Miami's Charles Clay gets by the Steelers' Troy Polamalu and Cortez Allen to score the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon.
Gerry Dulac: Good morning everyone. Let's begin our weekly chat....Fire away!!
Guest: Do you think Troy will be back next year?
Gerry Dulac: I think Troy will be this year's James Harrison. I think he will be asked to take a significant pay cut, like Harrison, and if the two sides can't come to agreement he could suffer the same fate. Polamalu is having a decent season and, surprisingly, is one of three players on the team who hasn't missed a snap in 13 games. I think he will make the Pro Bowl again because of the two or three splash plays he's made that get on SportsCenter. But he counts $10.1 million against the cap this season and a couple more than that next year. That is a lot of money for a player on the decline.
John B.: do you think we'll "attack" the free agency this year? No big signings but a lot of them?
Gerry Dulac: I think there's a good chance of that, but I actually think it's more likely they go find a starter in free agency rather than a bunch of backups, which has been their style the past couple years. They won't go after the high-priced free agent -- they never do -- but I think they will go look for the James Farrior, Ryan Clark type of player. They can't possibly fill their needs in the draft, not immediately, and I think they will need some amount of experience, especially on defense.
Abbie Normal: Gerry, Terry Bradshaw used to call his own plays, why doesn't Big Ben?
Gerry Dulac: Ben does. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Remember, too, they didn't have audio helmets when Bradshaw played, either.
Mike B: Good morning Gerry, has Antonio figured out that they lost sunday's game yet? Maybe if they cared a little more it might make a difference.
Gerry Dulac: I think he did because I told him so last night on hs radio show. Believe me, he cares. Nobody works harder than this guy. If they all worked that hard, they'd be at the top of the division, not near the bottom.
Moneyball: What would be YOUR final say on what happens with the OLB situation after this season?
Gerry Dulac: Well, if its up to me, I make sure to re-sgn Jason Worilds for starters. And I say that not just because Worilds has played himself into some type of good contract, but also because outside linebacker is THE most important position in the Steelers 3-4 defense and you better have more than two of them because of injuries. Despite what is believed to be his potential, Jarvis Jones has not shown enough in his rookie season to unequivocally convince everyone he is the big-time answer at right OLB. If you keep just two of them and someone gets hurt, the dropoff to the next player is significant.
That being said, the salary cap might dictate otherwise and preclude such a luxury. Then you have to ask youself if LaMarr Woodley, who will count $13 million agaqinst the cap next season, is worth that kind of cap hit, especially if he is going to be oft-injured and even unproductive. Certainly that has been the case the past three years.
JAMESH: Hi, Gerry. You had posited a year or two ago about moving Ziggy to NT and using McLendon at DE. In light of their individual skill sets, this sounds like a good idea. Are you still in favor of trying it and more importantly, do you think the coaches will try it? Thanks for the chat.
Gerry Dulac: My man, I think the coaches would agree on this -- they really miss Casey Hampton. More specifically, they miss the type of nose tackle Hampton was -- a guy who couldn't be moved and took up two blockers, allowing the linebackers to run more freely. Steve McLendon is not that type of nose tackle. He is more suited, in my opinion, to defensive end in the 3-4 defense because he has some quickness and up-the-field explosion for a big man. Now, can Ziggy Hood fill that type of role. I'm not so sure he can because I think he can be moved. But Hood is the strongest player on the team and I think he needs to use that strength more at that point of attack. that's why i said I think he might be better suited as a nose tackle.
Don't forget, the Steelers signed Mclendon to a 3-year, $7.5 million contract before the season, a significant amount for a player who never really started a game at that position. I think it is obvious the Steelers still need to find a nose tackle. All those runs on the inside are no accident.
Dr. B: Gerry,Remember when Jack Lambert used to exchange jerseys after crushing defeats? Right, me neither.
Gerry Dulac: Haha. Then he went out to dinner with them and shared a glass of wine.
Chuck: Do you forsee Robert Golden and Shmarko Thomas as our new safties in the next year or two??
Gerry Dulac: I see Shamarko Thomas as one, for sure, beginning next year. But not Golden, at least not now. That's why I wouldn't be surprised to see the Steelers sign a safety in free agency who can be a starter. Of course, that depends who is out there. If not, I have already said the Steelers second pick in the draft should be a safety.
Bill L: Gerry, where do the Rooneys fall on the spectrum of owners who can't stand empty seats in December? Of course every owner hates it, but do the Rooneys take it more seriously than others?
Gerry Dulac: They all take it very seriously. Rooneys included.
The Chief: Gerry, who was out to lunch on Worilds. It is this kind of talent evaluation, drafting Jarvis Jones when Woodley could have moved to the right side with his $10 mil!
Gerry Dulac: I don't think anyone was out to lunch on Worilds, In fact, they stuck with him during a couple years when he was set back with injuries. That is the thing you can always project. Look at Woodley. He looked like a long-term answer for the Steelers and, when healthy, he is. But when you can't stay on the field for three seasons and your production slips because of that, well, is that a misevaluation of talent or circumstantial bad luck?
Phil: Believe me, hate to say it, but the Chargers play Peyton Manning, the Ravens play the Lions who are backed into a corner at home...the Dolphins play New England? The Jets? Shoot me..
Gerry Dulac: Right.
John B.: Who will be here longer. Lebeau or Haley? Follow up. we know somewhat that DL will be replaced by Butler. But if Haley is replaced, do you think we'll go in-house (Wilson) for replacement?
Gerry Dulac: There has not been a losing season around here when at least one or several coaches were let go, and this year will be no different. And, depending what happens the next three games, the dismissals could be widespread. That is, if the Steelers finish 6-10 or even 7-9, I believe at least one of the coordinators will be gone and several assistants along with them. Of course, they went 12-4 and still fired a coordinator (Bruce Arians) after the 2011 season.
As for a possible replacement for Haley, if that happens (and I'm not so sure it will), Kirby Wilson was thought to be next in line when Arians was let go. Unfortunately for Kirby, that is when he had his accident with the house fire and it was uncertain when, or if, he would be able to return. I don't know if that will happen now.
Dr Doom: Do you see the steelers taking a corner high and movine Ike to Safety?
Gerry Dulac: Let's hope not. I think if Ike moves, it's out of town.
The Chief: You have watched Mike Adams all year at Left tackle. has he turned the corner?
Gerry Dulac: Early in the year, DEs and LBs were turning the corner on him. I've said all along, it's too early to give up on him. I still think he can be a dependable left tackle. But he has to work at it.,
Ken: Any sense of whether or not there will be another Alshon Jeffrey in the draft? That guy reminds me of Stallworth. Ben need someone like that.
Gerry Dulac: Mike Evans. Mike Evans. Mike Evans.
Guest: Gerry, Of all the chats I enjoy your seriousness & humor the best. Now dont be modest, you can post this. happy holidays.
Gerry Dulac: Thanks uncle!!
Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids. Lots of good questions. See you next week.
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