JAMESH: One game does not a trend make, but Heyward looked much better than Ziggy typically does. What is Ziggy's status for Sunday and will they start Heyward regardless?
Gerry Dulac: I don't know Ziggy's status yet...will have to wait to see if and how he practices. I'm not sure I share you analysis that Heyward looked much better than Ziggy typically does. I still think Heyward looks unsure of what he's doing on the field.
JAMESH: Do they start and stay with Dwyer on Sunday or will it be more running back by committee?
Gerry Dulac: No, I think Mendenhall will start and Dwyer and Isaac Redman will back him up, provided Redman (concussion) passes all the necessary tests this week. The Steelers want to get Mendenhall back into playing form after missing seven of the 10 games and that's not going to happen with him watching from the bench. He remains their top back and will be treated as such. But, like last week, if he isn't being productive, Tomlin won't hesitate to try Dwyer and Redman.
Jon: Why is Tomlin trying to sell that Leftwich was injured in late 4th qtr when a national audience saw him grabbing his ribs after the touchdown stumble?
Gerry Dulac: No, he grabbed his shoulder after the TD stumble. Leftwich told me just a while ago that he injured his ribs when he was sacked in the first quarter. But he said the injury had no effect whatsoever on any of his throws, probably because he was playing on so much adrenaline.
Jon: Will Troy play Sunday?
Gerry Dulac: No. He probably won't be back for at least two more games. Not expecting him to play in Baltimore.
abennihana: Ok, I'll give you this: Heyward looks a little tenuous when making decisions. But, he was much more PRODUCTIVE than Ziggy has ever been. That is why a lot of us, as fans, are hopeful to see more of him. Do you share that observation?
Gerry Dulac: I agree with you there -- I think he can be very good. But I expected to see a little more improvement from his first year, especially in regard to recognition, and I haven't seen that. But I think he can be a much better player than Ziggy. Problem is, neither one of them is going to be a dominant, disruptive player in this defense, not with the way the Steelers ask their defensive ends to play a two-gap style. Cameron Heyward is not going to suddenly turn into Justin Tuck or Jason Pierre Paul.
Jon: Thoughts on if/how Plax will contribute to the team?
Gerry Dulac: Plax will dress and play in the game, but how much and how effective he will be remains to be seen. But I expect him to play a lot because the Steelers have only two experienced receivers -- Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders -- and David Gilreath. Antonio Brown is not going to play in Cleveland. So I expect Burress to line in most, if not all, of their three-wide receiver sets.
Guest: Is Rainey still hurting? i thought he was included in our WR count, yet I haven't seen him line up as such.
Gerry Dulac: He is still hurting and, to me, should not be on kickoff returns, not if he is going to be indecisive, hesitate and negate his greatest attribute -- his speed. But he doesn't count as a wide receiver and never did, which would explain why you have neve seen him line as a wide receiver.
Guest: Has everyone forgotten that Ziggy has held his own the past TWO years with A. Smith out??
Gerry Dulac: Ziggy is a solid player. He is their strongest defensive lineman and is pretty good holding up at the attack point. But he is not, and don't think will ever be, Aaron Smith.
JAMESH: Stats from ProFootballFocus for Heyward at 1 game and Ziggy for 9 games: Heyward 5 tackles, Ziggy 9. Heyward 1 QB hit, Ziggy 2. Heyward 2 QB hurries, Ziggy 4.
Gerry Dulac: And your point is....
MPLS STEELERS FAN: Why can't/doesn't Rashard bounce to the outside??
Gerry Dulac: You must not watch a lot. He does that more often and better than any back they have, which is why he is their No. 1 back.
tennbob: When do you see AB coming back?
Gerry Dulac: At lest one more game and possibly two. He is having difficulty cutting on his injured ankle, which is not a good thing for a player who relies on sharp, stop-and-go cutting. If he were an offensive tackle, he would be fine and good to go.
TomPaulBillyBob: Optimism seems to have surrounded the injured Ben situation (it was reported that he held a cup of coffee, with his throwing hand); do you see that optimism reflected around there, or is just business as usual?
Gerry Dulac: I don't evaluate how he holds a cup of coffee, and anyone who does isn't worth listening to.
JAMESH: On top of my head
Gerry Dulac: Haha. I'm assuming you're trying to point up Heyward is more active with tackles and pressures, which only reinforces my point how the Steelers want their DEs to play. Their primary job is to engage offensive linemen, preferably two, and keep blockers off their linebackers so the LBs are free to make the tackles. Crazy of Heyward to think he can just run around, make tackles and pressure the quarterback!!!!
Are you getting my point here...???!!!!
Guest: Why would you compare Ziggy to Smith at this point in his career? Are you saying Smith was Pro Bowl caliber early in his career?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not comparing Ziggy Hood to Aaron Smith at any point of his career. Next question.
JAMESH: Coach Tomlin seems to have a stubborn streak a mile wide. How would you rank Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin as far as stubbornness?
Gerry Dulac: Funny, I think Tomlin might be the least stubborn of the three. Noll was probably the most stubborn and you see what that wrought -- only 4 Super Bowls.
MPLS STEELERS FAN: Watch every game, just an opinion I guess.
Gerry Dulac: Good to know. Like questions from people who watch every game. Makes them a tad more educated.
JAMESH: I had not previously considered your take on Heyward. Interesting. I guess that's why you get the huge money.
Gerry Dulac: Yes. In fact, I have to run to the bank.
Gerry Dulac: Well, that's all the time we havre today, kids. Happy Thanksgiving to all. See you next week.
|< Prev||Next >|