Big Lead Sports Bar


Take 5: Skippy, Hurdle, Pens, McNabb, Power Rankings

Here are a few thoughts bouncing around my head on a Tuesday morning. And thanks to the Jeff Reed Internet Photo Archives (aka Google Images) for the illustration.

1. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported yesterday that the Steelers will be working out kickers today, and the only name I've heard so far is Shaun Suisham, a former Redskin and Cowboy who lost out to Reed in Steeler camp in '05.

Look, Skippy had a good run here, but it's in everyone's best interest to part ways at this stage of the game. The cons far outweigh the pros with Reed at this point: least successful field goal kicker in the league in 2010, called his bosses liars in the offseason, several arrests, countless internet embarrassments to the franchise, ripped the team's field/fans/media, and the icing on the cake, he's paid among the top five kickers in the league. I'll let First Blood summarize things quicker and neater than I could:

2. Tough loss for the Pens last night, finally beating Henrik Lundqvist at 17:29 of the third to tie the game at 1, then taking the lead just 38 seconds later courtesy of Matt Cooke. After Lundqvist momentarily lost his mind and smashed his stick to the point of drawing a penalty, Marc Staal tied things up once again on a short-handed goal, and the Rangers eventually won in OT on a Ryan Callahan two-on-one-break goal.

That game's final three minutes (and OT) was a roller-coaster ride of emotions for both teams' fans, but someone was going to exit with a heartbreaking loss Unfortunately, that was the team we root for, but you can't say they ever gave up. Lundqvist was a brick wall for 57 minutes and the Pens kept firing, to the tune of 39 shots in all. It was by no means a perfect game (most notably the 0-for-6 power play), but the team put in a solid effort and at least salvaged a point when that looked to be impossible at times.

3. I don't know how exactly I'm supposed to feel about this Clint Hurdle hiring and the process of finding a new manager for the Buccos. I know I'm glad they went for experience, but what if Hurdle went to the Mets? Would the Pirates have settled for Jeff Banister? How do you have two finalists that have such wildly different credentials?

Hurdle certainly brings something to the table the Pirates haven't had, and that's recent success, with both the Rangers and the Rockies. He said all the right things in his intro press conference and has already showed more of a personality than John Russell did in three years. Make no doubt about it, the Pirates absolutely need that to attempt to sell some tickets in the offseason.

But ultimately in baseball, it comes down to the players. Jim Leyland was a great manager here when he had Bonds, Bonilla, and Drabek, but his win total dropped 21 games from 1992 to 1993 with the likes of Al Martin and Steve Cooke in their places. Managers are only as good as their players, but the question here is how good the Pirates' players can be. I can say one thing for sure: they have to be better than what they showed under John Russell in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

4. It must be tough to be a Washington Redskin fan. One day your coach and his son/offensive coordinator are telling you their franchise QB doesn't know how to run the two-minute offense and that's he basically out of shape, the next day the team is giving that same inept QB a $78 million deal which could go to $88 million if certain incentives are met.

Unfortunately, signing an embattled employee didn't work out for the Redskins like it did a few years ago for Pitt, when Wanny got extended and subsequently gave us 13-9 in West Virginia. The Skins were humiliated last night by Donovan McNabb's old Eagle team, which scored 28 points by the end of the first quarter alone and 59 on the evening. And it showed me that Andy Reid knew what he was doing when he traded McNabb within his division. Compare the stat lines of last night's QBs:

M. Vick20/2833311.940150.7
D. McNabb17/312959.52369.4

Plus, there's the detail that Vick also ran for 80 yards and 2 TDs and was turnover-free. So here's a question: if McNabb's value has been set at $78 million, what is now considered a fair price for Vick?

5. If there's one storyline in the NFL I'm tired of, it's the "Who's The Best Team This Week" angle. 

Peter King said there isn't one, then he ranked the Jets at the top of his list. Sorry latte man, you can't have it both ways. It's a stupid, pointless argument. This isn't college football, where quality of wins means something. There is a very clear-cut system in place to enable the most deserving teams to play for the championship. 

Why does this country put so much stock (and pageviews) into Power Rankings? The only ranking that means anything is where your team sits when the season ends.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Koz said...

Don, I don't know that I'd go so far as to say the Pens gave up last night, but they were careless after that 2-1 lead. No way they should have allowed a goal like that, in that situation.

okel dokel said...

I was a big fan of the Michalek signing. It appears he shit the bed last night. So far, he has been a bust.

Of course he did have an "Upper Body Injury" but it will be interesting to see if he can turn it around.

They need him to be a top 2 Dman.

Unknown said...

I am not trying to defend Reed at all, but I don't think he should be cut midseason. There doesn't appear to be a ready made replacement and Heinz field is notoriously tough on kickers. I would rather have Reed in there with is experience than some journeyman who may or may not be marginally better but with no experience. That being said, I'll be the first to show him the door at seasons end..

okel dokel said...

@ Alexander - I agree with you.

Breaking News - Reed cut. Say hello to Sean Suisman.

Evidently, you do not talk back to management, diss Heinz Field or the fans.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I normally agree with the Steelers FO in a majority of matters. But I think this could have been done after the season. Although, I think there is an attitude problem and if the guy doesn't want to be here, then there is no use running him out there and paying him top 5 money to do it.

Right now, everybody needs to be on board and it didn't appear that Skippy was concerned with winning football games. He had a GREAT run while he was here and I don't envy his position of kicking at Heinz Field. A 2x SB champion indeed, his antics had gotten a little old.

AJ said...

10 bucks says that the Bengals sign Reed by the end of this week since they just put their kicker on IR.

What a perfect fit.

Steve said...

Geee, who'd a thought the Pens PP with under 2 minutes to play would tie the game...for the other team? My hand is raised, anyone else?

Ok Reed's gone, so can we PLEASE cut Gay now too! Are the Steelers afraid to do it because it might be seen as discrimination to fire a Gay?

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Gay is seriously awful.

Bababooey said...

Do you think they'll play the sad trombone as Reed is cleaning out his locker?

okel dokel said...

I don't like Skippy, but I would not have cut him.

Evidently he was becoming a team cancer.

The Abiding Dude said...

Best of luck Skippy....wherever you end up.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

@ Koz - he didn't say that, what he did say was "but you CAN'T say they ever gave up".

@ AJ - i'd bet my house that's where he'll end up! Good call.

I was surprised to see how close Reed and Suisham's career FG%s are! Reed (81.9%) - Suisham (79.1%). [Of course Reed has kicked in harsher environments.] Reed has been a GREAT kicker for the Steelers... no one can aruge that. However, maybe he's not the best kicker for us THIS year? He doesn't seem to want to go out there and do his best. And, no matter what you feel about skippy leaving town, you'd be pretty hard pressed to argue that he's been worth top 5 money so far (or even that he could do enough the rest of the way to be worth top 5 $$$).

I like Clint Hurdle for the Pirates... it's nice to see the pirates sign someone who another team was actually interested in signing!?! Not some Jeremy Burnitz or Derek Bell or Matt Morris type acquisition. That being said... not a lot for ol' Clint to work with, but I GUARANTEE he'll finish with a better record next year than any of John Russel's 3 yrs here. Hell, how could they not?

I expect the nationwide Vick-sucking, but here? On our pittsburgh site? I'm gonna view that entry as anti-McNabb in my own mind. How do the skins go from saying this guy is worse than Rex Grossman to giving him a contract extension? of any kind... let alone a $78M contract that pays him until he's 39 when his skills have already (obviously!) diminished at 34? How is Daniel Snyder still allowed to offer contracts? (Haynesworth/Randle El/...) I'll say it again... Thank God for the Rooneys!!!!!

Power Rankings are a joke. I heard that ESPN is going to use them to pick the playoff teams and that a team from a lesser division (read: NFC west) isn't going to get an automatic bid! Haha.

Steve said...

I wouldn't want to be the towel dispenser in that locker room.