Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> This clearly is going to be the year where Jamie Dixon’s teaching will be put to the test like no other. Pitt has looked sloppy all over the floor through the non-conference schedule, committing turnovers and defensive lapses. In the past, the Panthers have improved, but this team is younger than most. And those returning, notably Ashton Gibbs, are good but hardly great defensive players.
Thing is, practice is over. First Big East game is tonight at Notre Dame at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. And anyone who’s seen Pitt-Irish the past couple years knows that the Irish can be as patient — and boring — as any opponent they face. Pitt’s sloppiness could play right into their hands.
>> Our Josh Yohe writes about Sidney Crosby’s absence this morning. Let me clarify one common misconception that keeps coming up, surprisingly: The Penguins never said Crosby would miss two games and return. They said he’d at least miss those two games but return when ready. You can Google that.
There was no further word on Crosby yesterday, and none is expected in advance of tonight’s faceoff with the visiting Hurricanes.
The question that I have is this: Isn’t anyone worried about Kris Letang?
I can tell you this much: I’ve heard a good bit more about Crosby than I have about Letang, and Letang is an integral part of this franchise’s future.
>> Sports records almost always are subject to some kind of controversy, but I have a really hard time digesting the complaints I was hearing and reading last night that Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s single-season passing record.
In 1984, there was an average of 220 passing yards per game. Now, it’s 240. Big deal. Marino set his figure in six fewer attempts than Brees. Big deal.
Bottom line: Sports change, but numbers aren’t adjusted as we go. Brees earned this record fair and square. The only asterisks I favor are for cheaters.
>> The Pirates still have money to spend, and I’ve heard that top priority is another starting pitcher.
>> Been a couple of quiet days in SteelerLand, with no media access, but that will change a little today with Mike Tomlin’s news conference. I am curious as to your thoughts on this: How do you feel about his handling of the media when you watch these things?
I’ll wait to hear what you have to say before sharing my own.