By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media
Morning, Lunatics …
>> No Thursday column this week because it was pushed up a day to cover the Pirates’ trade. The rest of the week’s schedule is intact, including a Friday column coming from the the finale with the Brewers at PNC Park.
Tonight will mark the 11th consecutive year the Steelers and Panthers will have concluded their preseason against each other, this one in Charlotte. And it’s safe to say that the overall worth of all 11 combined wouldn’t fill a thimble. That’s because they mean almost nothing. Ben Roethlisberger won’t play. I’d be stunned if Cam Newton is out there for more than a series if that, based on the reporting of the Charlotte Observer. Same goes for most of the first-teamers on both sides.
So, what’s to watch?
Ask me, and it’s the offensive line. Again.
Regardless of who’s in the backfield, at quarterback or running back, the line has a good bit to gain from playing at least a few snaps, if not a full quarter. And what they do will mean something in the sense that they’re still protecting a quarterback, still opening holes for a running back, still ramping up the zone-blocking.
And this goes double for the tackles, Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, whose performance in the preseason has been ominously shaky.
That topic and others were addressed in this spirited talk I had yesterday with our football guru Mark Kaboly …
Here’s our full Steelers coverage from Alan Robinson, who will be on site in Charlotte.
>> And here’s something else …
The Pirates and Marlon Byrd had their way with the Brewers last night at PNC. Rob Biertempfel reports. Just a handful of Ws shy of history now.
Here’s our full baseball coverage, including more on Byrd’s arrival.
Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.
>> Tom Savage, Pitt’s rust-coated QB, talks wistfully about the opener. Jerry DiPaola reports. And for more on Savage and his progress since the spring, here’s tight end J.P. Holtz …
Also on the Pitt front, Joe Starkey’s column revisits a far bigger matchup with Florida State.
>> All 240 pounds of big back Zach Zwinak should boost Penn State. Chris Adamski reports.
>> I’ll say hello to the TribLIVE Radio crew at 11:30 a.m.