Sunday, August 21, 2011

NFL: How Well Does Terrelle Pryor Fit In With The Pittsburgh Steelers?

Weeks of speculation concerning the NFL Supplemental Draft will come to a close tomorrow, and I think it is safe to say that all eyes will be on Terrelle Pryor.
Depending on who you ask, one of the leading contenders to land the kid seems to be the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I'll admit this is a bit shocking because the old adage is usually about how the Steelers avoid guys with character issues. 

Investing a high draft pick in this kid, even if it's a 2012 pick, would certainly send a signal that it's about getting the players you feel give you the best chance to win, regardless of their background. 

Is that the message the Steelers are prepared to send?

I've been reading multiple news outlets online and many think that some team will deem Pryor worth a second or third round pick.  It's hard to argue either way, as the kid is 6'5" and ran a 4.4 40 at his Pro Day.

If you are going to burn a 3rd round pick on this kid he's going to be guaranteed a roster spot.  The question now becomes who is going to lose a spot to him on the roster?  Keep in mind you would be without him for 5 games because of suspension.

At quarterback, you have Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch already competing for a roster spot.  If you are going to bring in Pryor to be the third QB, which two are you cutting to fit him on the roster? 

If you are eyeing him as a running back that would certainly mean the end of Jonathan Dwyer's time as a Steeler. 

How about wide receiver where the Steelers are already facing some tough cuts.  You already have a strong receiving corps with Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, and Jerricho Cotchery, plus Arnaz Battle and Tyler Grisham competing for a spot. 

The Steelers don't just throw away picks, so they'd have to be sure of what they are getting. 

I'll admit I am curious to see what kind of role he can fill in the NFL, but there's a lot of baggage that comes with him.  Tales of his arrogance, and how he may or may not be a team player don't make me very easy as a fan of the black and gold.

I've learned not to doubt the moves that Kevin Colbert makes in his attempts to make this team a Super Bowl contender, and if he thinks Pryor can help the team, then he is probably right.

I just hope if the move is made, that the price was worth it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome to the Steelers Jerricho Cotchery

The Steelers announced the addition of Jerricho Cotchery to the roster today.  Cotchery is a seven year NFL veteran who immediately becomes the tallest wide receiver on the team. 

Cotchery had stated his desire to land in the best situation for him, which many assumed would mean the chance to start.  He turned down the chance to play in Baltimore, instead opting for the Steelers.

Many assume he will be the fourth/fifth option on this team behind Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, and Emmanuel Sanders/Antonio Brown.  Why would he pick the Steelers over the Ravens?

I think the answer lies in who is throwing the passes.  For all the hype about Joe Flacco, I don't think he is anywhere near as strong of a leader as Ben Roethlisberger.  Perhaps Cotchery knows more about the injury situation than many of us do.  There are questions about Sanders and Ward and their respective injuries. 

Regardless, I like the signing as I am fairly certain Cotchery will come with a much lower price tag than Plaxico Burress, Braylon Edwards, Randy Moss, or Derrick Mason.

This fills a need at a value price, exactly the kind of signing the Steelers are known for.

Who knows...the Steelers sure hit it big when they signed another former Jet, James Farrior.

More importantly, what does this mean for the future of Limas Sweed, Tyler Grisham and Arnaz Battle?  Grisham has been getting some good reps in practice, and high praise from Roethlisberger, but that only goes so far.  Sweed was always the guy with huge potential but suffers from a severe lack of focus.  Battle of course is a special teams standout, but that's usually code word for "Not good enough otherwise."

It'll be interesting to see how this battle develops.

Baron Batch Has A Torn ACL: Done For The Season

A promising rookie season for Baron Batch is over before it began.

Batch had posted on his blog just yesterday how excited he was to be playing in his first NFL game.  Unfortunately he injured his knee when trying to make a cut in practice today.

Ben Roethlisberger was quick to point out that this is a major reason why the players do not want field turf at Heinz Field.  Batch was not touched by anyone on the play, his knee just twisted the wrong way and unfortunately for him, it's a season-ender.

I've been hearing nothing but good reports on how well this kid was performing and I was anxiously awaiting the chance to see him in action.  It will have to wait for one more year. 

I want to give him major props, as he posted another blog post tonight about his faith and how he will fight to be back next year.  Many people might not have the courage to post that just hours after a cruel twist of fate.

The loss of Batch could put the Steelers in the hunt for another running back for depth, or it could be a lucky break for Jonathan Dwyer. 

Stay tuned to see what else develops.

Monday, August 8, 2011

High Octane Football, Low Octane Twitter.

Coach Todd Graham announced today that he was placing a ban on his players using their Twitter accounts during the season. 


Most of what players post is gibberish anyways, so I don't really see why anyone should be upset about this move.  It also keeps the players more focused on the task at hand, which is to win the Big East championship.

Maybe if some of the players were more focused on the task at hand last year, this team could have won a weak Big East Conference and secured a BCS bid. 

You have to do the small things first.  Every detail matters and that's why I like Coach Graham.

I'll admit I've not been a big supporter of Pitt in the past mostly because I am more of a Penn State fan, and several of my Pitt fan friends talk so much crap about how much better their team is and then I just laugh when they fall flat on their faces.

Coach Wannstadt lost control of this team last year, despite what some of the players wanted to tell you on Facebook and Twitter.  There was no discipline, and worst of all there was no proper coaching.  Wannstache couldn't outcoach a Youth league head coach.

Once again, hats off to Coach Graham for putting the kabosh on Twitter and leaving the relay of sports information to the team.

Another step in the right direction for this program.

Lonnell DeWalt Shafted in AFL Ironman Awards Process

The definition of Ironman in AFL football used to mean a guy who played on both offense and defense.  These days the award is given to the league's best kick returner.

Lonnell DeWalt finished the season with 52 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense to go along with his 45 catches for 489 yards and 21 TD's.  It wasn't enough to qualify him as one of the top five "Ironmen" in the league.

The only defensive member of the All-Ironman team as announced by the league was Orlando's Marlon Moye-Moore who had a whopping 6 touches on offense for 4 scores.  His damage came on defense where he had 73 tackles and seven interceptions.    All other candidates won because of their prowess on offense and special teams.  Not defense...

DeWalt was a midseason switch to defense, and his play at the jack linebacker position was key for some of Pittsburgh's biggest wins during the season.  He should have been on the All-Ironman team at the very least, and to be honest he should have won the JLS Ironman Award hands down.

Don't get me wrong, P.J. Berry is a dynamic player, and should be in the running for awards like Nifty Playmaker of the Year, if there is such an award.  Leave the Ironman Awards to people who legitimately play both ways.

Diehard Arena fans will agree with me on this.  The award is a joke anymore.  Restore it to its original status and reward players who truly play both sides of the ball. 

What a joke!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summing Up The Pirates' Homestand

This should sum up the level of play we saw from our Pittsburgh Pirates as they wrapped up an 0-7 homestand against the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres.  In the 124 year history of this team they've never had this bad of a homestand. 

To steal from the NHL commercials, "History Will Be Made."  Not exactly the history we want to see though.

Derrek Lee is bashing the Pirates on Twitter.  Here's some of his tweets this week.  "The are going down faster than Carlos Zambrano's wife. Abandon ship! ", and "I'm covered in KFC grease and shame. Should have gotten a live chicken. This f'ing sucks. "

That should teach me to get my hopes up again.  I'll just wait for the Penguins, Steelers, and Power to bring respectability back to the city of Pittsburgh.

I think it is entirely possible Neal Huntington just waited too long to pull the trigger on a deal to improve the club.  I also think he underestimated how taking players who hustle like Josh harrison and Chase d'Arnaud out of the lineup would impact the team. 

Instead we got Pedro Alvarez and Steve Pearce called up and flailing away at pitches.  The pitching staff has imploded, and to be honest, there's no real end in sight to this 10 game losing streak.

The dream is officially dead. This team has given up and I seriously doubt they can even rebound to finish .500 on the season.
I bought the hype, I honestly believed this was going to be a magical season and, at the very WORST, the streak of losing seasons was going to be over.

I almost wish they had just stunk from the beginning like they were supposed to.  Then at least the Pirates could have entertained the thought of trading off some players to continue adding to the core.  It would have been best for the long term future of this team.

Don't even try to convince me this team still has a chance to win the NL Central, because that just isn't happening.

Oh well, time to turn my attention to football.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Worst Loss Of The Year For The Pirates?

93.7 The Fan's Chris Mueller (@937LateShift) just tweeted "Worst loss of the year for the Pirates? I'm willing to say it. ".

I am inclined to agree with him.  Here is why.

This team has been in a funk overall since Jerry Meals botched the call to end that 19 inning affair in Atlanta.  What is it with awful losses in Atlanta putting this team into losing streaks anyways?  Back in 1992 it was the Sid Bream game, and now in 2011, history repeats itself.

Tonight was yet another chance to get back to winning baseball against a Cubs team with nothing left to play for.  You had seven freaking shutout innings from Charlie Morton who has been awful for the past few starts.  Surely this was the night to end it all.  I mean, the offense has been producing a bit more, surely they could eke out a few runs right?


Instead, the Pirates start off their half of the 9th inning with Derrek Lee getting hit by a pitch.  Waste an out to move him over and then Pedro Alvarez and pinch hitter Ryan Doumit both strike out to end the game. 

This loss also puts the Pirates under .500 again, and while I am trying to remain positive, you really do have to wonder if they have lost their mental edge because of that blown call.  That's inexcusable mind you, but partially understandable with such a young team.

Hopefully Clint Hurdle gets the men gathered up and lights a fire under their ass.  It's probably too late at this point, but one never knows.  Hurdle took a Rockies team in virtually the same position and rattled off 21 wins out of 22 games and took his team to the World Series.  Stranger things have happened.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Beginning Of The End?

You had to wonder how long the Pirates could continue to play at the level they were going heading into the All-Star break.

This last week's stretch against St. Louis, Atlanta, and Philly really showed how bad the offense was, even though the pitching looked very respectable for the most part.  The bottom line though is contending for a division title and this current four game losing streak, combined with a seven game winning streak for Milwaukee, is putting a lot of distance in between the two clubs.

Derrek Lee tweeted before the game that he would go 4 for 4, and hit two HR's off Carlos Zambrano.  He was half right on his batting stats, but he did indeed hit two bombs to give the Pirates some offense.  Unfortunately the rest of the team was not on board with the plan to pummel Zambrano.

I'm just as hopeful as the next Pirate fan that they can get things turned around, but you can't be losing to the Cubs if you want to contend for the division.  Milwaukee just smoked these guys, and it is clear the Pirates need a spark.  Lee and Ludwick generated some offense tonight, which is why they were brought in, but the pitching was not enough.

Let's just hope the Buccos get back on track tomorrow, because they need to piece together a nice winning streak soon.