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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Moneyball would have saved Ike

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Wednesday column is about the Steelers’ need for more takeaways. Those might have looked optional to this point in the season, but history shows that’s about to end.

>> No Ike Taylor in the Pro Bowl?

What the NFL needs is for a few more of those baseball stats-geek types to cross over and inundate the sport with information. If that had already been the case, no one would be measuring defensive backs by criteria as arbitrary and small-sampled as interceptions when they should be looking at how often that player is targeted and how often he prevents a completion.

Nothing matters more at the position, as any coach would concur.

According to Football Outsiders, Taylor has been targeted 72 teams and has prevented 70 percent of passes from being complete. That’s third-best in the NFL.

It’s an absurd oversight, really is.

>> Kudos to the five who made it, anyway.

>> In a world without professional journalists answering to professional editors and operating without professional travel budgets, this lone Associated Press article on the team’s official site is what fans of the Hurricanes would read this morning about their team’s game last night in Pittsburgh.

Not one reporter from Raleigh made the trip, according to local AP man Chris Adamski. The only two reporters in the visitors’ locker room were from Pittsburgh.

That’s not a knock on the AP article at all. It’s pointing out that the local element is completely lost.

If a player in the locker room wants to mouth off about the coach to a familiar reporter, he can’t do it. News is lost. If a team meeting is held, you might not read about it. And if anything remotely negative occurred, do you think they’d let the AP report stand on the team’s official site without being deleted?

I could go on, but I’d imagine you get the point.

>> It’s very early, and Jamie Dixon has a history of making his teams better in-season. But man, watching that loss at Notre Dame last night couldn’t have been a confidence builder for anyone involved.

What exactly is this Pitt team’s strength?

If it’s Ashton Gibb’s shooting, then I’d strongly suggesting lifting all these new layers off his game and letting him simply shoot again.

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