Gerry Dulac: OK, I'm back from the locker room and ready to begin our chat. I was going to invite Rashard Mendenhall to our chat to answer your questions, but he didn't think he needed to show up.
MiStlrFan: Gerry, any chance Steven Jackson could be in a Steelers uniform next year? I'm sure it would take at least a 2nd round pick.
Gerry Dulac: I think Mendenhall has a better chance of being in a Steelers uniform than Steven Jackson, and Mendenhall's aren't looking real good right now. But I will say this -- Steven Jackson is a perfect fit for how the Steelers like to play.
Dude_From_Cali: First time here on Gerry's corner... could you place a percentage chance Steelers make playoffs?
Gerry Dulac: I might be in the minority, but, based on what I've seen this season, I don't like their chances, even though they control their own fate. If they win their remaining three games, they'r e in, no matter what any other team does. Yes, you can point to the reassuring body of work that includes road wins against the Bengals, Giants and Ravens. But all I can see is not or two or three but FOUR losses to teams with losing records. And a narrow overtime victory against the two-win Chiefs. That, to me, says this is a team that lacks the necessary intangibles to do what is necessary. Certainly the eveidence points more to that than anything to contrary, such as all of a sudden re-righting the ship and winning their final three games. So, to answer your question, I'd say 48 percent.
Scott: Do you think the Steelers will use Plaxico Burress more. He made a big catch in coverage on Sunday and was able to get a key interference call in the Cleveland game.
Gerry Dulac: I think there is a good chance they will, but only in situational football -- third down, red zone, things like that. Unless there are injuries, I don't think you are going to see him in a lot of first- and second-down sets, except if they're near the end zone.
DSF: Can you explain what hitting a defenseless receiver means, and how one is supposed to hit a receiver "properly"?
Gerry Dulac: Me????? I'm not sure the officials could answer that question correctly or even definitively. I believe the receiver is supposed to be able to come down with two feet or "make a football move," as the league likes to say, before he can be belted by a defensive player. Of course, if the defensive player waits till he "makes a football move" to hit him, then the player is called for a "late hit" as opposed to "striking a defenseless player."
Homer: What team is in bigger disarray right now, Pittsburgh or Baltimore??
Gerry Dulac: I'd say the Steelers. The Ravens have lost two in a row, but at least it was to the Steelers and Redskins. I don't see them losing to the likes of the Raiders, Browns and Titans or getting dominated by a 4-8 team that had lost 8 of its previous 10 games. To me, the Ravens look like the Naval; Academy compared to the Steelers.
mikeflores16: Can you update the status on Cortez Allen for Sunday?
Gerry Dulac: Well, we don't know, because it's too early in the week and he's not expected to practice today anyway. But, from the tone of what Mike Tomlin said, I'm not ewxpecting Allen to play against the Cowboys.
hello: did the officials get the lateral play correct that ended in a SD touchdown? I think no.
Gerry Dulac: I agree. And the Steelers coaches would agree with you. They are upset that the side judge who has the best view of the play never ruled anything -- incompletion or touchdown. If he did, then at least the Steelers could have argued there were two calls on the field -- one for, one against. Obviously, replay was not conclusive enough the officials to overturn what was called on the field -- touchdown Chargers.
Shef: Why does It seem to take a long time for nearly every running play to develop? Unlike teams like the Pats who hand the ball off quickly, the Steelers often run stretch handoffs which allow the defense to respond and involve tons of offensive line movement. However this rarely seems to work. On many 3rd and 4th and 1 situation wouldn't it be more prudent to have a play develop quickly so the RB can hit the line before the defense can response?
Gerry Dulac: In some instances they do have slow-developing running plays, which is usually because of the blocking assignments on the offensive line. And the stretch handoff is good if your offensive line has zone blocking schemes. That's why Houston and Denver are so successful running the ball. But the Steelers are primarily a man-blocking team, and if the lineman doesn't sustain the block long enough sometimes the play can be stuffed. In the past couple games, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have lined 9 yards off the line of scrimmage., which I'm guessing is what you are seeing, too.
BOB: Who is the biggest disappointment on the team this year? I think you have many to choose from.
Gerry Dulac: 1) Cameron Heyward. 2) Curtis Brown. I expected bigger jumps in improvement from year 1 to year 2.
mikeflores16: How disappointed are the Steelers internally over the lack of development showed by Curtis Brown? It seems like they were pretty high on him when they drafted, but he has been a disappointment.
Gerry Dulac: They were high on him when they drafted him and they were especially enamored with his speed, tenacity and athleticism after watching him perform on special teams last season. But, as I mentioned in response to the previous question, he has not shown the same type of play in the secondary. He had a poor game in the preseason that hurt his standing in the coaches' eyes, and his performance against the Chargers was another setback.
But he did play well in Baltimore when he was thrown into thje game when Ike Taylor got hurt, and I thought that might be just the springboard he needs. We'll find out a lot more about him, and what the Steelers think oif him, against the Cowboys.
Gerry Dulac: Well, thats's going to do it for today's chat. Enjoyed the questions, hope you enjoyed the answers. See you next week.
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