Pittsburgh police chief nominee receives temporary state certification

Written by Liz Navratil on .


The nominee for Pittsburgh police chief received his temporary state officer certification effective today.
Cameron McLay's application for permanent officer certification is expected to be considered at a December meeting of the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission, according to Trooper Adam Reed.
Pennsylvania police officers are required to undergo Act 120 certification before they can legally arrest someone or receive authorization to carry a firearm. 
Acting Chief McLay began working for Pittsburgh in mid-September, after servings as a captain in Madison, Wisc.


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Acting Pittsburgh police chief intends to hire at least two civilians

Written by Liz Navratil on .

Acting Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay said he intends to hire at least two civilians for positions inside the police bureau.
One will be an outside consultant who can help create systems for tracking crime in the city; the other, the chief said, will be a civilian from outside the department who will have the title chief of staff.
Chief McLay made his comments while appearing alongside Mayor Bill Peduto to film a segment for the KD-PG Sunday edition, which aired on KDKA Sunday morning.
Mr. Peduto said he hopes new technology will provide officers with better tools to track the groups committing crimes, including killings, inside the city.
"We haven't upgraded and we are behind other urban police forces in the utilization of technology to be able to break up the networks," the mayor said.
Chief McLay said: "We've got some very robust capacity for analyzing crime in the bureau. What we don't have yet is the ability to take the data, make it real-time, and then diffuse it through the organization, so my commanders and supervisors use it to deploy their resources on a day-by-day basis."

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The Breakdown - Georgia Tech

Written by Sam Werner on .


Pitt fumbled away (quite literally) an opportunity to position itself quite well in the ACC Coastal race Saturday when the Panthers dropped a 56-28 decision against Georgia Tech. The story of the game was the first quarter, during which Pitt lost five fumbles and allowed the Yellow Jackets to score quickly after four of them. Trailing 28-0 less than six minutes in is no way to win a football game, but Pitt actually fought back and, if you take away the fumbles, played Georgia Tech to a 28-28 tie the rest of the way. You can't take away the fumbles ("Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?") but there were some positives from the final 54 minutes of the game for the Panthers to take away. Let's look at the positions...

Quarterback: According to the stat book, Chad Voytik was responsible for three of Pitt's fumbles (two lost). He lost the first one on Pitt's second play off an option keeper. The second and third were both botched snaps, one of which he recovered. On the first one, it was certainly close as to whether or not Voytik's elbow hit the ground, but I respect the officials' adherence to "indisputable video evidence" in not overturning the call on the field. Voytik's legs added a dimension to the game plan against Virginia Tech, but that's a risk you run when you have the quarterback carry a significant amount. Quarterbacks just aren't as used to having to hold onto the ball the way running backs are, so that's always going to be a risk. Voytik finished the day with eight carries for 10 net yards, hardly the rushing threat he was a week ago.
Now, through the air, I thought Voytik actually showed some improvement Saturday. Georgia Tech's defense isn't exactly great, but he did a better job seeing the game from the pocket. He finished 15 of 20 for 193 yards and, most importantly, completed passes to six different receivers.
Voytik got banged up at the end of the game, and Trey Anderson came on for the final two series, but Pitt coach Paul Chryst said he talked to Voytik Sunday, and Voytik was fine. He should be good to go for next week.

Running back: This is sort of a weird game to evaluate from a running back perspective because Pitt played basically the whole thing down by double-digits. James Conner finished with 120 yards (74 of which came on one run) and three touchdowns on 10 carries. That's an excellent 12 yards per carry average, but if you take out the 74-yarder, that's just 46 yards on nine carries, a good-not-great 5.1 yards per carry average.
On the fumble, Conner said he didn't know the guy was behind him, and tried to look up at the scoreboard to see where the defenders were. There was a game earlier this season where he got caught from behind because he kept turning around to see if anyone was catching up to him. In this case, he didn't see D.J. White, who was able to swing an arm up and force a fumble just before he got in the end zone. It's a learning experience for Conner, but was a big momentum swing in the game.

Receivers: As always, Tyler Boyd was the leader here, with nine catches for 137 yards. Unfortunately, he, too, was responsible for one of Pitt's fumbles on a play where he was trying to get some extra yards at the end of the play. Boyd's play is pretty much a constant at this point in the season, so let's get to some of the other receivers.
Ronald Jones had three catches for 20 yards, and I think he can be an interesting part of the passing game moving forward. He was probably Pitt's second-most consistent receiver Saturday (behind Boyd) and did a good job getting open. It was a disappointing effort from Manasseh Garner, who didn't see a ton of targets, and didn't make a catch until late in the fourth quarter. He also had a key drop on third down early in the fourth quarter after Pitt recovered a Georgia Tech fumble and was down by two touchdowns. It would've been a tough catch by the sidelines, but Garner got two hands on it and really should've come down with it. Instead, Pitt went three-and-out and gave up what felt like its last chance to make it a game.
Finally, there's the increasingly curious case of Adonis Jennings. Once again, Jennings only played a small handful of snaps and finished with one catch for four yards. Chryst said last week he felt good about Jennings' involvement and that it would increase as the season moves on. At this point, though, it doesn't appear to make a whole lot of sense burning a talented players' redshirt five games into a season and only give him limited on-field opportunities. So far this year, Jennings has just three catches for 21 yards. It will be interesting to watch his involvement going forward.

Tight ends: J.P. Holtz was actually the Panthers' second-leading receiver Saturday, with three catches for 34 yards. Most of that came from one 22-yard first-quarter reception on a drive that ended with, you guessed it, a fumble. He had two more grabs on the Panthers' next drive, that one ended in a touchdown. The second one of those catches came on 2nd-and-goal from the Georgia Tech 4, and Holtz came up one yard short on a playaction pass.
I know the tight ends (and their role in the passing game) has been a big topic this year, and this appears to be a step towards that role increasing. Holtz and Scott Orndoff just aren't going to get many downfield looks in a Voytik-oriented offense, because that's not really what Voytik does well. In plays like Holtz third catch, which came on a playaction rollout, can be a good way to utilize them, though.

Offensive line: Again, the run game stats are a bit deceiving because of Conner's one long run, but even with that removed, Pitt still averaged a very respectable 5.7 yards per carry. The problem, of course, is that trailing big so early, the Panthers didn't get to run as much as they would've liked.
Overall, the line played pretty well in pass protection. Voytik was sacked three times, but only one was really the offensive line's fault (the first sack, where Adam Gotsis just beat TJ Clemmings on a speed move. The other two sacks were cases of pretty poor pocket awareness by Voytik. Both times, he had space to move around, but didn't do a good job feeling the pressure and moved into it.

Defensive line: It's always interesting to look at this unit against triple-option teams. In general, Darryl Render and KK Mosley-Smith were the only two interior defensive linemen who got regular snaps. They didn't do a great job stopping the fullback dive up the middle (even with regular starter Zach Laskey out). Synjyn Days ran for 110 yards from that spot, and I think the most telling part of his numbers were that his longest run was just 13 yards, which tells you that he was getting pretty consistent gains of 5-8 yards. If you can't stop the fullback dive, it makes it awfully tough to stop the option as a whole.
Many have noted that Rori Blair didn't play in Saturday's game, and that's because his role in this defense is really as a pass-rushing specialist. There really wasn't a good spot for him to come on and do his thing. Yes, there may have been couple of 3rd-and-longs for the Yellow Jackets, but there's still a decent chance they could've exploited Blair's presence on the field and run the option there. Blair should return to his situational work this week.

Linebackers: As expected, Nicholas Grigsby got the start at middle linebacker in place of Matt Galambos. He played for the first few series before being replaced by Bam Bradley, then Bradley played a handful of series before getting hurt. As I wrote last week, the attempt here was to get players on the field who could move well laterally to defend the pitch men in the triple option.
You also saw why these two were on the field on Georgia Tech's second drive, when Galambos was caught flatfooted and let Charles Perkins run past him for a 79-yard Georgia Tech touchdown pass.
Todd Thomas had another excellent game against the option, finishing with a team-high 15 tackles (nine solo), but couldn't do it all by himself. Anthony Gonzalez, who has generally been pretty good this year, finished with just four total tackles.

Secondary: This was not a great game for Pitt's defensive backfield. They got beat for big plays in the passing game, and didn't do a great job providing support on the run for the triple option. In particular, Ray Vinopal and Lafayette Pitts missed some tackles on early Georgia Tech runs that allowed the Yellow Jackets to convert the Pitt fumbles into points. Both guys fell into the habit of just throwing their shoulders at runners rather than wrapping up and tackling. This is generally a product of being just a step or two out of position, so you feel like you have to overcompensate by laying a big hit on a guy. While it's a bit of a natural reaction, it's also not a particularly efficient tackling method, especially against a team that's very good at running through arm tackles.
The secondary was dealt a blow in the second quarter when Terrish Webb needed to be helped off the field, and was replaced by Patrick Amara. Amara finished with four tackles, and could be in line for more action in the near future if Webb's injury keeps him out for multiple games. Pitt's thin secondary has been a known issue all season, so this is not a great development for that unit.

Special teams: Not really a whole lot here in this game. Chris Blewitt didn't attempt a field goal and Ryan Winslow only punted twice. Avonte Maddox seems to have become the primary return man, while his role on the defense has decreased as the season has gone on.

Coaching: The biggest reason Pitt lost this game — you know, the six fumbles, in case you forgot — is not on the coaching staff. Yes, ball security is a coachable skill and something that could surely be taught better and improved upon, but losing all five first-quarter fumbles is about as flukey as it gets (teams generally recover about half of their fumbles). If Pitt recovered just two of those first-quarter fumbles, it could've been an entirely different game.
The biggest coaching "moment" from this game came late in the first half, with just over two minutes left until halftime. Facing 4th-and-3 from the Georgia Tech 43, Chryst elected to punt rather than go for it. Pitt had cut Georgia Tech's lead to 28-14, and appeared to have all the momentum. A 15-yard run from Rachid Ibrahim put Pitt at 3rd-and-3 from that spot, and an incomplete pass to Boyd put them in 4th down. Really, Pitt should have approached that 3rd-and-3 as two-down territory and maybe called a run play to try and get the first, then you either convert the 3rd down or get it to 4th-and-very short. Punting there cedes so much momentum and, even though Georgia Tech didn't score on the ensuing drive, it took away an opportunity for Pitt to cut it to a one-score game at halftime. Even if you don't convert, the difference between Georgia Tech getting the ball on the 20 versus the 43 is relatively small. They still would've had to go 30 yards to get into scoring range, so it's on the defense to stop them. In a bigger picture sense, though, at a certain point you just have to go try and win the game, rather than playing situationally and not to lose.

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About the Devils - 10-28-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Devils.

When and where: 7 p.m, EDT, Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports, MSG.

Record: 4-2-2, 10 points. The Devils are in second place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.

Leading Scorer: Adam Henrique, 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists).

Last Game:3-2 overtime road win against the Senators, Saturday. Damon Severson had a goal and an assist for the Devils.

Last Game against the Penguins: 2-1 home win, Dec. 31, 2013. Henrique and Michael Ryder each had a goal and an assist for the Devils.

Devils Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Jaromir Jagr (right). Just because.

Ex-Penguins on the Devils: Jaromir Jagr, right winger.

Ex-Devils on the Penguins: Bill Guerin, assistant general manager, Paul Martin, defenseman.

Useless Devils Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins:  The last game the Penguins played against the Devils without goaltender Martin Brodeur being on New Jersey's active NHL roster was a 6-6 tie at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., April 14, 1993. That tie snapped the Penguins' NHL record 17-game winning streak.

The last time the Devils played the Penguins, this happened: 

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (4-2-0, 2.34 GAA, .920 SV%) for the Penguins. Cory Schneider (4-2-2, 2.78 GAA, .912 SV%) for the Devils.

Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Olli Maatta (neck) is probable. Defenseman Roberto Bortuzzo (knee) is doubtful. Right winger Beau Bennett (knee) is on injured reserve. For the Devils, left winger Mike Cammalleri (jaw) is out. Left winger Martin Havlat ("lower body") and right winger Jordin Tootoo (foot) are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins' lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
9 Pascal Dupuis -  71 Evgeni Malkin - 17 Blake Comeau
13 Nick Spaling - 16 Brandon Sutter  - 23 Steve Downie
38 Zach Sill - 57 Marcel Goc - 27 Craig Adams

58 Kris Letang - 3 Olli Maatta
7 Paul Martin - 10 Christian Ehrhoff
47 Simon Despres - 4 Rob Scuderi

-The Devils held an optional skate. Their primary lines and defensive pairings at practice yesterday were:

8 Dainius Zubrus - 19 Travis Zajac - 68 Jaromir Jagr
29 Ryane Clowe - 26 Patrik Elias - 12 Damien Brunner
18 Reid Boucher - 14 Adam Henrique - 17 Michael Ryder
15 Tuomo Ruutu- 16 Jacob Josefson - 11 Stephen Gionta

6 Andy Greene - 28 Damon Severson
24 Bryce Salvador - 2 Marek Zidlicky
22 Eric Gelinas - 7 Jon Merrill

Dainius Zubrus-Travis Zajac-Jaromir Jagr; Ryane Clower-Patrik Elias-Damien Brunner; Reid Boucher-Adam Henrique-Michael Ryder; Tuomo Ruutu-Jacob Josefson/Scott Gomez-Stephen Gionta.

Defensemen: Andy Greene-Damon Severson; Bryce Salvador-Marek Zidlicky; Eric Gelinas-Jon Merrill; Adam Larsson.

- See more at:


-Ehrhoff has appeared in 699 career games.

-Adams has 99 career assists.

-Malkin has 399 career assists.

-“I played here for so many years. I came here when I was 18. I had a great time. Probably most of the fans coming to the game [tonight], they never probably saw me play [for the Penguins]. But, it was a special place, no question about it. I learned everything here. We had such a great team with a lot of skill, a lot of good players, so, for a young kid like me coming here from Europe, if you just open your eyes, you can learn a lot.” - Jagr on playing in Pittsburgh.

-The referees are Dan O'Rourke (No. 9) and Mike Leggo (No. 3). The linesmen are Brian Murphy (No. 93) and Jean Morin (No. 97).

-Our blog begins at approximately 6 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Post-Gazette archives)

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Marvel's Phase 3 plan includes Black Panther, Captain Marvel, 2-part Avengers Infinity War

Written by Sharon Eberson on .


So much news out of Marvel today, Twitter could barely contain it. Marvel Entertainment chief Kevin Feige announced the brand's next-phase movie plans and introduced Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. And "Guardians of the Galaxy" is a long way away ...

Here's the slate of films and dates announced today, with some tidbits from the Twitter-verse:

May 1, 2015: "Avengers: Age of Ultron"

July 17, 2015: "Ant-Man"

May 6, 2016: "Captain America: Civil War" (originally announced with the subtitle "Serpent Society"; we will meet Black Panther here)

Nov. 4, 2016: "Doctor Strange" (no announcement of who will play the title character; Benedict Cumberbatch was handed the role by the rumor mill yesterday)

May 5, 2017: "Guardians of the Galaxy 2"

July 28, 2017: "Thor: Ragnarok" (Loki will be back!)

Nov. 3, 2017: "Black Panther"

May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019: "Avengers: Infinity War Parts I and II"

July 6, 2018: "Captain Marvel" (no word on who will play Carol Danvers)

Nov. 2, 2018: "Inhumans"

Marvel's not-so-secret Marvel Event -- if you were anywhere near Twitter at 2 p.m. today, you couldn't miss the trending #marvelevent hashtag (or as one tweeter called it, marv elephant) -- was swelling with Spider-Man crossover speculation and "Why no Black Widow standalone film?", but neither is happening as of now. Feige also said a script for "The Runaways" exists, "but we can't make 'em all."

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