Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 3.19.14

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Gerry Dulac: All right, I see we have some questions in the house so let's get started.

David: Why didn't the Steelers get a deal done with Alex Carrington on Friday? Money? What are the chances of signing him now?

Gerry Dulac: I'm not sure what the reason was, but I do know this: The Steelers are more interested in shoring up the interior of their defensive line more so than on the end, which is why they signed Cam Thomas. And, because they signed Thomas, I don't expect them to spend money to sign Carrington.

Ben: Would Ray Rice's assault case have disappeared from the media if he was a Steeler?

Gerry Dulac: Go ask Ben.

Corey: I was overly excited about the (inaccurate) rumors of Sidney Rice coming in next week, do you think this would ever become true? That would give Ben his experienced big target, and allow us go to CB and maybe DE the first 2 rounds. Thoughts?

Gerry Dulac: I think it could become true if Jerricho Cotchery signed elsewhere because the Steelers would be in the market for a veteran receiver. Their receivers are a young crop and will get even younger after the draft.

Luke: Which reserves does the front office expect to take a bigger role next season?

Gerry Dulac: I think the most likely possibilities are ILBs Vince Williams and Terence Garvin because they will each be given a shot to replace Larry Foote. Williams has the inside track and will go to training camp as the starter, but the coaches like Garvin. They expect Williams to be much better in year 2, even though he looked solid in his rookie season.

Luke: Any news on the possible lost draft pick for Tomlins dance with Jacoby?

Gerry Dulac: Not yet. Might find out next week at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando, which I will be attending. Compensatory draft picks are awarded then, and I have maintained all along that I think the league will merely not award a late-round compensatory pick to the Steelers as punishment. If they take one at all.

Guest: Are the Steelers on the decline or do you think they have enough to make a playoff push this year? I personally think Ben has another super bowl run in him I'm just not sure they have the team around him to do so.

Gerry Dulac: That they won eight games -- and went 6-2 in the second half -- with that roster convines they can win at least that many games in 2014.

Rambo: What's the word on Michael Wheaton? Is he the real deal or is he in the dog house? Has his hand injury healed?

Gerry Dulac: Markus Wheaton is not in any kind of dog house. And it's too early to determine if he's the real deal. But I'll tell you this: He's very talented and has a hane to be a dynamic receiver.

Luke: Still thinking there will be 1 more higher profile FA pick up?

Gerry Dulac: No, that went out the window when LB Mike Neal re-signed with the Packers.

Guest: Any word on the progress of Pouncey's recovery?

Gerry Dulac: The good news is that his injury occured the first week of the season so he's had plenty of time to heal. He should be fine for training camp.

Guest: U think the steelers will look at Moreno?

Gerry Dulac: I think they should. But it depends on the price. If he wants starter money, forget it.

Jack Splat: I say better than 70% chance Harrison is th 3rd OLB for 2014. Accurate guess?

Gerry Dulac: Odds might be a little high, but I'd say better than 50-50.

Steve: What is the status of the extra seats at Heinz and is there any planning to ensure current ticket holders either show up or get their tickets to someone who will. I know the team makes their money anyway but both topics affect in game noise and home field advantage.

Gerry Dulac: That is tough to enforce, let alone control. Fans are free to do what they want with their tickets, including not show up.

Miller: My crystal ball says: CB Gilbert or Dennard in round 1, since Evans will be gone. (If they're gone, Ebron.) Round 2 will be a WR. Thoughts?

Gerry Dulac: I think that crystal ball doesn't need much shining.

Steve: Which FA loss will most negatively impact the season?

Gerry Dulac: Jonathan Dwyer. Unless the Steelers sign a running back or draft one who an replae him. Not a valuable asset, but a talented one who could go off for 100 yards at any moment.

Daniel: I'm predicting a bounce back year for the Steelers with a playoff appearance. One of my picks for breakout players is going to be the entire offensive line (Thanks Munchak). Who do you think will be influential in the Steelers run this year?

Gerry Dulac: My two picks are last year's top two draft choies -- Jarvis Jones and Le'Veon Bell. We've already seen what Bell means to the offense and he will only be better this season. Jones, though, has to make significant strides in year two. If he does, that will go a long way toward helping that defense, which needs help.

Guest: How is mike Mitchell? Is he better than Clark?

Gerry Dulac: He's faster, which is most important, and he plays the ball better, which is also significant. But I'll have to wait and see how he fits in the defense. Let's be fair here, Ryan Clark was an oustanding free-agent pickup for the Steelers in 2006 and had a lot of good seasons here.

Scott: Do the Steelers have a solution for WR if they fail to draft one in the 1st? As of right now our only experienced receivers are Brown and Miller.

Gerry Dulac: Yes. Draft one in the second.

Steve: So no update on the extra seats that will close in the noise?

Gerry Dulac: No. They're still being debated/contested/disussed as to who is going to pay for them.

Guest: Any word on kiesil coming back?

Gerry Dulac: No. I think the Steelers will wait on that, maybe until after the draft. If they do bring him back, it will be as a third-down situational player.

TD: What is with the obsession of a tall wide receiver in Pittsburgh? Spaeth, Miller, Moye are all at least 6'5". How many crazy catches have they pulled down over cornerbacks? Wouldn't you rather have a better receiver who can get OPEN and not have to battle a CB for the ball?

Gerry Dulac: They have that with Antonio Brown and had that with Emmanuel Sanders. Markus Wheaton is that kind of receiver too. They are looking to add to that with a tall receiver -- a TALENTED tall receiver -- who will give Ben Roethlisberger a more inviting target.

Brian: How can you say that the DE position isn't a focus right now? They only have one starter and no depth at all except for UDFA's.

Gerry Dulac: I didn't say it wasn't a focus. I said they were more interested in ficing their issues in the interior of the line. Hey, any position on the defensive line is in play.

TD: Steelers have 3 guys to catch the ball on their roster who are over 6'5". Do we really need another one? Tall receivers are fun to have but aren't all the best ones Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Andre Johnson, AJ Green, Josh Gordon on perenial losers? If they made that much of a differense wouldn't those teams at least win one playoff game?

Gerry Dulac: Look, they're not going to draft a tall wide receiver just to draft a tall reeiver. If they take a wide receiver early, it's going to be a tall one, not another 5-foot-10 or 5-11 guy. And I wouldn't start comparing the receiving skills of Matt Spaeth and Derrick Moye to a 6-foot-4, 231-pound wide receiver who can run, jump and catch. Please.

RJ: We can only hope that Mike Evans slides to number 15;however, it doesn't look likely according to the mock drafts at this point. Do they reach a little for another WR or go for one of the corners?

Gerry Dulac: I agree. No, I don't think they wll reach, nor should they. That's why I think it's more likely their No. 1 pick will be one of the CBs -- Darqueze Dennard of Mich State or Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State. I think they are leaning toward Dennard. At least, I know some of the coaches are.

Jack Splat: Gerry, thanks for mentioning Clarke's contributions as a Steeler. Very good safety and he should be proud of the career he had here.

Gerry Dulac: Indeed.

Scott: Just a follow up to my question, with the depth at WR in this draft you see starting caliber WR's all the way to the second round, receivers who can step in right away and be that big target for Ben?

Gerry Dulac: Absolutely. It's possible Kelvin Benjamin of Fla State can slip to the second round, and I think Penn State's Allen Robinson will be available then too. Here's another: Donte Montcrief of Ole Miss, who is 6-2, 221. It's a good year for WRs.

Gerry Dulac: That's all the time we have today kids. I will be at the NFL owners meetings next week so we will chat then from Orlando. Stay tuned for a possible time change.

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