Tuesday, September 13, 2005

All Over the Place

Len Pasquarelli is the first major media type to actually recognize the fact that the Steelers secondary is pretty good. Usually you get something along the lines of, "their linebackers are some of the best in football, but their corners are old and slow." Here's what Pasquarelli wrote yesterday:
... The Pittsburgh secondary might have the best young collection of talent of any unit in the league. The Steelers have corners on the bench who are better than the guys they're starting, but they keep sticking with the veterans. That will change soon. And safety Troy Polamalu just keeps getting better.
I whole-heartedly agree with the first sentence, but definitetly disagree with the next one ... at least half of it. Willie Williams was inactive during Week 1 because of an injury and Ike Taylor filled in nicely in his absence. In fact, he might have actually won the job.

And if that's the case, then Williams is a great guy to have coming off the bench while Ricardo Colclough and Bryant McFadden continue to improve (speaking of improving, it was good to see Colclough get a pick Sunday, even if it was against Billy Volek). But Deshea Townsend ain't going nowhere. He's the starter on the right side and barring injury (or the acquisition of Rod Woodson circa the early '90s) he should be for the entire season. Sunday he was matched up with Drew Bennett -- a guy who is conservatively four feet taller than Deshea -- and on every deep pass he was stride for stride with him. Townsend was covering Bennett on a 50-yard reception, but the success of that play was more a function of Bennett having to make a great catch with tight coverage than Townsend getting beat down the field. Still, it's good to know that the Steelers finally have depth at a position that has notoriously been lacking the last ten years or so. And oh yeah, I think I've heard that the Polamalu character isn't bad either.

OK, this is ridiculous and actually might obtain automatic CPW-status simply due to its inanity. So while I was looking for the Pasquarelli comments that I mentioned above, I came across this lunacy on ESPN's Steelers page:

That's right, the same goofy columns you can get by actually, I don't know, going to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website, ESPN now charges people to read through their website. Let's see, you can go here, here and here for the free version of the three articles listed as "Insider" content above. How stupid -- or lazy -- or both -- do you have to be to pay a subscription to read free articles available on the newspaper's website? The next thing you know ESPN will give Woody Paige and Skip Bayless their own morning show. Sheesh.

Peter King claims to be a Red Sox fan, but the guy spends a lot of time bellyaching about Manny Ramirez. Here's what he said in yesterday's MMQB:
For the eighth time in six weeks Manny Ramirez was a healthy scratch for the Red Sox last Thursday against the Angels. They can't trade him fast enough for me.
Dude, please, please relax about Manny Ramirez. Listen, going into last night's game, Manny has played in 132 games. Boston has played 142 games. It doesn't take Norman Einstein to figure out that with only 20 games to go, Manny's missed 10 games this season. Ten! If you want to bitch about something, how about Dale Sveum still holding down a job -- he leads the major leagues in errors and he's not even a player. I'm guessing in ten years or so, we'll come to find out that Sveum had some compromising pictures of Francona and Millar, and Millar and some compromising pictures of Francona with Sveum. The results? Sveum and Millar keep their jobs, and I have to suffer through watching these guys "Abbott & Costello" it around the park 162 games a year. To paraphrase Trent Walker, "Who's the big loser? Mikey's the big loser!" (In this little role-playing exercise, the role of Mikey is played by yours truly.)

By the way, Manny hit a ball against the Blue Jays last night that almost went out of the Sky Dome. Of course the Red Sox went on to squander a five-run lead, but that's beside the point. Here's my question: can Boston move out of the AL East? Honestly, if you have to play the Sox in a seven game series and you can have anybody you want, your best bet would be to stock the roster with all Blue Jays and Orioles. Have Ted Lilly and Rodrigo Lopez pitch every game, and have that hippie-surfer Greg Zaun do the catching. This team would sweep the Sox in four games and I'm guessing the average score would be something like 10-0 with Lopez and Lilly each throwing two no-hitters each. God is that frustrating. But hey, like a wise man once said, "don't get mad, get better." (And yeah, I know the Sox won last night -- in the 11th -- but that little detail doesn't really support my diatribe here, so I'm ignoring it.)

Just when you think reporting can't get any dopier, somebody goes and asks Roethlisberger this question following the Titan's game Sunday:
Q: Talk about being 9 of 11 on the anniversary of 9/11/05

A: I didn’t know that. You go out and you play for a lot of things. With the catastrophes going on down in New Orleans, it makes you really think that we’re all playing a game. Hopefully we lift some spirits for a couple of hours. But now it’s back to the reality of what’s going on down there. It’s tough, but we go out there and play for all those people who need the inspiration of watching us play.
Geez. If Roethlisberger had instead decided to punch this guy in the stomach instead of answering the question, I would've been OK with that. Look, it's certainly appropriate to ask about September 11, given that it's the four-year anniversary, but why in the hell would you try to draw parallels to the fact that Roethlisberger also completed 9 of 11 passes?

What happens if Roethlisberger goes 1 for 28 on January 28th, does somebody get to ask Roethlisberger how it feels to complete only one pass in 28 attempts on the anniversary of the Space Shuttle disaster back in 1986?

Or what's this numnut going to ask Roethlisberger if he goes 9 for 18 next week? Here, I'll give him a little help:
On September 18, 1895, Booker T. Washington delivered his famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech ...
I'll be looking forward to Roethlisberger's response.

Back on earth, I give Big Ben a lot of props for answering the question as eloquently as he did, all things considered. But he also would've been well within his rights to donkey punch the reporter.