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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Answer the questions, Penguins

DENVER – Some sporting thoughts from a mile high …

>> My Monday column eulogizes the Steelers. I’ll let it stand on its own.

>> This has nothing to do with anything, but am I the only one put off by Maurkice Pouncey aggressively peddling — through Twitter and Facebook — T-shirts commemorating his Pro Bowl selection while his team was, you know, fighting for its life without him?

He even did it within an hour of the conclusion of the game last night, including a racial slur as part of one of his tweets. More than a few tweeters called him out on it, and he came back viciously and vulgarly.

Take a look for yourself.

If he was hacked, he might want to clear that up quickly.

>> It’s well past time that the Penguins drop this ludicrous policy of not discussing the statuses of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and anyone else with a concussion. These aren’t secrets that present any competitive advantage — all other 29 NHL teams know — and it wouldn’t take much to simply give regular updates on symptoms, level of exercise and the like.

Not asking for definitive timetables.

Certainly not calling for anyone to be rushed back.

But answers are imperative and, yes, deserved by the fans and especially by the players in the locker room. They don’t sound as if they know much more than anyone else. This team is experiencing an astounding, unprecedented rash of injury with Jordan Staal, James Neal and Craig Adams now out. They need to know what they have and how best to move forward.

>> If Crosby is actually fine, the Penguins should let that be known, too.

>> Oh, if only Tino Sunseri’s snaps Saturday were his last in a Pitt uniform.

There is much to loath about Todd Graham’s tenure with the Panthers, but his criticism of Sunseri isn’t one of them. If you listened to his interviews consistently, you’ll hear that he actually bit his tongue about Sunseri, contrary to the now-popular myth that he threw Sunseri under the bus.

Another coach might have actually gotten behind the wheel of that bus.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

>> Bill O’Brien might someday provide inspiration for Penn State and its football program, but it won’t be through his oration. If you’re scoring introductory news conferences, I’ll give Paul Chryst an 8, O’Brien a 5.

>> Flying home today, then off to Boston later in the week.

Oh, wait …


  1. Steve says:


    Thanks for taking the time out to “tweet” with tonight. Even though we disagreed it was nice to see someone of stature talking with the masses.

    As far as the Steelers’ game on the whole a few things stick out to me.

    1. I think Tebow burned the Steelers defensive game plan. The 8-9 in the box with strictly man to man from our corners was lit up.
    It is fair to say Ike was burnt on several plays, however at least 2 big plays were double moves and there was absolutely no heat on Tebow the entire game.
    The D line/LB’s played reactive instead dictating because they were so concerned with the run (gap control, etc).
    As far as this scheme, do you know if this was the first time all season they used it as their primary base. That’s alot to ask of your corners who always play in a zone based D.

    2. WR’s had a 6-7 drops…Big ones from Cotchery and Wallace.

    3. Legursky’s bad snap that cost the Steelers a FG opportunity.

    4. How come Ben looked so much more mobile in the 2nd half as compared to the 1st when he wouldn’t dare venture out of the pocket?

    5. Personally I think if the LeBeau/Tomlin had to do it over again they would have just stuck with their base zone D, and made the Broncos run it down their throat. They bet Tebow couldn’t beat them with his arm, and they lost.

    Thanks for all your coverage Dejan.

    Steve Glenn

    DK: First off, welcome, Steve. We still have any straitjackets lying around?

    There was, indeed, a ton that went into the loss, way more than anyone could fit into a solitary column. I’m with you on the drops being big, in particular. Everyone will focus on the defense — Taylor, in particular — but the fact is the Steelers had no business struggling against that defense. Big talent disparity there.

  2. Spamrahan says:

    I’m sorry but just because an athlete is on twitter, doesn’t mean he has to exclusively tweet about football. It’s not like he was doing it during the game either.

  3. Patrick Neville says:

    I was just amazed by the lack of adjustments. It seemed like we kept getting beat on the same play. If I wanted to see that, I’d watch yet another team run the length of the floor to beat Pitt in the final seconds. It was all just very disappointing.

  4. DarkAudit says:

    A “professional” should act like a man instead of a child when called out for unseemly behavior. Pouncey embarrassed himself and the organization tonight.

  5. Casey says:

    I just completely lost respect for Pouncey after reading his Twitter feed tonight. I always thought he was classy. I’m obviously wrong.

  6. Leah Backus says:

    I don’t demand exact answers re: Crosby and Letang. What I would appreciate, as a fan, is some statement along the lines of “we are going to do everything in our power to remain competitive for the rest of the season.” All that’s come out of Ray Shero’s office so far has been a commitment to resigning Crosby which, while admirable, does’t address the immediate needs of this team. Obviously, I don’t expect him to tip his hand regarding a trade, but *some* statement from *somebody* acknowledging the frustration everyone’s feeling and getting on with doing something about it would go a long way.

    And yes, if the players aren’t being told what the heck is going on, they need to be. It’s massive mismanagement to expect them to endure such lingering uncertainly (for more than a year) and still continue to perform at peak condition.

    I’d also like to point out that it’s really annoying that Rob Rossi, who hasn’t written a word about the Pens in weeks, was all over Twitter being the voice of doom last night. Is he actually basing that on something, or just speculating like every other sportswriter (except you and Josh) in Pittsburgh.

    Finally, Pittsburgh fans need to calm down and quit acting like such spoiled rotten babies. As my husband is wont to point out (loudly and often), if we think we have it rough, try being a Maple Leafs fan for the last 35 years, as he has.

    OK. I’m done ranting.


    p.s. OH! Thanks to you, mister, I actually watched 15 minutes of football today. The apocalypse can begin now.

  7. SD says:

    Dejan – do you really think Sid is actually fine and is just sitting it out? For what purpose? Just curious why you threw that thought out there.

    I do agree that the Pens need to do a better job of letting us know what’s going on. With all the injuries right now, I think people would like some facts so we know where this team stands. Not speculation or sugar coating – just what the status is of Letang and Crosby. I’m not sure why it’s a big secret unless Sid is worse off than we think and they want to continue to sell tickets and merchandise to the fans who hope he’ll be back?

    DK: It was stated as a hypothetical. That’s how I intended it.

    As to your second point, tickets and merchandise and other things have far less to do with it than the Crosby camp. But that doesn’t mean the Penguins can’t answer questions.

  8. Sarcastic Sword says:

    I’d love to know why LeBeau had the defense in a cover zero on many snaps ( no free safety deep)…They didnt need 9 guys in the box to stop that running game. During the Broncos 3 game losing streak entering the playoffs (vs Pats, Bills, Chiefs), they played press coverage with a safety over the top…Why coaches need to re-invent the game with new schemes is beyond me. The big plays by Tebow and Thomas took advantage of a DB alone on an island, no pressure by the DL most dropbacks ….Time to retire Coach LeBeau, you’ve had a great career, need someone else to lead this defense.

    Im not forgetting about the offense’s failure to get TD’s instead of FG’s on first two drives….But the lousy scheme (cover zero) makes no sense whatsoever…

    Watch Denver/Pats next weekend….Tell me how many times Pats are in cover zero and I bet its lets than 1…..

    DK: Our Mark Kaboly, who watches football video endlessly, counted up that the Broncos ran a running play on 21 of 22 first downs in regulation. That makes the Broncos’ play-action in OT a fantastic call.

  9. Bill says:

    I’m actually embarrassed today to be a Steelers fan and it has little to do with the on-field play. Looking at the twitter lines of Pouncey and Gilbert turns my stomach. Wallace mocking the Denver fans, the words he yelled caught on national television. It just doesn’t seem like a Rooney team right now. I’ve got no respect for any of the three of them at the moment and I have a hard time believing that it starts and ends with just them. Maybe it’s a culture, I don’t know, but when I see Steelers players calling out Steelers fans like that and the total lack of respect it conveys it is a sad day indeed. I’m sure most people who took offense to what was said or done tonight have been Steelers fans since Pouncey and Gilbert were in diapers, if not longer. Gentlemen, you wear the black and gold, now act like you are worthy of it.

  10. Mike says:

    Was Maurkice Pouncey’s Twitter hacked by grammar-school punks? I always thought him to be a classy, high-character guy. Those tweets were the words of an immature, entitled thug and the Steelers organization should be embarrassed if those were his own words. Humility anyone?

  11. Ryan76 says:

    DK – Cory Giger from Altoona Mirror seemed very impressed by O’Brien. He also mentioned everyone he spoke with felt the same. Interesting to now read your take.

    I actually sent a tweet to Pouncey about an hour ago. I basically said I hoped his account had been hacked. If not, he’s got a shockingly bush league attitude and lost me as a fan…not that he’d likely care seemingly.

    I couldn’t even imagine the scrutiny those players must go through. But, on Twitter, and most social media sites, you have the choice whether to respond to someone or not. If him and Gilbert are so upset by certain tweets, they should just ignore them. Their behavior was deplorable.

    DK: Go with Cory over me, by all means. He was there. I was in Denver looking at video clips. There can be a huge difference there, trust me.

  12. Curt says:

    I will add my two sense as well on everything Steelers.
    How can we have the top rated defense and yet our corners seem mediocre to me at best. Ike Taylor was dominated by Thomas all night long.
    Part of me will still wonder if only Ryan Clark was playing last night what might of happened.
    I am stunned by Pouncey’s twitter feed as well. Always thought he was a class act as well, but we all have been wrong about him I guess.
    And finally I will be rooting for the Broncos and Tim Tebow this weekend against the Patriots, maybe the dream season will continue for them!

  13. Thundercrack says:

    And this from James Farrior: “They came out and made way more plays than we thought they were capable of making.”
    WOW! I really never thought that professionals would take their opponent so lightly, especially in a playoff game. It seems like all the injuries caught up to the Steelers…and too many players looked old.

    I fully expect Big Ben to come out and say that his ankle was much worse than anyone knew…and that several doctors advised that he have it amputated.

  14. JAL says:

    JAL’s I Had the Craziest Dream Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

    5 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

  15. JAL says:

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Winter League Playoffs 1/8 — Navarro’s First Homer

    Claude Ritchey Bio

    9 Rumbunter

    Can the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Emulate Tim Tebow Led Denver Broncos?

    10 McEffect

    Time To Focus

  16. JAL says:

    14 Allentown Morning Call

    Aging Phillies have their hands full,0,3599730.story

    15 Baseball Prospectus

    State of the Prospectus


    16 Fangraphs

    Bernie Williams, Post Season and the Hall of Fame

  17. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Broncos Beat Steelers On First Play of First New Rule Overtime

    -Steelers Depot

    Tomlin Post-Game Press Conference

    -Steelers Gab

    Failure in Denver; Steelers Lose Chance to Advance in Shocking 29-23 Loss to Broncos

  18. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    Pitt Blather

    Let’s Turn the Page

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    One Loss, Equals Two Wins

    Coliseum Flavor From WVU-Georgetown

    WV Illustrated

    WVU Preparing for UCONN on Short Rest

    Mountaineers Shaking Underdog, Upset Mentality



    Not Outshot but Still Outscored – Pens Lose to Devils 3-1

  19. JAL says:

    Before jumping on Pouncey lets find out if it really him. The tweets look very similar to ones Garrett Cole was supposedly posting but iy turned out Cole did not even have a twitter account.

  20. sarcastic sword says:

    DK – the play action-call in OT was a great call…My point is that 9 guys in the box was an unnecessary risk, considering that Denver was throwing the ball downfield and not with little swing passes.

    If you are defensing the scheme because of that first down tendency, I get that, but its a high-risk, high reward call and one that I would not have used in OT….Take away the “splash play” as Tomlin likes to call it and make Denver go 8-10 plays to win game…Dont hand it to them with that scheme.

  21. Jandy says:

    @ Thundercrack
    I fully expect Big Ben to come out and say that his ankle was much worse than anyone knew…and that several doctors advised that he have it amputated.


    Regarding the Steelers game…they Beat themselves. Two tries in the first half, and they come away with 3 field goals. Had they been touchdowns, Steelers would have won.

    Don’t blame it all on Ike. It was a team losing effort.

  22. JBGOBUCS says:

    Paul Chryst an 8? Hopefully you are speaking in terms of relativity after pretty much declaring him a mummy soon after his opening remarks.

    DK: Overall impression, not entertainment value.

  23. Pattonbb says:

    Ike Taylor just gave up another reception …..

    If Pouncey has half of a brain, he’s going to release a statement today describing how his twitter account was hacked last night. But I really doubt that was the case.

    I love Dick LeBeau, but this game plan seemed to reek of arrogance. It’s like they didn’t think Tebow could complete a pass against this #1 defense, so lets not even prepare for it.

    Thanks for the memories Hines, Big Hamp, Farrior, and Aaron Smith.

  24. fucentarmal says:

    Maurkice Pouncey’s twitter is his own property. If you wouldn’t think of telling him what part of town he should live in to be a real Steeler, or whether to rent/buy because he is a Steeler, or who he should date, or what he should drive, then you shouldn’t tell him, or think you have a right to complain about him saying whatever he wants on his twitter. You don’t have the right to complain about how he chooses to interact with you there, the glory of the platform is that everyone gets to own it, and use it in their own way for their own purposes.

    So the nattering nabobs can whine and cry but it really isn’t their business. However, one feature of twitter that makes it great is access to people like Dejan or Maurkice, in real time. They have as much right to ignore, respond, post, or not post as you do, and shape their interactions as you do. Get off the back of people who don’t interact the way you want them to, or think you somehow deserve, they obviously don’t see it that way.

    IFor me, i enjoy whatever interactions i have on mutually agreeable terms, and think it sucks whern nattering nabobs of steeler nation negativity act all entitled like they are owed something. it kills a good thing.

  25. Leefoo says:

    One of my pet peeves is when the media calls someone ‘religious’ proceeded by an “ultra’, ‘highly’ or some other such word.

    Religion is man’s way of trying to make himself good enough to go to Heaven. Ain’t happening. Like trying to swim to Hawaii from SF.

    As DK quoted, John 3:16 alludes to the fact that, it plainly states in the Bible that the only way to Heaven is to accept the Lord as your risen Savior. That’s where the “You must be born again” comes from. He is the way……..

    Man will NEVER be good enough to get to Heaven. Even Paul said “my good deeds are filthy rags (they mean nothing). We are ALL sinners.

    Just wanted to clear that up. For more on that, just ask Paul Maholm, Lance Berkman, Mike Logan, Tim Tebow, et al.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled Steeler Funeral Mass. :)


  26. Leefoo says:

    Just realized that the SEC, er ah BCS championship is being played tonight. So…….if Alabama wins, is there gonna be a best outta 3? Or do they give it to OK St?

    Not that I’ll be up to watch it……..



  27. Leefoo says:

    I thought O’Brien, given the circumstances, hit a ’10’ on the Foo scale.



  28. TheSaltyRogue says:

    DK – I don’t recall ever reading a “local media guy” with that take on a collegiate athlete. Your comments about Sunseri came across very fan-like to me – in other words, not very professional. Meh, maybe it’s just me.

    As a non Pitt or PSU fan the only thing I’ll say is that I kiiiinda wanted to run through a blue and white wall for the coach the other day watching the O’Brien presser – having only heard bits and pieces of the Chryst presser I did NOT get that impression.

    DK: I like Tino. He’s not a Division I quarterback.

  29. NMR says:

    I definitely find it interesting that two well respected, unbiased journalists who surely have seen their fair share of introductory news conferences can have such distinctly different opinions.

    And I mean interesting in the most literal way.

    There’s no goals to count or stats to compare, so I feel the reaction is usually more of a reflection on themselves than the speaker. Which is cool.

  30. TheSaltyRogue says:

    And after reading through that timeline of ignorance from Pouncey – the only thing it did for me was waste a minute of my life. Wow, stay classy, Maurkice… you’re life is awesome! SMH.

  31. Arriba Wilver says:

    I hadn’t seen that quote from Farrior. That is how they played, though, like they didn’t think there was any way Tebow could pass on them (or anyone else). And that’s what I had thought from reading media reports. But it sure did look like they weren’t prepared for it.

  32. CWalton_67 says:

    Not sure if Pouncey actually tweeted the racial slur or not-the diction did not fit with the way he routinely tweets. Agree though with DK, his tweets about being a Pro Bowler and hawking shirts are over the top. He does not represent the Steelers very well. And I agree Bill’s comments above regarding Pouncey, Gilbert and Wallace. This type of thing is a direct reflection of the head coach.

    Also want to say how great it was to be at the game yesterday. There was an unbelieveable amount of black and gold in the stands. Greatest of all was the class with which the Denver fans acted before, during and after the game. There was no taunting, trash talking, beer throwing or cursing. They did not boo when the Steelers made plays. They cheered for their team, and my wife and I were treated with courtesy at every turn. We will now be cheering for Tim Tebow and the Broncos for as long they remain in the playoffs. Fellow Steeler fans were also well behaved. It was simply a great atmosphere for a football game.

    I cannot understand the lack of communication from the Pens on injured players. Such a class organization can’t understand how important the health of the players is to the fan base? And that other players on the team have no more clue than the rest of us is astounding.

    Sorry I missed you out here, Dejan. We really would have liked to have met you and bought you the triple grande of your choice. Hope you enjoyed your trip to this little slice of paradise.

  33. CWalton_67 says:

    Just read the column on the Steelers and you were spot on with all points. What you missed is that it is time for Rooney and Colbert to evaluate this coaching staff. It has been routinely out-coached since Tomlin has been here. The defense has, for years now, had a frightening tendency to give up big plays at the worst times. And yes, I know they won a Super Bowl, but they would not have if Ben and Santonio had not pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

  34. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I think Pouncey had a few too many last night………..Arrogant on his part; nah, he’s young, rich, 2 straight pro bowls, 2 national championships at UF…… idea why he’d be that way….I know, I know, he’s not the first and he’s a Steeler, which should mean that he’s old…….

  35. Rich Papp says:

    DK i actually mentioned this on twitter to you on like Wednesday when Pouncey was promoting it.

  36. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Well, how many more days until catchers and pitchers report??

  37. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Great entry (#26). And from a guy from Midland! Just kidding.

  38. Jandy says:

    Groat2M2S ~ where are you?

  39. January 9

    40 days until Pirate Spring Training

    6 1/2 months until Steeler training camp

  40. Boo Foo,
    I appreciated and agreed with your take in #26. Thanks for expressing it. We get hung up on labels.

    My only disagreement: “Religion is man’s way of trying to make himself good enough to go to Heaven. Ain’t happening. Like trying to swim to Hawaii from SF.”

    Religion when carried out for religion’s sake makes your above statement wholly accurate.

    Proper religion takes a person outside himself/herself. It reminds a person he/she is part of God’s Plan, not the Axis Mundi of it.

    Without a proper church/religion, we tend to create God in our own image, rather than realizing we each are created in God’s image. In a proper church/religion we look around us at others and see how God is working in their individual lives, and that gives us possibilities of how God might work in my life.

    Grace = “God initiates, I respond, church/religion stimulates and feeds.”

    True religion teaches that ‘more abundant life’ starts right now, not when a person arrives in heaven. Thanks, True Foo, for stimulating thoughts.

  41. Late arriving at the party, Jandy! I’m not big on tears.

    I’ll be more diligent!!

  42. scapper says:

    Man, people all over Steeler Nation are being way too rough on Tomlin. Sure, he makes some questionable moves, but find the head coach in any sport who doesn’t. Isn’t the guy’s record something like 55-25 and 5-3 in the post-season? I don’t know if I could call that routinely being outcoached.

    So go ahead and get rid of his underperforming butt today and see how many NFL teams line up to throw big bucks at him. We got a gem in this guy.

    I know everyone is bummed out bigtime today, but this guy got 12-4 out of a team that wasn’t as good as that record indicates. You keep this guy around long term and that overall Steeler success will continue.

  43. Jandy says:

    Groat, we’ll give you a pass, since you supplied the information =)

    And who needs tissues anyway…

  44. Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heywood, Emmanuel Sanders, Adrian Brown, Ike Redman, Wesleye Sanders, Markus Gilbert, William Gay, Keenan Wayans, Jason Worilds (somewhat), even Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Wallace———it seems like the Steelers had QUITE A FEW young, vital participants in yesterday’s game, even more than have contributed for Ravens. I disagree with your comparison.

    However, although I would not deem it complacency, I agree that the Steelers lacked that spark, that intimidation, that “you can’t beat me!” presentation, that domination on the field.

    Steeler defense played with a game plan that allowed less than 50 % completion rate and only 9 completions in regulation game, while controlling the #1 rushing offense in the NFL. It based its game plan on the overwhelming evidence that Tebow had not/could not be accurate down the field with his passes. Yesterday, and yesterday only, they were wrong. Steelers as constructed beat that team 8 out of 10 times. But not yesterday!!

    I like it that the Steelers had the confidence to put Taylor out on an island. Two teams play, not just one. Sometimes the tact one takes blows up: that’s why they play the games. The other guys were trying too!

    Did Armando Gallaraga throw a “perfect game” or not? Sometimes luck IS involved.

  45. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Congrats to Neil Walker on winning the Chuck Tanner award.

    Definitely not expecting him to be pimping T-shirts on twitter…

  46. Leefoo says:

    LuckyNKentucky…….how do you know about Midland? Are you from ‘the valley’?

    G2M2S (re:41)……….somewhat agree….I think. :) Not sure what you’re driving at. My whole point was, no matter how good we try to make ourselves, it is never good enough for God. That’s the whole point of His Son dying on the cross. If that’s YOUR point, I agree. :)

    Happy to see Larkin get in.

    Since I don’t get twitter, what all did MP say on it?


  47. True Foo,
    Agree that thinking one can make oneself good enough to approach God is foolish and futile.

    Also believe that we each need a true/proper church/religion to be a GPS directing us to interact more completely or more creatively with God through His Son.

    “No man is an island unto himself” (John Donne), even as it relates to perceiving God.

    I think you and I agree.

    Now if Pirate Management would agree with both of us that the Bucs need a power hitting 1st baseman . . . . . . . .

  48. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Foo-Can’t speak Pouncey talk on this blog…….

  49. Pouncey apologized on twitter this afternoon. Heat of the loss he stated.
    Now his page has been pulled down/abandoned.

    Looks like agent or Colbert got to him!

  50. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    True feelings is what that was……..shows that some athletes only care about #1

  51. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’ll readily admit that I understand very little about the intrigue and high drama surrounding baseball contract negotiations, but I find it odd that January days continue to pass without a Fielder signing. All the talking heads claim that the remaining free agency market revolves around his signing, so I wish he would sign with someone already. I’m interested to see if the Pirates make a play at addressing their questionable first base situation after he signs with a team.

    BTW, I went to Vegas this past week and my brother and I each tried to note which MLB organizations were represented on people’s various apparel. The Pirates marketing division should know that we saw a lot of organizations represented, but only one lonely Pirate hat. In that case I would wager that it was more of a homage to the great Chuck D that any affection for the PBC. Saw tons of Steelers stuff, though.

  52. LikeaBugonaRug says:

    G2M2 – Good summation of Sunday’s game, and the players.

    Did anyone see Saturday’s Bungles-Texans game? You want to talk about mismanagement. Lewis challenged 2 calls, lost them both. Stupid for challenging either one. Either he needs to fire those who told him to challenge the calls, or he needs to be fired for the final decision.

    Ok, not really. But they were stupid challenges that he had about 2% chance of winning.

    I’d keep Tomlin around. He’s done a pretty good job with this team since he’s been here. You can’t win it every year.

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