Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 10.23.13

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Gerry Dulac: OK, lets get out chat started.

The Dude: Did Drew Butler sign anywhere? I think he would have been a better option. It looked like he improved his leg strength in the off season and could be counted on to keep his punts at the varsity level.

Gerry Dulac: Drew Butler did not sign with another team and is still out there, and why the Steelers haven't made that move, after what they've seen from Zoltan Mesko, is beyond me.

Mesko is the lowest ranked punter in the AFC and second lowest in the NFL. There is no thump in his leg and he has failed repeatedly to deliver any kind of solid punt with a long field. Even Mike Tomlin referred to some of his punts as "junior varsity punts." If he's doing that now, what's he going to do when the weather get colder and the ball gets harder in November and December?

So why do the Steelers keep him? Especially with Drew Butler still sitting out there? I don't know.

Butler had a great camp. He put on 20 pounds, showed a lot of thump in his leg and beat out veteran Brian Moorman, who was brought in to battle him. And Moorman was a three-time Pro Bowler who was named to the NFL's all-decade team.

Here's another thing: Mesko counts $630,000 against the salary cap this season. If the Steelers cut him, he wouldn't count against the cap because he's not a vested veteran. Butler would count a whole lot less, not to mention be a better punter.

Steelers4Tim: Given the release of Isaac Redman, might the Steelers look at free agency for a new power back? 275 pound stud Jorvorskie Lane would fit in nicely here.

Gerry Dulac: I don't think that's on their radar right now, not unless there's an injury. They signed a running back yesterday to the practice squad, George Winn, but he's 5-11, 210. I think they intend to go with the three backs they have now -- Bell, Jones and Dwyer.

SignPlax: Shamarko Thomas looks really good so far. Does the team think he'll be as good as Chris Hope was? He was my favorite Steeler ever.

Gerry Dulac: Wow, I never heard anyone say Chris Hope was their favorite Steelers player ever. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Chris Hope. Just didn't know he had achieved that status with anyone outside his extended family. :)

Yes, Shamarko Thomas has looked really solid for a rookie. He had four solo tackles the other day, three of them for defensive stops. Pencil him in as a starter next year.

computerjumpstar: Howe many sacks will LaMar Woodley finish the season with. He is on pace for 15 which wood be good year, no?

Gerry Dulac: That would be a really good year, yes!! But the sack pace is slightly less, like 13 or 14. The bad news is that the team is on pace for about 22 sacks. They need to get more sacks from the right OLB spot, particularly from Jarvis Jones. Jason Worilds had only two pressures from 29 pass-rush attempts against the Ravens, which isn't real good.

Reigning Steel: If Beachum gets hurt or fails at LT, might Guy Whimper get a shot there?

Gerry Dulac: Sure. But only if he doesn't have to play at right tackle while Marcus Gilbert nurses his injured quad. Let's not get too carried away with Guy Whimper. He has a good game against the Ravens, but that was one game. Let's not call Canton just yet.

Conway Fiddy: What record do the Steelers need to hit at the end of the season to make the playoffs? 9-7 perhaps?

Gerry Dulac: That could do it. Silly as it might seem, the Steelers are just one back in the loss column right now for what would be the second AFC wild-card spot. But, before anyone can think about that, I would suggest the Steelers just continue to try to win one game at a time.

Iron City: Todd Haley seems like a talented coach but has personality conflicts everywhere he's gone. Might I suggest he read the book "How to make Friends and Influence People"?

Gerry Dulac: Put it on his Christmas list.

tomk: Who on the O line has made the biggest impact? Seems like Decastro has looked good.

Gerry Dulac: It's probably a toss right now between DeCastro and center Fernando Velasco, who has been a great pickup since Maurkice Pouncey was injured. DeCastro has been very good since the Cincinnati game and the team is starting to run behind him. They gained 51 yards on the seven rush attempts when they ran behind 66 against the Ravens.

Velasco has been really really solid. He allowed his first sack against the Ravens, but even that wasn't his fault really. It was more of a coverage sack. There has been little dropoff at the position since he was signed.

roly polykaboly: Is it just me or does the O-line looked slimmed down this year? Might they bulk up for winter?

Gerry Dulac: They are slimmed down this year, and that's by design. Todd Haley wanted them lighter so they could implement and run the zone blocking schemes. That's among the reasons they parted with Max Starks and Willie Colon. No, do not expect them to bulk up during the offseason., The Steelers want their linemen to be more athletic and quicker.

Canonsburg15317: Will Bill Cowher ever return to coaching?

Gerry Dulac: I would say yes because he has told me that. But I also think he is very comfortable in and enjoying the job he is doing right now.

tomk: Do you think Beachum has a chance to be a long term LT or would the steelers prefer him at guard when they are not in such a deperate situation as they are this year.

Gerry Dulac: That's hard to predict because I don't think the Steelers are ready to give up on Mike Adams. But one of the things I like about Beachum is his willingness to work hard and learn. If he is one of your five best linemen, then I put him on the field, even if that's at guard.

Switz: Do you agree with the notion that Tomlin isn't winning now since Bill Cowher's players are running out?

Gerry Dulac: If the prrof is in the pudding....

Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids. Good questions. Sorry I couldnt get to them all. See you next week.

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