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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: No need to ‘look at the film’

HOUSTON – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column looks at the sorry Steelers and this crossroads they’ve reached.

>> Pet peeve of NFL locker rooms: Players are only too happy to discuss every minute detail of a victory. But when it’s a loss, especially one like this, the most common quote you hear is, “I need to look at the film,” or “We need to look at the film.”

No one needs to look at any film to know how the Steelers played in that game. It will highlight specific failings — a really long list, headed by that ridiculous 19-play opening drive — but it won’t illuminate anything in the general sense.

>> Sad is this sounds, I’m not so sure the Steelers aren’t better off for the long term if Ben Roethlisberger sits out this week, even if his injured ankle improves. The man looks like he could get carried off the field on a stretcher on any given play.

>> I swear, people here — around the stadium, around my hotel — are acting like they won the Super Bowl. It was the fourth game of the season, according to my schedule.

>> The Lions are awesome.

>> Try to picture the scene in Major League Baseball’s offices when someone looked through all their umpire evaluations for 2011 and decided — on merit — that Jerry Meals should work the playoffs.

Good for MLB and Meals that both were embarrassed by his work last night in Philadelphia.

Sure, it was one play out of thousands that an umpire makes in a year. But it was one of the top two or three most controversial calls anywhere all summer, certainly one of the very, very few that drew a public statement acknowledging the mistake. It wasn’t just that it was a bad call. It wasn’t just that it came in a 19-inning setting where umpires are as tired as anyone and can be tempted to end games to end their worknights. It’s that he was lazy in being out of position for that call.

>> If you missed our outstanding look into the new Evgeni Malkin yesterday by Rob Rossi, you made a mistake that still can be correct. You’ll want this knowledge as you head into Thursday, trust me.

>> I’ll be flying back home in the afternoon, but I will make my weekly appearance on the online-only TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m. your time.


  1. radio wave says:

    Yes I’m sure that the city of Houston overreacted to the win.
    The local media claims this win as a confidence builder.

  2. Turner Ward says:

    Fitting that the Houston folks are acting like they just won the Super Bowl. Ask the locals here and you’d think we just lost it.

  3. leefoo says:

    Personally, I think we all need to move on from the Jerry Meals ‘thing’. Let it go. For 19 innings the Pirates had a chance to win with a hit here or a pitch there. Repeat after me” “Umpires (and referees) DO NOT lose games, players do”.



    Calling the Steelers offensive line offensive is being too kind. Bring Starks and Flozell back. Or see if Marvell has anything left.
    They are horrible.


  4. leefoo says:

    Turner——-good comment!

    :) :)

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s Fog on the Tyne Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

  6. JAL says:


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Mercer And Team USA Ready To Begin World Cup/Pan Am Tournament

    Team USA And Japan Rained Out

    5 McEffect

    Pirates 2011 Final Offensive & Starting Pitching Statistics

  7. JAL says:


    10 USA Today

    Will Major League Baseball toss tobacco?

    11 York Dispatch

    WALK: Revs’ Harrison becomes postseason hero

    12 Patriot News

    Going Deep: Explaining Major League Baseball’s Rule 5 draft

    13 Wall Street Journal

    What Kind of Baseball Fan Are You?

  8. JAL says:

    14 Detroit Free Press

    Michael Rosenberg: Tigers hold off Yankee comeback to even series

    Easy, Papa Grande! Valverde says Tigers series is over (kinda)

    15 Philadelphia Daily News

    Patience is the key for Howard

    16 Milwaukee Journal

    Offense picks up slack when Greinke struggles

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Buyer’s Remorse? Steelers Getting Next to Nothing Out of High-Priced LaMarr Woodley

    Ben Roethlsiberger Injures Left Foot, In Walking Boot After Steelers 17-10 Loss to Texans

    -Steeler Depot

    More Steelers Texans Obversations

    -Steelers Gab

    Foster and the Texans Ground Game Chew Up Steelers in 17-10 Loss in Houston

  10. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Gold and Blue Blog

    Andrew White Visits Morgantown This Weekend

    WV Illustrated

    Big East Presidents Vote to Expand



    Can’t Win ‘Em All: Penguins Lose to Red Wings, 3-2

  11. Dan says:

    Well, Ben wanted weapons and targets. The Steelers have plenty of them at the expense of the o-line. It’s ironic is all I’m saying.

  12. TheSaltyRogue says:

    So how should Texans fan react, DK? They’re 3-1, their longtime divisional nemesis is a garbage fire, their one loss was a shootout on the road to a NFC favorite and they just physically dominated a supposed favorite in the AFC and signature franchises in the game.

    Yeah, nothing to be excited about down there.

  13. Bucco_Jax says:

    Just like Indy last week, the Steelers lost this game. Last week though, Indy just gave it away. This week the Texans, should have ran away with it, and would have had that stupid penalty not been committed. Seriously?! blocking the punter…who is not even close to catching your man…stupid play…

    The season may not be “over” at this point, but they must realize that this team could (and possibly should) be a 1-3 team. And despite the “easy” schedule, we’ve been hearing about the fact remains that they will likely lose at least one more game to someone they shouldn’t, if something is not changed.

    I am a firm believer that Ben give the Steelers their best chance to win, and that continuing to subject him to the punishment this line is allowing is asking to cut his career short. He’s prone to concussions and injuries, and putting a line in front of him that couldn’t catch a cold, isn’t going to keep your franchise QB in the game. Batch isn’t gong to win games for you, neither is Dixon.

    On top of this…

    The next few weeks have them up against some of the more dangerous RBs, CJ2K next week, and MJD (perhaps to a lesser degree) the week after. Then consider Rice again, Hillis twice, and Benson twice throughout the season. That’s 7 games remaining against highly effective RBs, who they couldn’t stop right now. If any of teams decide to commit to the run, see Ravens/Texans, and if the Steelers don’t make huge improvements this next few weeks, it could be a very long season.

  14. aglebagel says:

    “I swear, people here — around the stadium, around my hotel — are acting like they won the Super Bowl. It was the fourth game of the season, according to my schedule.”

    Kinda like we reacted to the McKenry home run as if it won the World Series?

  15. aglebagel says:

    In general, I’ve agreed with the idea that, based on the Steelers’ continued success, we’ve had no right to criticize personnel moves, but I just can’t help it here. We’ve been screaming for years for the Steelers to address the O-line and D-line early in the draft, and although they’ve started to do that these last couple years, it has come one year too late for this team. In 2008, we were all stunned that the Steelers went Running Back, Wide Receiver in the first two rounds, citing “best player available” instead of addressing obvious need, but in this particular case, it appears that the fans were definitively correct. Mendenhall is usually a good running back, but he was a total waste of a First-round pick, playing a position that routinely produces stars in the late rounds and beyond. That draft looms large today.

  16. Milo Hamilton says:

    Is there anyone worse at coaches challenges than Mike Tomlin ? This may be a small problem in the grand scheme of things but is could have been a game decider yesterday.

    After the Steelers had tied the game at 10, Houston faced a 3rd & 6 at their own 19. Matt Schaub completed a 9 yard pass to Owen Daniels for a 1st down, or was it ? Looked like a trap to me. The Steelers had only one time out left which means only 1 challenge. But you have to take a look at that one. If it’s ruled incomplete, it’s a three & out and Houston must punt with 13:29 left in a tie game.

    Now I know that doesn’t guarantee a victory, or even a score. But the Steelers have to examine whatever their procedure is on challenges. It’s lacking.

  17. Naterosboro says:

    At least they still don’t call holding (his arm is across Harrison’s chest!)

  18. DMac says:

    Fantastic piece on Malkin!

    I follow him on Twitter and appreciate his effort to connect with the fans. And being a language major, I love the Russian posts as much as the English — it gives me a chance to practice.

    I actually got to see yesterday’s game — since I live in Nebraska, that’s a big deal if it’s not a National game — and Ben is going to get seriously injured if some sort of o-line upgrade isn’t forth-coming. Yeah, he threw a couple of picks, but cripes! I think he’s lucky all he may have had yesterday was a broken foot. I think the scarier thing was the way Houston ran all over the Defense in the first half.

    lee foo…while I agree with you to a certain extent on that 19-inning game, THAT game was taken away by that call. The pitching for both teams up to that point held the other’s offense in check. And Meals’ zone was awful last night, especially in the beginning. I’m neither a Cardinals nor Phillies fan, but even I thought Philly had a separate zone.

  19. Woomer says:

    Hey Leefoo.

    I’m not disagreeing that the Steelers need serious improvement in their OT performances. But I think your statement “Bring Starks and Flozell back. Or see if Marvell has anything left.” is a bit presumptuous.

    I mean…the Steelers front office and coaching staff wants (and needs) to help the team win more than anyone else does (you and me included)…it’s their job.
    They have seen Max, Flozell and even Marvel more recently and more thoroughly than you or I have.
    They are infinitely more qualified to judge whether these guys can help the team than I am (and I’m guessing than you are too).
    If the Steelers don’t give these guys a 2nd look with all their knowledge and motivation, then I don’t think you (or I) have the necessary knowledge or even insight to suggest otherwise.

    In other words, let them do the job they’re hired and qualified to do; while you and I do whatever our jobs are without making un-informed suggestions as to how they should do their jobs.

  20. leefoo says:

    Woomer……….what is the fun in that? It is a fan’s right to criticize.

    Or, is your post entirely sarcastic?

    DMac…….You totally missed the point……both the Bucs and Braves had several chances to end that game before the 19th inn.

  21. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    DK, thank you for the Steelers article. It seems as though usually people want to kiss the butts of the Steelers front office, coaches, players, etc. but you let it all hang out and were spot on……as usual.

    I was worried about this Steelers team all offseason and didnt find the Ravens game to be a fluke. I know its easier said now that I called this mess of a team right now, but I kind of did.

    The good side, the schedule is in favor of a Steelers rebound, the down side, EVERYBODY else is now, even more so than usual, out to get the Steelers.

    So, HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO! Hopefully, not to Ben’s funeral.

  22. Woomer says:

    leefoo….no, I was serious. But you’re obviously using this blog just to have fun. And far be it from me to deprive you of that privilege!

    So from now on, I won’t take your posts so seriously. I’ll just assume you’re posting to have “fun” :)

  23. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Woomer-isn’t that the whole point of these things?

  24. Woomer says:

    Ryan….I guess you’re right. But personally, I’d be a little embarrassed to post a statement for public consumption that I didn’t have a least a little confidence in…based on some hands-on background knowledge. But I guess that’s just me :)

  25. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Eh, according to everyone’s opinion, they are right, so that would be their confidence builder.

  26. JAL says:

    Roethlisberger has a sprain but no report on Sunday status though some say unlikely he will play. Amazing not something worse with O-Line problems.

  27. @suckmeter says:

    Allow me to summarize James Harrison’s thoughts: they suck..except for Sepulvida and Wallace.

  28. JAL says:

    Mister Meter

    Guess you missed watching Isaac Redman yesterday.

  29. Peabo says:

    I hear all the chatter about Aaron Smith being too old and too slow. But the Steelers 3-4 defense has always been built around its linebackers, not its linemen. From my perspective, the Steeler who has become the oldest and the slowest is James Farrior. Has he done anything in any game this year? And boy, doesn’t Woodley look like a steal right now!

  30. CWalton_67 says:

    Mike Tomlin needs to start taking some heat. He talks a great game, but I’ve never seen him coach one.

  31. aglebagel says:


    Seriously? A man who has taken his team to two Super Bowls, and you’ve never seen him coach a great game??? You have taken “what have you done for me lately?” to a whole new ridiculous level.

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