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Monday Wakeup Call: Cleveland's gain

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Monday column looks at what LaMarr Woodley might have meant to this Steelers season that ended yesterday, had he not been such an overwhelming disappointment.

>> Here’s what Woodley had to say afterward …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srmdij0CU1U

Oh, yeah. Forgot.

Well, here’s what Plaxico Burress had to say, then, after a three-catch, one-TD showing that surely will leave a lot of folks wondering if he can come back …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58_eAQ2DP0g

As an aside, I’ve always liked Woodley. Hard not to. Known him for years, going back to the time we lived two houses apart and my kids played with his daughter.

But he’s a far, far better football player than what he showed this year. And he knows it, even if he doesn’t appear inclined to discuss it.

>> Photo of the day comes from our staff’s Chaz Palla, of Antonio Brown giving up his touchdown ball to a young fan near the end zone. Beautiful stuff …

>> The Browns stink, and the Browns will clean house today for the fifth time since rejoining the NFL in 1999. That’s just amazing. And it should speak loudly to the benefits of sticking by your staff as the Rooneys have done for years.

>> Speaking of Cleveland, the Indians’ new local TV rights deal will increase their annual take from $30 million to $40 million over the next 10 years. That is almost double the amount the Pirates will get over the same span from Root Sports, even though the market sizes are similar and the Pirates’ ratings are better.

It’s more evidence that the Pirates’ extension in 2010, signed three years before its expiration, is one of this front office’s biggest mistakes. The precise year-by-year figures for the Pirates’ deal aren’t known, but Frank Coonelly said at PirateFest they’ll escalate to “more than $20 million.”

I’m working on getting the exact figures for you and hope to have them soon.

>> I’ve never felt better about the NHL having a season than I do now.

And lest anyone forget how that is in these parts, consider this tweet from Maurkice Pouncey just hours after the Steelers’ loss: “We need hockey in Pittsburgh ASAP!!!”

>> It was a memorable, maybe even a milestone weekend for Robert Morris hockey, winning the Three Rivers Classic by beating No. 5 Miami and drawing more than 22,000 to Consol over two days.

On the occasion, it’s worth remembering the late athletic director, Susan Hofacre, for her vision in bringing Division I pucks to Pittsburgh. I had only one chance to meet her before her passing in 2005, but those who knew her remain moved by her life and achievements at the school.

>> Because of New Year’s, there will be no radio show tomorrow. All else is on schedule.

See you at First Night.

162 Comments

  1. Wakeup might be here but morning links not ready tonight. Will post a link Dejan might find interesting. This site has free downloads of old comic books , like Blackhawk from the 1940′s. You first download a simple program to view them which you can find in the faq at http://aibq.com/faq.php

    If you just want to look at the covers of a bunch of old comic books starts here

    http://www.comicbooksarchive.com/catalog_1.php

    DK: Nice. I’ve already been paying for a few of the DCs from the ’60s and ’70s. Neat to have those on long plane rides.

  2. DK –Today’s blog is chock full of great stuff!

    You should take the rest of this week off too — we’re good with all of these talking pts!

    I hope Woodley can bounce back, but he doesn’t seem to have the hunger to be a truly great player. This off-season either he shows us something, or he will be an ex-Steeler in 2014.

    I agree with you from the last thread that Houston should be one and done. I can’t see many AFC scenarios that don’t end with a NE @ Denver heavyweight fight. The NFC is wide open, so it should be fun.

    When the Pirates can’t afford to keep their own players or sign meaningful FA’s from now until the end of decade, the TV deal is going to be the main reason. If the Pirates have to trade Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole in 2018, it will be because of the bad TV deal — it’s the box of coal that keeps on giving (pain).

  3. Woodley definitely had the hunger to be a great player until he got paid. Now, I’m not saying that the contract is the reason he disappeared this season but it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened to an athlete.

    Look at it this way too, none of the players on the field in his absence did enough to put his job in jeopardy. He wasn’t going to lose playing time to Jason Worilds once he was healthy. There hasn’t been a whole lot of competition for jobs on that team lately. Have a feeling that will change after an 8-8 disappointment.

  4. DK – A fellow Steeler fan asked me today….Is Woodley tradeable?

  5. Woodley didn’t get it done this year. Do wonder what was going on with his injuries, though. Kind of MIA like #43 had been for a long spell (until just these past few weeks). Speaking of 4′s and 3′s, this allows me another chance to pine for the switch to the 4-3. With our outside backers we just have too many eggs in one basket as they are mostly all-or-nothing pass-rushers. When they do drop into coverage they don’t really match up well. Meanwhile, our three down lineman are tied up as one-dimensional line-cloggers. I’d like to see four down lineman that can do it all. Then give us three quick linebackers that can blow up anything — by tackling, pass-covering, and, yes, blitzing. We have the personnel for the down linemen already (I include a rebounding Woodley as one DE). Timmons is a lock for MLB. Was Spence drafted to be a 4-3 OLB?? We will need one more.

  6. Interesting that Pouncey points out that we need hockey in Pittsburgh ASAP. I would suggest that Pittsburgh needs a few OL that can stay healthy for more than a few plays at a time.

    DK did you ever imagine a day when you found yourself thinking that Cincy has a better NFL team and a better MLB team than Pittsburgh? Its a sad sad day.

  7. I can’t sit here thinking LaMarr Woodley was the sole reason this team failed to finish with a winning record and missed the playoffs but he’s undoubtedly the man that did little to stem the tide this season. He had recorded four sacks but he had more limp offs than sack dances. Sports are about what have you done for me lately and the Steelers are paying him a handsome sum of money to be the new leader of the defense with Troy Polamalu and James Harrison riding off into the sunset in the next year or two. Whatever happens in 2013, it must begin with a pass rush that linemen, quarterbacks, and coaches fear. If Woodley can’t commit to his conditioning, maybe the Steelers should show him the exit door and rebuild with Jason Worilds.

    Blame game vehicle is full of passengers beside Woodley.

    Art Rooney wanted to see a different offense, better running game, less long developing plays. It resulted in Bruce Arians being fired and Todd Haley coming to Pittsburgh. When your offensive line isn’t the strong unit in the NFL, you don’t have your quarterback holding the ball for pass routes that take time to develop. You don’t call for your running backs to line up 8-yards behind the line of scrimmage. You don’t call wide receiver reverses inside your own 20-yard line.

    Then there’s Mike Tomlin, as any Pittsburgh head coach, he’s the teflon man. What else is there to think after Tomlin fired special teams coach Al Everest during training camp for unknown reasons and promoted Amos Jones. The Steelers had the 27th worst punt average with 43.7 yards with rookie punter Drew Butler and 29th worst punt return average at 7.3 yards using Antonio Brown for most of the season. Steelers were giving up 24 yards per kick return and 10.3 yards per punt return. Middle of the pack. All worse than last season.

    Let’s not allow others to escape the blame as Mike Wallace played all season as if he was playing hot potato with the football, Antonio Brown was more interested in taunting after a catch than making a good decision running out of bounds or not fumbling the football. Many fans I heard, myself included, figured this season with Wallace was fine because Emmanuel Sanders would be ready to take over. He proved otherwise.

    There wasn’t a more disappointing position on the team than those at wide receiver as the top three players did little with their opportunities.

    I’ll spare the gruesome description of the offensive line, it once again was a horrible failure. The love for Sean Kugler is astounding in the face of what the film showed, I don’t think the Steelers will miss him in 2013. No one can blame Max Starks, the man played every offensive snap and only gave up 3.5 sacks heading into today’s game. Pouncey, DeCastro, Beachum, Adams, and Gilbert need to be better next season.

    The biggest need on the team might be finding a new running back as Rashard Mendenhall was never able to get going after last year’s knee injury, Jonathan Dwyer had moments of excitement but those usually ended with his waving off for a break, and Isaac Redman just isn’t an every down back. Each might look better if they had an offensive game plan that had the backs line up a little closer to the line of scrimmage or linemen capable of run blocking for more than three games in the middle of the season.

    If I was running the team, I’d write-off 2013 and build for 2014.

    Say good-bye to Woodley, James Harrison, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton, Brett Kiesel, Ike Taylor, Max Starks, Willie Colon, Ramon Foster, Leonard Pope, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, and Baron Batch.

    You won’t have more than 4-5 years of Ben Roethlisberger and if you can prepare for 2014 as a reloaded franchise, maybe another Super Bowl or two are in the offering, otherwise, I suspect holding onto these veterans will be a repeat of 2011 and 2012.

    DK: Not sole. Biggest.

  8. Dejan – I know you are saying biggest, I’ve just read and heard others saying biggest. Too many to blame to have just one person.

  9. Tomorrow is a big day for NHL season… can’t wait to see how Bettman and owners react to NHLPA’s counter. If it is like the last few times, I suspect we’ll see another embarrassing press conference and hear Daly talk about hills to die on.

    DK: Well, remember, Fehr said three weeks ago that they were oh-so-close to a deal. Now that the owners have gone further, what could he say now?

  10. “If I was running the team…”

    Thankfully, you aren’t.

    (Was that too harsh?)

    Seriously though, goodbye to Ike Taylor, the best Steeler corner since Rod Woodson? You’re just as wrong about Kugler: he’s worked magic these last two years with injuries at pretty much every OL position, sometimes all the way down the depth cart. You are wrong about Dwyer: he’s as hard of a runner as we’ve had since The Bus and your little riff about him waving to come off is what is tired. Batch (Charlie) is fine. All he needed was a few more practice reps than the ZERO he was getting. Keisel might need to take a pay cut, but there’s still gas in his tank. I could go on and on, but let’s just say that your gripes about the Pirates are better.

  11. I wonder whether the season would have played out as it did had the Steelers been able to reach a reasonable long-term deal with Wallace prior to training camp starting.

  12. @Ghost – They are old, they are tired, they are unproductive.

    You really want to argue that Charlie Batch should be back as a backup QB?

    Injuries are excuses, the standard is the standard…. and yet, when the offensive line sucks, you and others want to say Kugler did a great job with what he had. Shame on those other coaches across the NFL who have had the same problems and did a good job. I wonder how many of them had to work with two #1′s and two #2′s in the last two years.

    If you think age doesn’t come up and bite a cornerback, you are going to be the first one in line when Taylor is getting roasted deep again and again. He’s not the team’s best corner, that trophy belongs to Lewis. Keep him next year and you run the risk of holding onto him a year too late. I really don’t see much value in keeping an old corner when 2013 has little opportunity to win the Super Bowl.

    And since you “could go on”… do it….. don’t hold back ‘Ghost’… I wouldn’t want to see you put your opinions out there for others to consume.

  13. @Reading – Wallace probably comes into the season with a better mindset and work ethic…. but look at Brown, he got paid and that didn’t exactly work out this year. Sure would be nice if Tomlin would you know, tell his punk receivers to stop taunting after every catch.

  14. “Injuries are excuses, the standard is the standard” is silliness in the face of the reality visited upon the Steeler O-line this year.

    So Dwyer is old now? Good one. And Taylor is not old yet, plus he’s definitely not tired – he was playing the best football of his career until he broke his foot. With many predicting that the Steelers will lose Keenan Lewis to free agency, dumping Taylor would be lunacy.

    Batch as a backup — why not? Especially the way Tomlin never plays his backup QB’s anyway until it’s too late. Batch is EXACTLY who we need — someone who knows the offense and knows the drill. Draft some rookie or pick up somebody else’s castoff and it will look a lot worse than it did this year. Batch beat Baltimore in Baltimore. He’s good for another season.

  15. If Ike Taylor wasn’t this team’s best corner, then how do you explain these numbers?

    Santonio Holmes, 3 rec., 28 yards
    A.J. Green, 1 rec. 8 yards
    Santana Moss, 4 rec., 21 yards
    Victor Cruz, 5 rec., 67 yards
    Dwayne Bowe, 4 rec., 55 yards
    Torrey Smith, 1 rec., 7 yards

    I don’t care who was lining up under center for some of those teams, it was Ike Taylor’s responsibility in those situations to line up all over the field against the oppostion’s #1 WR and he did his job. Look at some of the guys that were out on the field the last few weeks of the season.

    You’re telling me you’d rather have Josh Victorian out there instead of Ike?

    If the team wants to draft someone to groom as Ike’s replacement, I’m all for it, but I wouldn’t be letting go of him just yet. He wasn’t the issue on the defensive side of the ball.

    DK: Well done, Jason. Thank you.

  16. I’ll add that I’m not against drafting a QB with a low-round pick for the purposes of grooming to replace Batch, per se. But no way should a rookie be second in line should Ben go down in 2013. Again, not the way Tomlin refuses to prepare his backup QBs.

    DK: No. 2 QB gets plenty of reps in practice. No. 3 is the one stuck with scout duty.

  17. Jason81,
    Bravo! Couldn’t have said it better, myself.

  18. @eric

    My thought is the holdout seemed to place a pall over the offense all season. Maybe the drops turn into TDs, maybe not. Might have made a difference in the many close losses.

    DK: Wallace’s drops are overly magnified. He was well above NFL average in that regard.

  19. Thanks, Ghost. I don’t post very often, but in this case, the numbers don’t lie.

  20. The poor TV deal is a bigger miss for the PBC front office than any of the trades, drafts, player development, hoka hey…etc. I hate the inequities in the economics of baseball, and at the end of the day, a team like the Pirates can’t leave money on the table.

    DK: I am curious to see these numbers. Like I wrote above, might take a few days.

  21. “No. 2 QB gets plenty of reps in practice. No. 3 is the one stuck with scout duty.”

    Well, per Cris Collinsworth, Byron Leftwich said he only had 5 practice reps with the first team all year when he had to go into the game for Ben. And he certainly didn’t have any live playing time until that point. (I think this is crazy, by the way. But many teams do it — I have to wonder if there’s an unwritten memo from the league to keep marquee QB’s in games, lest viewers tune out once they see the Bradys, Mannings, etc. have been pulled. The networks do pay the bills, afterall…)

    In any event, if Batch can stay in shape for one more year, I think he’s just what the doctor ordered should Ben go down again in 2013. Grooming another kid to replace Batch would be fine. But Leftwich is too fragile.

    DK: I’ve never seen Collinsworth at a Steelers practice. Leftwich gets plenty of reps. Batch was the one left out.

  22. DK,

    This was what Collinsworth mentioned on TV — it was supposedly what Leftwich had told him and Al Michaels during whenever it was that those two speak with players during their prep work for their Sunday broadcasts.

    But, I certainly defer to your first-hand knowledge of what actually happens during Steeler practices. Did Leftwich customarily get reps with the first-team offense?
    I would prefer that I have it wrong from going by Collinsworth’s remarks, and that the No. 2′s do actually get a little time each week with the first-team offense.

    Also, what do you think about Ben always playing every last down — even when the risk outweighs the reward (last year at SF; today in Cleveland) — and no backups get any live-game reps? Strikes me as doubly foolish.

  23. Pitt vs. cincy noon today espn2.

    Oshkosh: ready for big ten hoops?
    Espn picks uw #7 in league with a ncaa bid, followed by iowa also with a bid. Psu last.
    In big east they have pitt at #5.
    And they like the a10 as the best mid major league.

  24. On second thought, since all the receivers are rotated in and out and multiple sets are used, a first team / second team question is probably moot. If the No. 2 QB practices throwing to receivers, he practices throwing to all of them.

    Thanks, I’m out for the night.

  25. I am still amazed at the local TV money in sports.
    Just shows the power of ‘live events’ for advertisers. Sporting events are the last televisions shows that people watch live and not dvr through the commercials.

    It could also be a sign to what is going to happen to cable rates.
    Going to go up.

  26. @TC

    Share your amazement, but sure I agree about the rates going up. There are too many alternatives to cable and more on the way. Personal plug for the “Digital Goddess” Kim Komando website for good info on alternatives.

    Haven’t read the column yet but agree with the premise that LW needs a missing person report. How many times have we seen a Pittsburgh athlete start performing at a
    Lower level right after signing a big contract?

    Stuart

  27. JAL’s Jackie Wilson Said Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues Recap: Baker Strong In Relief

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/12/winter-leagues-recap-baker-strong-in-relief.html
    First Pitch: 13 Boom or Bust Players Who Could Make a Difference in 2013

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/12/first-pitch-13-boom-or-bust-players-who-could-make-a-difference-in-2013.html

    5 Rumbunter

    Throwing a Dart at 2013 Production of Pittsburgh Pirates Catcher Russell Martin

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/12/30/throwing-a-dart-at-2013-production-of-pittsburgh-pirates-catcher-russell-martin/

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates’ 2013 roster to feature lots of ‘high-beta players’

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/12/31/3820374/pirates-2013-roster-to-feature-lots-of-high-beta-players

    7 The Green Weenie

    Boston, LA…Huntington’s Go-To Teams

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/12/boston-lahuntingtons-go-to-teams.html

    8 Change for a Nickel

    Cutch: Pirates’ first ‘Dapper Dan’ in 12 years

    http://tomsinger.mlblogs.com/2012/12/30/cutch-pirates-first-dapper-dan-in-12-years/

    9 The Outside Corner

    Things I liked from all 30 teams in 2012

    http://www.bloguin.com/theoutsidecorner/2012-articles/december/things-i-liked-from-all-30-teams-in-2012.html

    10 Sports Illustrated

    JAWS and the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot: Barry Bonds

    http://mlb.si.com/2012/12/30/jaws-and-the-2013-hall-of-fame-ballot-barry-bonds/

  28. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Chillicothe Gazette

    A happy holiday after Reds meeting

    http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20121229/SPORTS/312300006/A-happy-holiday-after-Reds-meeting

    12 Baseball Nation

    Best of 2012: Baseball Stories

    http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/12/30/3818056/2012-best-baseball-mlb-stories

    13 The Canberra Times

    Protecting those golden arms is a top priority

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/cricket/protecting-those-golden-arms-is-a-top-priority-20121230-2c1ag.html

    14 Racine Journal Times

    Journal Times editorial: Keep steroid users out of Hall

    http://www.journaltimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/journal-times-editorial-keep-steroid-users-out-of-hall/article_bcd7bbf8-52d0-11e2-9d2a-001a4bcf887a.html

    15 The Atlantic

    Forget Great Wins and Losses: 2012′s Most ‘Meh’ Sports Happenings

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/12/forget-great-wins-and-losses-2012s-most-meh-sports-happenings/266695/#

    16 NY Times

    Game Not Known for Ferocity Claims a Casualty Who Was

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/sports/baseball/game-not-known-for-ferocity-claims-a-casualty-who-was.html?_r=0

    17 Deadspin

    Venezuelan MLB Players Spend More Time Worrying About Being Kidnapped Than Most Professional Athletes

    http://deadspin.com/5972080/venezuelan-mlb-players-spend-more-time-worrying-about-being-kidnapped-than-most-professional-athletes

    18 ESPN

    Hanrahan future cloudy; Brewers boost pen

    http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/58869/hanrahan-future-cloudy-brewers-boost-pen

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    BP Daily Podcast Effectively Wild Episode 109: Eight Questions (and Answers) for the End of the Year

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19269

    20 Fangraphs

    40th anniversary: R.I.P. Roberto Clemente

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/40th-anniversary-r.i.p.-roberto-clemente/

  29. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers end 2012 season with three takeaways in 24-10 win over Cleveland

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/12/30/3818616/steelers-draft-position-2013-nfl-week-17-cleveland-browns-summary-analysis-statistics

    Steelers vs. Browns Week 17 preview: Thad Lewis to start at quarterback for Cleveland

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/12/29/3814140/steelers-vs-browns-week-17-preview-browns-quarterback-injuries-odds-line

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Knock Off Browns 24-10 In Season Finale To Finish Year 8-8 – Game Recap

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/12/steelers-knock-off-browns-24-10-in-season-finale-to-finish-year-8-8-game-recap/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Steelers Go Back to the Future; End 2012 Season with 24-10 Win Over Browns

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/12/30/steelers-go-back-to-the-future-end-2012-season-with-24-10-win-over-browns/

    24 Nice Pick Cowher

    Nice Pick Cowher’s Week 17 NFL Picks

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/12/29/nice-pick-cowhers-week-17-nfl-picks/

    Dawgs By Nature

    <Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Game Preview & Prediction

    http://www.dawgsbynature.com/2012/12/30/3816666/cleveland-browns-vs-pittsburgh-steelers-game-preview-prediction

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Happy New Year 2013! Now Show Us What You Got…

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/12/30/happy-new-year-2013-now-show-us-what-you-got/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Cincinnati stumbles before big matchup against Pitt

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/12/30/3815656/pitt-vs-cincinnati-basketball-pittsburgh-panthers-big-east-prediction-score-steven-adams

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    The uninspired conclusion

    http://wvmetronews.com/wvus-uninspired-conclusion-to-the-pinstripe-bowl/

    28 WV Illustrated

    Game Recap: WVU vs. Eastern Kentucky

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/20470217/mens-basketball-wvu-74-eastern-kentucky-67

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Harry Redknapp not giving up hope after QPR’s defeat by Liverpool

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11711/8373227/Harry-Redknapp-not-giving-up-hope-after-QPR-s-defeat-by-Liverpool

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Arsenal – January transfer window: club-by-club guide

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/picturegalleries/9769324/January-transfer-window-club-by-club-guide.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    Vincent Kompany interview (part two)

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/vincent-kompany-interview-part-two

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    32 NY Times

    Amid Lockout Talks, Shorter Schedule Options Swirl

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/sports/hockey/with-nhl-lockout-under-time-crunch-shorter-schedule-options-swirl.html?_r=0

    33 Philadelphia Inquirer

    NHL, union to meet again Monday

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20121231_NHL__union_to_meet_again_Monday.html

    34 National Post

    NHL lockout: League has to make its deal with Donald Fehr

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/12/30/nhl-lockout-league-has-to-make-its-deal-with-donald-fehr/

    35 New Jersey Star Ledger

    NHL lockout: League, union end info talks as sides mull next step

    http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2012/12/nhl_lockout_league_union_end_i.html

    36 ESPN

    NHL infrastructure showing signs of life

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/21021/nhl-infrastructure-showing-signs-of-life

  30. Jackie Wilson Said Van Morrison 1972 Morrison says Jackie Wilson influenced his vocal style. From 1957 to 1967 Jackie Wilson had 16 songs make the Hot 100 chart with 6 of them hitting number 1 on the R& B chart.

  31. Drew is a horrible poet and can’t dance.
    AW secretly thinks NH is God.
    TC drinks too much beer.
    21sthebest is/was a terrible SS and also drinks too much beer.
    Jandy wears too much makeup and keeps a pic of NH by her bed.
    Milo was the worst Pirate announcer….EVAH!
    Groat was also a terrible SS and a rotten basketball analyst.
    Lucky in Kentucky no longer gets lucky.

    None of the above is true (except for the part about Drew). What IS true is that I wish all of the above a Happy and Wondrous New Year!

    .

  32. Won’t dance. WON’T.

    Thanks, I think, and the same to you and all.

  33. Hey, I resemble that remark !

  34. Woodley is too heavy and slow. Perhaps the by product of his “fat” contract. Maybe he should go to Florida and work out with Ike Taylor and others in the offseason. I don’t think anybody works harder on conditioning than those guys.

    I think signing Keenan Lewis to a new contract is a key offseason move. Taylor and Lewis starting with Allen backing up looks like a solid secondary in the pass-happy NFL.

    There will be a lot of current Steelers who get their walking papers in the off season. Lots of big names and long time contributors but it’s time to move on.

    Pitt – Cincy today. Looking forward to a bounce-back year for the Panthers and an NCAA berth this year.

    DK: Seconded on Keenan. But what if Cortez played even better at CB than most of us realize?

  35. Hoka Hey everyone!

    Hear we go Steelers!
    Beat Em Bucs!
    Let’s Go Dooooooooo-quesne!
    Hail To Pitt!
    Let’s Go Pens! (…can we PLEASE play some hockey???)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. ;-)

  36. It was unfair, in my opinion, to single out Woodley.

    He didn’t throw games away, only Roethlisberger (and the 8 turnovers to Cleveland) did that.

    Losses to Oakland, Tennessee, Cleveland? Turn those into wins and the Steelers are 11-5, and have won the division. They almost lost to KC, for cripes sakes.

  37. Same to you, “Tom”.

  38. I can dance, but I can’t drink too much, I fall asleep ;)

  39. “Injuries are excuses, the standard is the standard.”

    I don’t think there’s any question about it that the Penguins would have been a better team the past couple of years had Crosby not been injured.

  40. I think we all have our own line where injuries are a factor and when they become excuses. For me, the amount of injuries to the offensive line this year were probably just insurmountable. Backups are backups for a reason, obviously. Kugler has done a good enough job the past couple of years, IMO, to not be down on him this year.

    DK: You’d think, by the way, that the relative durability of Starks and Foster would make the Steelers value their contributions all the more.

  41. “21sthebest is/was a terrible SS and also drinks too much beer.”

    I’m not sure which part of that I take more offense to!

  42. 21s….# 46…neither I hope. :)

  43. Gosh, my head is spinning. Derek Smith, Tom Verfooci, Leefoo. Will the real Leefoo please stand up?

    At least we know Jandy is Jandy. (or Joyce) If she doesn’t start posting as Aowen or Galadria.

  44. DK,

    Especially Starks. They’re not exactly thrilled with Marcus Gilbert right now. Willie Colon was playing really well until he got hurt. That’s going to be on his headstone – until he got hurt. Their running game went completely downhill when he got hurt.

    I don’t know how that line is going to shake out, but I think it’s going to be pretty good.

    DK: Right. At some point, simple durability has to be valued.

  45. Why is Max Starks leaving even a possibility?!?!?! The guy has consistently performed well AND stayed healthy. I’d much rather let Colon (because of annual IR vacation) or somebody else go to keep Starks. He won’t be available this August for the usual last minute contract. And he shouldn’t be.

  46. Lucky

    Just call it a Foolish day on the blog

  47. That’s why JAL is a college professor. He can think on his feet.

  48. I don’t see Woodley ever regaining his domination status. And per financial commitment, Harrison is better option IMO. He at least makes some important plays stopping the run. Not many NFL players reach elite status, fall from grace for a couple years and then get back to elite. Just doesn’t seem to happen. Different scenario than the Tommy Maddox’s and Kurt Warner’s who are low lying most of their career and then come out of nowhere to success.

  49. Thank heavens BMTIB doesn’t run the Steelers or the next trade headline would be “Heath Miller traded for 6th, 7th round picks and player to be named.”

    Neal the Smug SEAL’s response… “We wish Heath all the best. We plan to use our new picks and player acquisition to obtain some prospects that we value much higher than most of our fans do.”

  50. So everyone that wants a 4-3…is woodley going to slide in at tackle or end? HAHA

    Bowser – get rid of everyone huh? I am with you on less showboat more result…but Antonio Brown was everything he was supposed to be…reliable and open more often than not. Wallace was like watching Dwight Stone. Sanders is not looking like the possesion reciever that is desperately needed right now…

    Young money might be too much flash for what Haley is trying to get done here…need more muscle in that corps? DK – time to consider a FB?

  51. Foo, it’s about time you got your skinny little derierre back in here :p

    Spunky, I dunno, Aowen has a nice ring to it lol

    RE Max Starks: There shouldn’t even be a discussion. Thank God the Steelers had him…period!

  52. Same to you Foo, pop in once in a while, hear? HUGZ!

  53. My prediction for outcome of NHL “talks” for today…

    3:41 EST Donald Fear announces they are close to a deal while looking awkwardly towards the media and being the subject of bad photo face #12,673.

    3:45 EST Gary Buttman stomps to his respective podium, mounts step-stool, notices that the first 2 rows of media seating are labeled “Splash Zone.” Gets even more in a huff, starts frothing at the mouth and yelling that they aren’t even close to a deal, then stomps off. Occupants in the first 2 rows are thankful they were provided with complimentary ponchos.

  54. Steve – here here buddy!

    Tons of pressure on the Steelers secondary this year to be decent with that not so heavy pass rush, and they exceeded expectations. Most of the terrible D-Back play was the result of a SAFETY being out of position…Steelers look like they may have 3 average to above average cover guys, and it’s been a LONG time since that has been the case.

    I am very hopeful that the Steelers consider a play for a MASSIVE safety…the like of which Pete Carrol has included in his Seahawks repetoire (minus the PED’s obviously). I love Ryan Clark, but the NFL took his game away when they outlawed his ability to be a physical presence in the middle…perhaps, as his years come to a close, the Steelers turn him loose in the middle once again with another monster ready to step in when he is suspended. Just a few years ago, NO ONE threw into the middle of the field and the opposition’s ability to do just that is not because of age…it’s because they don’t have to worry about Ryan killing their undersized “quality route-runner”…it’s a shame what they’ve done to things around here…not an excuse…fact.

  55. Foo,

    Happy New Year. Hope you & yours are well.

    Maybe you can check back in for Penn State’s coaching search.

  56. If Ike Taylor knew how to catch a football, he’d have more trips to Honolulu than other current Steeler. The guy is a true “shutdown” corner, but he might have the worst hands in the NFL.

    The only thing you can hope happens with Woodley is that he decides to finally come to camp in shape. Thought having Butler call him out last year for showing up overweight would’ve lit a fire in him. Didn’t happen.

    Steelers finished the season with the #1 ranked defense. Do you really think they should blow up the 3-4 scheme just because sacks and turnovers were down? How do you improve on being #1?

  57. Happy New Year Foo.

  58. Ouch, Milo. That’s gonna leave a mark.

  59. Last almost-contract, the owners moved on several issues, largest among them raising from $211mm to $300mm.

    This go-round, the owners moved toward the players on the contract length issues the players said were most important to them.

    If the players negotiate this deal into the trash can, it’s not the owners’ presser that will be embarrassing.

    Unless they ask me to rhyme or dance.

  60. When the front office of the Pirates screws up, is anyone really surprised at this point?

    This is the same management team that lost an arbitration case to 1-win Ross Ohlendorf.

    As DK always says, you can’t explain the unexplicable.

    Happy New Year to all!!

  61. I’m curious as to what Playoffs will change his name to ;)

  62. DK—nice column to end the year with. I thought it was spot on, and completely fair.

  63. Jandy—The Window? ;-)

  64. Yes, very nice column today DK.

    Is Woodley still your neighbor? And is it easier to write these types of columns when they are not living just a few houses away from yours? :-)

  65. “Do you really think they should blow up the 3-4 scheme just because sacks and turnovers were down? How do you improve on being #1?”
    And you saw how meaningful that “No. 1″ ranking was. Our season is done. I’d rather have a defense like last year’s Giants that was ranked 26th, but could beat Brady in February. Or Green Bay’s when they faced us in the SB — I believe we were No. 1 that year too. GB’s D was awful on paper. But it was their D that got the big pick-six in that game.
    Yes, I’ll take the sacks and turnovers the meaningless No. 1 ranking and no January football.

  66. AW, that would definitely work!

    TC, quit poking the darn bear! ;p

  67. Here are my offseason predictions:
    I think Wallace, Foster, and Mendenhall leave via free agency.

    I know few people agree but I think Harrison will take a pay cut to stay here.

    I think Lewis will resign.

    Here are my playoff predictions:
    Colts over Ravens
    Bengals over Texans

    Packers over Vikings
    Seahawks over Washington

    Pats over Colts
    Broncos over Bengals

    Falcons over Seahawks
    49ers over Packers

    Pats over Broncos
    49ers over Falcons

    Pats over 49ers

  68. Make that “I’ll take the sacks and turnovers OVER the meaningless No. 1 ranking…”

    And as for Ryan Clark, the NFL didn’t take his game away — his game was excellent this year. He just was less visible because he had to cover for the absent (or present but invisible) Polamalu who was injured all season. Give us a healthy #43, and Clark automatically becomes re-Ryanized.

  69. Ghost—totally agree with you on Clark. Plus, he got used to that big helmet.

  70. How many do not care if the NHL cancels the season?

    I dont

  71. SS, *I* care about hockey. I want to watch some. But I’m not buying merchandise ;)

  72. Jandy—you don’t need to buy merchandise. Didn’t you say your Hubby got you three Christmas presents with Pens stuff? (Duck)

  73. Thank you, Arriba. You’re a scholar and a gentleman.

    And to all who are not liking my suggestion of going to the 4-3: I should clarify by saying that the transition should, of course, be done in stages as our personnel transitions. With some old faces leaving this off-season and some new ones coming in, the defense should move in the direction of more 4-3 alignments. This is how New England made the their changeover. This is how Baltimore did it when Ray Lewis was down anyway, this year (not saying they’re a real 4-3 yet, but they’re evolving in that direction). But a 4-3 is a faster, more flexible scheme. And as I’ve argued before, allows for quicker deployment of new players. Lebeau’s 3-4 requires too-long of an apprenticeship on the sidelines before draft picks are ready to contribute.

  74. Jandy,

    I thought about it a lot, but I think I’m gonna stick with the same name.
    It will serve as a constant reminder that I once believed in the Coonelly Cadre.

  75. Playoffs—good choice.

  76. AW, yeah he got me a Mario Lemieux Coca Cola card…does that count? So don’t be throwing eggs at me, man :p

    Playoffs, sounds like a plan.

  77. Happy New Year everyone. Please be safe tonight and enjoy First Night.

    Interesting here in that the Broncos clinched home field but the fervor is not quite the same as Pittsburgh. Perhaps it’s because we’re pretty far outside the city, but it just doesn’t feel the same.

    Think we’re in for several years of mediocrity from this football team. They lack leadership–from the sideline and on the field. And I don’t think enough has been made of the lack of talent at running back. Roethlisberger is good,even great at times, but he isn’t Brady or Manning. He can’t carry the team as the focal point of the offense. He needs a quality runner in the backfield to keep the defensive focus off of him and then he’ll be at his best.

    Random thought: why will Dick Lebeau not play Steve McClendon?

  78. Arriba, thanks have a great new year!!

    Jandy, yes and my plan will work!!

  79. HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all! And a hearty “GOOD RIDDANCE” to 2012, poopy Pittsburgh sports fiascoes high on the list of disappointments this year. God Bless us all as we cliff-dive into 2013!

    Cheers!

  80. Ghost – I agree those team rankings can be misleading. I just think the problem with this defense starts with underachieving personnel and not scheme.

  81. @Foo

    Happy Foo Years, Lee. May on this blog you will be seen in 2013!

    @Radio Wave:

    I’m really looking forward to Big 10 basketball. The conference is loaded with talent. Even the mid tier teams are pretty strong. Tom Izzo’s club could finish in the second division! Wisconsin is starting to get healthy but I don’t think they are a top 4 team. I’ll be in Iowa City today visiting my sisters and their kids. Taking my nieces and nephews to the Iowa-Indiana game later today. They bleed black and gold, bless their little hearts. Hoping for an upset so that they won’t be too disappointed. UNI starts their league action at tough Wichita State later this week. Congrats to your Bobcats-I saw a little of the game and they looked good.

    @All

    Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Looking forward to following all the sports action in the coming year with you all!

  82. 2012 could have very well been the worst professional sports year for Pittsburgh in history!

    The Steelers had a disappointing year and it appears we could be on the decline.

    The Pirates had a mega collapse when it seemed the streak would come to an end. Probably one of the worst season for Pirate fans ever.

    The Penguins have a championship caliber team and not only were humiliated at home in the first round of the 2011-2012 playoffs by are state rivals but we also never saw playing time for the 2012-2013 season due to the silly strike.

    Is there any year that could compare to how horrible this one has been to the fans?

  83. Dom,

    Sure, just ignore that CBI Championship.

  84. at Oshkosh:
    Sorry to say UNI took it on the chin at Witchita State last night.
    The Valley isn’t bad this year, but Creighton is the heavy favorite.

  85. Andy Reid, Pat Shurmur, Chan Gailey, Lovie Smith & Romeo Crennel have already been fired today.

  86. radio,

    I’m rooting for Drake. I know a kid on the team.

  87. RIP #21

    1 of the greatest Pittsburgh Pirates and greatest players to ever play the game of baseball.

    He put Puerto Rico and Latin American players [in general] on the MLB-map.

    While his accomplishments in the game earned him fame and stardom, it was what he did off the field that made him a legend.

    His heart was always in the right place, ready to give.

    And he died doing exactly what he thought he needed to, and that was help others.

    So, today, we say rest in peace, Roberto. For if we could all be as good as people as you were, the world would be a FAR better place.

    Sleep well #21.

    Respect.

  88. Milo,
    Give me credit, I specified that this was the worst year for professional sports in PGH. Of course, Panther fans are still total euphoria after that accomplishment.

    In regards to the NFL coaches getting fired, does anyone else feel that teams are too willing to give up on a head coach? You would think that more teams would try to emulate the Steelers. Just as DK pointed out the Browns will be sure to go through another revamp in their staff. I recall they fired their first coach after just two years when they came back as an expansion team. Can any coach make a winning team in just two years on the job?

  89. I didn’t know that Lovie Smith was let go. He did have a 10-6 record. If any of the guys that were fired today deserved to keep their job, it was him. Again, they’re too quick to let these guys go.

  90. On this blog, we’ll often make note of a really good article that’s written — not just by DK, but by Mark Kaboly, someone else at the Trib, or even another news site or (ahem) blog.

    But I want to take a second to call out an article from the weekend’s paper that was really poorly done. Alan Robinson — whose stuff I usually enjoy — either mailed in his piece on the Steelers’ salary cap situation and offseason moves, or he was in over his head on the story.

    This is a very important topic for Steelers fans, and Alan just struck out looking. He painstakingly went through most of the “bubble” veterans, but failed to really look at the cap implications of each. Nowhere in the story did he address the Steelers’ past strategy of deferring money to players and how that may be catching up to them now.

    Nor does he address the BIGGEST elephant in the room. In fact, the Steelers really won’t be able to get under the cap by cutting veterans. They’re going to need to restructure even more contracts (SteelersDepot.com, which is probably the best site for cap matters, suggests that Woodley and Timmons will get their deals redone). What are the implications of deferring even MORE money? And at what point are the Steelers just going to have to sacrifice a season and make wholesale changes in order to right their cap situation?

    Very disappointing that the Trib hasn’t looked at this.

  91. I didn’t realize that Chan Gailey has been with the Bills for 3 seasons.

    My guess is that the next time Bill Cowher calls an owner and recommends Chan Gailey…they will hang-up on Cowher.

  92. FJ,
    My opinion of A. Robinson changed a few years back when he reported the revenue sharing money that the Pirates were receiving. I thought the reporting was shoddy then.

  93. Jimmy,

    Let’s not forget that the Steelers have the best Director of Business & Football Administration in the business with Omar Kahn. He works his magic year after year. What makes you think he cannot get the job done when he has done so time and time again?

    You’re right that they cannot get under the cap by cutting guys but they can take a large chunk of it out by dumping Harrison. I don’t think this will happen but it might.

    I wish we would have cut ties with Hampton last offseason and Aaron Smith and the offseason before that. That would have helped the cause.

  94. Dom, let’s not mix hyperbole into this discussion. It isn’t “magic”. It’s “mathematics”. And Kahn has employed a strategy that has allowed the Steelers to retain key veterans and thereby continue their string of success. Well done. But that doesn’t change the fact that we continue to have veterans with extremely high cap charges.

    And that also gets to my primary point of why having some GOOD reporting on this would be helpful. I don’t think most of us (myself included) fully understand or have access to the data to analyze this properly. So good reporting using sources would be helpful.

    Going purely off of the SteelersDepot.com work on this, the Steelers will be $16 million over the cap next year — and that’s just in players currently signed to contracts and dead money. That doesn’t include all of the roster spots (including rookies) they will need to sign. Cutting Harrison frees up $5 million in cap space, but you’re still $11 million short + the cost of the other roster spots. So renegotiating Timmons and Woodley is the most simple choice, it appears, but if you have to cut James Harrison (who was still pretty effective this year) in order to fix this year’s cap situation but doing so will put you in a similar cap situation NEXT year, is that a good idea?

    I honestly don’t know the answer to that.

  95. “Please be safe tonight and enjoy First Night.”

    Time for a 21 nitpick. Shouldn’t it really be called Last Night?

  96. 21, is it Day or Night at 12:01 a.m. on 1/1/13?

  97. “Probably one of the worst season for Pirate fans ever.”

    Thought it was the best season of the last 20.

  98. “I’m rooting for Drake. I know a kid on the team.”

    Micah’s certainly making a name for himself!

  99. Ghost: “Thank you, Arriba. You’re a scholar and a gentleman.”

    - And they say don’t feed ME.

    Slim Jim: “Let’s not mix hyperbole into this discussion.”

    - Then it will be the End Of The World around here.
    Cause we are THEEE MOST STUPENDOUS HYPERBOLISTS EVER.

    >>>>>>>>>>EVERRRRRR<<<<<<<<<

  100. 21,

    He had a rough night against Bradley but he’s getting more playing time. It’s a big adjustment.

  101. “21, is it Day or Night at 12:01 a.m. on 1/1/13?”

    It’s morning. :-)

    But I thought the celebration starts tonight before midnight.

  102. #99 AW, 12:01 am is morning. 11:59pm is night.

    Does that give you an answer?

  103. While it would be the least popular move in the city of Pittsburgh besides a Bob Nutting mayoral ticket, cutting Heath Miller probably needs to be talked about. I know everyone loves him and he had probably his best season ever. But he counts $7.5 million against the cap each of the next two years, and most of it is tied up in salary (so he can be cut without incurring too large of a charge). Considering that he is over 30 years old and will be coming off of a three-ligament tear injury …

    DK: Yikes.

  104. haha 21 and I are on the same time zone

  105. #104/5,

    The opposite of Night is Day, not “morning”. 12:01 is definitely nighttime. So it is a celebration of the coming first night of the year.

  106. Jimmy,
    This looks like it will be a yearly issue for the Steelers. However, they do get the job done year after year. I don’t think there is reason to fret but we should try to rectify this after this offseason. If we ever need to go through a rebuilding year, then we could look to cut a bunch of guys but it was the right move at the time in the last few offseasons because we did look to have a super bowl contending team and that is what we had to do to keep our guys in the same uniform.

  107. FJ technically, AM is morning. The sky may be dark, but it’s morning.

  108. Uh Jimmy, just joking around!

  109. But nighttime is considered sunset to sunrise I believe.

  110. –Probably one of the worst season for Pirate fans ever.
    “Thought it was the best season of the last 20.”

    21,
    I meant it could be the worst season for Pirate fans as witnessing the collapse. I think most of us thought the streak would end when it was July. Nobody thought we would end up with a losing season just 1.5 months later. It was the best record wise but the most heartbreaking for the fans.

  111. I’m not going to speak for anybody but me Dom. I literally take it one game at a time.

  112. An item today from MLB Rumors:

    “Opinions are mixed on the potential of first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands, who has been traded from the Dodgers to the Red Sox to the Pirates. “He’s one of those guys who could all of a sudden put up a big year if he gets the chance to play every day,” said one AL GM. “Don’t think he’ll be that effective off someone’s bench. He’s got to get into a rhythm at the plate and when he does, he can hit.”

    Expert opinion or just rumor/innuendo? Only Neal “the reality is” Huntington knows for sure.

  113. You have quite the poise 21. I’m still surprised that we couldn’t win just 2 more games to end the losing and 3 more to have our first winning season in 19 years.

  114. DK: Let’s go off what Jimmy said about the cap: Which of the following players would you — not emotionally, but prudently — be first to cut, LaMarr Woodley or Heath Miller?

    I realize this is a faux debate. Neither is going to happen. But in this hypothetical context, which would you do?

  115. If we would have lost 100, it would be obviously upsetting but not as heartbreaking as coming so close and falling short for the second straight year. Plus, it might have encouraged Nutting to make some changes. Now, since we improved from last year, he had a reason for keeping the management team in place.

  116. Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan
    On the NFL’s Black Monday, worth noting it’s been 399 days since a baseball general manager was fired. Last was Ed Wade.

  117. When a Steeler season ends, there’s never any talk about whether the coach will be fired. Hmmmm…..and Steelers have played in over 33% of the AFC Championship games since they hired Chuck Noll in 1969.

    Chiefs, Eagles, Chargers, Browns and Bears all fired or will fire their coaches today. Hmmm….One Super Bowl win among the lot of them, and that was over 40 years ago. (Yes, I know…I know…Reid had 14 years and most or all of the firings might even be deserved, but…)

    Just finished a crappy, disappointing Steelers season, but seeing the annual “Black Monday for NFL Coaches” headlines makes you realize how lucky we are to root for this franchise. No panic. No major restructuring or doing some 180 degree change of plan. Just go to work and figure out how to make next year better with the same head coach.

  118. Oh, and add the Bills to that list. No need to change the grand total of Super Bowl wins after doing so. Unreal.

  119. Nothing surprises me anymore Dom.

    I’d have to cut Heath between those two.

  120. scapper,

    2 Super Bowl wins. Chiefs & Bears one each.

  121. I dont think its fair to pin it all on Woodley. Yes, he appeared not to be in the best condition. Despite Woodley, Pittsburgh still had a very good defense (good enough to be considered #1).

    Instead, I would blame the coaches. Where was the running game? I wouldn’t pin it just on the running game but the growing pains of moving to a “Todd Haley” offense and Mike Tomlin’s fumble and bench method. The rotating kiosk of runners that failed to develop any rhythm in the running game. Running used to be steelers bread n butter that they could ice away the game easily. Instead, teams hung around because the steelers couldn’t possess the ball enough.

    Sometimes the best defense is a better offense. You possess the ball longer, you let your defense recover and you are stronger as a team. In the bengals game, defense created 3 turnovers that the offense did nothing with.

  122. Milo,

    Thanks. Forgot about ’86. Crashed my car into a guardrail on I-79 that night. Must be subconsciously trying to blot that night out of my memory.

  123. I’d cut Woodley without question over Miller. If I were running a team, I’d be hard pressed to justify paying a guy nearly 10 mil a year for that kind of production. Number of games played over the last few years between the 2 isn’t close either (I don’t think).

    Financially, the difference in salary between Heath and Woodley covers a couple draft picks. Heath should be the primary receiver on this offense IMO. Not only could he handle it, but it would force other teams to compensate for him by reducing coverage on the outside.

    I’m still not dismissing my disappointment with the 100 million dollar quarterback who looked like he was more concerned about proving Todd Haley wrong than winning football games this season, some that shouldn’t have even been close. What is his record now against Oakland? 1-10?

  124. If they can assure me that Heath will remain a key part of the offense )and he’s healthy) I might keep Miller.

    DK: Well, that’s easy. No preconditions. Just what you know right now.

  125. Asking the question, whether Heath Miller or LaMarr Woodley should be cut——

    . . . . is like asking the question: “Should the Pirates have their World Series parade down Grant Street or Federal Street?”

    Neither is going to happen!

    DK: No, it isn’t like that. Because it wasn’t about the Pirates.

  126. TC and Jimmy—might? MIGHT? Think you guys are “celebrating” New Years a little early.

  127. Pirates World Series parade will be in Amherst, MA.

  128. Sorry, missed DK’s question.

  129. I’d have to keep Heath. He’s more productive for the money.
    He’s been consistently consistent.

  130. Groat, now you’ve done it!!!!!

  131. “I don’t deal in hypotheticals.”

  132. Jandy,

    You’ll keep Heath because he’s good looking. ;)

    We know you now and even your name. :)

  133. Foo Man Chewing,

    Nice to have your Midland-accented twang back in the house.

  134. It’s not really fair to compare Heath and Woodley. Heath just had his best year statistically and I still don’t think they throw to him enough. Has all the makings of a possession offense guy. Agree with #126 Brad otherwise and #127 TC.

  135. One rhetorical question is the same as another rhetorical question. Has nothing to do with question topic.

    Neither is based in reality!

    If you had taken those last two courses at Duquesne, you would have known that!!!

  136. Ken Whisenhunt fired by Arizona.

  137. Dejan, to your question about Woodley or Miller, it’s a little more complicated than that. I mean, I would like to have Miller’s 2012 season over Woodley’s 2012 season, but they have apples vs. oranges ramifications against the cap. I believe Woodley is just one year into a 6 year contract that included a ~$15 million signing bonus. Miller has two years left on a 5 year deal (again, this is off the top of my head) with a ~$5 million bonus. So assuming that they haven’t deferred any of Heath’s contract, Cutting Heath next year would force them to assume a $2 million hit on the prorated bonus. Cutting Woodley would be about >$10 million hit next year. Subtract their salaries (Miller = $5 million and Woodley = $9 million), and cutting Miller would save you $3 million against the cap this year. Cutting Woodley would actually COST YOU an additional $1 million against your cap. So, simply put, you can’t cut Woodley, even if he deserves it.

    DK: Ah, the salary cap. Nicely done, James.

  138. Kyle Stark was reached over the holidays, and was asked if he had any thoughts about Clemente. His response: “About whom?”

  139. If you had taken those last two courses at Duquesne, you would have known that!!!

    Woah!!!!

  140. Groat, and he follows up his no-no with a ZING!!!!

  141. DK, I would cut Woodley.

  142. Milo, does that mean he’ll be coming back to DaBurgh???

  143. Spunky, I don’t think there are too many good-looking football players, certainly Heath DOESN’T fall into that category lol. No, he’s just a beast and I really to think he’s under-rated.

  144. Woodley needs to train with Pirates minor league players. That will whip him into shape and increase his understanding of Dr. Seuss.

  145. With all the talk of cutting Woodley, Miller, etc….I’m going to throw this question out there again.
    Would Woodley be tradeable?? (Keeping contract, etc in mind)

    Otherwise….I do think the Steelers have to make some bold moves to get this cap figure considerably under.
    They need some outside help….Besides the draft.

  146. Let’s pick up Whisenhunt to be our OC. I’m not as down on him as most people but Whisenhunt would be an upgrade. He could still get a head coaching position.

  147. Dom,
    The current starting quarterback – who isn’t exactly thrilled with the current OC – didn’t really care for Whisenhunt when he WAS the OC here

  148. Really? I had no idea. Maybe Ben will see KW as the lesser of two evils.

  149. Daq, trades have the same cap effects as cutting does. That’s one of the reasons trades are fairly rare in the NFL. If the Steelers traded Woodley, they have to assume the remainder of his prorated signing bonus next year (>$10 million). So trading Woodley is as improbable as cutting him.

  150. Jimmy – I know it gets complicated, and that’s why you don’t see it as much these days.
    I was wondering how much pay the other team would assume in a trade like that.
    I’m assuming not nearly enough.

  151. Jimmy – Meant to say…I’m assuming not nearly enough from your description.

  152. Keep in mind that signing bonuses have already been paid. The amounts we’re discussing in respect to Woodley is just the accounting principles agreed to by the NFL. Woodley counts $11 million against the 2013 cap, but he’ll only GET $9 million next year. The $2 million delta is the accounting — his signing bonus prorated across the length of his deal (6 years).

    When a player is traded, the acquiring team takes on the remainder of the contract (they’d owe him $9 million in 2013). But the original team needs to account for the >$15 million they gave him when he signed his deal. Since he isn’t on the payroll anymore, they can’t prorate it anymore, and it all becomes “due” (in cap accounting) that coming season.

    I think NFL teams can send money as part of the deal (like they do in MLB) but that wouldn’t create salary cap relief.

  153. Headin out…going out to early dinner…not sure if I’ll be on later…
    Happy New Year everyone!
    <3 u all :)

  154. @Milo: Surprised at your Drake connection. Are you in IA or the Burgh?

    @Groat: That quote about Sands appeared in Sunday’s Boston Globe in Nick Cafardo’s baseball notes. It will be interesting to see if Sands gets a lot of ABs during ST.

    Over the weekend, SiriusXM had an interview with the 31 year old player who came back for 1 at bat last year with the Marlins years after he was beaned during his first mlb at bat with the Cubs. I think his name might be Greenberg. Anyway, he went to the winter meetings last month with no agent. He knows has an ST invite, and a minor-league contract with the Orioles. Nice story.

  155. This is why NFL trades are so rare. The seller has to be able to handle the assumption of the remainder of his signing bonus against their cap. The buyer needs to be able (and willing) to assume the player’s remaining contract against THEIR cap. And the buyer needs to be willing to part with something of value.

    Lamar Woodley didn’t live up to his contract this year, but cutting or trading him would effectively require the Steelers to go from a 53-man roster to a 51-man roster ($10 million is like two starters). As bad as he was, he’s still better than losing two roster spots. :-)

  156. Not that it matters….But wasn’t this the second year of Woodley’s deal?

  157. There are some additional account rules that I’m leaving out. Like if you cut a guy after June 1, you can split his cap hit across the coming two seasons. I’m just dealing with simplified scenarios.

  158. Yeah, you’re right. So my math needs to be adjusted. But this is why I complained about Alan R.’s lousy attempt at covering the subject. I’m just a bozo pumping out a few blog comments in between meetings at work. You’d think a professional journalist covering this for a salary could take the time to do it right.

  159. @21 #114
    Certainly nothing should surprise us about the Buccos after the past 2 decades but I and many others were naive enough to believe that we’d have a winning season when we were 16 games above .500 in August.

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