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Morning Java: Pitt needs to let it all out tonight

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column covers the first day of the rest of the Pirates’ lives.

Here’s some of my one-on-one with Justin Morneau after his Pittsburgh debut …

The club went down hard to the Cardinals yesterday. Rob Biertempfel reports.

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage. Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. And here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Tonight, of course, belongs to Pitt.

The Panthers can make their season debut in dynamic style — or will it be a dud? — in facing No. 11 Florida State at Heinz Field. I’ll be over the write a column off the event, and I’m looking forward to it as much as anything in recent months, if only for what it could represent.

It could be huge. First game in the ACC. Beating a ranked, big-name team in the opener. A first true signature win for Paul Chryst. All that and more.

Which is why I posed the following question to tight end J.P Holtz

Posed the same thing to Chryst, and this was his response: “I think that’s a fair question, but I don’t anticipate that. You try and get a read on your guys, and I know them one year better than last year. We have some good veterans. This isn’t the first big game that our guys have played in. Some of the younger guys have to learn it, but I think our guys will be fine.”

I don’t know. There’s a large skill disparity, in particular.

But I do know this: Most upsets in football are founded in having the edge in turnovers, and that means being aggressive as possible on defense. If I’m the Panthers, I’m going out there erring on the side of recklessness, especially given that their top actual playmakers are on defense: Aaron Donald will disrupt as much as any lineman in the ACC. Jason Hendricks had six picks last season.

That’s what Pitt needs more than anything tonight.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage. And if you missed it yesterday, here’s a heart-wrenching piece on Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher by Jerry DiPaola.

>> The Steelers are back at practice today, and things are about to get real. I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t first revisit this one thing from over the weekend …

Jonathan Dwyer?

We won’t hear from Mike Tomlin about the Steelers’ most surprising cut until later today, but it should be compelling. Of all the running backs to make the final roster, only newcomer Felix Jones made it through the preseason injury-free. Dwyer did, too, of course. And that’s to say nothing of Dwyer leading the team in 2012 with 623 yards despite getting double-digit carries in only eight games.

Here’s guessing you’ll hear at least something about Dwyer’s two preseason fumbles. That would be consistent on Tomlin’s part. Last year in Oakland, the coach embarrassed Dwyer by posting on the team message board that he wouldn’t play the following week.

Well, pay the fumble narrative no heed: In 181 career NFL carries, Dwyer’s got two fumbles. In 517 carries at Georgia Tech, he had zero.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage, including the Sunday column with my season prediction.

>> Allen Robinson, Penn State’s graceful junior wide receiver who had six catches for 115 yards Saturday to beat Syracuse — despite being benched for the first half — is a playmaker unlike anyone at Pitt or West Virginia. Someone in that mold must be the top priority for Chryst and Dana Holgorsen.

Here’s our Penn State coverage, by new beat man Chris Adamski.

>> WPXI-TV’s The Final Word last night was filled with fireworks over the Pirates, Steelers and Pitt.

>> I’ll say hello to the TribLIVE Radio crew at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. ix4kid says:

    So Dejan, why do you feel Dwyer was cut? The strong sentiment is he lost trust with the coaching staff. To me, it is more than a fumble here or there.

    DK: Hope you read the entry above about the fumbles. There’s no way in the name of sanity that it could have been fumbles.

    I’d thought it was the coaches, too, but the Trib’s information is that this was much more about Kevin Colbert than the staff. Obviously, the only people who can confirm that are the GM himself or the head coach, and the chance of that is about the same as the Other Jets winning the Super Bowl. But our understanding there was just something there about Dwyer that Colbert didn’t like.

    Surprised me, especially in light of the Oakland scene described above.

    And welcome to the blog, Will. Nice to finally get you here. Tell Bill he’s welcome, too, and we’ll have a Will and Bill.

  2. ix4kid says:

    So if I remember correctly, Dwyer fumbles late 1st half in Oakland territory which sets up an Oakland TD. He doesn’t see the field again that game. Tomlin hangs him out to dry? What about AB for the purpose of consistency? Seems to me AB’s fumble was the major turnover.

    DK: Never mind that. What about Cleveland? Everyone and his uncle fumbled there. Somehow, only Dwyer gets remembered.

  3. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ix4kid–thanks for the question. I was scratching my head, too.

    Does your moniker mean you have 4 kids?

    DK: Not to intrude, but heads should STILL be scratching. Nothing in my answer to Will explains a thing. Only the Steelers can do that, and I doubt they will.

  4. ix4kid says:

    There is more to this and like you said we probably won’t know. Unrelated, how big is this 9 game road trip for the Bucs (do I need to move to a different blog for that one? Learning my way through this)

    DK: You’re in the right place. The Morning Java entry tends to cover all sports. Even curling. We did curling once.

  5. ix4kid says:

    No on 4 kids, just a 5 yr old son….moniker came from my college friends 20 years ago…one time for the kid.

  6. ix4kid says:

    I remember your curling blog. And I love watching that during the Olympics. It is so cool.

  7. Arriba Wilver says:

    I get that, DK. I had posed a question on today’s AM thread generally about Dwyer and only got crickets in return. So any info was interesting to me. (That’s not a criticism). I’m pretty much with you in that I liked his skills. And they have a lot of uncertainty at the position. Believe me, still scratching.

  8. JohninOshkosh says:

    I am sooooooo excited about the Pitt game! National television, inaugural conference game and a quality opponent.

    Nobody gave Pitt much chance last year against Notre Dame and they almost walked out of South Bend with a victory.

    I saw Wisconsin play Saturday and that team is very much a legacy of Paul Chryst’s coaching philosophy. Excellent offensive line, using the run to set up the pass and nothing flashy with just north/south football. Under a properly running Chryst offense, the quarterback just needs to be adequate. The runners pick up yardage. They grind things out. The safeties and DB’s begin to bite on play actions and, whamo, drives are put together. I will be looking for Pitt to keep FSU’s defense off the field. Also, the Seminoles’ BMOC quarterback is starting his first collegiate game. Maybe, just maybe, he will make some mistakes. If he does, then Pitt needs to capitalize.

    This team runs out there on the legacy of May and Fralic and Covert. and Dixon. No need for their skill players to be Marino, Dorsett and Fitzgerald if the OL plays the way a Chryst OL is designed.

  9. theplanisworking says:

    A friend of mine , during the “fumblitis — running back by comittee” days made this observation….

    “when certain players do one bad thing, the coaching staff holds it against that player forever…….. yet other players can do no wrong, even when they screw up”. He attributed this to Tomlin, but now that I read you column, and responses, Colbert comes into play.
    My question is this……… why would the man who drafted Dwyer, turn on him so fast? You say it isnt the fumbles, could it be conditioning? Attitude? And, why would Tomlin continue to harp on Dwyers fumbles, if that wasnt the real issue.

    I am more confused than ever now.
    Bottom line, the leading rusher from last years team is cut, with no real reason.
    AW, I am scratching my head also.

  10. JohninOshkosh says:

    * defense on the field

  11. theplanisworking says:

    + many.

    I hope Pitt gets a win also. Of course, they could get pasted 35-7, but I think being the first ACC game, at home, on national TV, we just might see an upset.

    Another time Pitt was a huge underdog, had no chance to win, etc. I made a prediction on that game too. I said Pitt would win by a field goal in a low scoring game. Every one of my fellow Pitt fans laughed at me for days. I think everyone knows the game I am talking about.

    Pitt 13, WVU 9.
    I had no courage to back my prediction with any wagers.
    I could have retired if I did.

    GO PITT!

  12. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    In regards to Dwyer….I “feel” it is a combination of badly timed fumbles AND a salary that would’ve gone well over $1 mil this year.
    It appears to be a story, but frankly it isn’t one that interests me that much.
    Dwyer, Redmond…They’re both mediocre backs at best.
    Perhaps someone knows more than us as to why Dwyer is the one that is gone.

  13. ix4kid says:

    Here is my 2 cents…Dwyer showed up in June at OTAs carrying too much weight. I feel that bothered Colbert and company. It was more of the message sent about offseason commitment (working out). Granted yes he lost weight leading up to Latrobe, but IMO too late, and done as a response to what was probably said to him. After June OTAs I knew he was done in PGH. And it was also said JD was late to meetings. Even with LVB on the shelf it seems like the staff had enough. Quite possibly LVB is closer to returning than we think.

  14. DJ says:

    Saw Polanco was promoted to Indy. Would say there’s a reasonably good chance of him being here by mid-2014, despite all the expressed concerns of not rushing him.

  15. Arriba Wilver says:

    Had not heard the late to meetings aspect. Might sound insignificant, but in addition to everything else, it would support the lack of commitment concern, and, frankly, anger.

  16. theplanisworking says:

    Interesting points.

    Still doesnt make too much sense, but it might clarify some things.
    Just a weird way to do things.

  17. DJ says:

    Apart from Aaron Donald and J.P Holtz, third Pitt player to attain beast-mode status this year will be LT Adam Bisnowaty.

  18. theplanisworking says:

    As DK said,

    got a better chance otf DK’s “real” Jets winning the Stanley Cup, than getting any real info out of Tomlin and Colbert.

    I foresee the first reporter/columnist to ask Tomlin about this getting his head snapped off.
    I really hope not.

  19. Arriba Wilver says:

    Paul Zeise on the Showdown just predicted the Steelers 11-5, with Felix Jones rushing for 2000 yards. He was joking about the latter.

    DK: Flipped over during a commercial, eh? ;)

  20. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    The Window is going to be out and about most of the day today, and kindly requests a lil’ help from one of you fine fellow lunatics.
    If you one you could please re-post this for me in today’s game thread, you will have my thanks and gratitude!

    MULTI-LINE MONDAY!!!

    ******PLEASE READ WHAT IS WRITTEN BELOW******
    PLEASE PLACE YOUR “WAGERS” AS REPLIES IN THIS COMMENT BOX
    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    LOOKING FOR THE UPDATED STANDINGS?
    http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/2013/09/01/on-location-pirates-cardinals-6/#comment-242524

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!

    Line #1
    Total PITCHES THROWN by Charlie Morton in today’s game
    Line is 96.5

    Line #2
    Total RUNS SCORED by the Pirates in today’s game
    Line is 4.5

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    79 Down, only 3 more to go!!

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23

    KEEP CALM & BREAK .500

  21. Ghost says:

    My heart kind of goes out to Kris Johnson. His first Major League start today was also possibly his last ever. As 24/7 quoted the 28 year-old saying, “I worked all my life to get here and fell short.” On a side note, 24 finishes the game story with these wholly deceptive stats: “In two outings with the Pirates, (Johnson) is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA.” Well, of course! One bad, truncated outing like today’s will do that when you only have two appearances ever. Imagine if Liriano only had that Coors Field game plus one other on his record. That Johnson “lost” the Arizona game had very little to do with his six fine innings with only two runs allowed. It was because the Pirates only scored two runs in SIXTEEN innings. Kris Johnson’s implosion today — and more generally, his career — is what it is. If this was it for him, the wrap 24 put on it did seem a tad gratuitous to me. Here’s hoping the kid somehow gets a chance to write a different ending to his MLB story.

  22. Reading says:

    If it comes to the Pirates-St. Louis in the Wild Card sudden death game, if I’m Mathemy, Kelly gets the ball.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

    Well said.

  24. Ghost says:

    And now I just read the Morneau column. Yes, it was a bittersweet day in that the Morneau-debut-come-true was ruined by an ugly loss. But that the three newbies — and Morneau and Byrd, particularly — figured heavily in both runs scored and accounted for six at-bats ending on base gives a good inkling of what they instantly bring to the table. Byrd has been just one notch below being on fire. Since joining us, he has a five-game mini-hitting streak, is 7 for 19 with a walk, 3 doubles, a three-run dinger, 4 runs scored and 5 RBI.

  25. Ghost says:

    Yep. That’s the takeaway from his last two starts against us.

  26. Ghost says:

    Thanks, AW.

  27. Reading says:

    Really liking Byrd. Playing a good RF also.

  28. tdb1977 says:

    You couldnt have asked for a better start for Byrd since coming over to the Pirates this week. The guy has definitely been a major upgrade to the right field position over what we have had all season. Morneau will hopefully settle nicely in at first. This road trip could be a major tone setter for the rest of the season. 3 in the house of horrors – 3 final games against the Cards – and then 3 in Texas to finish the IL play for the year. Need to go 6-3 on this trip. If they can 2 out of 3 at each stop that would be ideal. Cards and Reds play their last 4 games against each other Monday – Thursday. Will be rooting for a tie in each game this week and a very long 15 to 17 inning game on Thursday so the Cards bullpen will be taxed while the Bucs are resting before their series starts in St Louis.

    Just disappointed that each game they lost this week – that I had to be there to witness them. Some days you win some – some days you lose some. I got to see a bunch of loses this week. Next home stand will be better!

  29. Reading says:

    Hopefully, S. McDonough does not call the Pitt-FSU game. If so, blowout city.

  30. Ghost says:

    In that case, you, sir, are to be banned from entering the park!
    Just joshing. ;) Bring us home the wins, next home stand.

  31. tdb1977 says:

    I’m still debating on the playoff package that sits on our kitchen table. Our yearly family vacation is already booked and paid for the week of the division series would take place, so I would miss all of those home games. If we go to the Wild Card game – that is my anniversary (how much cooler would it be to celebrate that at the ball park). Just hate to plunk that kind of money down and then have them go out in the NLDS and we dont see a game. So many decisions to make in just a few days!

  32. John Lease says:

    Take away that guy’s hair tonic, and we’ll rock him.

  33. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know when the next time will be so I’m going for it.

  34. Jandy says:

    *****ATTENTION^^^^^
    Newbies and lurkers, we want to chat with you. If you list your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.
    Don’t be shy, we don’t bite :)

  35. Jandy says:

    Gotta help the hubs this morning. Hopefully catch the game this afternoon.
    Go Bucs!

  36. JAL says:

    JAL’s September Song Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wte1uk4A5eU

    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 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Prospect Watch: Dickerson Has Four Hit Night With a HR; Bell Hits 13th HRBall

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/prospect-watch-dickerson-has-four-hit-night-with-a-hr-bell-hits-13th-hr.html

    Cardinals Avoid Sweep, Beat Pirates 7-2

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/cardinals-avoid-sweep-beat-pirates-7-1.html

    Alex Dickerson Wins Two Awards and Celebrates With Four Hit Night

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/alex-dickerson-wins-two-awards-and-celebrates-with-four-hit-night.html

    Pirates Notebook: Introducing Justin Morneau

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/pirates-notebook-introducing-justin-morneau.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Cardinals beat up on Kris Johnson, top Pirates 7-2

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/9/1/4683882/cardinals-beat-up-on-kris-johnson-beat-pirates-7-2

    Four hits for Dickerson, good outings for Borden and Creasy

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/9/1/4684556/four-hits-for-dickerson-good-outings-for-borden-and-creasy

    6 City of Champions

    Kris Johnson struggles as Pirates fall back into first-place tie

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/09/01/kris-johnson-struggles-as-pirates-fall-back-into-first-place-tie/

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 136: Cardinals 7 Pirates 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2013/game-136-cardinals-7-pirates-2.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Johnson Bombed As Bucs Fall 7-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/09/johnson-bombed-as-bucs-fall-7-2.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Cardinals 7, Pirates 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/09/cardinals-7-pirates-2/

  37. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    10 New York Times

    Pittsburgh’s Stirring Leap From the Abyss

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/sports/baseball/surprising-break-for-the-pittsburgh-pirates.html?_r=0

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Bradenton Marauders fall to Fort Myers Miracle in season finale, but attendance record set

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/09/02/4694951/bradenton-marauders-fall-to-fort.html

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Neal Huntington Dominated Trade Season

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/09/01/pittsburgh-pirates-neal-huntington-dominated-trade-season/

    13 Redbird Rants

    St. Louis Cardinals beat Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2, tied for division lead

    http://redbirdrants.com/2013/09/01/st-louis-cardinals-beat-pittsburgh-pirates-7-2-tied-for-division-lead/

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Offense stalls, Leake falters and Reds lose to Rockies 7-4

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130901/SPT04/309010087

    15 WCCO

    A Letter From Justin Morneau To Twins Fans

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/09/01/a-letter-from-justin-morneau-to-twins-fans/

    16 CBS Sports

    Brewers-Pirates Gam Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130902_PIT@MIL

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: At least Cards escaped Pittsburgh with a win

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-at-least-cards-escaped-pittsburgh-with-a-win/article_109fd1f4-3d6b-5938-8bb1-ade7dd929617.html

    Kelly comes through for Cards

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/kelly-comes-through-for-cards/article_3f0d63ef-cfe4-5b79-9911-4e2ab895256d.html

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs miss chance to pad lead, drop into tie for first

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_09_01_slnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Johnson, Farnsworth called up; Snider activated

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130901&content_id=59211212&notebook_id=59212222&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Bleacher Report

    2013 MLB Waiver Trade Deadline: Grades for Notable Trades and Claims

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1748470-2013-mlb-waiver-trade-deadline-grades-for-every-notable-trade-claim

    20 Fangraphs

    When Will The Astros Start Spending On Major League Payroll?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/when-will-the-astros-start-spending-on-the-major-league-payroll/

  38. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Even after final cuts, can’t get a feel for the 2013 Steelers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/9/1/4681236/2013-steelers-roster-depth-chart-cuts

    High school quarterback of Derek Moye only wishes his dad was alive to see him make the Steelers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/9/1/4682344/steelers-derek-moye-roster-cuts-2013-wide-receiver-depth-chart

    22 Steelers Depot

    Hritz: 2013 Steelers Season Preview and Predictions

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/09/hritz-2013-steelers-season-preview-and-prediction/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Evening Standard

    Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham: Giroud goal proves decisive in north London derby

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/arsenal-10-tottenham-giroud-goal-proves-decisive-in-north-london-derby-8793412.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Savo Milosevic: a hero and a Villain

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/blogs/savo-milosevic-a-hero-and-a-villain

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    New Pittsburgh Penguins Alternate 3rd Jersey – 2013-14 or 2014-15?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/9/1/4683526/new-pittsburgh-penguins-alternate-3rd-jersey-2013-14-or-2014-15

  39. JAL says:

    September Song Frank Sinatra 1965 I could at least 3 months of September song with a different artist each day Sinatra has three versions of the song.

  40. Tom P. says:

    With 26 games remaining, the Pirates magic number to eliminate Arizona is 18, to host the wild card is 23 (vs. Reds) and to win the division is 27 (vs. Cardinals).

    Series beginning today involving these teams are Cardinals at Reds (4 games) and Toronto at Arizona (3 games). Washington is a game behind Arizona, and the Nationals start a three game series at Philadelphia today.

  41. Jim S. says:

    I hope you’re right about Pitt’s chances, plan. A win tonight could do wonders for this season and for the program overall.

  42. Jim S. says:

    If he does well through the first 2 months of next year, that is definitely the plan, DJ. They know Tabata is only a 4th OF on a really good team. And they expect to be a really good team.

  43. Jim S. says:

    He’s a lefty, Ghost. I think because of that he’ll get more chances. His work at Indy this year, plus the solid relief effort will be remembered. He may not get more starts for a pitching-rich organization like the Bucs. But, I think he’ll get another shot. And, if not as a starter, he can be converted to reliever.

  44. tdb1977 says:

    Pirates fans are going to learn the art of scoreboard watching this September. It can be fun and maddening at the same time while watching our competion. I’m really hoping that this dream season that we have seen so far will have a lot of September magic. And I can’t express how good it feels to see the magic with some of the greatest fans out there.

  45. Jim S. says:

    Luck of the draw did not go your way this week, tdb. I was fortunate in that I rolled into town Friday afternoon, witnessed victories Fri & Sat, then rolled back out yesterday before the game. Luck was on my side this week in that regard. Wish you had fared better as well.

  46. Jim S. says:

    I picked a good weekend to come back and visit my family in Pittsburgh. Made a hasty decision last week with my kids to come visit Grandpa and catch a few games. We drove in from Chicago on Friday, went straight to the North Shore, had an early dinner at Bettis #36 Grille, and then enjoyed a tremendous effort by the Bucs on a truly perfect night for baseball.

    Liriano was masterful on Friday, and the Bucs took it to St. Louis in every way. We went back on Saturday for more of the same, as AJ throttled the Cards and the Bucs bats were terrific. The ball park was rocking for a 2nd straight night, and the Fireworks and concert after were just icing on the cake. There is no ball park as fun as PNC when the Bucs are going well.

    Unfortunately, we had to get out of town yesterday right before the game. I’m starting to think it was my fault they lost yesterday. Need a win today to start this HUGE roadtrip. Need a 5-4 trip, I think. 2/3 in St. Louis would be nice.

    I like the Morneau trade, as it provides more lineup options and flexibility. But, I am not disillusioned into thinking he is still 2006 Justin Morneau. But, if he can hit like that for just a few months here we could really do some damage. Go Bucs!

  47. Tom P. says:

    tdb, the last time we scoreboard-watched, we had to wait for periodic updates on TV or radio. Now, we can keep track of multiple games, pitch by pitch, on our computer, tablet or smartphone of choice. Or watch them on the same devices, for that matter.

  48. Jim S. says:

    I, too, find the Dwyer decision to be a real head scratcher. So, if this truly was the GM’s work, and I have no way of knowing whether that is true or not, it would mean:

    * A guy who came to camp overweight, but lost all the extra weight in time to prove that he is still maybe the best and healthiest option at RB right now is not good enough to be on the roster.

    * Felix Jones will suddenly realize his potential.

    * The ultra-undependable Mr. Redman will suddenly stay healthy and get dependable.

    * Le’Veon Bell, who has already been injured 3x in his first NFL camp will come back strong in a few weeks.

    I don’t know that Jones, Redman and Bell can be counted on for much production this season. It seemed to me that Dwyer did well in the pre-season. If they were going to dump him, why waste so many carries on him in the pre-season? Was it to coax a trade with another team? Or, was it because most of the other RBs couldn’t get on the field and someboday had to “tote the rock?”

    I would sure like to know what grievous offense Mr. Dwyer committed to get him sent packing. Other guys have done a whole lot of publicly horrible things on this team and managed to keep their jobs, sometimes without even producing on the field. Still others have been more than a little overweight throughout their careers with no repercussions.

    I realize it is unfashionable to criticize Kevin Colbert in Pittsburgh, and I am the first to admit he did a great job in assembling very good Steelers teams for the better part of a decade. But, does anyone think he has done his job well the past few years? It appears to me that this roster has taken steps backwards in terms of talent for a few years in a row. It also appears that cap space management has not been our strong suit of late. I’m all for recognizing past achievements, but I would sort of like to feel they have a plan in place to turn this team around and get it headed back in a positive direction. I don’t see that right now. They seem adrift at sea with no direction right now.

    I so want to be wrong about this team. But, I see almost no impact players. They have a QB who is good enough (for the amount of time he stays healthy) to keep them competitive in most games, but not much else. I see 6-10 on the horizon. Crazy as it sounds, I would have traded Ben this past off-season, got as much as possible for him, and totally rebuilt. This feels like a slow, painful collapse a little at a time. I wish I were more positive in my outlook, and I certainly hope I am wrong.

  49. Tom P. says:

    Jim, given the luck you bring the Pirates (and because you are already in Chicago), any chance we can entice you to drive north to Milwaukee for the game against the Brewers today? (just kidding, sort of).

    Glad you had a good weekend in Pittsburgh. We drove past PNC Park about 4:30 on Saturday after leaving the Carnegie Science Center, and it looked like a great day for baseball. I watched the second and third innings on Sunday via the MLB.com package I bought last week. My wife saw the 1,500 standing room only fans in the left field area, and she said, “That’s crazy.) Looked like a lot of fun to me.

    I agree with you on the 5-4 road trip. My guess is 2wins each against the Brewers and Cardinals and 1 against the Rangers.

  50. Jim S. says:

    I agree, Reading. But, this being baseball, and managers being what they are, that baseball would probably have to be pried from Wainwright’s cold, dead hand.

  51. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Tom. It truly was a great atmosphere. Your wife was right about that. A great thing in a situation like that, for me, is you end up sitting next to people who you just met but who are experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time. So, you strike up conversations, and end up high-fiving them after big plays. It was very festive. My kids had a blast. So glad I came home for it.

  52. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    DK thanks for the love on my 12-4 post on the deep six thread yesterday.

    Not sure if I actually believe that record will play out, and I am more of a eternal optimist when it comes to the pirates, but I do believe the organization as a whole is interested in revitalizing it’s culture. I clearly have no clue if that’s true here from my couch, however there seems to be a lot less noise coming from that locker room than in recent years.

    I really like what Haley can do, and now that the scabs have healed (fly mike wallace and conspiracy rashard gone) and the scar tissue is is taking it’s place amongst the lean muscle (old Ben in his prime, mending Miller…young receivers and young line), we may see good things.

    Have we seen the last of the “young money, swaggin’, the league hates us” GARBAGE? Is the organization getting back to football?

  53. JoeyBats says:

    STEELERS: …sooo disappointed in Johnny Dwyer. From a great distance appears to be one of those types of folks in the Ian Snell and James McDonald mold “great tools ….NO TOOLBOX.” Why do you keep showing up for the spring workouts….YEAR AFTER YEAR…OUT OF SHAPE.?”
    .
    PITT & FSU: …..fun to dream about an upset….it would be great for that to happen. Unfortunately, I think the Panthers with a very inexperienced offense lay an egg tonight. :-(
    .
    Beat Em Bucs!!!

  54. Brandie says:

    I am so glad you got the chance to make memories with your kids and do something truly special. I was at camp all weekend and couldn’t watch but was happy to get news reports on the wins and the Morneau trade.

    That said, I do realize this is the beginning of the final leg on the march on the long road toward accountability and respectability. I tip my hat to the long suffering fans who will celebrate 82 wins either quietly or boisterously, and to The Management who found their inner Sheri’s so we can win NOW, plus lay the groundwork for the future.

    Here’s hoping there are more memories to be made in the Jim S. Family. :-)

  55. Nate83 says:

    I’m with you on Colbert. His job over the last 3-4 years will be determined by this young O-line. If they come together and play well together as this year progresses the team could be good this year and for years to come. If 2 or 3 of these young guys are just average or complete bust we are in for a long painful rebuild.

    I have to imagine the Dwyer thing comes down to attitude. Maybe he was late for a ton of meetings and a horrible locker room guy. It is very odd he got so many preseason carries. I hope we find out the reason but I doubt we ever will.

  56. Brandie says:

    Shero’s, not Sheri’s! UGH AUTOCORRECT!

  57. Keith says:

    100 on the OVER for both lines, my good sir. Thanks!

  58. Keith says:

    Dejan,
    I picked up Felix Jones for my last fantasy roster spot. Will I ever get to start him?

  59. Drew71 says:

    If you are working today, thank you. If you are not, enjoy. HAPPY LABOR DAY.

    “It could be huge. First game in the ACC. Beating a ranked, big-name team in the opener. A first true signature win for Paul Chryst. All that and more.”
    - If that happens, I’m gonna visit Lucky’s Kentucky homestead and watch chickens grow lips.

    Other thoughts:

    - If Dwyer was on Colbert, I wonder if this was like when Buddy Ryan first came to the Eagles and traded 1000 yard rusher Earnest Jackson. For essentially nothing. While he said something Ryan-Rude, what he meant was good-never-great was good enough to start but would block the development of others, the chance to get better.

    - “Not to intrude” reminds me of my wife saying in mid conversation “not to change the subject” and then promptly does.

    - I find myself reading the stories from the sports pages of the Pirates’ opponents. For the first time in 21 years.

  60. Dom says:

    #1: 50 UNDER!!!
    #2: 100 OVER!!!

    THANKS!!!

  61. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Brandie. We did make some great memories this weekend! Baseball is great for bringing families together.

  62. Brandie says:

    Ain’t it funny how winning really does change everything?

    Good Morning Drew-k, or should I say Drew-quesne?

  63. Jim S. says:

    Could be that the Dwyer thing is deeper, Nate. The Steelers have never been known to make rash decisions. But, as I said, I do not understand a lot of what they have been doing the last few years.

    I’m with you on the O-Line. They have carefully constructed it. Maybe they see something in it that I don’t yet see, and that is entirely possible. They are the experts, and I am just a fan at home. So far, though, it appears they have a long way to go. And all the happy words in the world from Ben and the organization won’t make up for a lack of performance.

  64. Jim S. says:

    “Not to change the subject” is a lot like “No offense intended” right before someone totally rips apart another person.

  65. theplanisworking says:

    Dont blame it on the autocorrect.

    Blame it on the wine.
    Or rain.

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    JAL, this is not a complaint at all, and I immensely appreciate the hard work you do with the links, but how come you no longer include links to Pitt, Penn State and WVU articles ?

  67. theplanisworking says:

    Playoffs needs to do a “wager” on who the first reporter will be to ask Tomlin about Dwyer, and a seperate “wager” on whether said reporter has his head after asking the question.

    Something stinks about cutting your leading rusher from last year, without an injury.

  68. Brandie says:

    Who has wine? Or did you mean “Blame It On The Whine”?

  69. theplanisworking says:

    “Not to intrude” is like the word “but” in a sentence…….. everything preceding the word but is automatically sent to the trash can.

    Like my ex. ;)

  70. theplanisworking says:

    Happy Labor Day to you, Reverend.

  71. theplanisworking says:

    Milli Vanilli…… Blame it on the Rain. ;)

    Morning Muppetinmal.

  72. Drew71 says:

    That fits, Brandie. My recently adopted school.

    Walking the beach this LD morning. The FL summer humidity and daily storms have broken early this year. It’s hot but not oppressive.

    I miss Pittsburgh in the summer. The ballgames, golf courses, old (and I do mean old) friends, weather, architecture, neighborhoods, hills and forests, people, festivals, and yes, now waiting for Duquesne basketball circling wins on a calendar.

    That said, the next nine months down here are going to be glorious.

  73. theplanisworking says:

    Dejan must be asleep.

    I gave love to his Winnipeg Jets, and no bold reaming.

    Sleep well, DK. ;)

  74. MadTurk says:

    Rehash of the Presley squabble from last night.

    If you read what Bob was saying “How can you not like this guy and the way he plays ball? And better than some (most) of the “slugs” against whom he was forced to compete” Then you would see that he was not advocating that Presley play over Byrd or anyone better that could be brought in. Or even trading Presley for Morneau was bad one.
    He was saying that during the early part of the season he would of, or could of been a better option then what we had, if given a real chance to compete.

    I like his attitude and his every day hussle on the field. He may never have been a star or the starter when Polanco comes up but may have bridged the gap. He could have been the fourth outfielder that all teams need. He can play all three positions in the outfield.

    We all can argue over the chances he had but you have to take in consideration the pitch hitting chances the back to back game chances and the down time in between them. Being sent back an fourth to the minors does not help any player either.

    I can’t find fault with Bob liking the guy and the way he played while here. I liked him as well and would have liked to see more to make a long term decision on his abilities to be a major league player.
    Because of the management of him earlier in the year, the timing just did not work out and he was traded.

    With Bob’s comments sometimes you have to slow down and read what he is really saying before jumping on his comment. I may not always understand them myself but I think I do on this one.

    Bob please clarify if I have not understood your debate correctly.

    Now back to the current days topics, Baseball, football and Drew’s weather and wife.

  75. MadTurk says:

    With my last line I forgot to add the smiley so here it is :-)

  76. Brandie says:

    I have a cousin who graduated from Duquesne. My Dad works for Duquesne Light. Just thinking about Pittsburgh too.

  77. Brandie says:

    Takes me back to high school. :-)

  78. Brandie says:

    Tell us how you really feel.

    She sounds like a real peach, that one.

    Shaking my head over the launching of Jonathan Dwyer out of the Steelers compound as well.

  79. Drew71 says:

    Pirates 79-57
    Cards 79-57

    Pirates 26 games remaining
    Cards 26 games remaining

    Pirates magic number 27
    Cards magic number 27

    Bring. It. On.

    We’ll save the plunkings for April.

    Cause the best message to send is to WIN

  80. Brandie says:

    PREACH ON, DREW-K!

  81. JohninOshkosh says:

    Not sure why that Pens article (about alternative jerseys #25) had to take a shot at Dejan. These bloggers love to take swipes at Dejan. Not fun swipes, either. But jabs at his professionalism. Instead of crediting Dejan with attributing information from his reporting, these jagoffs have to say take it “with a grain of salt.”

    I’m really sick at the lack of professionalism exhibited by these bloggers. I refuse to call them journalists as they continually degrade the professionalism and the noble discipline of journalism.

    Sorry about the rant, but it bugs the hell out of me, quite frankly.

  82. Lad9 says:

    I have been all over Kelly since last summer, but there would be no chance it wouldn’t be Wainwright.

  83. Lad9 says:

    Good point John. I just read that and got a chuckle. All you need to know about it is that the moron who wrote the blog entry goes by TK-Noodle. Nuf said!

  84. kr70 says:

    we did freezing an egg in Canada once

  85. Big Dave says:

    DK – I’ve watched Obermann’s show a couple of times – have you been on?

  86. kr70 says:

    #1 100 on the under, that’s all AND THANKS

  87. Jim S. says:

    +++. Inquiring minds want to know.

  88. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, “not to intrude” is a great one. I think the point is, you can just take the word “not” away to get the true meaning of these phrases.

  89. Jim S. says:

    Mad Turk:

    I, too, liked Presley for the way he played. By that, I mean his effort. You never had to doubt whether he would bust his tail down to 1b. When they brought him up for, essentially, his last shot with the team this year, I said that I thought it was a good move. Not that I had any feeling he was going to turn into a starter, but because he had shown an ability a couple of seasons ago to go on a fairly extended hot streak. I was looking for lightning in a bottle out of Alex this year, nothing more. That didn’t happen this time around, and though some may argue that he didn’t have his chances, I think the fact is he didn’t separate himself from other options or give them any reason to run him out there for an extended period of time when he got his chances in 2012/2013.

    I hope he gets a nice trial period for the rest of the year in MSP. I still feel he can fill a role as an extra OF, a la Xavier Paul at Cincy now. Paul could not quite find his niche with the Dodgers or Bucs, but seems to have found a home the last I checked in Cincy. Maybe Alex will do the same.

  90. They need to own up on that one.

  91. Lad9 says:

    I am in the camp that Dwyer should not have been let go, but I have trouble believing Colbert had a big hand in it. I honestly think that Tomlin simply did not like or trust him. No one thing – the accumulation of some fumbles, tapping out, reporting out of shape, making some god-awful bad reads and cuts on plays that should have gone for long gains, and an apparent attitude problem – these all added up and Tomlin said enough is enough. Just my opinion.

  92. Drew was dreaming of the old Duquesne beer at .25 quart.

    Of course, that was when I was in HS, so Drewolito wasn’t even a twinkle in his daddy’s eye.

  93. MadTurk says:

    I hope he finds a home as well and has a nice career. I at this time viewed him as a great bench player for us that could replace any outfield position going forward. Maybe he will turn into something more or never make it at all only time will tell. I was just abashed at the criticism that Bob was taking last night for a harmless view of him.

  94. MadTurk says:

    Yes Drew he as been, you didn’t notice he was dressed in Ghost’s outfit?

  95. 21sthebest says:

    Paul had a niche with the Bucs, IMO. The problem was that Huntington inexplicably to me liked McLouth better.

  96. JAL says:

    John

    Two reasons 1-I had no indication anyone cared about them, I only do the soccer ones because people pick on them :) 2-Only so much time in the day.

  97. 100 on the under in line #1
    100 on the over for line #2

  98. Drew71 says:

    Remaining…

    15 road games
    11 home games

    15 games against teams with losing records
    11 games against teams with winning records

    19 against NL Central teams, 9 against Cards/Reds, 6 of which are against the Reds.

    Then, of course, the playoffs and World Series.

    Dejan will be covering Tomlin’s press conferences.

    You know, web site hits. (‘It’s not even close.’)

    I’ll make up for it. With SEC coverage.

  99. MadTurk says:

    True, another bad move made for public approval being that McLouth was a former and liked player here.

  100. Drew71 says:

    Middle Ages?

  101. MadTurk says:

    BTW, not bashing the now loved management team. They all have good and bad moves. Just stating an opinion.

  102. MadTurk says:

    invisible = Ghost

  103. MadTurk says:

    Or were you being serious? :-) hard to tell at times especially in type and not face to face with tone inflections.

  104. Drew71 says:

    ? was for “Yes Drew”.

    Even my wife doesn’t call be Big Dave.

    Or Big ANYthing.

    Or sometimes just anything.

  105. Drew71 says:

    No tone intended. Just pointing out that Big Dave posted the Q you’re responding to, not me.

  106. bizrow says:

    ++++++++

  107. MadTurk says:

    LOL WOW I did I miss that?

  108. Gee, sure looking forward to that.

  109. Lad9 says:

    Thank you. Happy Labor Day Branimal!

  110. Stuart says:

    JAL, I missed them also, but understand the time demands. Thank you for what you do, it is much appreciated.

    Enjoyed September Song hugely. Took some time to replay the Sarah Vaughn/Marsalis version also. good start for September.

    Thanks

    Stuart

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks. I get it. Thanks for the time you do spend-favorite part of the blog!

  112. Lad9 says:

    More conventional lineup today

    Tabata
    Walker
    Cutch
    Pedro
    Byrd
    Morneau
    Martin
    Barmes
    Ground Chuck

  113. Drew71 says:

    SEC All The Time.

  114. Lad9 says:

    Same as Stuart. Miss them but appreciate what you do and I find them on my own. Thank you JAL.

  115. Jim S. says:

    Tabby will most likely become that extra OF for us once Starling returns.

  116. cmat0829 says:

    ah, go ahead, I think the Canadien Jets have as much of a chance as winning this year’s SuperBowl as Rex Ryan’s absolute mess of a team does.

  117. Bo Lanham says:

    I like the Morneau trade alot. He’s a class act that wants to be here. Byrd and Morneau make this lineup good enough to give our pitchers some slack, even though they don’t need a lot of help. Buck is a solid backup catcher and these trades give us a very good bench with Tabata, Jones, Harrison, etc.

    Also, I am not happy at all with the cut of Dwyer. Look at the steelers running backs and tell me that Dwyer is the one that you cut. Unbelievable. Not focusing on the Steelers yet though. I still have Bucco Fever. #Pirates80

 
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