Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins intercepts a pass from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger late in the fourth quarter at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.
Gerry Dulac: OK, let's get our chat started. Fire away...
Mad Chatter: Obviously this season hasn't gone as planned, if you will. Can we expect any major changes in the offseason or will the standard be the standard?
Gerry Dulac: Ha. The standard will now have a different meaning if they miss the playoffs two years in a row, which is what it's looking like right now. And, don't worry, there will be changes, and you can start with at least one of the coordinators. Someone other than a position coach will have to pay for a poor season, so you can just about count on either Todd Haley or Dick LeBeau -- or both -- being made a sacrificial lamb after the season. You will also see a lot of veteran players being let go, too, but that was probably going to happen anyway -- Ryan Clark, Brett Keisel, even Troy Polamalu -- though I believe Keisel has been playing very well.
Fiddy: Coach Tomlin has struggled with clock management issues for years. I honestly think playing Madden football would help him to better understand these situations. I work at Game Stop and would even give him my employee discount to give it a shot!
Gerry Dulac: I'll let him know.
GreekSteel: People act like Terrell Pryor had a good game last week. Take away his long run and he was awful, agreed?
Gerry Dulac: No, disagree. I agree his PASSING stats weren't very good -- 88 yards, 2 picks (one of which wasn't his fault) and a 27.2 rating as a result. But, let's face it, he made the play that turned the entire game to the Raiders favor. And he converted 4 of 7 first downs in the first half when the Raiders built a 21-3 lead. He was good when he had to be.
Nick79: When will Steelers ownership get with the times and realize it's a fast paced offense, not a power running attack that wins games in the modern NFL? They seem to be stuck in the 70's.
Gerry Dulac: Someone pay the man.
Uncle Tomlin: Too many players have gained weight and struggled recovering from injuries recently. Is strength & conditioning coach Garrett Giemont partially to blame?
Gerry Dulac: It's so hard to quantify why injuries happen. They tried changing some of their training methods this season because they had so many soft-tissue injuries last season. Also, many of their larger players -- Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Cam Heyward, LaMarr Woodley -- came in lighter this year. It's a violent game. Injuries happen. I don't know if it's bad luck, coincidence or what.
tuffHines: I picked up Suisham as my kicker in fantasy football last week. Is it possible that I jinxed him?
Gerry Dulac: You? Did you see the story I wrote in Sunday's PG????
SteelSpiker18: When will the Steelers franchise realize scoring points is what wins games now, not running the ball? Shouldn't they strive to score more points in a game than my women's volleyball team?
Gerry Dulac: That is especially true, too, when your defense is not what it used to be. In the past, the Steelers relied on their defense to keep the game close, and it usually worked. The offense didn't have to score a lot of points, just be efficient and possess the ball. But, if your defense is going to give up big plays, long drives and lots of points, then you better have an offense that can counter-punch and figtht back. And, for the past two years, the Steelers have not built their roster that way. They have not built their roster to take advantage of their biggest star and most expensive player, Ben Roethlisberger. Only 4 wide receivers active on game day? You kidding me...
YinzBlastFurnace: Given the lack of sacks and turnovers for the second year in a row, are there are any Dick Lebeau defenders left ?
Gerry Dulac: You're talking to one. That being said, the Steelers are going to have to change their approach if they want to create turnovers. They're going to have to ask their corners to play more aggressively and take more chances, not keep the ball in front of them, tackle the catch and not allow deep pass plays.
Jeemie: I think once the Steelers firmly establish Le'Veon Bell as a 20 touch per game guy they'll return to prominence. I call that my Bellman Equation. Think it'll work?
Gerry Dulac: Prominence is a strong word. Look, touching the ball 20 times does not guarantee success. But it does if the bulk of those carries are in the second half when the team has a lead and you're trying to control the clock. And it does, also, if your defense is playing the way the Steelers used to play. But the Steelers are not that type of defense, not anymore, so they better make sure they have an offense that can counter-punch and put up points. Offense and defense have to complement each other. But, in hard times, it means one has to offset the other. And that isn't happening.
Zed: Steelers fans are as down as I've ever seen them here in Greene County. Are we at the beginning of a long down stretch?
Gerry Dulac: No, I think the county will rebound quite nicely.
FC: What is your assessment of David DeCastro's performance this season? Do you think he's lived up to expectations or soft as baby poop?
Gerry Dulac: Considering he's made only 9 NFL starts, I think he has, at the very least, lived up to expectations. DeCastro has really come on since the second game against the Bengals and might already be one of the best blocking guards in the league. He grades out very well each game. He has allowed two sacks, but just one since the Bengals game and that was against the Ravens. He has been very very good..
Ralph LA: Can you explain how the practice squad works. Is that a way to stockpile talent?
Gerry Dulac: It's a way to develop talent, not stockpile. You can't really hide a player on the practice squad or try to stockpile them because any player on the practice squad (if he's that talented) can be claimed by another NFL team, so long as that team puts the player on the 53-man roster. So it's not like players are protected on the practice squad.
Now, some teams might try to hide (stockpile?) players by putting them on injured reserve, but I believe even those players have to be evaluated by the league to make sure teams aren't doing that.
Steelers n at: Would it be possible for the Steelers to pick Clowney (South Carolina) as their first overall pick? Granted, are competing with a lot of terrible teams and that assumes that the Jags and Bucs pass on him...
Gerry Dulac: To me, that is the least of their concerns.
Guest: The Steelers released Mesko and did not lose cap money because he was not a vested vet. The same with Isaac Redman. What is a vested vet?
Gerry Dulac: I believe a vested vet is one who has at least five full years of service in the league. Mesko was in his fourth season. Same w Redman.
Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids. Thanx for the good questions. Sorry i cant get to them all. See ya next week.
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