Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 1.2.13


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Gerry Dulac: OK, let's get our chat started. Fire away...and Happy New Year!!
Nate: Happy New Year Gerry. Do you know how much Ike costs against the cap next year? If a lot, what is the plan with him (ask him to take a pay cut, possible release, etc.)? Thanks.
Gerry Dulac: Thanx. Ike will count $11.8 million against the cap in 2014, a big hike from what he counted this year, and that's a lot of money for a player who doesn't intercept the ball or make splash plays. And will e 34 in May. He is either going to have to take a significant pay cut or he, too, will be gone like James Harrison. To me, the Steelers erred last season when they allowed Keenan Lewis to leave in free agency. I would have made the move then w Ike and re-signed Lewis.
Let me say this: I like Ike and I think he is still a solid corner. But there is no way you can pay him that amount of money for the contribution he makes.
Ike indicated he has had some discussion about moving to safety, and while that sounds nice, the same financial reality exists -- not at that price. And when you have to make tough financial decisions while trying to rebuild an 8-8 team, players such as Ike are going to lose out.

Cugino Chris: Gerry: Straight up -- Woodley or Worilds -- who do you keep and why?
Gerry Dulac: Easy answer -- Worilds. Woodley has three big strikes against him -- he is unproductive, unreliable and very expensive. In the past 2 1/2 seasons, he has played in onloy 25 games and has nine sacks. He also does not have a multiple-sack game in that time. Before Halloween weekend 2011, when he was first injured against the Patriots, he had 16 multi-sack games. What's more, he will count $13.6 million in 2014. The Steelers can save $25.5 million in salary by releasing Woodley. Even though they might have to overpay a little to keep Worilds from becoming a free agent, it still makes financial sense to sign him. His production has outweighed Woodley's in the past 2 years.
Scott: Would the Steelers have a hard time passing on Mike Evans if he was available at #15 knowing that not only would they be passing on giving Ben a big target with good hands, But also the strong likelihood that the Ravens who draft right behind the Steelere would grab him, giving Flacco a big target, potentially creating a nightmare scenario competing with the Ravens for the division. As you know Flacco likes those big receivers and he's been lacking one since Bolden's departure.
Gerry Dulac: To me, if they did, shame on them -- unless they drafted another tall receiver with good hands and tremendous athletic ability. The Steelers and Ben each know they need a tall receiver. Nothing against Antonio Brown or even Markus Wheaton, but do you know how exact Ben has to be when throwing a deep ball to a smaller receiver? Do you how precise that ball has to be to get over a corner or safety, unless the guy is 5 to 10 yards in the clear? You think Ben is accurate now. He'd be even more so w a tall guy.To me, it's priority No. 1 in the draft.
Cugino Chris: Gerry, what's your biggest positive & sign for hope for the Steelers in 2014, similarly what is the biggest negative and cause for concern for fans like me ...
Gerry Dulac: Biggest positives are Le'Veon Bell, Cam Heyward and Jason Worilds, not to mention a hopefully stronger Jarvis Jones. We already know about Nos. 7 and 84.
The cause for concerns: What to do about nose tackle; the speed on the back end of the secondary and better young depth. The latter, though, might take a couple years.
Notice I didn't mention offensive line. I think it can be something of a strength next year, especially if their backups are Mike Adams (or Kelvin Beachum) and Fernando Velasco.
Cugino Chris: What about Ziggy Hood? He's never quite filled Aaron Smith's shoes but he's not a total bust, either ...
Gerry Dulac: No, agreed. I think he will be re-signed because I think they will not bring Brett Keisel back for one more year. But I don't think they about to break the bank to re-sign Hood. If he goes on the open market and gets a decent offer from another team, I don't believe the Steelers will be inclined to match. But he has more than serviceable and dependable and I think they would like to have him back.
Cugino Chris: Ike to safety, Cortez and William Gay at CB, Troy & Shamarko at SS ... this how you see the secondary shaping up next year?
Gerry Dulac: No. Ike gone. Troy (with a possible pay cut) and Shamarko Thomas at safety. Cortez Allen and rookie No. 2 or 3 draft choice at corner with Gay as the nickel. Thats what I see.
Swissvale Ken: What outside free agents do the steelers have thier eyes on
Gerry Dulac: Way too early to tell or even know.
Tom: The Steelers have nearly sat our Free Agency the past five years. Is it an ego thing where they read the papers that they build through the draft? If they would just sign one starter it could free them up to pick for talen instead of need again.
Gerry Dulac: It's not ego, it's just their philosophy, one you would have to say has been very successful. But I do think they might alter that a bit this year and, instead of signing backups in free agency, go find a James Farrior or Ryan Clark in free agency -- a proven veteran who can come in and start. They have several issues on defense that need addressed immediately, and the draft is not going to provide all the solutions.
Tom: After going 0-4 the Steelers could have tanked like the Browns, Detroit, or Houston. I credit the coaches. What coaches in your opinion did the best and worst jobs this year?
Gerry Dulac: I agree. And that's the beauty of their organization. Even when it looks most bleak, they manage to stave off dread, panic and embarrassment. Also, I don't like to evaluate coaches. I'm not qualified to do so. For example, is the offensive coordinator who has Peyton Manning as his quarterback any more qualified or a better coach than a coordinator who has, say, Jason Campbell as his quarterback? To quote a former coach, you can't be a good painter without good paint.
Jake: Hi Gerry, this is my fist time ever asking a question on here. How do you think the steelers feel about Todd Haley, and for that matter the consistent growth they saw in the offense over the last 8 games?
Gerry Dulac: Thanx for joining the chat. I think the Steelers like the job Todd Haley is doing, especially bcause he is doing exactly what he was hired to do. I think the offense has eveolved quite nicely, especially with the way he utilizes Bell and Antonio Brown. And he is to be credited for developing a consistent screen game, something the Steelers have struggled with for years. Trust me, that screen game keeps opposing defenses from blitzing and is one of the reasons Ben's sack totals are down.
Rick: Gerry, How do rate Allen Robinson from PSU for a wide out?
Gerry Dulac: I haven't seen enough of him, but enough to know he has that mid-air body control that NFL scouts like.
Cugino Chris: With the possible departure of Keisel & Ike ahead, that pretty much leaves Ben & Troy & Heeeeeath as the only guys left from all 3 SB teams from the past decade. Wonder which guy from the last decade do you miss around the lockerroom for a good quote or to tell it like it is, or for just being a good dude etc.
Gerry Dulac: Too many to count, but James Farrior No. 1. Aaron Smith and casey Hampton a close second.
Cugino Chris: So to paraphrase Tomlin, 'arrow up' or 'arrow down' for the Steelers in 2014?
Gerry Dulac: It's kind of stuck in the middle after back-to-back 8-8 seasons, but it's starting to quiver and shake and point up.
Scott: Do you think the Steelers have a decent chance at re-signing Worilds?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely
Tom: Why no articles on how great of a job the coaches did to turn the season around? Perenially losers like Houston, Cleveland, and Detroit kept losing after they hit a slide. Not easy to nearly win your last 11 games
Gerry Dulac: I think that's coming right after the one on why they started 0-4 and 2-6.
pete: In your opinion, what is the most widely held misconception among Steelers fans? And maybe a slightly different question: what do you think Tomlin's would say is the most widely help misconception among Steelers fans?
Gerry Dulac: I'll answer the latter part first -- Tomlin doesn't care.
As to the first part, that Tomlin does care.
Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids. I went OT because of so many good questions. We're going back to our usual chat time of Wednesday 11 am starting next week. Bye now.

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