Friday, July 31, 2009

Training Camp Primer

With players set to report to training camp tonight, here is a bit of a primer on what to expect at each position during training camp. We'll have our full team preview later, so this one is just a rough outline. Projected starters are in gold.


Ben Roethlisberger is the #1 quarterback in the AFC North. Anyone who tells you its Carson Palmer is lying. Charlie Batch is the veteran backup that the Steelers love to have as the #2 on the roster. Dennis Dixon is the future at the #2 spot, after Batch decides to hang it up. Dennis the Menace showed some flashes of brilliance in the preseason last year, so he should be exciting to watch, not only in camp with his running abilities, but also in the boring-ass second half of preseason games. Mike Reilly was brought in as an undrafted free agent and he will compete for a practice squad position. He likely won't see a whole lot of time on the field.

Projected Roster-makers: Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon

Running Backs

The story here will be how well Rashard Mendenhall has recovered from his broken collarbone. Willie Parker is the obvious #1 coming into camp, and, if the Steelers are smart, will likely split the workload with Mendenhall (similar to the way McFadden and Gay split time at CB last year). Mewelde Moore is a capable 3rd down back, and the team is very high on Frank Summers (5th round pick out of UNLV) to take over the short-yardage role vacated by Gary Russell. Carey Davis seems to be a favorite of Bruce Arians' (he gets the ball every time he's on the field, and usually ends up 1 yard short of where he needs to be). If there is a "surprise" candidate in the backfield that might not make the team, it's Davis. But Davis has performed well on special teams in the past, so don't think he's by any means a lock for not making the team either. He is definitely a "bubble" player though. Justin Vincent saw some time with the team last preseason and spent the year on the practice squad. Isaac Redman (undrafted, Bowie St) and Stefan Logan (CFL standout) will both compete with Davis for a roster spot, but may inevitably land on the practice squad.

Projected Roster-makers: Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Frank Summers

Wide Receivers

The Steelers become the first team in NFL history to start two Super Bowl MVPs at wide receiver. That's as much as you need to know about Holmes and Ward. Behind them though, is where the battles will take place. Limas Sweed (2nd round pick in 2008), Mike Wallace (2009 3rd round pick), Shaun McDonald (acquired via free agency, last gig: Detroit), and Dallas Baker will compete for the #3 spot. This should be the biggest "position battle" of camp, and all 4 of these guys should be guys to keep an eye on. Sweed has good size and questionable hands. No doubt (as we saw last year) he can get open, but the jury is still out if he can hang on to the ball when he's open. He made some great catches in traffic last year. Wallace was called "visibly fast" by Coach, and should see time as a kick returner as well. McDonald had a decent year as the #2 for Detroit last year after the Roy Williams trade, and brings some veteran experience to the competition for #3. Sleepers here include Martin Nance, who was Big Ben's favorite target at Miami (Ohio) and the slightly experienced Brandon Williams. Steven Black and Tyler Grisham will likely be competing for the practice squad.

Projected Roster-makers: Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Limas Sweed, Shaun McDonald, Mike Wallace, Dallas Baker

Tight Ends

Heath Miller just signed a 6-year contract extension, and if Arians had any imagination as an offensive coordinator, Heath would be the best tight end in the league. Matt Spaeth showed flashes of brilliance last season while Heath was injured, but then was largely forgotten about after Heath returned. Look for him to make a bigger impact this year, if he improves his blocking technique. He is a very capable receiver. Sean McHugh is still listed as a tight end, but has brought back the H-back role to the Steelers offense. He is basically a fullback that can also catch the ball, and the Steelers running game showed vast improvement last year after they started using McHugh as a blocking back. Dezmond Sherrod (had a few nice catches last preseason) and 7th round pick David Johnson will likely have to show something brilliant to make the team, and one or both will likely wind up on the practice squad.

Projected Roster-makers: Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Sean McHugh

Offensive Linemen

The starting line from the Super Bowl is back, with Max Starks where he should be at left tackle, Chris "Best-Neckbeard-in-the-league" Kemoeatu at left guard, Justin Hartwig at center, Darnell Stapelton at right guard, and Willie Colon at right tackle. The player to watch here is 7th round pick A.Q. Shipley out of Penn State. Scouts were down on him for having short arms, but the dude is an absolute mauler, and we absolutely love the way he plays. Word has it he has also been practicing as a long-snapper in the offseason, so that could add to his value. #1 backup Trai Essex has shown that he can play anywhere on the line except center, and should be a capable stop-gap if someone goes down. Look for the Steelers to try and work Essex into the "jumbo" goal-line set as an extra blocker. Tony Hills was a touted draft pick out of Texas last year, and he will continue to progress as a tackle prospect this year. 3rd round pick Kraig Urbik is a mammoth of a man (6'5 323) and can play guard or tackle. He has a ton of potential and we're excited to see what he can bring. Jason Capizzi from IUP has been around for a few years and at 6'9 330 is not someone to be overlooked. Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster, and Jeremy Parquet will compete with Capizzi for the last roster spot and practice squad positions.

Projected Roster-makers: Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Darnell Stapleton, Willie Colon, Trai Essex, Kraig Urbik, Tony Hills, A.Q. Shipley

Defensive Linemen

One of the biggest issues facing the Steelers after last season was the age of their defensive line. All 3 starters and all of their backups were over 30. So the Steelers set out to get younger, drafting Ziggy Hood in the first round from Missouri and Ra'Shon Harris from Oregon in the 6th round. Don't forget that Brett Keisel was a 7th round pick, so Harris has a shot to make the team. Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton should both be perennial pro-bowlers, but they don't get the recognition they deserve. Brett Keisel is capable and Travis Kirschke had a career year last year. Nick Eason and Chris Hoke are solid backups, and Ziggy Hood should add a spark to the bunch. Jordan Reffett, Steve McLendon, Harris, and Scott Paxon will likely be competing for a practice squad position, as the Steelers won't keep 8 D-linemen.

Projected Roster-makers: Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Travis Kirschke, Nick Eason, Chris Hoke


The Steelers have the best outside linebacker tandem in the league. Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley (who should have been a Pro-Bowler last year) are a force. This is the best linebacking pair we've had since Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene. James Farrior anchors the inside, with Lawrence Timmons projected to be an every-down linebacker because of his solid skills in pass coverage. The second-team defense will be full of intrigue with Steelers 2009 Rookie of the Year Patrick Bailey fighting for a position with Andre Frazier, Arnold Harrison, Donovan Woods, and Bruce Davis. Keyaron Fox was a standout on special teams last year and looks like he might have a future at an ILB position. Andrew Schantz and Tom Korte will compete for the practice squad.

Projected Roster-makers: James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, Keyaron Fox, Patrick Bailey, Andre Frazier, Donovan Woods


Ike Taylor is the shut-down machine. William Gay steps into a starting role this year with Deshea Townsend filling in the nickel back. Behind that, the competition is hot. Veteran Keiwan Ratliff was brought in in the offseason to add some experience to the unit, and physical corner Keenan Lewis was a 3rd round pick. Undersized but speedy Joe Burnett has kick return skills, and Anthony Madison has been a special teams stalwart in his 3 seasons on the team. Roy Lewis also lacks size, but makes up for it in physicality, by packing a huge wallop, and having good ball skills.

Projected Roster-makers: Ike Taylor, William Gay, Deshea Townsend, Keiwan Ratliff, Anthony Madison, Keenan Lewis


Troy Polamalu is the best in the league. Period. Ryan Clark is capable at free safety, but has gotten burned a few times. Tyrone Carter is a heavy-hitter, but has also had some breakdowns. Look for Carter to make some steps forward this year, but remain the capable backup. The excitement here comes from Ryan Mundy from WVU who was having a great camp last year before getting injured. Mundy may push Carter to be the #1 backup. Derrick Richardson is an undrafted rookie and will need to show something to make the practice squad.

Projected Roster-makers: Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Tyrone Carter, Ryan Mundy

Special Teams

Jeff Reed will kick the shit out of anything. Even paper towel dispensers. Daniel "Superman" Sepulveda is back from the kryptonie-induced knee surgery and should be a vast improvement over the punters we had last season. Greg Warren also returns from injury at long snapper, but he may see some competition from A.Q. Shipley, and might not be as close to a lock to make the team as some might think.

Projected Roster-makers: Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda, Greg Warren

Biggest Camp Battles:

1. Limas Sweed vs. Shaun McDonald vs. Mike Wallace for the #3 WR spot

Sweed has the inside track here, but McDonald has good experience and Wallace has great speed. Should be interesting to watch. The Steelers may not award the job to anyone and run a rotation.

2. Ziggy Hood vs. Nick Eason vs. Travis Kirschke vs. Chris Hoke for the #1 DL backup

Hood was the first round pick with a great motor, and he will find his way into the D-line rotation, the question is: where? LeBeau has done a great job over the last few years of rotating the D-line to keep them fresh throughout the game, particularly over long drives. Hood will play, and it will be exciting to see where and how he does.

3. Frank Summers vs. Carey Davis

This will likely be a battle for a roster spot. Davis is a mediocre blocker at the fullback spot, but that job seems to have been filled by Sean McHugh. To make the team, Davis will have to either excel on special teams or in a short-yardage scenario, which happens to be exactly what Summers was drafted for. Hopefully Davis added some leg power this offseason, because he definitely lacked the strength to drive for those extra yards last year.

4. Bruce Arians vs. himself

Let's face it, the guy makes bad decisions. Lucky for him, we have Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes (who bailed us out of a lot of games last season). Arians lacks imagination, unless of course you mean throwing on 3rd and 1 in the AFC Championship game with a 5-point lead and 6 minutes to go in the game. Beyond that, he needs to be willing to run the ball, at least occasionally, on 3rd and 2. Arians biggest weakness is in "situational football" knowledge. He tries to get too cute around the goal line, which prompted Coach to tell him "Let's get it in this time" in the Super Bowl.

It should be an exciting camp, and we're going to try to make a trip out there at some point. We'll post some pictures if one or both of us makes it out. For those of you who have been dying this summer trying to find a sports fix after the Pens season ended (since the Pirates suck so bad), fear not! Your troubles are over. Training camp is here.

Cash Spree: Washington Redskins Season Preview

2008 Record: 8-8

After starting 2008 on a blistering 6-2 pace, the Steelers came to town on the eve of election night and smacked the snot out of the Skins, including 7 sacks and two picks of Jason Campbell. After the Monday Night shellacking, the Redskins finished the season a disappointing 2-5, to close out at .500.

The Redskins' offense, which looked unstoppable to start the season, had a marked decline over the latter half of the season. Most of this can be attributed to injuries along the offensive line. Commentators thrust the blame on the shoulders of quarterback Jason Campbell, without even discussing the fact that Clinton Portis didn't break 80 yards in a game after Thanksgiving, following a stretch of over 120 yards in five consecutive games from September 28th through October 26th. Last season, Clinton Portis was the leading rusher in 10 games, with the Redskins going 7-3 in those games. By contrast, the Redskins were 4-3 in games when Jason Campbell out-passed the opposing quarterback. Campbell had only 6 interceptions last season, which on paper looks good, but he lacked the receivers to improve his TD-to-INT ratio, only posting 13 touchdown passes last season. In the right system, I believe Campbell can be a very, very good quarterback in this league, but the question remains to be seen if he will be given that opportunity, or if Jim Zorn will have him on the short leash this season after the 2-6 finish to last year.

The Redskins' offense is all about running the ball. Portis had almost 1,500 yards last season on 342 carries. One has to wonder how much longer Portis is going to be able to maintain that big of a workload. It showed last season, as his production slowed towards the end of the season. For as much as the Skins' offense relies on the ground game, it is of paramount importance to keep the offensive line healthy. Chris Samuels, a perennial Pro-Bowler at left tackle, has had some injury problems the last few years and is at the tail end of his career.

Santana Moss is a dangerous deep threat, but he needs some help. Antwaan Randle El was brought in from Pittsburgh to be that help, but injuries have hampered his three seasons in DC. Last year, the Skins drafted two wide receivers early in the draft, Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma) and Devin Thomas (Michigan State). Both of them were hampered by injuries in their first year, with Kelly having micro-fracture knee surgery, and Thomas having hamstring issues. Thomas, known for his blazing speed in college, has been working on running cleaner routes rather than just relying on his speed. Thomas had only 15 catches while appearing in all 16 games last season.

Owner Dan Snyder's off-season spending spree rivaled Barack Obama's, but it remains to be seen whether Snyder's will actually net results. The biggest acquisition was defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth from Tennessee. The Redskins' defense was very solid last season, and they look to be much the same unit, with the additions of Haynesworth and first round draft pick Brian Orakpo from Texas. Orakpo played a 4-3 end at Texas, but he has been running with the first team defense as an outside linebacker, so he may see the field on opening day. Orakpo's speed and athleticism will make him a good fit as a run-stopper and pass-rusher, but pass coverage may be different story.

Ian's Prediction: 9-7

The NFC East remains one of the best divisions in football, and the Redskins will be hard-pressed competing for a title. However, with two of the biggest receiving threats (T.O. and No-Catch-ico) out of the division, it remains to be seen whether there is an elite team of the bunch. Look for a lot of this group to beat up on each other in division play. All four teams play very good defense, so points will likely be at a premium in divisional games. On the upside, the NFC East faces the AFC West in inter-conference play, arguably the weakest division in the NFL, which should give the Redskins 3 easy wins, barring an upset. They also face the NFC South, one of the best divisions in football last year. However, as the Steelers showed, having the hardest schedule doesn't really mean much. Washington's schedule starts easy with games against St. Louis and Detroit in September. Their hardest stretch comes at the end with a trap game in Oakland, followed by two home night games against division rivals Dallas and New York, before closing out back on the west coast in San Diego. I think the Skins should hold their own this year, with the defense keeping them in a lot of games. Don't expect many blowouts from this team, but they are good enough to hang around with anyone.

John's Prediction: 10-6

Responsibility. Accountability. Leadership. Depth. The Redskins had issues with all these aspects in 2008, especially on offense. Who was to blame for the second-half collapse? Jason Campbell seemed to receive the majority of the criticism, but what about Clinton Portis' disappearing act, the continued absence of true receiving threats, and poor O-line play? Additionally, where the QB is generally considered the offensive captain, the 'Skins have as many as four potential "stars" to fill the important role. Campbell is now experienced enough to handle being the leader, but Portis, Santana Moss, and Chris Samuels have all been the "face" of this team in recent years. To make matters worse, the offense is only one or two injuries away from being degraded to the ability of a college attack due to absolutely no depth at any position. The defense will once again be the strength of this team, especially with the additions of Haynesworth, Orakpo, and DeAngelo Hall for an entire season. If the Redskins can stay healthy and have a true leader emerge on offense, and if the new acquisitions on defense can gel quickly, this team has the potential to win up to twelve games. However, a tough second-half schedule will probably limit Washington to a nine or ten win campaign.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

News n'at

The Steelers announced that they came to terms with first round pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood yesterday, which means that all 80 players on their roster will be under contract at the start of camp.

Hopefully now that all of their players are under contract they can focus on getting Heath a new deal.

The second bit of news and such is that the Steelers will reveal the sixth "Lombardi Column" in the Great Hall at Heinz Field on Tuesday August 11. Admission is free, so if you're around Pittsburgh, this may be something you want to check out. The column ceremony will begin at 6pm.
Full Story

For those that haven't been to Heinz Field and beheld the Great Hall, it features five (soon to be six!) 26-foot tall "columns" shaped like Lombardi Trophies with display cases for Super Bowl memorabilia and the Lombardi Trophies.

Links n'at

Ed Bouchette highlights the Top 5 "Issues" facing the Steelers as they head into camp.
Interestingly, in his discussion of the offensive line, Bouchette doesn't mention that after October 19th (when this version of the line started playing together) Ben was sacked 28 times, an average of 2.54 per game. However, in the first 5 games of the season (when Marvel Smith and Kendall Simmons were playing), Ben was sacked 18 times, an average of 3.6 per game, including that 8-sack disaster against Philadelphia. Though this line is far from "elite," they did cut the sacks-per-game down by over 1 from the previous alignment.

The 80-man Roster
The cut-down to 53 is going to be tough. There's a lot of potential on this roster.

Everything You Need To Know About Attending Training Camp

We've been out to training camp before, and it's a great experience for kids. So if you have kids, you should try to take them. We haven't gone for a while, but if our relative schedules permit, maybe one or both of us will make it out there.

Finally, and somewhat regretably, I guess we have to touch on the Big Ben issue.

For those who haven't heard, Ben was in Reno for a charity golf event. After the trip, a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her. There were some shaky details, and different stories have been floating around about possible settlements, etc. Rather than be a rumor beacon, we're probably just going to sit back and let this thing run its course.

Let's set the record straight. We're not going to make excuses for Ben. If he's guilty, then we thoroughly do not approve. We don't think athletes should have higher standards or be "above the law." That being said, if he is found to be innocent, then we do hope the allegations won't tarnish his reputation. We do our best around here not to delve too much into the personal lives of the players, but this has been all over ESPN, so it's something we felt we needed to touch on.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Picture of the Year: Quarterfinals

Moving forward with our Picture of the Year tournament, here are the four Quarterfinal matchups.

The schedule from hereon out will be something like this:
Aug 1 - Semi-Finals posted
Aug 8 - Finals posted

As always, you can click the pictures to enlarge them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Picture of the Year: Finishing Round 2

So we've been a little lax in this area, but we're going to try to finish this thing out before the preseason starts. So, in that vein, we'll be doing about a round a week (ish). This week, we're going to finish off the second round. As always, you can click the pictures to enlarge them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ESPN Ultimate Standings

ESPN recently released their most updated version of their "Ultimate Rankings" where they rank all 122 professional sports franchises.

The Steelers ranked #3.

The Penguins ranked #8.

The Pirates? Well...they came in at #94, barely eeking out the Los Angeles Kings, Indiana Pacers, and Washington Nationals.

Interestingly, the New York Yankees came in at #107, surrounded by the Atlanta Thrashers and Kansas City Chiefs.

As we like to do around here, let's break down some of these numbers and see how our teams fared.

For starters, teams were ranked across 6 different categories: Bang For The Buck, Fan Relations, Ownership, Affordability, Stadium Experience, Players, Coaching, Title Track

Across the board, the Steelers ranked thusly:
Bang for Buck: 9
Fan Relations: 14
Ownership: 2
Affordability: 36
Stadium Experience: 26
Players: 2
Coaching: 4
Title Track: 4

Let's start with some initial reactions, then we'll dig deeper. The Los Angeles Angels ranked #1 and Carolina Hurricanes ranked #2. Between the two, they have 2 championship trophies. The Steelers have won that many in the last 4 years. But obviously, championships aren't everything.

However, it's hard to see how the Angels rank above the Steelers in "Title Track." The Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Cardinals also ranked above the Steelers here. I can see how the Red Wings could be ranked above the Steelers, given their success in the past and their "likelihood of winning in the future." However, I find it a little hard to believe that the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals have a higher likelihood of titles than the Steelers. The Angels play in the AL West, which they should be able to cakewalk through for a while, but regular season success doesn't always translate into Post-Season glory. Just ask the New England Patriots.

The Fan Relations category was broken up into 4 sub-categories: Players Act Professionally, Fan Appreciation, Player Accessibility, and Fan Feedback.

The Steelers ranked first in Fan Appreciation. Interestingly, they ranked 29th in Players Act Professionally. The Washington Capitals ranked 25th. I guess this is considered "acting professional"

Interestingly, no NFL team ranked in the top 10 in Players Act Professionally. The highest were the Colts (#12) and the Patroits (#14).
In the ownership category, the Steelers were bested only by the Detroit Red Wings. The Steelers ranked first in the "Honest Ownership" and "Committed to the Community" subcategories, but fell to 7th in the "Loyalty to core players" category, allowing the Red Wings to pass them overall. I guess this is a matter of opinion, as the Steelers have let Alan Faneca and Joey Porter go the route of Free Agency the past few years. However, James Harrison has done everything and more that we could have expected from Porter (not to mention LaMarr Woodley being a freaking beast). A-Fan was tough to lose, and he was a solid member of the team, but with the salary cap, you have to make choices. This isn't Major League Baseball. And the Steelers chose players like Hines, Ben, and Troy over A-Fan, which is understandable.

The Steelers ranked lowest in Affordability. Not much to say here. Tickets are expensive, but they also don't cost an arm and a leg like Yankees or NY Giants tickets. On the other end, they're also not like Pirates tickets where you can get tickets for less than beer costs inside. Somehow, the Steelers ranked 7th in the subcategory of "concessions affordability", which is a little odd considering that a bottle of Coke is $4 and beer is somewhere between $7 and $8.

I was a little surprised by how low they Steelers ranked in Stadium Experience. In the "Environment" subcategory, the Steelers were 21st between the Portland TrailBlazers and San Antonio Spurs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but neither of them have Terrible Towels.
I guess not selling out your home playoff games didn't factor in, as the Carolina Hurricanes ranked #1, the Washington Capitals ranked #4.

The Steelers also ranked 36th in "Great Stadium" tied with the Capitals and the Los Angeles Clippers. Interestingly, the LA Lakers, who play in the same arena as the Clippers, ranked 29th in this category. Similarly, the NY Jets were #107 and the Giants were #97, even though they play in the same stadium. The Pirates actually came in at #4 here, which was well-deserved because PNC Park is just an awesome stadium. According to this list, the top 5 stadiums are:

1. Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota Wild)
2. AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)
3. Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers)
4. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)
5. Qwest Field (Seattle Seahawks)

The Steelers also ranked well in the Players category. Interestingly, they fell to 12th in "Likeability"
You mean Hines Ward breaking Keith Rivers' jaw wasn't likeable?

The Cleveland LeBrons Cavs, Detroit Red Wings, and Portland TrailBlazers ranked highest in likeability. Portland? Really? Do people like to watch Greg Oden sit on the bench that much?

Finally, let's give some props to Coach Tomlin here for ranking as the #4 coach in professional sports.
1t. Bill Belicheat (New England Patriots)
1t. Greg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)
3. Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans)
4. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers)
5. Mike Scioscia (LA Angels)

Well, there we have it. We already touched on the "Title Track" portion of the calculation.

All in all, Pittsburgh's got some great things going for it right now, and the Steelers (and Penguins) are at the forefront of that. It's great to see the Steelers get some national recognition for it, even if they fall behind two teams like the Angels and Hurricanes.

How'd that turn out for you Bill?

Whole Foods Hates Capitalism

I discovered today that Whole Foods hates capitalism. Now, I know it's a popular thing in bourgeois culture to look down on the ills of capitalism, but that's not what our ire is directed towards today.

Being residents of Pittsburgh, we grew up with Giant Eagle. The Big Bird is usually where it's at, but it's always good to look around at your other options as well.

If you live in the city, there are either a whole bunch of grocery stores near you (like in the East End where there is the Market District Giant Eagle, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's amongst other smaller stores) or none (like the Hill District, which is in the process of getting one, which will be great for that neighborhood).

If you're lucky enough to live in an area, either in the city or outside of it, where you have access to more than one grocery store, I'm sure you, like any good shopper (and American!) have compared prices between stores.

Hey, groceries aren't cheap and every little bit you can save counts.

In lieu of this, my fiance and I decided that we were going to do some comparison-shopping today. Like any normal people, we don't have the ability to remember prices on everything we like to buy from a variety of stores. So, using the common sense that we have, we took along some paper and a pen to jot down prices so that we could compare.

Well, while we were in Whole Foods today, we were approached by a manager and told that "Writing down prices is against national store policy" and that we had to stop. I've never really been that close to being kicked out of a grocery store before, so I wasn't thinking to ask to see the policy or where it was posted.

However, if this "policy" was posted, it wasn't anywhere prevalent that I saw, and an overview of their website reveals no such policy listed.

Their website does mention
We offer value to our customers by providing them with high quality products, extraordinary service and a competitive price.

Well, we must beg the question: how does the customer know what a "competitive price" is when you're not allowed to price-compare? I was always under the understanding that good customers "shopped with their feet" and would frequent the place that was cheapest. At least, that's what the tenets of capitalism, and in turn the American economy, were built upon.

However, I guess this isn't good enough for the bourgeois folks at Whole Foods who don't really want you to think about what you're buying and how it's at least a dollar cheaper at Trader Joe's or Giant Eagle. Therefore, without further ado, we call upon our Minister of Ire to put Whole Foods in their place.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Steve McNair

When you were playing Steve McNair, you knew it was going to be a struggle. McNair was the best running quarterback we have seen since Steve Young. While Donovan McNabb may eventually surpass McNair, Steve was a more complete passer than Donovan, which also made him a more dangerous runner.

Without looking at any stats, but just thinking off the top of my head, Steve McNair might have had the best career against the Steelers of any quarterback in recent memory.

Nothing we can say can really do justice to just how many times Steve McNair tore our hearts out over his NFL career. From his time in Tennessee to his last full season as a starter in Baltimore (not a coincidence that this was the last time Baltimore swept the Steelers).

Of course, you always love to see your team play well against someone who has traditionally been a thorn in your side. Which is why the Steelers Monday night game against Baltimore in 2007 was one of our favorite games at Heinz Field. The Steelers came out sporting their throwback jerseys for the 75th anniversary. Legends were in the building, and a legend was born. For those who don't remember, this was the game that put James Harrison on the radar as a dominant defensive player. Harrison had 10 tackles (9 solo, 1 asst), 3 1/2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. It was a totally unreal defensive performance against Steve McNair, who had torn our defense to shreds in a 37-0 rout in late 2006.

As much as we disliked McNair for what he was able to do against our defense on the field, you never wish for bad things to happen to people in their personal lives. McNair's death is sad and tragic, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.