Are the Pittsburgh Pirates heading in the right direction? Things are starting to look promising. At 24 and 27 on the Sunday before Memorial Day, their chances of making the playoffs are slim. If a team is under .500 by June 1(which the Buccos will be), then according to the modern baseball statistics, your chances of making the playoffs are a mere 9%. But we are not talking about making the playoffs. We are talking about being a .500 team for the 2011 season. The Buccos have a shot at 81 wins. The gurus in Las Vegas have their win total at 67 or 68. If all remains the same, it looks like the Buccos should surpass that total. The way Paul Maholm is pitching, he should be 7 and 2 rather than 2 and 7. Very little run production for Maholm except during his recent masterpiece 3 hitter in a 10 to 0 pounding administered by the Pirates over the Cubs. 3rd baseman Pedro Alvarez needs to step it up. Alvarez has 42 strikeouts and only 2 home runs. He is striking out 1 out of 3 times at the plate and batting a stingy .208. He has a very long swing and that sweeping curve ball from lefties has him baffled. We all hope the Pirates continue to play respectfully and carry fan interest all the way into September rather than getting chopped off come St. Vincent training camp time if the Lock-out comes to an end.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Just being your ordinary computer guy, this Blog was out of commission for a couple of weeks. Attempting to call it up to continue my Blogging, it would say the my URL was too large(whatever that means). So being an investigator and playing around with some different settings, the Blog somehow has corrected itself without any expert advice......Hopefully Friday June 3 will be a good day for the negotiations between the Players Union and the Owners. The trickle down effect is hurting and going to hurt a multitude of people. How about the Steeler stores in some of the local malls in this region! How about the Latrobe and Greensburg areas if there is no 3 week training camp! How about the restaurants in this region on Sundays afternoons and evenings where faithful go to watch games! and on and on and on. Pity the undrafted free agents who are sitting around and waiting to be given a chance to attempt to make a 53 man roster. By the way, 23 Undrafted Free Agents played in the Pro Bowl this past Late January. Think undrafted free agents are not valuable?.........Thank the heavens that the price of fuel is dropping across the country. It stings when it costs $80 to fill up an 18 gallon tank......Can someone tell me what happened on 5-24-08, the date President Obama wrote down when he signed the distinguished guest register at Westminster Abbey. I think it may have been an honest mistake!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
What is this Mr. Irrelevant award? It is to honor the last player taken in the NFL Draft each year since 1976. I think the award should be changed and I will tell you why. There are approximately 9000 college seniors that play football every year in college football whether they are regular 4 year seniors or red-shirt seniors. In this 2011 draft, 254 players were selected including underclassmen(41 chosen). So this brings a total of 213 legit seniors selected. To me, being drafted is something a young man can cherish. So what if you are the final choice in the draft! I think the Mr. Irrelevant award should be switched around. Mr. Irrelevant should be pushed back to just prior to the regular season. Mr. Irrelevant should be the highest draft pick that is cut prior to playing the first regular season game. So if a team cuts a player that was a second round choice in the draft, then this guy should be Mr. Irrelevant. The Mr. Irrelevant ceremony is a big deal for the folks in Newport Beach, California. Mr. Irrelevant and his family are given a paid trip for 1 week in Newport Beach and during an award's ceremony, Mr. Irrelevant is given the Lowsman Trophy. The Lowsman Trophy mimics the Heisman Trophy by displaying someone fumbling a football. If you are a higher draft choice that is released by an NFL team, then the Lowsman Trophy may be more appropriate for you.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
What is going on with the UFA's? UFA's are in NFL terms "Undrafted Free Agents." But after the 2011 NFL draft, none of the teams could sign any Undrafted Free Agents. Just think, in the most recent Pro Bowl in late January, there were 23 Undrafted Free Agents participating in the Pro Bowl. When you think about it, that it a phenomenal number. Are teams making that many mistakes evaluating prospects or are some of these players getting better when they enter the NFL camps. Whatever it is, and just like meteorology, scouting football players is an inexact science. You know what I think, the NFL needs to expand the draft working this through the NFL Players Association(NFLPA). Only 254 players are getting drafted. My theory is add 2 more rounds(rounds 8 and 9). That will give you 64 more choices for a total of approximately 318 to 320 selections. You may find a Rocky Bleier or a L.C. Greenwood in the very late rounds of the draft like the Steelers did 40 some years ago. To speed it up for Chris Berman, Mel Kiper, and the ESPN company, only 2 minutes per pick. Each round would be completed in an hour but teams may find Pro Bowl Players in these rounds. Some say the draft is long enough at 7 rounds but if you can find real good players late, it is worth spending the extra 2 hours to draft these players.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
What does this mean. In the just completed 2011 NFL Draft 5 WPIAL players were drafted out of the 254 draft choices. Not bad for a small region of the country with a 148 high schools. This group includes WR Jonathan Baldwin from Pitt(Aliquippa HS)who went in the first round to Kansas City. Next was OC/OG Stefen Wisniewski from Penn State(Pittsburgh Central Catholic)who was chosen in the 2nd round by the Oakland Raiders. Next was OT/OG Jason Pinkston from Pitt(Baldwin HS)who was selected in the 5th round by the Cleveland Browns. Next was OC Brandon Fusco of Slippery Rock(Seneca Valley HS)who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 6th round, and finally SS Tommie Campbell from California U.PA(Aliquippa HS)who was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the 7th round. The Beaver County town of Aliquippa really pumps out players especially players to the NFL. Brandon Fusco was a 245 pound OT at Seneca Valley in high school and worked his way into a 6'4.5"/308 pound OC in college. This area is very productive even during population decreases coinciding with tough economic times in the Western PA. region. Also, Steelers #1 choice Cameron Heyward was born and raised in Monroeville and would have been ticketed to Gateway HS but moved to Atlanta at a young age. Another Western PA guy would have been Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub who was ticketed to go to Pittsburgh Central Catholic but moved to West Chester, PA and attended East HS and then U. of Virginia. This region is a football oriented area.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Interesting stuff in the first 2 days of the NFL Draft. 14 Defensive Tackles taken in the first 95 selections, 13 corners drafted in the top 95, and 9 Offensive tackles selected in this group. Big hulking athletic defensive linemen are hard to find in the world of football and if there are some out there, they will probably get selected in the NFL draft. 6'6"/295 pound DT Cameron Heyward certainly is one of them and the Steelers snapped him up quickly when their first rounder selection came onto the Big Board. Heyward has the versatility the Steelers like. He can play a 4-3 defense DT or he can play 3-4 defense position like Aaron Smith does. He can play the run well and put pressure on the QB from the DT slot. A real good consistent pass rush certainly can make a defensive back's job easier. Out of the 95 selections, only 3 came from non Division 1A schools. They were in the second round OT Benjamin Ijalana from Villanova who is an athletic OT who dominated at the 1AA level. Another 1AA offensive linemen came from Lehigh U. in Will Rackley, a big hulking athletic guard who went in the third round. And the other 1AA draft choice was huge DT from Hampton University named Kendrick Ellis who transferred to Hampton from U. of South Carolina. I watched Kendrick Ellis train for the draft this winter here in Pittsburgh. Ellis is a big strong road grader defensive lineman that NFL teams embellish. When it is all said and done, there will be approximately 15 to 20 players drafted that are not from NCAA Division 1A programs
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Here we go! The 2011 NFL Draft is upon us. Now the chess game begins for the 32 NFL teams.
I must be asked 5 times a day, who are the Steelers going to take in the draft this Thursday night or very early Friday morning. Being from this Western Pennsylvania region for a long time and following the Steelers closely along with the other 31 NFL teams, I think the Steelers should take Corner from Colorado talented Jimmy Smith if he is available at #31. If he is selected before pick number 31, then with my humble opinion, I would look to trade the pick and move down in the draft attempting to get an extra 2nd rounder and an extra 3rd rounder if this is possible. There are a multitude of good players between player number 31 and player number 100. There are some good corners out there like Aaron Williams from Texas but he may go late in the 1st round or the corner from Ohio State or the corner from Clemson. Sometimes you can steal a player in the 2nd round that should have been a first round selection. So acquiring extra choices in the 2nd and even the third rounds, you can find your players on the RISE. OT Marcus Cannon could be available in the second round as could OG/OC Rodney Hudson from Florida State. Kevin Colbert and company have been patient in the draft before and patience may pay off this year. Later in the draft the Steelers may look at OT Chris Hairston from Clemson for example. As always, the draft is very interesting but it can hold the key to a team's future