Thursday, October 04, 2007


  • It occurs to Joey Porter's Pit Bulls that we may start seeing less and less of Cedric Wilson and more and more of Willie Reid. Let’s hope Reid is up to the challenge.
  • Can we please stop hearing this Sunday’s game against the Seahawks described as a "rematch" of Super Bowl XL? Same franchises, two different teams.
  • Since Seattle appeared in Super Bowl XL, the Seahawks’ roster has undergone a major overhaul. Gone are 10 of Seattle’s 22 starters in that Super Bowl, along with 28 of 53 players on the roster at the time. The list includes four starters on offense and six on defense.
  • Most significantly, perhaps, Seattle has two new starters at safety, and they’ve added heft and speed on the defensive line, with Patrick Kerney and Darryl Tapp, and at linebacker with marquee free-agent acquisition Julian Peterson.
  • On offense, Deion Branch is the Seahawks’ new number one, go-to receiver. When he was with the Patriots, the one-time Super Bowl MVP absolutely torched the Steelers, among others.
  • The Seahawks have also added tight end Darryl Pollard, who is 35 years old but reportedly catches everything thrown his way … which, of course, makes him a big improvement over the departed and unlamented Jerramy Stevens, aka Joey Porter’s Bitch. Anyway, by any measure, the departure of Stevens is addition by subtraction.
  • Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls do NOT Have a good feeling about this game. It’s worrisome. That's from a purely football-vibe perspective.

On the other hand, the story of CMU Professor Randy Pausch is downright inspiring and may serve as motivation for the Steelers on Sunday. We recommend you visit Professor Pausch's homepage and watch his "Last Lecture" video or read the transcript.

Reversing the Field?

Thanks to Jody DiPerna of Pittsburgh’s City Paper for soliciting the opinion of Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls, among other Pittsburgh sportsblogglers, for her City Paper column this week. Jody sought input on which players from opposing NFL teams we respect, admire or even like. You can read her column here.

Since, of course, Jody had to make room in her column for the opinion of others, we thought we’d share the contents of the note we sent in reply to her solicitation, which follows below:

Hi. I am the sports writer for Pittsburgh City Paper and was working on a column about NFL players or coaches that Steelers fans actually like. I find that I often am venting about teams or players that I hate. The Patriots, Ray Lewis, yada, yada, yada. So, this column is a bit of a change of pace.

I was hoping to get some feedback. Are there players that you root for despite the uniform? Coaches? And, if you are able to articulate it, why do you pull for those players?

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls' list of "likeable players" mostly overlooks star players, because, well, most of them aren't all that "likeable." There's a distinction, we suppose, between star players (Peyton Manning) whom everybody knows, and marquee players (Marc Bulger), who are very, very good players but seem to maintain a relatively low profile. We like Marc Bulger. Peyton Manning? ... eh, not so much.

We like the ironic names, "Guy Whimper," left tackle, NYG, and "Richie Incognito," guard, Rams. After all, if you're an offensive lineman, you're not likely to whimper much, and you generally want to remain incognito. Also, any guy named "Rocky," as in Rocky Bernard, Seattle, and Rocky Balboa Boiman, Colts. Nicknames are good, too, such as offensive linemen Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack (Seattle) and Flozell "The Hotel" Adams (Dallas). Also on the radar: Pretty much anybody with a Samoan name (Lofa Tatupu, for example), but we're not all that enamored with hyphenated last names (Maurice Jones-Drew; Tully Banta-Cain) … make up your mind already! Although "Carl-Johan Bork" is kind of a cool name. Speaking of names, we wonder what Pacman Jones is doing these days?

More to the point, there are players whose play Joey Porter's Pit Bulls admire, and then there are opponents we just like. These include Steelers' alumnae like Antwaan Randle-El and Kimo Von Oelhoeffen although, realistically, we realize they're gone forever. So, let's start with Defense, which is where everything starts with the Steelers:

Somehow, we can't bring ourselves to actually, you know, "like" any of the ragamuffin rogues from Cincinnati and Baltimore, but we do like and respect at least one player on the Browns -- yes, the Browns! -- linebacker Camerion Wimbley, who would be welcome in Black 'n Gold. Coincidentally, he was Lawrence Timmons' predecessor at Florida State. Great name, and Wimbley can play.

As for veterans, we like Bob Sanders, safety, Indianapolis Colts. A little undersized, gritty and fierce. Linebackers A.J. Hawk, Green Bay, and Ian Gold, Denver, always show up, and on the D-line, Kansas City's Jared Allen and San Diego's Igor Olshansky are both crazy and bring a lot of energy to their respective teams.

Not much of a track record with the following young players, but they've all looked impressive so far, although a couple of them are on injured reserve already: On the Buffalo Bills, Paul Posluszny sure stood out early this season until he broke his arm. Another rookie inside linebacker, San Francisco's Patrick Willis, looks like the real deal and should be a force in the league for years. Ditto his teammate, second-year playmaker Manny Lawson, who, like Posluszny, is now on IR. Another rookie, Jack'ville's Reggie Nelson, a safety, already is in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year. In Dallas, rookie linebacker Anthony Spencer, the 26th overall pick in April's draft, has supplanted last year's first pick, Bobby Carpenter, as the starting strongside linebacker in the Cowboys' 3-4 defense. By the way, for the record, before last April's draft, JPPBs made the case for the Steelers to draft either Spencer or Nelson. It will be interesting to watch how their respective careers play out in comparison to that of Lawrence Timmons.

On offense, let's start with some skill-position players:

At wideout, although he's a rookie, the Colts' rookie Tony Gonzalez is a guy we always liked when he played at Ohio State and looks like he fits right in on the Super Bowl champs' offense. Also, we like the Bills' Lee Evans, although he flew off the handle and fecklessly incurred back-to-back 15-yard penalties in this season's Game 2, against the Steelers. Still, he'd look good in a Steelers' uniform. The guy's big, fast, rangy and productive.

At fullback, JPPBs always liked Seattle's Mack Strong, and not just because he has the perfect name for a fullback. Also, the Jaguars' Greg Jones has a vanilla name, but he can play. On the O-line, Philly's veteran Jon Runyon is a beast.

On Special Teams, ya gotta love Devin Hester, Chicago's kick-returner extraordinaire. Is Fred McAfee still around? Apparently not.

Coaches: San Francisco's dapper Mike Nolan wins sartorial style points. I've always liked some of the special teams coaches for the manic zaniness -- Bobby April, etc.

Cheerleaders? Love 'em all.