Loose Slag From The Still Mill (Nov. 9th)
- Some people wonder why I've so vocally ridiculed Bill Cowhead this year. Try this one on for yourself:
- Cowher is basically outraged at Davis for getting beaten --- for about the 10th time this year mind you -- deep early in the Cinci game. He pulls Davis and inserts 2d round pick Shields, who played good, as he has the entire season. After the game, Cowhead muttered aloud how incensed he was with Davis. Four days later, Davis is rewarded for all of this by starting versus Jax.
- Chris Conrad imitated a turnstile the past 2 games, especially in front of a national TV audience versus Jax. When a tackle cannot even get a pinkie-finger on an onrushing lineman, and it happens continually, there's a severe incompetence problem. You know the man blew chunks when fellow co-workers come up to you the next day, asking "Who in gawd's name was that piece of shoit at tackle last night??" Cowhead then rewards Conrad by having him practice with the 1st team this week.
- I don't know about you, but Cowhead's press conference did absolutely nothing to clear up the rumors regarding his personal life. Nothing. It was like watching a Bill Clinton press conference. Worse, it was full of all the banal generalities that we've come to grow accustom to at Cowhead's weekly get-togethers. Like a game plan, Cowhead's press conferences are void of any specificity. After all, FGB's objective is simply to "hang on and be close in the 4th quarter, and hope to win". For those who want a good nutshell version of the press gathering, here's an excerpt of what the AP reported:
** COWHER SAYS FAMILY SUBJECTED TO DISPARAGING REMARKS
(AP) - Bill Cowher said Monday the Pittsburgh Steelers' losing season is tough on him but even more so on his family, who have heard disparaging comments that forced him "to bite my tongue." Cowher, whose future in Pittsburgh has been much debated, said the remarks hurt him, his wife and three children. He also suggested they were often made in an effort to coax him to
retaliate in kind. He did not specify who made the comments or whether they dealt with the Steelers' losing -- they have dropped four games in a row and are out of the playoff race -- or his
family life. Cowher, who spent the Steelers' off day Sunday putting up Christmas tree lights at his Fox Chapel home, said the losing season has actually brought his family closer together.
"It's been tough on everybody," he said. **
My only question is whether anyone else was home in Fox Chapel when Cowher was putting up the Christmas tree lights.
- We've all wonder WHY Malcolm Johnson isn't allowed to play for the Black n' Gold this season. Our crack staff looked it up. It's in the league rules. It's obscure, but it's there -
Rule 45, section 3, para. h says, "Six-foot, five-inch receivers from Notre Dame drafted AFTER the 3rd round are ineligible to play in their first year in the league. If their coach petitions the league office, and the petition is approved, they may play in their second season".
- Here's WHY Malcolm Johnson SHOULD be getting some PT:
Quote from Louisiana Tech Offensive Coordinator Clint Conque:
"Corners who are 4.3 guys only run as fast as those they cover."
Louisiana Tech's top two receivers were recruited as linebackers - one 228 lbs. and one 210 lbs.
"It becomes a matchup of size and strength", says Conque, "We like our chances."
- On a related matter, I've heard rumblings that Malcolm Johnson is "still learning the offense". I find it bizarre that Edgerrin James, who doesn't exactly strike me as the bookwormy type, can come in and overwhelm his coaches with his quick absorbtion of the Colt passing offense. But, Malcolm Johnson, who was an honor student in the business school at NOTRE DAME, cannot seem to grasp our offense.
- On another related matter (ok, everything is related, like Kevin Bacon or something) Kevin Gaypride is well known for having bizarro, wacko offensive schemes that take considerable time and brainpower to learn. Cowhead, knowing the players that he had to work with, should have smelled a rat back in May, and immediately cut the wheat from the chaff. I'd rather run 20 plays to perfection, than run 87 plays, half of which we can't line up in a legal formation and another 40% of which we can't perform well at all.
- How is this for an indictment of Bill Cowher?
Dennis Green, one of the worst coaches in the NFL, is smart enough to slap around Ray Sherman and get him to change the offense. Cowher was too stubborn/stupid to do it last year�..and AGAIN this year.
- I expect Cowhead to resign in mid-January. One primary reason is that Donahoe and Cowher have been at each other's throats for a while - at least dating back to '96. Besides numerous personnel disagreements, some other points of disagreement:
1) Cowher's decision to start with Miller in '96.
2) The infamous day-off following the playoff win over Indianapolis at the end of the '96 season (preceding the humiliating loss to New England).
3) Yanking Stewart in the Seattle game ('99).
4) The 4th down play-calling vs. Jacksonville ('99).
5.) The Matt George fiasco in Tennessee in '98, when all Donahoe could sign for a kicker was a bum in theater school.
- I'll spend considerable time in the off-season analyzing personnel needs, etc. Let me just throw this one at ya for something to chew on in the meantime. If Mark Breuner and his $3 million/year salary are retained, it should be under the stipulation that Breuner bulks up and comes to mini-camp ready to play OT. We've heard the staff gush and fawn over his blocking. Great. Let's see him block as an offensive tackle. Breuner is precisely the kind of guy that helps to bog down our passing game --- slow, plodding, unable to get open, no RAC skills, mediocre hands. Defenses FANTASIZE about facing skill position players like Breuner. Before you pooh-pooh this idea, consider this: Larry Brown was a pretty fair TE who bulked up and played superbly as an OT for the Stillers in the 70's. And, the Stillers have never been real fond of the enormous OTs (JaLame Stephens aside). Justin Strelz, for example, weighs only 305. Breuner is 261. It's not too difficult to add another 40 pounds, especially since Breuner has the 6'-4" frame. Lastly, unless considerable talent is brought in during the off-season, our RT job at camp will be a "competition" between Piss Conrad, Skates Brown, and Kris Ferris, who has exactly 1 day of camp under his belt for NFL experience. Not 1 game or 1 play -- 1 day of a camp. Methinks Breuner can easily outplay all of these guys with his eyes closed.
The Still Mill