Insider Only How the Chips may fall on the Penguins Blue Line


Monday’s TIOPS Buzz Column

Rumblings, Musings, Opinions

1. Josh Harrison showing signs of finding his swing this past weekend was a key development for the Pirates. If it’s a start of Harrison resembling the hitter he was in 2014, could Neil Walker’s starting spot be in jeopardy down the stretch and in the post-season?

Don’t rule it out.

The Pirates’ view Harrison as their best fielding second baseman and the organization has been frustrated by Walker’s lack of consistency at the plate this season. If Harrison gets on a run here, interesting dynamic to watch.

2. The Pirates decision to keep Jeff Locke in the rotation moving forward has much to do with the Pirates also projecting Locke to be part of the rotation next season. The team internally hopes to move Charlie Morton this off-season.

Antonio Brown3. There’s not a better receiver in the NFL than Antonio Brown. He doesn’t have the measureable’s that a Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, or Julio Jones have, but Brown is uncoverable.

What makes Brown so special of a player is how he’s perfected his craft with hard work. Whether you put him on the outside or in the slot, he causes nightmare matchup problems for the opposition. Despite his size, Brown is near impossible to jam at the line of scrimmage because of how great of a route runner he is. That’s what separates him.

4. At home Penn State put up 27 points against Buffalo, had just 13 points through three quarters. Duquesne last season at Buffalo scored 28 points vs the Bulls.

Christian Hackenberg was 14/27 for 128 yards, averaging just 4.7 yards per attempt. There were some key drops, notably sophomore tight end Mike Gesicki twice on a third quarter drive, but the yards per attempt continue to scream major concern for the Penn State offense.

If Penn State fans are looking to hang their hat on anything it was the emergence of a few freshmen.

Freshman running back Saquon Barkley gashed Buffalo for 115 yards on the ground, including a long run of 33 yards. Barkley who was the talk of camp in Happy Valley, is a huge X-factor for the Nittany Lions developing any kind of semblance of becoming an explosive offense.

Nick Scott and DeAndre Thompkins both provided big plays in the return game. Scott had a 58 yard kickoff return, while Thompkins had 71 punt return yards, including a 58 yard return.

pouliot5. Penguins management and the coaching staff have totally different views on how the Penguins blueline should play out, a source tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports. There is a strong push from the coaching staff for Derrick Pouliot to be on the opening night roster while the decision up top has pretty much already been made that Pouliot should start the season in Wilkes Barre and nothing Pouliot did in the Rookie tournament changed that view I’m told.

That said, look for the Penguins to play Ben Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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