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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Time for Steelers’ real schedule

PHOENIX – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Seems like week after week, as the Steelers have won games, they’ve been accompanied by the obligatory disclaimers: Yeah, but the Seahawks/Colts/Jaguars/Cardinals stink.

Well, that ends now with a double-bang: New England and Baltimore are next.

Might be overly simplistic to suggest we’ll know everything we need to know about the Steelers after these two games, but it also might be accurate. The most encouraging aspect of the win against the Cardinals, I thought, was Ben Roethlisberger’s broad distribution of the ball on offense. That will be important, especially against Baltimore. But the key against both opponents will be defense, and a lot of the things we’ve seen work in recent weeks … sorry, but I have a hard time imagining the Patriots and Ravens letting Tom Brady and Joe Flacco get rushed unblocked.

That happened twice in Arizona, once for Lawrence Timmons to force an interception, again for LaMarr Woodley to force that safety.

>> The Penguins are on Long Island tonight, which was supposed to be some huge deal after that Feb. 11 fiasco, but now seems like just another game.

Now, if Trevor Gillies and the other random band of thugs suddenly show up …

>> Unsung performer of the young season has to be Richard Park, who was seen as an either-or with Joe Vitale all through camp but has carved his own niche not only with the expected penalty-killing but now also by manning a power-play point of all things.

Good for him, bad for Mark Letestu.

>> The battery died in my rental car Sunday in the Cardinals’ parking lot. I saw a group of people wearing Steelers garb across the way and asked if they had jumper cables.

They said they didn’t.

I mentioned that was most unfortunate because I had a flight to catch back to Pittsburgh.

Guy said, “Hang on,” then finds a set of jumpers within about, oh, three seconds. He walks over to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “Anything for a brother.”

OK, thanks.


  1. aglebagel says:

    Hmm, not sure what to think about Guy…
    He may be a member of Steeler Nation, but he doesn’t feel like a true Pittsburgher.
    Or am I just being overly idealistic as I strive to live here in Manhattan without becoming one of “them?”

  2. pgherinfl says:

    Well well well, looks like Baltimore lost 12 to 7. Makes for an interesting development as we await New England. If we can make it past them, the Ravens may be ripe for the picking.
    Guy wasn’t going to help you until he found out you were a Pittsburgh guy. Hmm, maybe being from Pittsburgh is a good thing.
    Everyone have a great day!!!

  3. JAL says:

    JAL’s Inka Dinka Do Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

  4. JAL says:

    9 Dallas Morning News

    Mike Napoli’s big hit has Rangers on brink of first World Series title

    10 Fort Worth Star Telegram

    Napoli’s double puts Rangers on brink of title

    La Russa’s moves backfire while Wash comes up big

    Fate and Napoli line up perfectly for Rangers

    Mac Engel: Rangers should be clinching their World Series title at the Ballpark

    11 Albany Times Union

    A hometown double play

  5. Jandy says:

    DK, great of you to point that out about Park. He’s filling different roles, something that is a good thing on DB’s team.

    Thanks for the laugh about “Guy”: =)

  6. Dan says:

    We won’t know everything about the Steelers because this is still mid-season. Remember in 2005/2006, the Colts wasted the Steelers mid-season. Then we went on a run that lasted right through the SB. And if we meet either team again in the postseason, we will hopefully have Harrison back… Against the Pats, their D has regressed and no Banta-Cain so Ben could have a big day. Will be interesting to watch our O against Baltimore. Starks has been great, but Suggs is really an animal.

    Richard Park has played great. But really the whole Pens team. That we are a playoff team even (mostly) without two of the NHL’s best players is scary for the rest of the league and awesome for us fans.

    Give “Guy” a break. I’ve gone to plenty of visiting stadiums decked out in Pittsburgh garb and, even when there are 10k of us and we win, you get plenty of testy comments. I would imagine it is somewhat different in the press box. So not feeling like the good samaritan afterwards is somewhat understandable.

  7. Park is a prototypical Byslma forward: he’s tenacious, dedicated, and plays within his limitations. Not to mention, he’s got the composure and savvy of someone who’s spent a lot of time in the league. There was no question he would be a good fit.

    That he’s risen to such a prominent role is a bit of a surprise, but then again so is Malkin still missing time over his knee. I don’t necessarily think that Letestu has done anything different this season, but his game just doesn’t match up against top-line opponents well. He’s not effective as a scoring line center. Park, on the other hand, makes up for his modest offensive tools with sheer determination (and a liberal application of outright strength). That’s the real difference in the two thus far.

    I think Letestu is a valuable depth player within the organization considering the overwhelming injuries the Pens seem to be hit with, but his game is much better suited to WBS than Pittsburgh.

  8. aglebagel says:


    Good point about “Guy.” Context can be everything.

  9. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Not to cover up for guy, but, there are a lot of whack-jobs out there in the world. Just look at the Giants/Dodgers attack in the parking lot.

    The guy was just worried that DK was going to jump him, until he mentioned the flight to Pittsburgh, figured out that he 1. wasn’t going to hurt anybody, 2. actually needed the help.

    Never can be too cautious today, unfortunetly.

  10. AJS says:

    I agree with what is being said about “guy.” Can’t be too cautious. But unfortunately what does that say about the state of the world when you can’t go to a sporting event, which is totally meant to be fun and entertaining and not to be taken so seriously, and feel safe enough to be a good summeritain?

  11. TS says:

    The Steelers need to take a page or 20 from the Jags on how to shred the Ravens O-line and smacking Joe Flacco in the teeth.

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