By Jim Wexell
Posted Mar 2, 2007
Notes columns are always fun, but must the writer be so belligerent? Jim Wexell apparently thinks so. This is another one of his crude essays.
These are my thoughts ... for what they’re worth:
• Like that? Yeah, I stole it from SCI contributor Ian Whetstone. I’ve been seeing my stuff being copied all over the net, so I thought I’d steal one myself. Thanks, Ian.
• Along those lines, I should alert y’inz that we have a member of ESPN Insider.com amongst us. If we have any readers who subscribe to both sites, let me know when you see any unattributed thievery going on. Please. I’ll write some real mean things then.
• Our parent site is begging Pro Football Talk to mention us more often. That’s the direction we’re headed.
• I’ve often been asked, “Hey, Wex, which linebackers will they bring in now that Peezy’s been cut?” Well, if I say that the Steelers are trying to trade two No. 1s for Lance Briggs, we’ll get a blurb in PFT. Alas, I can only come up with Tully Banta-Cain.
• That’ll make the headlines of Ralph’s Blog.
• If you type “Steelers” into the proper blank space on your Google Alerts form, you’ll receive Ralph’s Blog every day that he publishes. And Tim’s Blog. And Butt Nutt McNulty’s Blog. And they all have the same headline this morning: “Outspoken linebacker Joey Porter cut.”
• Hey, don’t blame Porter for being outspoken. For the most part you can blame the media, outlets such as Sports Illustrated, which had that ridiculous cover last season calling Porter “NFL’s Meanest Peezy.”
• Speaking of which, Joe Starkey has an excellent column on the axing of Porter in today’s Tribune-Review.
• I miss the days when Joe Starkey wrote about the Steelers more often. I’d occasionally criticize what he said, but, hell, I read it. And I’ll read it again tomorrow. In fact, because of Joe Starkey, I once read a column about the Penguins.
• Here’s how it works: Paper sends reporter to Cincy to poke a stick at Chad Johnson. “What about Peezy? What about Peezy?” And Johnson would say, “You know, that Peezy’s no damn good.” The reporter would phone back home to the Tribune-Review, er, I mean, his editor, and they would call their reporter at the South Side and say, “Chad Johnson said Peezy’s no damn good.” And on the South Side, another reporter would pick up the stick and poke Peezy and say, “That Chad Johnson said you’re no damn good. What do you think about that?” And after trying to ignore the reporter – details of which were never printed – Porter would finally say, “You know, I think it’s Chad Johnson who’s no damn good. That’s what I think!” And, voila, you have an outspoken linebacker.
• On the other hand, I still don’t know what Porter’s problem with Jerramy Stevens was. I mean, I’m sure he wasn’t upset that Stevens got drunk and rammed his car into an old folks home. So, yeah, Peezy did deserve a lot of it.
• As you -- serious Steelers fan -- understands, the cutting of Porter has zero to do with any intention of using a 4-3 next year. The Pittsburgh Steelers will use a 3-4. That became blatantly obvious at the combine. I could’ve just stopped when Jay Moore told me the whole staff of the Steelers sat down and grilled him about playing the 3-4, but I went ahead anyway and asked all the rest of the tweener prospects as well. They all said the same thing. I also asked the will backers, too, about the Steelers’ cover-2 plans and not one admitted to talking to the Steelers.
• If you think they’re playing some kind of elaborate shell game to create some kind of elaborate smokescreen, you have a lower opinion of Mike Tomlin’s time management skills than I do.
• It’s 3-4 all the way. If they stumble upon a defensive end with value, they’ll install some 4-3, but I wouldn’t consider it the beginning of a transition phase by any means because I expect Casey Hampton to be here a long time.
• Funny, that people want Amobe Okoye because of his Senior Bowl. Did you watch the Pitt-Louisville game? (Um, the answer for you international Steeler fans should be ‘yes’ because we’re all interested in the Panthers here around the water cooler.) And did you remember Okoye in that game? (Um, the answer’s ‘no’ and that’s a big deal because Pitt’s O-line isn’t so hot.) The dude should be a second rounder, but is causing such passion because he beat up Dan Mozes in the Senior Bowl while Mozes was trying to learn new techniques.
• The next center should be Kendall Simmons. The last two centers were transitioned guards and there’s a reason: College centers are the least athletic linemen on their team. If you watched slo-mo TiVo of the college centers this year – including the excruciatingly average athleticism of Ryan Kalil – you’d say to yourself, hey, Jeff Hartings is pretty damn good.
• I said this amongst a group of writers at the combine: If the Steelers draft Okoye, and opened up that 4-3 under tackle spot, he wouldn’t beat out Chris Hoke. One of the esteemed writers, who admitted to me earlier that he knows nothing about the college prospects, laughed out loud and mocked me.
• I laugh at myself and mock myself, too, sometimes, when I’m not all mad and stuff, but my feeling is an agent told that writer that Okoye was pretty good.
• Agents should write our draft analyses for us.
• Then we could kill them with justification.
• We should also kill writers who pluralize analysis with analyses, but I have way too much fun with it. It's what I do on Saturday nights in Irwin.
• On Monday, Saturn moves out of Retrograde. Of course, you know that means that communication will once again become easy. Whew! It’s been a long, hard slog these last few months.
• I have many, many, many more opinions about the draft, and much, much, much more information, but I want to make money for me and the workers here these next two months and will be bleeding it out as we go. Besides, I haven’t transcribed the tape.
• The night before the combine, I heard other reporters mocking Rick “The Golden Goose” Gosselin because of his nattering. Yes, the Goose comes prepared. And I love it. The rest of the reporters there – whose favored perpetual questions were “Does your size concern you?” and “Where do you think you’ll be drafted?” – should learn a lesson from Gosselin the Great. I did. It was my biggest pay day of the trip. Gosselin’s copy will once again be a rich vein because of that solid preparation.
* You only get one chance to talk to these guys. Why waste it asking him how long he’s been short, or slow, or black? I mean, you’d think these guys could talk to people besides agents.
• Later. And thanks again, Ian.