Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 5.30.14

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<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> All right, let's get our chat started. Fire away.....<p>

<b>John From Johnstown:</b> Gerry, I have tickets to the season opener against the Browns. What are the chances John Football is under center for the Clownies? And, given that before the draft he basically apologized to Jon Gruden for partying too much in college, what do you think of his recent statement that, in effect, he ain't changing his lifestyle for nobody?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> If Johnny Manziel can perform on the field, all his brashness and swagger and perhaps even partying will only serve to enhance his image and make him a Joe Namath-like figure. I don't know if he will be the starter for the season opener, but it will be soon after. To quote Tom Donahoe, they didn't bring him in to lead the band at halftime. And, with all due respect to Brian Hoyer, the quarterback in front of him is Brian Hoyer, who has started -- what? -- three NFL games. C'mon. Soon as the Browns lose one game, Manziel will take more reps with the first team. Once they lose two, he will be the starter.<p>

<b>Pat:</b> Your prediction who starts the majority of the snaps next season at nose tackle and defensive end opposite Cam Heyward?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> The front line will look like this -- LDE Stephon Tuitt, NT Steve McLendon and RDE Cam Heyward.<p>

<b>Tom from Mi.:</b> Hi Gerry...I know it's kind of late for draft questions, but I have been bothered as to why a team would trade UP ONE SPOT...to get a pick like Cleveland did this year?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> I'm with you. Worse than that was trading the fourth overall pick in the draft and bypassing an impact beast-of-a-player such as Sammy Watkins to move down and draft a cornerback (Justin Gilbert) when you already have a shutdown corner in Joe Haden. Especially when you know you're top receiver is going to be suspended for a season. It's one thing to stockpile No. 1 draft choices, but what does it matter if you don't know how to use them or use them wisely. If Ray Farmer keeps this up, he won't last two years in his role as GM.<br/><p>

<b>Pat:</b> If Dri Archer is a viable receiver (or "slash" player), why not line him up in the slot instead of Lance Moore? I realize they wanted a veteran receiver, but if Archer proves he can catch, he's got to be in consideration for that spot, right?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> Wrong. Archer is a situational player, a specialist, who is a better as a running back than a wide receiver. Even his college coach admitted he made a mistake last year by lining Archer at wide receiver too much. He said most if not all of Archer's big plays came when he was lined in the backfield. To me, you line him in the backfield and motion him to create space.<p>

<b>Jamie:</b> Will shazier start?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> Yes. Unless he proves he can't handle it right now or makes too many mental mistakes (like what happened w Jarvis Jones last season), it is their intention to get him on the field as much as possible.<p>

<b>Zack B:</b> Are you ok with our OLB depth? I'm not at all. Also, what are the chances we let Worlids walk after this season?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> I think they have a lot of depth inside with a number of young players such as Shazier, Sean Spence, Vince Williams and Terence Garvin. Plus, they added veteran Arthur Moats from the Bills who can play inside and outside. But, if something happens to Worilds or Jarvis Jones, they don't have a backup on the outside who can effectively rush the passer.

And, yes, because they haven't signed Worilds to a big contract, I think it is very possible he could leave after the season for two reasons: 1) If he has a great season, he'll be a valuable commodity on the open market; 2) If he doesn't, why would you want to sign him to a big deal?<p>

<b>Jamie U:</b> What are the chances heyward-bey makes the team?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> Depends how many receivers make the team. Six -- I'd say he has a good chance. Five -- not so sure. That fifth receiver better be able to play special teams and I don't think that's exactly on his resume. I think they want to see how Justin Brown, last year's sixth-round pick, develops in year two.<p>

<b>Bob:</b> Clearly Wheaton is trying to secure that #2 WR spot, but who has the best odds of bumping him on the depth chart? Bryant, Heyward-Bey, Justin Brown? And how comfortable are you with our wide receiver group?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> Not real comfortable right now, only because three of the top 4 receivers will all be new targets for Roethlisberger and it will take some time for him to develop a connection with them on the field. But in time I think they will be fine because I think Wheaton can and will be better than Sanders; and I think have a 6-4 guy like Bryant gives them an added dimension, especially in the red zone.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> What do you see as our biggest need heading into training camp?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> I think the Steelers did a good job in free agency and the draft improving the quality of their depth. And, in the instance of safety Mike Mitchell, finding a starter who addressed one of the deficiencies in their defense -- speed in the back end.<p>

<b>Pat:</b> Biggest acquisition to help in the red zone: Legarrette Blount, Martavis Bryant, or Mike Munchak?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> All three, especially Blount.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> could heyward bey ever play like a 1st round pick?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> I think he has shown that he can't, perhaps because he was overvalued by the Raiders when they reached to take him with the seventh overall pick.<p>

<b>Oswald:</b> How does the punting position look this year?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> Like a Wing and a prayer.<p>

<b>John From Johnstown:</b> Gerry, With new starters in the defensive backfield, at linebacker, and along the defensive front, Dick LeBeau's unit could be on an upsurge or...might be shredded, at least early on. Will Ben have to put up 35 a game for Seelers to exceed 8-8?<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> I think they are on the upsurge. I like the young talent in the front seven and I think Mike Mitchell will give them speed in the back end. I also expect Steve McLendon to more sure of his role in year two at nose tackle and Jarvis Jones should be much improved and more disruptive at ROLB. He told me yesterday he feels so much more comfortable already because he knows what he's doing or is supposed to do.<p>

<b>Miller:</b> Don't you think we're jumping the gun on Bryant? As a fourth-round pick, no matter how deep the draft is, is no sure thing. Of course the hope is there, but WRs take a while to acclimate to the NFL and he figures to be a situational guy for the time being anyway.<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> You might be. I'm not. I don't have him slated for the Pro Bowl. He has to prove to me he can do it. I'll wait till the regular season.<p>

<b>Gerry Dulac:</b> That's all the time we have today kids. Good questions. Hoped you liked the answers. See you next week for what might be my last chat until training camp.


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