Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 11.20.13


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Gerry Dulac: OK, we're goig to get started here in a couple minutes so fire away ...

JAMESH: For over a year, some of us have been suggesting moving Woodley to ROLB and let Worilds play LOLB. It has now been publicly suggested to Coach Tomlin and he said he is open to the idea. (He did not say that he would do it) How difficult do you think it would be for Wooldey to make the switch and how quickly could he learn the position? He looks bigger than Worilds, but they are the same height and weight.

Gerry Dulac: Woodley is bigger than Worilds -- despite what is listed -- and is more suited to that position, which is the strong side linebacker. That being said, there is no question Worilds is more comfortable and more productive on the left side because that is the position he played in college. For some reason, he displayed more pass-rush moves from that side against the Lions than he ever did on the right side. All that being said, I don't envision the Steelers flip-flopping sides, I think they want Woodley right where he is. After all, he is their top sacker ....when he's healthy. Now, if he's not healthy and he's not going to be dependable, that raises a whole other issue.

Bernardo: We have alternatively blamed coaching or player talent for the miserable season so far. We have seen respectable Steeler performances/victories (Buffalo) and losses/blowouts (Patriots). Why do you think we're seeing such inconsistent performance this year. In the past the Steelers have always been in the game, even those they'd eventually lose.

Gerry Dulac: I agree. There is no question their short-term meltdowns in the past three games -- second quarter versus Lions (27 points), last 20 minutes vs. Patriots (31 points) -- have to be a concern to them. So are the startling number of BIG plays -- nine of 50 yards or longer already. Those breakdowns are as surprising as they are debilitating. Is that lack of talent? Lack of speed? Lack of coaching? Maybe it's all of those. But there's no question it is something people aren't accustomed to seeing aroiund here.

Guest: Hey Gerry, i cant catch all the games where i live but what ive seen, it seem as if Troy is playing more of a ILB role this year. Is this more because a rookie is starting ILB or that Troy is better suited there as he gets older?

Gerry Dulac: That's a good observation, and it's probably more a function of some of the teams they are playing and the schemes they are. The Steelers have been playing a lot more of their dime defense (six defensive backs) this season, and when they do that ILB Vince Williams comes out of the game and Polamalu plays more of that LB position. But there's also no question he is better suiter playing closer to the line of scrimmage than in the secondary because he has become something of a liability in coverage.

Guest: is Mcclendon the future for us? or is his lack of snap counts because he's not?

Gerry Dulac: His lack of snap counts is no reflection on him, rather on the amount of nickel and dime defensive packages they have been using. There were certain games when Casey Hampton spent more time on the sidelines than on the field because of the sub packages they used. That being said, McLendon is a different type of player than Hampton, and, for now, teams are taking advantage of that. He is more of a one-gap player who tries to shoot holes. Hampton was a two-gap player who ate up two blockers and kept guards and centers off the inside linebackers. That has been hurting their run defense, especially without Larry Foote.

JAMESH: Was the wind much of a factor Sunday for McBriar? Have you heard anything about the staff looking at other punters recently?

Gerry Dulac: I don't think it was a factor, except, maybe, in his head. And I'm not aware that they are looking at other punters. I think that 70 yard punt bought him more time on the roster. But it's apparent the team doesn't like Drew Butler, cause he's still sitting out there and they won't re-sign him, even though he won the job in training camp.

John B.: I know its a little early to be looking past this season but what are we going to do at LT? We have 3 RTs on the roster and drafting hasnt been good for us OT wise. Limited cap means we cant pick up a quality FA. This bothers me more than any position.

Gerry Dulac: I understand your concern, but I really don't think you are going to see the position addressed in the draft, at least in the early rounds. And why should they? Their success at drafting tackles early has not been resounding.

But let me say two things.

First, I am not -- and they are not -- ready to give up on Mike Adams. I still think he has the physical skills to be a decent left tackle. He is a very good run blocker, a guy who is athletic and can move, and that will help their run game.

Second, and here's my complaint about drafting tackles: If you are going to draft them, draft tackles who can pass-protect better than they can run block. If you're top player is Ben Roethlisberger, and your top priority is protecting him, why would you draft run-blocking tackles who are not as good in protection. I can promise you the Indy Colts didn't draft run-blocking tackles when they had Peyton Manning. The Patriots didn't draft run-blocking tackles to protect Tom Brady. So their philosophy has to change on what type of tackle they draft.

Gerry Dulac: Well, that's all the time we have today kids. Locker room is now open and I have to go. Still lot of good questions on the tackle. Sorry i cant get to them all. Ask me a question on Twitter at @gerrydulac and maybe I can answer. Bye now.


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