Wednesday Apple Pie

An open letter to Bill Cowher:<br><br> <I>I have questions for you, esteemed Coach of Coaches. Where is Antwaan Randle El? I know he plays for this team. Have you decided that he should not be incorporated into plays? Is this so you can hold onto the surprise factor as the season progresses? And when he is given an opportunity, where is his head? I've seen many dropped passes, poor decisions and wrong routes.

Why did you trade away for Freddy Milons if he's going to go unused? And why lose James Harrison, who had a passion on special teams, for Erik Flowers, a bust? Was it to spite Tommy D? I can call him Tommy right?

I understand the need for patience with Kevin Spencer, but why have patience when for the past 3 years the special teams have been so un-special? Why not demand the best all the time, every week? Did you not see the need for great special teams based on the past two seasons? Did you watch the 4 blocked kicks Carolina used to help pull out a victory in Tampa? Did you not watch the horrible errors in special teams that caused the Cowboys to have a shot at winning the game in NY, which I might add they did?

Why is Jerome Bettis, who has more heart and soul in his pinky than Amos Zereoue has, sitting on the bench rotting away like a steak in the hot sun? He worked his butt off for you and you bench him on a gut feeling? Mr. Cowher, please don't lie and say that you're committed to both running backs. That's just impossible unless you rattle off 100 plays a game. There are too many weapons to keep happy. Pick one please. Pick Jerome. He'll at least give you heart. And as Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO says, "Ya gotta have heart."

Can you please drop whatever experiments you're attempting with Kendrell Bell and just let him make plays? The young man is outthinking himself and you've taken away his best asset, getting to the quarterback.

Will you please get Plaxico Burress to an eye doctor? I know a few good ones in the Pittsburgh area. Really, it's a small investment for such a big cause.

Please have Russ Grimm kick that line into shape because I really like Tommy Maddox and I don't want to see him get killed. You're in danger of rattling his psyche.

Verron Haynes fumbles too much. Can't you do something about that? Like teach him not to fumble so much? I mean you couldn't teach Chris Fu to have a good constitution, but he at least didn't fumble so much.

My final question is this, coach. Will you please have this team ready to beat the Bengals? See, I have to interview Wesley Willis next week and I don't want him to sing me song of celebration.

John Biles
Humble fan

Apple Pix-Six: Week 1 Review

Indianapolis 33 Tennessee 7: Staunch defense, ball control offense, and lack of turnovers. Sounds like the Titans won, right? Hardly. The only thing that made the Titans remotely recognizable was that Steve McNair got hurt. Big surprise. Edgerrin James looked the best he's been since his injury two years ago.

Miami 21 NY Jets 10: The Jets are a team hurting for offense and their best weapon is out with injury. Curtis Martin isn't young enough to carry a team any longer. Ricky Williams ran wild and the Dolphins made up for last week's embarrassing loss.

New England 24 Philadelphia 7: Pittsburgh fans should look at Philadelphia and see deja vu. Donovan McNabb looks lost. The team desperately needs a top tier receiver. McNabb was forced to be the running and passing attack for this game. Next thing you know he'll be catching his own passes. Tom Brady relaxed this week and the Patriots showed why they're much better than last week's blow out loss indicated.

Denver 37 San Diego 13: The Bolts get stuck for the second week in a row. The Broncos still have quarterback problems but with Clinton Portis running wild, who cares? Steve Beuerlein may be the best quarterback Denver has even though Jake Plummer has the talent.

St. Louis 27 San Francisco 24: Oh the Niners had their shot. They had what they wanted: A chance to go into St. Louis early in the season and get a game up on the Rams. But alas, Marc Bulger, the new and future starting quarterback for the Rams, wouldn't let it be so. Kurt Warner who? As I've said before, that team doesn't respond to Warner anymore.

Washington 33 Atlanta 31: Could the Redskins be for real? They have the offense. But the defense? Giving up 31 to the Vickless birds? Lets wait and see what the Skins do when they meet Big Blue and the Angry Eagles. Laveranues Coles has made Patrick Ramsey a very good quarterback.

Apple Pix-Six

1. (GOTW) Tampa Bay at Atlanta: The Bucs fell asleep at the wheel Sunday. That's still a horrid offense and it couldn't capitalize on the defense's takeaways in the second half. But, the big question mark for the Bucs this season is special teams. 4 blocked kicks? Atlanta must be licking its chops.

2. Oakland at Denver: The Raiders almost had their worst nightmare come true: going into Denver 0 – 2. But, with the grace of Rich Gannon's arm and Cincinnati's inability to perform above a high school level, the Raiders head to Colorado with their pride wounded by the season intact. The Broncos better hope Jake Plummer isn't healthy enough to play. Steve Beuerlein may in fact be the starter for the rest of the season.

3. Buffalo at Miami: These two teams are always fun to watch play. It always seems like Buffalo is at Miami when it's warm and Miami is at Buffalo when it's cold. Both teams can run, but the Dolphins don't have a great passing game.

4. St. Louis at Seattle: Could the Seahawks be the surprise team of the NFC? The Rams sure hope they aren't. It's still a little early for Mike Holmgren's birds to fall flat and end the season with a losing record, but this might be the week. A good matchup between Mark Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck highlights this game.

5. Baltimore at San Diego: The Chargers are in trouble of imploding because that secondary is so bad. But, have no fear Charger fans, the Ravens come to town. All the Bolts must do is stop the wonder-back Jamal Lewis. Easier said than done.

6. Cleveland at San Francisco: The Browns are another team in danger of falling to 3 – 0, and they will get plastered this week by the Niners. In other news it should be noted that the Browns wouldn't be so much better of with Tim Couch as quarterback, but the money spent on him would be justified.

The Complete Power Core Rankings: Week 2

  1. Kansas City – Impressive team. They have the offensive line to go deep.
  2. Tampa Bay – One loss doesn't drop them far. They are the champs you know.
  3. Buffalo – Really smacked the Jaguars like they were house kittens.
  4. Denver – I don't trust this team so far, but they are undefeated.
  5. Indianapolis – What? Was this defense I saw from the Colts?
  6. Washington – Big jump for the Skins. They'll compete high this year if they continue to run the ball.
  7. Seattle – The Hawks lead the NFC West. I'm speechless.
  8. Tennessee – I still think this team will win the South hands down.
  9. Pittsburgh – Couldn't stop dreaming of Priest Holmes running over, under and through their defense.
  10. Miami – Lost to the Texans. Beat the Jets. Doesn't really tell us much now does it?
  11. Minnesota – Highest ranking for these guys since 2000.
  12. San Francisco – I dropped them so low, because…well, I don't think they're as good as advertised.
  13. Oakland – Smacked by Tennessee and almost lost to the Bengals. This team is in trouble and they're still "fresh".
  14. Green Bay – Maybe Bret Favre doesn't need to win games by himself anymore.
  15. New England – Ugly loss to the Bills. Big win at Philly. Like Jekyll and Hyde.
  16. Atlanta – Could've, should've, would've with Vick.
  17. New Orleans – I don't see Jim Haslett in the Big Easy next season.
  18. NY Giants – That was one of the worst losses on a Monday night. How do you lose the game after you've kicked a field goal to go ahead with 13 seconds left? 13 SECONDS.
  19. Carolina – Look who's leading the NFC South.
  20. Baltimore – Jamal Lewis is such a good runner. Then again most backs are good runners against Cleveland.
  21. St. Louis – Marc Bulger = Playoffs. Kurt Warner = Golf in January. Simple math.
  22. Philadelphia – They really aren't this bad. Aren't they?
  23. Dallas – Gutsy impressive win. Too bad they let a huge lead slip.
  24. Detroit – Fell right back down to reality.
  25. San Diego – Where, oh where is David Boston? Under a china buffet maybe?
  26. Houston – Yoda says: 1 big upset does not a playoff team make.
  27. NY Jets – Maybe next year Gang Green.
  28. Jacksonville – This team is so under-talented right now.
  29. Cleveland – Okay, so neither quarterback is any good.
  30. Chicago – Kordell Stewart will lose a few years of career this season behind that line.
  31. Arizona – I so want to put them last. But really, until the Bengals win the Cardinals will have one foot inside the door.
  32. Cincinnati – Oh so close, but close equals losing in Bengal land.

Fruits of Labor (stock is rising)

  • Hines Ward As if his stock couldn't rise any further. Another typically great day from Ward.

Rotten Produce (stock is falling)

  • Kendrell Bell and Antwaan Randle El – Silence isn't golden in this case. These two players are needed in the worst way, but neither showed up for the majority of the last two contests.

Missed Point Opportunities (MPO)

TeamPittsburghKansas City
Drives1st Drive (Field Goal inside 5 yard line)4th Drive (Interception)
6th Drive (Interception)
7th Drive (Interception in endzone)
9th Drive (Haynes fumble)
10th Drive (Interception)

Season MPO Record: 1-1

Wisdom From the Girl Apple

Girl Apple: What's wrong?

Apple: The Steelers lost on Sunday. The offensive line created no push. The running game couldn't find the holes. The special teams didn't stay in their lanes…

Girl Apple: Slow down there speedy, the only thing I understood was the Steelers lost.

Apple: Sorry, it's just so aggravating.

Girl Apple: How many times did they lose last year?

Apple: 5 times.

Girl Apple: Oh. So they've only lost once so far, right?

Apple: Right.

Girl Apple: Then what are you worried about?

Apple: Well…um…nothing.

More wisdom from the Girl Apple.

Super-Fan Pappy Fried Chicken's Keys To The Game

  1. This week the Steelers have to reestablish their manhood. They need to get ticked off and open up a can of whoopass. Steeler style.
  2. Or maybe they just need to work on ball control. Run and short pass is the way to go in Cincy. It is also getting nearer the end of Amos "Achoo" Zereoue's (falls down when you sneeze) time as starter.
  3. The defense has to be aware that the Swiss cheese line in KC isn't going to hold up against Cincinnati's Corey Dillon. Don't underestimate this team that almost put a hurtin' on the "Raidas".
  4. In short, tighten up this week (until I get my own column). I am going to let the special (and I use the term loosely) teams fend for themselves.

Thoughts Assisted by Yuengling

  • This bears repeating: special teams win games. You think Jon Gruden doesn't know that by now?
  • I'm not convinced the Seahawks are as good as their scores indicate. But, they'll be the surprise in the NFC.
  • The Redskins, I hate to say, may in fact be better than I truly wish them to be, but hell will freeze over when I say Steve Spurrier is a great PRO football coach.
  • Kordell Stewart's still not running. The best asset of Kordell is his mobility, yet Chicago refuses to use it. Is it me or has this become a recurring pattern in his career?

John Biles

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