Jack Splat: Tomlin, Rothlesburger, Woodley all stunk it up this year. Any hope that all 3 will improve for 2013 season?
Gerry Dulac: Well, I think a little fairness is in order. While I don't agree with your overall assessment, lets' not forget that Roethlisberger remains among the league's top passers and, until he got hurt, was having one of his best seasons. But there is no discounting the three games he cost them with late-game picks -- Denver, Dallas and Cincy -- not to mention the games he didn't win when he had the ball in his hands in the final minutes.
Woodley had a sub-par season, no question, and part of it was because of hamstring and ankle injuries. He's going to have to do a better job of coming to camp in shape.
And Tomlin? Even though we're all hard on the coaches, a lot of the blame has to be heaped on the playoffs. Tomlin's body of work speaks for itself. Don't let one possible losing season detract from what he has done.
GjSteel: Happy Holidays Gerry...after 3 years of less than 7 games a season...will Willie Colon just be cut loose as a cap casualty?
Gerry Dulac: There's probably a pretty good chance of that because youre invsting a lot of money in a player who had not been reliable from a health standpoint. And that's too bad because he's a good player who works very hard.
GjSteel: Gerry...even though the offense is the reason we didn't make the playoffs this year..won't the defense be more of a focus..since there is more needed there..ie: nose takle..ILB..againg safeties ..etc..?
Gerry Dulac: Let me say this, the offense is the major reason for the current three-game losing streak. But don't forget that early in the season, when the offense was converting third downs and possessing the ball better than any team in the league, it was the defense that let them down. The offense did its job by keeping the defense off the field and allowing the unit to be well-rested. The opposite has happened now. The defense has made big stops and the offense can't deliver any kind of knockout blow. Or, at least, hasn't since Charlie Batch rescued them in the second half in Baltimore.
jack_reacher: Gerry: Your bottom line -- Steelers on the precipice of a major decline or was this just one of those years -- too many injuries coupled with a healthy amount of transition (new O.C.; lots of young guys; no Ward, Farrior, Smith, etc.)
Gerry Dulac: I don't foresee a decline, not when you have No. 7, decent receivers and a defense that always seems to be among the best in the league, whether ravaged by injuries or not. History has shown that the Steelers do too good a job to prevent those declines from occuring. Just look at what they did after they went 6-10 in 2003 and 9-7 in 2009. Their blueprint is the best in the league, and they have the record to prove it.
Jack Splat: Whoever the Steelers take in the draft they better make sure those guys can play 16 games - being available 10 games a year is not cutting it.
Gerry Dulac: That's like asking them to make the Pro Bowl every year.
MIKE: Gerry, do you think the fights in training camp between A. Brown and I. Taylor hurt the team chemistry early on this season and played a part throughout?
Gerry Dulac: Good memory. Good question.
GjSteel: Any chance Bruce Arians sends a Christmas Card to Art Rooney saying enjoy the off season?
Gerry Dulac: No. He's too busy getting ready for the playoffs.
GjSteel: Is Todd Haley going to be back next year?
Gerry Dulac: As of right now, don't see any reason why he won't be.
COACHFI: how many of the current running backs return?
Gerry Dulac: I think all but Mendenhall. Despite his talent and that the coaches feels he is clearly their No. 1 back, I don't see how the Steelers can give him a new contract after two displays of what they feel is a lack of commitment and preparation. I think the only way he is back is if no team signs him in free agency and he agrees to play for a one-year veteran minimum to show he is serious about his profession. His case isn't about age or injury or performance. It's about his desire to play and his commitment to the team. Much bigger deterrent.
jack_reacher: Troy really seemed to show some pop in this last game -- first time since Indy game last season he seemed to be back to old tricks. I can only assume that this bodes well for him in 2013 ...
Gerry Dulac: I agree, and I think what you mean is that it shows he is still capable of playing at a disruptive level. And I agree with that. But what he does now and what he does in 2013 are totally unrelated, mainly because Polamalu's biggest issue has been the ability to stay healthy and play at that high level. If he can, yes, he is still the disruptive, impactful player he always was.
BOB: Given how well K Lewis has played, what are the odds we can sign him given our cap problems.
Gerry Dulac: He won't be a cap problem; he will be something of a priority. Keenan Lewis is the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the season. From week 1, he has been their best and most consistent cornerback.
GjSteel: Why didn't they dress Burress last week...at least he knows how to run a pattern back to the QB..(ie..both the pics Ben threw were to Wallace...I can't help but think a vet probably would have tried to break them up?)
Gerry Dulac: I agree. I thought Burress should have been in uniform because I would have played every guy who gave me the best chance to win. After all, that's all the Steelers needed to do -- win. Nothing else mattered. Even if Burress was used only in red-zone or third-down situations, I would have used him. Now was not the time to start figuring out players who can also play special teams. They needed a win to stay alive and he would have been in uniform on my team. To me, it was a grave error in judgement and preparation on Tomlin's part. I mean, who gave them a better chance of beating the Bengals -- Burress or Robert Golden? Burress or Leonard Pope? Burress or Brandon Johnson? C'mon.
Gerry Dulac: Well, that's all the time we have today kids, Thanx for the good questions and Happy New Year!!
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