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Morning Java: Steelers in three-way tie for first

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column goes all ballhawk on the Steelers’ defense, in advance of the season opener.

Here’s a quick clip of LaMarr Woodley on that topic yesterday …

A few other random impressions from my afternoon on the South Side: Mentioned to Ramon Foster that the No. 1 concern seems to be about the offensive line. His reply: “That’s OK. We know in here what we can do. Look, preseason was ugly. We know that. We made mistakes. But we got them all out of the way.” I believe him. … Man, Woodley is slimmer. Looks like a different person, much less player. … There’s a palpable edge among Woodley and Jason Worilds when you ask how they feel about cycling three men through two positions — Jarvis Jones will play — and that’s probably a really smart move by Mike Tomlin in and of itself. … Jones participated in the full practice. No limitations reported by the team. I’ll say it again: He will play. … Talking to these guys, their primary focus on D is keeping Chris Johnson from one of those patented monster runs. … My prediction for star of the game: Lawrence Timmons. A lot of this defense is being (rightly) geared toward him. … I don’t care if this means absolutely nothing, going to share it, anyway: I see a lot more players engaged in conversations with each other in that locker room than last year.

Here’s our Steelers coverage, by Alan Robinson and Mark Kaboly.

Here’s Titans news from the Tennessean.

And if you didn’t stay up really late last night, there was this …

All Peyton Manning did to the Super Bowl champs was tie an NFL record with seven touchdowns and put up almost 50 points as the Broncos annihilated the Ravens, 49-24.

Quite the league opener, indeed.

From the local perspective, this, of course, is significant, not just in that Baltimore was embarrassed right off the bat but also that two significant players — Jacoby Jones and Michael Oher — were lost from an offense that couldn’t come close to affording another loss.

Not to go all told-you-so on the topic — it’s only the first game — but I’ve been openly wondering for a while now why all these national types kept rating the Ravens among the AFC’s top one or two teams even after they lost so much experience, so much talent this offseason. I just never got that.

Let me throw this in, too: There are two differences in the schedules of the Steelers and Ravens. The Steelers will play the Titans and Raiders. The Ravens, instead of playing those two, face(d) the Broncos and Texans.

Terrible trade there. But the Steelers need to make that count by taking care of Tennessee.

>> A second crack at 82 awaits tonight in St. Louis, and we’ve got a full-length feature on Marlon Byrd this morning from Travis Sawchik.

Here’s our Pirates coverage.

Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights from

Oh, and thanks for the correspondence — here, email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ — regarding the Thursday column on 82. All the personal stories that came with them were, honestly, overwhelming.

>> Ryan Braun is personally calling individual season-ticket holders in Milwaukee to apologize.

>> Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones is profiled by Chris Adamski in advance of the Nittany Lions’ home opener tomorrow against Eastern Michigan.

I’ll be riding up with Adamski to cover that for the Sunday column, and I’ll confess right here that I have never been inside Beaver Stadium. I was just outside the stadium a couple years ago waiting for a Joe Paterno press conference that would be called off. Never to an actual game.

Really looking forward to that.

Then, right back home for Steelers-Titans.

>> A terribly tragic death the Penguins plan to recognize, by Rob Rossi.

>> The weekly chat is today at noon, here on the blog. As soon as you see the post, entries can be submitted.

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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.

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