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Old 12-01-2010, 09:58 PM   #1
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Default Steelers-Ravens preview chat with Jerry Micco and Ron Fritz of the Baltimore Sun

Steelers-Ravens preview chat with Jerry Micco and Ron Fritz of the Baltimore Sun
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jerry Micco: Hi everyone ... We'll get started shortly.

Ron Fritz: Everyone ready for some football?

Jonny St. Paul: Whose injuries are going to cause bigger problems?

Jerry Micco: I think if Roethlisberger is injured and can't play, the Steelers are in real trouble.

Ron Fritz: The Ravens, without question. Big Ben is going to play. If Oher is hobbled, Landry can't play and McClain can't play, the Ravens will be in trouble.

Jerry Micco: No guarantees yet, Ron , that Ben will play. If Oher is hobbled, I agree. Who is there to hold James Harrison? Did I say that?

Emperor Chas: Ron, could you tell Mike Preston that Ben was never convicted of any crime, much like #52 Ray Ray

Jerry Micco: Court of public opinion, however, does not always follow legal arguments. Ben has a long road ahead, even among many Steelers fans. But true, never convicted, charged or for that matter, arrested.

BJ: Jerry and Ron, before we break down matchups and X's and O's. What are both of you favorite memories/games from these two teams in the past decade?

Ron Fritz: Mike knows that, but thanks for pointing that out. Reading the police documents from Big Ben's Georgia incident is nasty stuff.

Jerry Micco: No question for a Steelers fan it would be the 2008 AFC title game. A 23-14 win by Pittsburgh and the hit by Ryan Clark on Willis McGahee, which today would likely be a flag and a fine.

Ron Fritz: I'm not sure I can pinpoint one memory, but I do think that when these two teams play it's some of the hardest-hitting, playoff-type football that you'll ever see. Two teams that just hit and have passion for the game.

James_Taiwan: How do you like the Ravens Super Bowl chances in this years potential AFC field of New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Indy, and San Diego Chargers?

Ron Fritz: James, the Ravens are right there. If they can get home-field advantage for the playoffs, they can reach the Super Bowl. That said, they are also a good road team.

Jerry Micco: The team that wins the AFC will have earned it the hard way. What a killer path to the Super Bowl. Of those teams, the Ravens and Steelers are right there. Imagine New England and Pittsburgh being wild cards? You want to play either one in January?

Kurt: There is a lot of speculation about our offense and lack of production vs. talent. How much do you feel is Cam and how much is Joe's ability to make throws in the middle of the feild and hit receivers in stride?

Ron Fritz: Kurt, it's hard to say because it seems that Flacco isn't allowed to throw into the middle of the field. Without question there is talent. It just seems at times you're shaking your head at some fo the play calls.

Rip: Between Suggs and Harrison - Who get's the first cheap penalty for a late hit to the QB?

Jerry Micco: Two guys who will fight for that title. Actually if they did fight, it'd be a smaller fine.

Ron Fritz: Rip, who gets the ball first? If the Steelers win the toss, then it's Suggs. If the Ravens win the toss, then it's Harrison.

Chris: Whats the latest on Oher, Mclean and Landry?

Guest: Who gains more? Pitt with Ben or the Ravens with Ed Reed? Both were missing the first game.

Ron Fritz: We'll hear more later today, but Oher tweeted that he's going to play, McClain and Landry less likely.

Jerry Micco: No question it's the Steelers with Roethlisberger. He's their best offensive player and like him or not, one of the best QBs in the NFL. If he doesn't play, it's difficult for the Steelers to win any game, let alone a Ravens game.

Ron Fritz: The Steelers with Big Ben. Sorry Charlie, you're no Roethlisberger. Ed Reed was missed, but since he's come back, the Ravens' pass defense has become worse statistically.

Kevin in Maine: Are you guys expecting Ravens to be able to get pressure on Roethlisberger and do you think he'll be limited with the foot?

Jerry Micco: Yes and yes. Though the foot will not be as big an issue as the pressure. If Chris Kemoeatu had 4 holding calls vs. the Bills, the sky's the limit vs. Baltimore's front 7.

Ron Fritz: Kevin, I don't expect the Ravens to get pressure on Roethlisberger. They haven't been able to get pressure on any QB this season.

gordon: what do u think about the raven pass defense do u think we can contain big ben?

Jerry Micco: If the pass rush is there, then it will be much easier. But if Ben gets time against the Ravens secondary, even with the great Ed Reed, it'll be a long night for the Ravens.

Ron Fritz: Gordon, I don't think they can contain him. And they'll have trouble with Mendenhall. This is a very good Steelers offense when Roethlisberger gets time. Heath Miller could have a huge game.

Steeler Hater: Jerry, any chance Big Ben won't play?

Jerry Micco: Highly doubtful. If he can walk, he'll play.

James_Taiwan: Will the winning play be a Field Goal, offensive TD, or defensive TD by Ed Reed or Troy?

Ron Fritz: Keep him away from motorcycles.

Jerry Micco: Field goal. It should be close.

Ron Fritz: James, I see Cundiff making a FG for the lead and Suisham misses for a Ravens victory.

richard43: Any word yet as to which officiating crew is working this game? It's a shame but, it really seems to matter each week.

Ron Fritz: Richard, I haven't heard yet, but before each Ravens game we put up a scouting report on the officials. It will be at www.baltimoresun.com/ravens on Sunday.

Jerry Micco: While officiating crews shouldn't make a difference, many Steelers fans would beg to differ. However, despite more than 270 yards in penalties against the past 2 weeks, the Steelers are 2-0.

Jonny St. Paul: OK, one more. I'm obviously AFC North-centric, but are these two teams getting old? Is the AFC in general getting old?

Jerry Micco: The Steelers defense is getting long in the tooth, but has some good young players, as well as guys hitting their prime. The Steelers can say the same on offense. Depends on how the young guys develop. If they do, then the AFC will keep on humming.

Ron Fritz: The Ravens' defense is getting old, but they've worked hard at making the offense younger (Flacco, Rice, Oher, two rookie TEs). The Steelers have Big Ben, Wallace, Mendenhall, Pouncey. Maybe the defense is getting old. I think Indy and NE are getting old.

Brendan: Will the Ravens be able to control Mendenhall while also keeping Wallace/Ward from getting over the top?

Ron Fritz: Brendan, not unless they can get pressure on Big Ben. Watch out for Heath Miller. Ravens' LBs can't cover anyone.

Jerry Micco: I'd not worry much about Ward going deep. That's not Hines' game anymore. Wallace, absolutely and the Steelers will try that multiple times in a game. Heath Miller is a favorite target and Emmanuel Sanders, a rookie WR from SMU, has emerged as a nice No. 3 receiver.

The Chief: Jerry/Ron thanks for the chat. Ron as an outside observer do you think the Steelers are being targeted by the NFL. Believe this also happened to the Ravens a couple of years ago

Ron Fritz: Chief, love the name. I really don't think they are getting targeted and I don't think the Ravens were getting targeted. Go back and look at the penalties. They pretty much deserved the flags. Then again, you can call a penalty on almost every play.

Tank: Suggs vs Scott seems to be a big mismatch and Suggs vs Flozell for that matter as well if they flip Sizzle. How much confidence does Ben have in that line to hold the ball and extend plays?

Ron Fritz: Look at his rushing totals the last two games. I think he's pulling it down quicker than in the past.

Jerry Micco: He has a lot of confidence in those guys and he has the bruises to prove it. Ben makes plays, he just takes a while to do it, which doesn't always benefit the line.

Rip: If there is a lot of Rain on Sunday night, which team does that favor?

Jerry Micco: Ron, what's the forecast? It's snowing here today, so maybe a cold snap coming for Charm City?

Ron Fritz: Rip, it favors the offenses. Both can run the ball and play-action will kill a defense. The forecast is good right now, maybe mid to upper 30s, but no rain or snow.

BOOk: Fellas I have one question. I am a Pittsburgh Steeler fan but I come on your web site to check out the enemy. I just have one question. It seems as though Ravens fans really have rabbit ears. "What they are saying about the Ravens>" or What so and so said about the Ravens. Steeler fans don't really care what others have to say. Why is that

Ron Fritz: Oh please. Steelers fans don't care what is said? I have a bunch of e-mails and comments I could send you. I'm ready to say "typical Steelers fan" but I'll hold off for now.

Jerry Micco: I think Steelers fans do care that the opponent says about the team. Especially when it's the Ravens or Bengals. We run columns from the Sun, which we rarely do midweek for other Steelers opponents. I think people care quite a bit.

6 Rings: Jerry, shouldn't we expect the Ravens Offense to spread the field, I can't see the Steelers DB's covering all those receivers.

Ron Fritz: Chris Chester is out for the Ravens and Oher might be limited, so I don't see the Ravens having time to spread the field.

Jerry Micco: If they run a spread offense, then they can't max protect. And they will need to max protect.

Larry Again: Both of these teams have not been playing up to their potential. Why do you think this is so and what do they need to do to turn it around?

Ron Fritz: I don't know Larry, both are 8-3 so I don't see much in the way of turning things around. They both struggled with the Bills and the Ravens could have lost to Carolina.

Jerry Micco: Wow, you're 8-3 and that's not up to potential? I guess the Steelers should be 9-2, but losing to the Ravens, Saints and Patriots isn't like losing to Sister Margaret and the convent.

Ron Fritz: Are those the little sisters?

Neil: So how do we distinguish between Derrick Mason's passion and Derrick Mason's whining?

Ron Fritz: It's one and the same. He wouldn't be Derrick without the passion, which leads to the whining.

Jim: Do you feel that Harrison should once again be made an example of because of his excessive fines? What do you do with criminals or employees who don't listen to the law of the land?

Ron Fritz: Jim, there are a lot of repeat offenders and Harrison is just one of them. I believe Haloti Ngata has been tagged a few times.

Jerry Micco: I think Harrison is going to play like he's always played -- hard. If he's fined, he's fined. I don't expect him to change all that much. He flattened Jason Campbell in the Raider game and got called for putting "his full body weight" on the QB. He hit Drew Brees in the back with a face mask and was called for roughing. I don't think he can play any other way.

Ron Fritz: Quick question for Jerry, pierogies or crabcakes?

KS Steeler: Ron, you and Jerry bet anything on these games?

Jerry Micco: My wife, being a Marylander, would say crabcakes. Gimme the potato/cheese pierogies. And a Primanti's sandwich while you're at it.

Ron Fritz: KS Steeler, we have not yet. But I'm sure if we did food would be involved. While Jerry always looks good, we're not exactly svelte.

Jerry Micco: No. We'd be offensive guards. Road graders.

Jerry Micco: But at least you're tall.

rjr5855: Ron, I believe that part of the reason the Ravens are hesitant to throw over the middle is that even in drop off scenarios Rice attracts a lot of attention and coverage. What do you think to having Rice's drop routes be more around and outside the numbers?

Ron Fritz: I think that would open the middle up more. They also like to have Rice come across the formation when a linebacker is on him. That's about the only time they throw over the middle.

John B.: Ron, Jerry, would you consider this rivalry to be the best in the NFL right now?

Jerry Micco: I would. There are some others, like Monday's Pats-Jets game, but this one is so physical and always means something in the standings.

Ron Fritz: I would. I used to say Browns-Steelers, but my hometown has stunk it up the last few years.

Kevin: Final score prediction? Who gets the game ball and why?

Ron Fritz: 24-21 Ravens. Suisham misses a chance to send it to OT. Ray Rice gets the game ball.

Jerry Micco: I thought Sunday night, the Ravens would win. But listening to the Steelers and reading about them, I like the Steelers chances. I'll say they win it 20-16, and the gameball goes to Troy Polamalu.

Jerry Micco: Ron was right the last time, so maybe you shouldn't take much stock in what I say.

Ron Fritz: Does that mean I win pierogies or Primanti's

Jerry Micco: Folks I need to run, but thanks for taking the time to do the chat. It's the only co-chat I do with another sports editor and it shows how big this game is for both cities. And the fact that I've known Ron for a long time and, believe it or not, actually like him. For you Ron, we'll get you a bit of both....as long as I get the same. Thanks everyone!

Ron Fritz: Thanks Jerry. Big shout-out to my relatives in Pittsburgh. Always great chatting with you Jerry. Crabcakes on me.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10335...#ixzz16vIvl0FB
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