Wednesday Apple Pie

Cut Down Day Part One is upon us. Goodbye Bobby Blizzard. Farewell Terry Fair. Have a nice day, but don't come back, Josh Parrish. Yes, it's the first the week of cuts. A fun time to try and theorize who will lose their jobs. That sounds sort of demonic and a little unethical, but this is what we do; we try to guess who gets fired.

Beyond who gets fired, we also talk about who should get fired. And that conversation often focuses on one player, this year's scapegoat, the infamous X-Man, Chad Scott.

Get rid of Chad Scott. Drop him. Cut him. Send him to the wolves. Do whatever you want with him, but don't let him on the field as a Steeler.

But, John, what about that cap hit? Does it matter at this point? Take the hit this year (drop some other dead weight if you need to. I'm looking at you Mr. Riemersma).

Or perhaps I should pass this on to Steelerhawg:

"Scott's now into the 'twilight' years of the back-loaded contract he signed 3 or so years ago. That is why his hit is so high - it's mostly salary. His annual bonus pro-rate hit is only $900k, I believe, w/$2.7 mil outstanding at the beginning of this season. I have to think he's a goner after this season, w/that freed up money hopefully signing some key guys..."
Thanks, hawg, I couldn't have stated it better myself.

Anyone that watched Terrell Owens frequently run free while Scott attempted to look like he was trying to cover the great Sharpie, knows that Scott may be expendable. But, is he really? Bill Cowher has told us that Scott is having a great camp, which of course brings up the usual questions of how seriously we should take what Cowher says to the press.

But, should we really let one performance this summer dictate Chad Scott's future? Yes, the masses scream. But, the sad (to some) truth is Chad Scott is going nowhere. He will start against Oakland and barring collapse this season he'll start all sixteen games. And if he does, that means something must be going right.

So this season use Chad Scott as the barometer for the season. If he starts the full season, I'll bet you the Steelers are running away with the division. If he doesn't, then we can just look forward to next year's draft.

Apple Pie Previews

AFC South

Champion – Indianapolis Colts: 11 – 5
With the Tennessee Titans in cap hell, the Indianapolis Colts have a free ride in this relatively weak division. The Colts have looked less than stellar this pre-season, but they will easily out-pace the second place Jaguars. Did I say Jaguars? Indeed I did.

Second Place – Jacksonville Jaguars: 9 – 7
The Cats will most likely not finish in second place, but I've got to take some gambles and here is my first AFC gamble. I'm not a huge fan of Byron Leftwich. Neither am I slobbering at the feet of Fred Taylor (insert Pete Prisco joke here). But, the team is hungrier than the Tennessee Titans at this point. The question here is if they have more talent.

Third Place – Tennessee Titans: 7 – 9
This is the year the cap finally catches up with the Titans. And also, the year the injuries catch up with Steve McNair. He's still the toughest quarterback in the NFL, willing his team to wins over his career, but this year the bottom will fall out on Jeff Fisher's men.

Fourth Place – Houston Texans: 4 – 12
And after a roundabout trip, the Texans are back in their correct division. My thoughts on this team changed after their pitiful display against the Steelers. Having no Dominick Davis also is an issue. At this point, they are barely better than Cleveland.

AFC West

Champion – Kansas City Chiefs: 12 – 4 (First Round Bye)
Weapons, weapons, weapons. This team has more weapons than a Taliban cave in Afghanistan. But, do they have the defense? Can they win at home in the playoffs? Oh, the questions. Will Priest Holmes stay healthy? My feeling is that this team will once again have a killer season only to flicker out in the playoffs.

Second Place – Denver Broncos: 8 – 8
Apparently the love affair with Jake Plummer is over in Colorado. But, at least they still have Clinton Portis. Wait! That's right, Portis is gone. But they still have a stable full of running backs. What? Mike Anderson is hurt? Well, that Alex Gibbs-coached offensive line…um…Gibbs is gone too? Oh, man, this team is in for a rough season. Only a talented, yet thin defense may save them from a complete disaster.

Third Place – Oakland Raiders: 6 – 10
Kerry Collins, the most over-rated passer in the league, may overtake Rich Gannon for the starting job because he has a stronger arm. At this point in their careers I don't like either of these guys. Moreover, I don't like this team at all. At least they dumped Tim Brown. That's a step in the right direction. Now if they could just part ways with Mr. Rice.

Fourth Place – San Diego: 5 – 11
Pity poor LaDanian Tomlinson. He's the best running back in the league and he's stuck in one of the worst franchises. Philip Rivers finally signed and word is that the front office wants him to start on opening day. Where does this leave former franchise quarterback Drew Brees? You can't say he was given any sort of a fair shot at succeeding.

Next Week: AFC North and East

Also Next Week: The first Power Core Rankings (this year only the top-12), the Apple Six-Pack, and the Girl Apple.

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