develops players. And I think that change was needed several years ago.
Guest: This old rule applies to most people. You don't crap where you eat.
Jerry Micco: Thanks, so much, for that laser-like insight.
steveo: This rule applies to most people. You don't crap where you eat.
PoopyPants Joe: My main sports page does not have a Pitt section. It has Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, High School, and College. I'm sure I can click on Pitt and find the article, but I don't for the other 7 about PSU and WVU. Explain?
Jerry Micco: If you put your cursor over the SPORTS tab, then you'll see a drop-down menu that includes PITT. Click on that PITT, and you'll find Sam's story. As for our main page, those stories are just a handful of what we have on the site. The best thing to do is to look at the PITT section for PITT stories.
moral compass: Other newspapers are still slamming PSU but you continue to publish stories as if child rape never occurred. Why is that?
Jerry Micco: Our editorial pages have ripped Penn State, as have our columnists, for what has gone on up there. I don't think there is a Penn State news story that doesn't mention what has gone on up there. The football team is going to play this year and we'll cover them. Who on that team did something wrong to deserve no coverage? Every paper in the state will cover them, as they usually do. However, you seem to have an opinion as to why you think we are doing what we are doing. Care to share and show proof to back that up?
Bob the (Re)Builder: It seems that the Pirates started their rough stretch around the trade deadline. Could it be that chemistry is not overrated? Or is the talent reverting to the norm?
Jerry Micco: I just think they are going through a rough patch, as all teams do. Not long ago, the Reds lost 5 straight. I also think that there are still some holes on the team, and they are gambling guys like Marte, Sanchez and Snider can fill them. That's a gamble, but if McCutchen starts to slump, and Alvarez can't pick it up again, they are going to be in trouble. And the pitching, which to me is most important, is not where it needs to be. So I'd not lay it at the foot of chemistry.
kibab1979: Jerry, please don't let the inane questions from one individual color everyone here. I'm sure it will never come to this, but would hate for this chat to end because of the actions of a very select few. Keep up the great work!
Jerry Micco: It won't end because some folks have an agenda. I know well what it is, too, but they won't say it. No, part of my job is to answer to critics. Shoot, I could choose to no post their questions an ban them, but what does that solve. You shine the light on people and let others make their own decisions. These chats are a good way for me to connect with people and to see what's on their minds. I have found them fascinating for 8 years, and I don't plan to stop doing them.
PoopyPants Joe: No one has ever said that You shouldn't cover PSU and WVU, but you couldn't fit one Pitt story on the main sports page? Why don't you put a few stories about thelocal teams on the main page and make PSU and WVU fans go to their local teams page.
Jerry Micco: Every PSU story, whether it's sports or not, if it is part of the scandal, is posted to sports. Not my decision, but the paper has decided the stories should live there. Also, when those stories publish, it pushes down other stories. It is an auto-post on those pages you are referring to. So it just depends on when the stories are published. I'll bring this to the attention of those that publish the stories, but I have nothing to do with it.
Owtahear: Hi Jerry. Does your department have Mapquest? If so, does it know where the UPMC SouthSide facility is? Because it sure seems like Pitt football coverage is lacking.
Jerry Micco: Of course we know where it is. How do you think we cover the Steelers? And let me know why you think the only college we write daily about is "lacking" coverage. Story a day since camp opened about Pitt.
Ralph LA: The LA announcers surprised me by saying that the Pirates were generally considered a good defensive club. Is that right?
Jerry Micco: I really don't know, but that pitcher Coates, I think that was his name, turned in a gem on Walker's line drive the other night. If not, he'd have been in the hospital. I'm glad he didn't get hit.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I think what we are learning these past three weeks, is that the Pirates need to try to sign a reliable starter in the offseason. I know that tried to sign some people last offseason. Hopefully their improved play will attract some free agent talent.
Jerry Micco: I think starting pitching should always be No. 1 on the list. And I think you are right. If people see them as contenders, then they likely will take a chance on signing. Reliable starters are hard to come by sometimes, but I'm sure Neal Huntington will be scouring all the ways to grab one.
Ralph LA: Ditto with kibab1979's comments. In hindsight I was suprised how right you were at assessing the situation when the grand jury report first came out. That is why I had asked the question several weeks ago as to whether you all had compared notes on rumors, just because you seemed to understand right away how bad things were.
Jerry Micco: No one could read that presentment, which by the way was a bit over the top, and not think that leaders at PSU had at worst covered this up, or at the least, badly managed this. It still isn't being managed well. The only positive thing in my mind is that Jerry Sandusky is in prison. He is a serial child molester, found guilty and likely put away for life. The victims will never get full justice, even after that and their civil suits with the university. But at some point, you cannot blame each and every person at the school. I think the courts still have some work to do (Curley and Schultz) and while I think the Freeh report had some wild leaps in it, it also pointed out how poorly the place was run, and how disengaged the board was in the running of this major university. There is still work for a lot of people to do at Penn State. But at some point, you have to let them do their work and move on. Never forget, but at some point, move forward.
Jerry Micco: OK folks I need to run back to some other work. For those of you who came to chat sports and are my regulars, I appreciate you sticking with the chat despite the other questions. I try to give everyone a forum, but sometimes, it can get in the way of the regular sports chat. But everyone has an opinion, and all should be heard. That said, I will not be chatting next week as I'm on vacation. I'll be back on Aug. 29 and we'll pick it up again. So have a great couple weeks everyone, and I'll see you on Aug. 29. Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
First Published August 15, 2012 2:03 pm
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