Friday, June 13, 2008

Checking In

Well, my prediction of the Pens in six was off. Way off. And, even though the series went to six games, I can't take any credit. The Red Wings were just a way better team and I feel silly for even thinking that the Penguins would be able to come back on them.

One important thing to note is that, if we bring either Hossa or Malone back (or, ya know, both, but that's not gonna happen), the 2008-09 campaign should definitely be a successful one. Everyone will have that extra playoff experience and, hopefully, Malkin will work on his conditioning in the offseason (which, in hockey, is about three weeks) so that he's actually a factor in more than one game of the final, should they make it that far again.

A few other thoughts:
  1. The more I think about it, the more I think drafting the Best Athlete Available is a bad strategy in the salary cap era. Everyone needs to win now and it's all about instant gratification, so you really should plug all the holes you can from year to year and worry about the future when it gets there.
  2. Speaking of Best Athlete Available, a couple of people were confused about my feelings on Rashard Mendenhall. That confusion may have stemmed from the fact that I wrote the words "Fuck Rashard Mendenhall" and then compared him to Adrian Peterson in a 72 hour span, but who knows. At any rate, I think he's really going to work well with the team and he's going to be a great addition. He's going to split carries with Fast Willie, offer a change of pace -- even though he's pretty quick, he's much bigger and more of a bruiser than Parker -- and make sure the poor Willie's leg doesn't break just because he's been running so damn much and not scoring any touchdowns. I didn't like him for the Bears at 14th overall, since there were quality tackles available and that was a bigger position of need for them. I liked him more for us at 23, since all the tackles were gone and there weren't any guards or receivers worth taking in the first round, but I wish we had traded back. Since Mendenhall was on Colbert's list of "guys he'd take no matter what if they were available," I guess I can't argue. I've liked one first round pick for the Steelers this century -- in my defense, it was Polamalu -- so, I'm obviously a dumb ass. However, mark my words: Lawrence Timmons is a bust waiting to happen. He makes Alonzo Jackson look like a steal.
  3. I'm both excited about the fact that we've added a bunch of weapons on offense and that we have a bunch of weapons on offense, but I can't tell if I'm excited about the fact that we'll never be able to get all of them on the field at the same time. If we go three wide receivers and two backs, Heath is on the sidelines. If we go I-Formation with Mendenhall and Parker, then Nate Washington and Limas Sweed are on the sidelines. If we go four wides (or three and Heath), either Mendenhall or Parker is on the sidelines. It gives us a lot of options, but it also gives Tomlin a chance to think too much. He usually gets in trouble when that happens. And, it gives Arians too much shit to tinker with. I miss the days when the most exotic thing we ran was trick plays. Now, we've probably got at least five seasons of motion, shifting, and different personnel groupings on every down. The Patriots and Colts have a bunch of weapons, but they basically run the same guys out for every play. I think that that simplicity is important.
  4. I am actually less concerned about the offensive line than I was six weeks ago, directly following the draft, and I figure I will be less concerned about it in six weeks time. While I realize that it isn't a logical reason, I do have a reason for my decreasing concern. Remember the 2003 season? Remember how, mostly as a result of injuries, the Steelers offensive line sucked balls? The 2003 season was the last time before the 2007 season that anyone mentioned the possibility that Alan Faneca would play left tackle. I mention this because, basically, nothing changed between the 2003 and 2004 personnel-wise and in 2004, the line played out of their minds. In 2004 they had something to prove. They knew they were good and felt as though they were being disrespected. In 2007, they had spent the past three seasons being told how good they were, so there was a risk of complancency. And Sean Mahan was making the line calls. And he kinda sucks. At any rate, they'll get it figured out, probably with Ben making the line calls before the snap, and everything will be better. At least, I hope so. They really couldn't be much worse. Could they?
  5. And... that's about it. What? What's that you say about a baseball team? Oh no. I'm not falling for that. They're close to a certain milestone that rhymes with "over schmive hundred" and I'm not going to talk about them until they're at least seven games on one side or the other. If they finish the season at or above that number, I'll talk about it then. But not before. As soon as I start talking about them and the possibility of them reaching that goal -- you know, the one that everyone else in baseball has achieved at least once in the last 16 years -- they go on a nine game losing streak. So, I'm not going to talk about it.

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