Smoltz: I usually don't like to jump on the bashing MLB bandwagon, but how can they justify playing weekend World Series games at 8pm? Much of America's youth missed the opportunity to see on of the game's greatest put on one of the greatest hitting displays in World Series history.
Bob Smizik: It's all about TV, Smoltz. They want to play to the most eyeballs possible, and that usually means nighttime. Saturday afternoon there is the college football distraction. Sunday afternoon there is the NFL distractions. It's why the NCAA basketball title game tips off after 9 p.m.
James_Taiwan: Fact or Fiction, the game against the Patriots this week is highly irrelevant to the Steelers Super Bowl aspirations? I vote **Fact** Even a victory against the Pats would be largely negated if they lose to Baltimore a second time.
Bob Smizik: Last time I looked wins were rather integral to making the playoffs. The Baltimore game might be more important because it is within the division, but I don't see how any game can be called irrelevant. You seem to be working on the theory the Steelers will win all or most of their remaining games. It doesn't always work that way.
keith: What is Tomlin's criteria for substituting Batch or Dixon for Ben - to avoid injury - when the score seems to indicate game is out of hand? 15 point lead at 11:30 of 4th quarter and 18 point lead with 6:46 left.
Bob Smizik: NFL coaches do not play backup QBs late in routs. I don't understand and it has never been fully explained to me, but that's the way it works. It's not just Tomlin. It is almost all of them.
dignan: Any nicknames on the PG staff that you can share with us? I'd love to know if Ed goes by T-Bone or if Gerry is called DUH-lac or anything along those lines
Bob Smizik: Please don't spread this around but Bouchette, although usually called ''Ed,'' is occasionally referred to as ''Eddie.''
dauber: Do the Steelers view Mclendon as a legitimate option to be the nose tackle of the future or is he just a fill-in, maybe more of a future Hoke?
Bob Smizik: I think that will be determined in the weeks ahead. I do not think they saw him as the eventual successor to Hampton. He now has a chance to change their minds.
Smoltz: Is the Steeler's D not up to par this year? Or are they feeling the effects of all of the injuries?
Bob Smizik: Uh, the Steelers defense is first in the league in yards allowed and around the top five in points allowed. The injuries have not seemed to affect them. We'll know better in the next two weeks.
howard burley: This morning in his slog, Ed wrote that Randle El was a 3rd round pick--he was actually a 2nd rounder. Can you get Ed to apologize to me, please? I really look up to him, and seeing that mistake shook me to the core.
Bob Smizik: I believe I speak for Ed when I say, Howard: Get a life.
teddy westside: Have you heard any timetable for a James Harrison return?
Bob Smizik: I think we might begin to hear a target date for Harrison this week, although I doubt it will be Sunday.
Kenman: As things seem to stand right now, what would you estimate to be the over-under as to the number of Pirate losses next season, i.e., 50% chance of it being that number or higher?
Bob Smizik: My guess is they will lose in the 90s next season. If you're asking me to set an over/under number, I'd say 94.
murray slaughter: What did you think of the O-line yesterday? Not many holes to run through, but I thought protection was good. Gilbert seemed to do well, but Chris K looked rusty. And his haircut is awful.
Bob Smizik: Chris K is one of the great cheap-shot artists in the NFL. He should have been thrown out for that late hit on the pile. Line did OK yesterday. It protected Ben well enough and that's its primary responsibility.
JustWinBaby: Can we please, please end all this talk about Ben not having a good year, or at least "not looking sharp"? Good grief!! Yesterday, 5 new starting QB's took the field, and other than Tebow, looked overmatched. Steeler fans dont know how lucky we are !! Bob, what do you make of all the new QB's starting? Is this a trend? Will coaches be more willing to pull vets for rookies?
Bob Smizik: Roethlisberger is an elite QB who in all likelihood is headed for the HOF. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't know what he's talking about.
Zachary: Was that Cleveland-Seattle games one of the least entertaining in recent memory?
Bob Smizik: I am embarrassed to admit I watched a good part of it. The announcers were right down there with the level of play.
Zachary: What are your expectations for Pitt Basketball this season?
Bob Smizik: Lots of wins; upper echelon in the Big East; NCAA tournament invitation; two or three wins in the tournament.
Zachary: With the series now deadlocked at two, has your World Series pick changed?
Bob Smizik: That would not be proper. I am sticking with St. Louis in seven.
BluSinSav: With the Penguins playing so well despite injuries/suspensions to key offensive players, when they come back, and provided they stay healthy, do you think it's shaping up to be a special season?
Bob Smizik: There's no question the Penguins have the capability of winning the Stanley Cup. As you suggest, to be playing so well without Crosby and mostly without Malkin is truly remarkable. But form often does not hold in the post-season. That said, the Penguins have at least as good a chance as any team.
James_Taiwan: If Steve McLendon continues to play well, might we see the end of Casey Hampton's time with the Steelers?
Bob Smizik: I think Hampton's time with the Steelers is drawing to a close regardless of how well McLendon plays.
Mike: With James Neal playing at the level he is playing at do you disrupt the line chemistry by sticking him on Sid or Geno's wing?
Bob Smizik: Yes.
Tony: Hey Bob. Has there been any word on when James Harrison will be back on the field? I had read that the team was hoping he would be back in enough time for the Ravens game, but I haven't seen any updates lately. Timmons needs moved back to the inside badly.
Bob Smizik: As stated earlier, no word yet. We might hear something at the Tomlin news conference tomorrow.
Luther Van Damme: Do you do interviews in the locker room after games? If so, I've always wondered if it smells bad in there. I've been in a few locker rooms in my day and they all stank!
Bob Smizik: Locker rooms for pro teams are so enormous these days that the chance for smell to linger, as in the past, is remote.
BluSinSav: With the Pirates not accepting the option on Doumit, aren't they telling the fans that money dictates the position, not the best player?
Bob Smizik: It's not that simple. This is a grey issue, not a black and white one. I cannot fault them for not picking up Doumit's option when it will cost them $15 million. But, yes, there decisions certainly show money is a factor.
James_Taiwan: Bob, are the injuries to the Steelers defense a blessing in disguise? McLendon and Hood get to play. Wordlis would have had the opportunity to play if he had not been hurt.
Bob Smizik: Occasionally, injuries turn into blessings. I can't say that is the case this year. Hood was playing and his abilities were well known. Losing James Harrison is never a blessing.
Timmy: Your thoughts on the talking heads that say Tim Tebow will never make it. Didn't he just win a game in the National Football League? I don't care who they played.
Bob Smizik: Never is too strong a word. My guess is Tebow will not become a highly successful NFL QB. Winning one game is not a sign of ''making it.''
jetsons meet flinstones: Have Tomlin and Hurdle met each other? I think those two would get along famously. Bylsma is a bit of a stick in the mud, though.
Bob Smizik: I do not believe they are acquainted.
Nodebate: Did yesterday put the nail in the coffin for the Rooneys on who was a better coach choice: Tomlin or Whisenhunt? I've never understood the love for Whisenhunt or Russell Grimm.
Bob Smizik: Players decide games, not coaches. But Roethlisberger in the Arizona lineup and Kolb in the Steelers lineup and you might have a different outcome.
Guest: Bob Belicheck seems to have the blueprint on beating the Steelers who's going to cover the TE's Gronkowski and Hernandez?
Bob Smizik: I imagine a combination of the strong safety and some linebackers.
al borland: Taylor covered #11 yesterday and often follows the opponent's top receiver. Do you think he'll follow Welker?
Bob Smizik: I would guess so, although he's often matched up against the other team's best deep threat.
Bozo T. Clown: What do you watch on TV besides breaking bad???
Bob Smizik: 60 Minutes, Boardwalk Empire
Cult: Do the Penguins game count yet? Can't remember when the season starts and ends anymore.
Bob Smizik: Regular-season games for teams like the Penguins are not fraught with meaning. All they're doing it playing for seeding.
James_Taiwan: Who is viewed as Ryan Clark's eventual replacement at safety?
Bob Smizik: I don't believe anyone yet knows that player's name.
Guest: Does Todd Graham have the Pitt program heading in the right direction or is he a Rich Rod type who only wants to pass. At least Wanny taught blocking and tackling
Bob Smizik: The results from Graham thus far have been disappointing. I think the team will improve in the games and seasons ahead. I think he was a good hire, although he's done little thus far to back that up.
kettle over a pub: I just heard about Stan Savran's tumor. I am a HUGE Stan Savran fan and am worried. Can you shed some light on how he is doing?
Bob Smizik: Stan had a benign tumor removed. He's on the road to recovery.
Suburban Rhythm: Is there any logical reason Bryant McFadden is still on this roster?
Bob Smizik: Yes. He provides veteran experience at cornerback in case of injury. His salary will count against the cap whether he's on the team or not. There is no one better to replace him.
WackyWednesday: Who in the Big East thought it was a good idea to put games on Wednesdays and Fridays? One Thursday game is almost tolerable, but Wednesday? I'll be watching Anderson Cooper.
Bob Smizik: It is not the Big East's idea to do that. I'm sure the league would prefer to play all its games on Saturday. It is the idea of ESPN that games be played during the week.
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