Gerry Dulac: OK, lets get started...
Luis: Gerry, Any names being mentioned for ol coach?
Gerry Dulac: Not now, but I think the person they might like to hire is Ray Brown, who is an assistant OL coach in Carolina. He was highly recommended to Tomlin last year, but either he couldn't get out of his deal or didn't want to come here. I would think he might be high on their list.
Jim: Do you know how the coaches felt about Troy's play this year?
Gerry Dulac: I think they were generally pleased, especially because he played every snap this season -- something not a lot of people thought possible. But I think they also know they have problems with speed on the back end, and that's one of trhe reasons they played so much of that dime defense w Troy at linebacker and Will Allen at safety. But they also know this: Troy is one of the few players on defense capable of making splash plays. And even though he was responmsible for several big plays this season, he at least created some very big takeaways, especially the one in Green Bay.
John: I saw your blog post yesterday and agree with you about a nose tackle. However are the really going to go after a Casey Hampton type of player in the first round when they like most teams go nickel or dime at least half the plays? Seems to me that would want a more athletic Hampton right?
Gerry Dulac: I don't think they will go after a nose tackle on the first round, nor should they. They have used enough No. 1 picks on linemen, both offense and defense, and in today's NFL the nose tackle comes off the field a lot because of so many nickel and dime packages. Plus, it's time to get a tall wide receiver to help out Ben Roethlisberger. But they know they have to do something about getting the type of play they seek from a nose tackle and improving their run defense. That was the biggest reason for their decline in that area.
Frank: If another team offers Butler a defensive coordinator position this year, do you think he leaves?
Gerry Dulac: Each year that he doesn't move up is another year closer to him actually leaving. That being said, the Steelers' so-so performance on defense this year might preclude him getting that opportunity elsewhere. However, he has turned down other opportunities because of his desire to work with Dick LeBeau, Mike Tomlin and the Rooney family. And I don't think that has changed.
Guest: In retrospect did the Steelers 'Reach' for Jarvis Jones?
Gerry Dulac: I think it is too early to make that determination, but there's no question he has to get stronger and develop an inside pass rush move to become a dominant player in the NFL. i think we have seen the instincts and abilities to make plays and be around the ball, not to mention making explosive tackles. Because of that, I think it is only fair to see what year two holds for him. But if he isn';t committed to getting in the weight room and getting stronge, then that pick won't look so good.
Jack Splat: Steelers are set with Beechem at LT at least I don't think tey need to use a high draft pick on a LT in the draft. Will Gilbert and Adams compete fo startng RT in 2014?
Gerry Dulac: No, Marcus Gilbert is their right tackle and should be. He was the only offensive lineman to start all 16 games this year and was more than solid. And, if I'm the Steelers, I wouldn't even think about drafting an offensive lineman until the fifth round. They have too many other areas that need to be addressed, especially on defense.
PeteFromPeters: Gerry, I know it's foolhardy to compare potential draft picks this elary, but...Why the outrageous love for A&M's Mike Evans? He's only 2 inches taller than PSU's Allen Robinson, and about 1/10 as athletic. I'm not sure either is a first rounder, but in my opinion, Robinosn is superiur. Any thoughts? I ask because I'd like to see Pgh take a WR in Rd 1.
Gerry Dulac: Well, I think you pointed up the main reason -- Mike Evans is 2 inches taller. Look, I Ilike Allen Robinson too, he's very athletic with great body control and has good size. But if the Steelers can get a 6-foot-5, 225-pound wide receiver who is a former basketball player, then that's what I'm taking.
I've stated on many instances I think the Steelers need to take a tall receiver in the first round. Especially when they have the 15th pick.
Missing Out on the Playoffs: PeteFromPeters - Alan Robinson played in the Big 10 and Mike Evans played in the SEC...you do the math
Gerry Dulac: Yeah those Big 10 receivers are really making their mark in the NFL.
retiredmd: Do you believe the Steelers will clear cap-room sufficient to sign starters on defense in the mold of Clark, Farrior or Greene?
Gerry Dulac: I do, or at least, I think they should. Unlike past years, where they used free agency to sign backups and nothing more, I think they will try to find a defensive starter in free agency this year.And the perfect place to start is at free safety, where there are several available, including Buffalo's Jarius Byrd and SF's Donte Whitner. They need instant help and experience, and the draft can't always provide that.
Ken: When should we expect to hear Art's usual post-season take on the Steelers?
Gerry Dulac: Soon. Real soon. Very very soon.
Guest: Have we seen the last of the Zigg-meister in a Steeler uniform and would you consider him a bust? I don't see him catching on with another team.
Gerry Dulac: I don't consider him a bust because he's been a serviceable and dependable starter. Plus, don't forget, he was the 32nd pick in the draft -- not exactly a lottery selection. But I'm not going to sit here, either, and say that was a great pick. The problem with Ziggy is he's not sure what kind of player he wants to be. He's the strongest guy on the team, but doesn't play that way.
I think the Steelers would like to bring him back, but they are not going to over-pay him to do so. If he gets a decent offer in free agency, they will not try to match it. But, then, I don't know that he will get that kind of offer from another team. Of course, I learned a long time ago not to underestimate the stupidity of some NFL teams.
Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids. Good questions. Let's do it again next week. In the words of the immortal Myron Cope -- bye now!!