Gerry Dulac: All right, kids, let's get our chat started. I'm in Indianapolis with a team that is actually getting ready for a post-season game, kind of what I'm accustomed to doing in Pittsburgh in January.
Ken: Did I hear a report that Keenan Lewis was excited about being a Steeler after his exit interview?
Gerry Dulac: I don't know that, but Keenan Lewis wants to return and they want him to return.
I think some people are under the notion -- and maybe Keenan Lewis is one of them -- that he is going to receive some large offer in free agency. But teams don't do that for corners who don't intercept the ball. That being said, the Steelers want to make sure they keep Lewis and he will be something of a priority in free agency. When people like Mel Blount say he is their best and most talented cornerback, believe them.,
Will: Gerry, I think most Steeler fans are grateful for the Rooneys, for Tomlin, for the organization. I mean look at what's happening--the Cardinals are going to hire the vastly overrated 4 and 12 Andy Reid, the Browns probably are cluless going into this thing, the Bears are probably being run by Jay Cutler. What a mess.
Gerry Dulac: There are not many, if any, owners like the Rooneys.
Bill L: Is Ben at the age where he should be working harder during the off season? I remember the reports of Aikman and Irvin working together in May. Does this happen anymore?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not going to judge how hard Roethlisberger works during the offseason because I don't know. But I do know that he has come to camp in great shape each of the past two years so I don't think that's a problem. I think it is incumbent for him and Todd Haley to get on the same page and try to come to some happy medium during the offseason, whatever that is.
Let's just say Roethlisberger is the good solider and does what his coach wants him to do, which I believe he does. But what if he deosn't believe in what is being called? Then the chances of that play working, right off the bat, are probably reduced. The coach has to trust the QB and the QB has to trust the coach. If not, it's not going to work.
Andiamo Steelers: Casey Hampton seemed to have a strong year notwithstanding his knee injury in 2011 season and seems to have gas left in tank but no contract. However, is it time for McClendon to be given his shot at NT and DL to play as a starter? It seems Steelers have not given up on Ta'amu but he was not ready to play at this level this year and has criminal charges/personal issues to address so cannot count on him to even make the roster much less be a successor now it seems. What other teams would want Casey at this point in his career? Do Steelers bring him back for one more year? What do you see happening to this critical position in the Steelers defense?
Gerry Dulac: I think it's probably time to move on, even though Hampton played very well this year, especially later in the year when his knee started to feel even better. But there is really no point in bringing him back. If they think McLendon can play, then let him play.
I think the only problem is the players who are surrounding McLendon. The only reliable veteran is Brett Keisel., Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward do not yet qualify to merit that distinction.
Chooch: Can you please explain why Deisel got flagged for the knee touching the ground 2 weeks ago?
Gerry Dulac: Apparently, that is the rule, though no one ever bothered to tell Keisel after all these years. The official said Keisel was flagged because he "went to the ground and fired a weapon." Going to the ground after a sack is a penalty in itself because the league wants to prevent players from flopping on the ground or touching the ground in any manner that would appear to be taunting or excessive celebration.
Still, the penalty was really fooiish.
Ken: Is Jason Worilds trending upward? Or do you think the team needs to see more?
Gerry Dulac: I think in his brief amount of playing time he has shown that he is trending in the right direction. But the team needs to see it on a consistent basis. And he needs to hold the edge better against the run. In that regard, he is not as effective as Harrison or Woodley.
Dave: How disapointed are the Steelers in Hood and Heyward?
Gerry Dulac: I would imagine there is some level of non-satisfaction, though I'm not ready to say its disappointment. Ziggy is the strongest player on the team, but he doesn't play like it. He needs to develop a more consistent bull rush rather than try to be a finesse player. And Heyward still appears to be confused on the field, always running around after the ball is behind him. He wlll have to make major improvement to year three to compensate for his lack of development in year 2.
Guest: Gerry, if the rumors are true, and Todd Haley leaves to coach AZ, is Kirby Wilson first in-line to run the offense? Would that be a good fit?
Gerry Dulac: Kirby Wilson probably would have been first in line to replace Bruce Arians if he didn't have the fire accident at his house. I'm not so sure that is case now. If anything, I think some coaches on offense might be fearful of losing their job. I think someone will be replaced after the team missed the playoffs. Someone always is.
Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids....Good questions. See you next week!
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