Gerry Dulac: OK, I'm back from the locker room and ready for our weekly chat. Fire away....
chicago_steeler_fan: Why do you think the steelers didn't make more of an effort to keep essex?
Gerry Dulac: Probably because he cost them more money as a vested veteran -- $820,000 once he's on the opening roster.
JAMESH: To your eye, who played better in Denver, Casey or McLendon?
Gerry Dulac: Hard to tell, especially to my eye. But I wll say this, I didn't see too many problems for Hampton, at least when I watched him. And he had a couple tackles in short-yardage situations.
serega: Gerry, what is your thought about Keenan Lewis? Should he be substituted by Cortez Allen? Or do the Steelers have another options to get help for him?
Gerry Dulac: You are asking as though you believe he needs help. Look, he's not Darrelle Reavis -- a guy who can play out on an island. But I dont think he's done anything since the start of camp to warrant needing "help" or being replaced by Cortez Allen. Every corner receives some kind of "help," even ike Taylor. And I'm sure Lewis gets some. But it's not as though he's a liability, like Gay or McFadden. Not at all.
bgigli: The secondary hasn't changed much from last year being susceptable to the long pass . What can Tomlin or LeBeau do to change this?
Gerry Dulac: Your question is misguided, not to mention non-factual. The Steelers were actually the BEST in the league during the regular season last year at not allowing the long pass. I know what happened in Denver, but during the regular season the Steelers allowed only 34 passes of 20 yards or longer and only two of 40 yards or longer -- the fewest in the league for both. And, on Sunday night, that 71-yard TD wasn't a long pass; it was a long run after a short pass. To prevent that, they needed to tackle better, not cover better.
Steeltyke: Gerry, if a team is able to execute the no-huddle offense, does LeBeau have an answer to it or will we see the same outcome as against Manning on those long Bronco scoring drives?
Gerry Dulac: Well, first off, there aren't many Peyton Mannings in the league, especially operating the no-huddle. He is the master calling plays at the line and on the run. Not every team can run the no-huddle like he does. Nonetheless, it is disturbing when the defense givs up three consecutive scoring drives of 80 yards.
chicago_steeler_fan: what do you think should be the biggest worry?
Gerry Dulac: I still think it's the offensive line and their ability to recognize stunts and games and keep pressure of Roethlisberger. I thought they did a good job with protection in Denver, for the most part, I don't count that last series when the Broncos came after Ben and had three of their five sacks. That wasn't indicative of the way the line protected most of the game.
But it will be different against the Jets because they will give the Steelers lots of different looks and try to confuse the O-line with who's rushing and who's dropping. They do that very well. Just ask Buffalo.
JAMESH: Were you in on the media conference call with Rex Ryan and if so, anything stand out?
Gerry Dulac: I was and, yeah, how refreshing he is to talk with, unlike some other NFL head coaches I know. I'm a big Rex Ryan fan. I wish they were all like him. He's a good dude.
Scott: Why were the Steelers so un-Steeler-like in stopping the run in the second half against the Broncos?
Gerry Dulac: That's nothing new, not if you watched what happened last season. Hey, I saw a lot worse last season when they allowed 3 100-yard rushers. The Broncos didn't have a run longer than 12 yards and averaged jiust 3.5 yards per carry Sunday night. Those are not exactly dominating numbers.
Steeltyke: Gerry, do you think that Timmons is nothing more than a solid ILB rather than the star in the making who everybody keeps hoping will have a breakout year? Personally, I don't ever see him living up to being the 15th overall pick in round 1 of the 2007 draft.
Gerry Dulac: To this point, I would agree. He's more solid than he is standout. Oh, occasionally we see flashes of that potential. And then we see a play like Sunday night when he takes a bad angle on a blitz, overruns the pocket and lets Peyton Manning -- Peyton Manning!! -- run outside for a 7-yard gain. I see too much of that and not enough splash plays.
JAMESH: If Harrison can't go, who gets the start, Carter or Worilds?
Gerry Dulac: I think you will see Jason Worilds start, but I'll know more about that by tomorrow. He is the top backup to Harrison and once he's fully ready, he will play.
Tommy2: Do you have any clearer picture as to who gets released when Saunders returns from suspension?
Gerry Dulac: I don't specifically because someone will have to go. The Steelers are carrying three TEs and six RBs and only four WRs (and I don't really count Chris Rainey as a wide receiver). Last year, one of the three TEs -- David Johnson -- was the fullback and they kept only four RBs. One of the tight ends will have to go, and the easy guess would be rookie David Paulson. But they really like the way he runs routes and catches the ball and they probably won't be able to sneak him through waivers. Same with Saunders -- I think someone will claim him. I don't think Todd Haley brought Leonard Pope in via free agency to cut him, but I haven't seen a whole lot from him, either. So, really, it could be any one of the three.
JamesinNYC: What squad does Ryan Clark practice with in the week before Denver? At this point I would say he is their MVP, pray they don't have to go back to Denver again because without him Troy is average and the D is barely that.
Gerry Dulac: He runs with the practice squad that week. Agreed -- Ryan Clark's greatest strength is his ability to play with Polamalu and complement him.
Dude_From_Cali: Timmons are billed as "athletic" yet he's juked out by 36 yr old Peyton Manning eith 10 yard run for first down... your thoughts?
Gerry Dulac: Agreed. See earlier answer. Happens too often.
Dude_From_Cali: your thoughts on Ben missing Wallace for the long bomb? Wallace was open by five yards...
Gerry Dulac: That happens, probably more than you think. That's one of those "oh-well" plays. He didn't see him. I'm sure he is more bothered than he didn't elevate that short pass to a wiiiiiide-open Heath Miller in the end zone that was deflected. That was an easy TD and instead the Steelers had to settle for a field goal. That's a physical mistake on Ben's part. The other one wasn't.
Gerry Dulac: That's going to do it for today's chat, kids. Thanx for the good questions. See you next week.
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