Head coach Mike Tomlin watches practice Sunday at Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Gerry Dulac: Well it's that time of year again when I resume my weekly Steelers chats ... let's get started because I see the questions already lining up like fans waiting to get into practice at St. Vincent College.
Adam: Do you think Antonio Brown will have a similar year as he did last year? (100+ catches, 1200+ yards)
Gerry Dulac: There is no reason to think that he wont. His consistency, not to mention his productivity, has been amazing -- the only receiver in NFL history to have at least 5 catches and 50 yards in every game in one season. But here's a possible reason he might not have the same type of season: Teams will make extra sure to limit his catches this season without the threat (at least right now) of another dangerous receiver.
Adam: Will the Steeler's run game finally have a resurgence this year?
Gerry Dulac: I absolutely believe it will for three reasons: 1) Le'Veon Bell, who will have a breakout year, more so than last year; 2) LaGarrette Blount; and 3) Mike Munchak. The offensive line should be much improved, especially as the year goes on, provided they avoid injury. Hey, they were 27th in the league last year. They can only go up. Some of the coaches think they can be a top 5 rushing team in '14.
Jamie: What are the chances of Keisel returning some time during camp or preseason?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not holding my breath on that one. I'd love to see Keisel back because he's a tremendous guy to be around and I think some of those young linemen can use his veteran experience. And, depending how things unfold it camp, the Steelers may realize that what they have up front might not be what they envisioned, at least right now. But they aren't in the habit of bringing back 35-year-old players once they decide to part ways w them.
Danie E: Do you think Ben wants the max contract because he doesn't get the endorsements like other players due to his reputation?
Gerry Dulac: Ben doesn't get the endorsements because he doesn't seek them, which, to me, is a mistake, especially in the long run. But whatever type of contract Ben seeks -- to me it will $75 million over three or four years -- he will be in position to command. After all, how many current QBs have two or more Super Bowl rings? Only two.
Adam: The Steelers make it to the playoffs if_______...?
Gerry Dulac: They win 10 games.
Roger: Prediction on the season this year? I'm thinking 11-5
Gerry Dulac: I'm starting at 10-6, meaning with a few good breaks they could possibly be 11-5 and with a few bad breaks they could be 9-7. As bad as they played last season -- the 0-4 start, losing in Oakland, blowing a late lead at home to Miami -- they were still 8-8. And I believe they are much better than that this year, for a number of reasons. I don't think they will win the division -- I'm still picking the Bengals -- but I think they are a playoff team.
Brandon: Who will be this year's most surprising performer?
Gerry Dulac: Offensively, I think it will be Markus Wheaton. He is very talented and can be very good. He needs to be a surprising performer. Defensively, the same can be said for Jarvis Jones. He needs to be a performer, whether surprising or not.
Paul Smith: I read that Colbert is open to bringing in more players. Is there any chance that James Harrison comes back or is that not realistic?
Gerry Dulac: Paul, there is a better chance of them signing you than James Harrison.
Jack Splat: Let's remember Ben was suspended 6 games (reduced to 4) for playing drunken footsie with a college girl . Ray Rice knocks his wife out, on tape no less, an is suspended 2 games. I think the Steelers and Ben have been remarkably restrained in not giving Goodell the condemnation and ridicule he deserves for the disparity of punishment in the two cases. Have the Steelers internally been sharing these thoughts with the NFL?
Gerry Dulac: I agree with your premise, but, because you and I don't really know what went on in Milledgeville, let's not diminish what might have occured, or even pretend that nothing occurred, by referring to the incident as "drunken footsie." That being said, I am shocked at Ray Rice's puny punishment. The incident is on tape, no less, and is not a he said, she said. Drug policy offenders get four games, if not more. Spousal abuse is only half as serious???? And, no, the Steelers have not and will not discuss this with the league.
Chris - Northants UK: Jarvis Jones, over or under 7.5 sacks?
Gerry Dulac: Good question. Right now I will say under, only because I need to see him do what he is capable of doing in a game. Until I see that, I will not go overboard and predict double-digit sacks. Not yet.
rick: new or old who has impressed you the most so far in training camp
Gerry Dulac: It's only been a couple days and I cretainly don't get carried away with who looks good now, but he's what I've been impressed with so far: Jason Worilds' strength, Sean Spence's knee, Vince Williams, Jarvis Jones' inside move, Landry Jones, Dri Archer's ability.
Derek: Do you think the steelers get a contract done before the season starts with Allen or Worilds?
Gerry Dulac: I wouldn't b surprised if they get something done with Cortez Allen, mainly because he will be their top corner next season after Ike is gone and they will need tro secure him. I don't believe Jason Worilds will agree to an extension now because, if I'm his agent, I would tell him to wait to test free agency. If Worilds has a big year, he can be a big-ticket item as a free agent.
Mark: Who do you see as the starting secondary and who makes the team as backups....thank you!
Gerry Dulac: Balt, Cincy or Indy. Good luck.
Jason: Over/Under 40 rushing attempts by Dri Archer this season?
Gerry Dulac: In terms of touches, I'd say over 40, but I'm talking about screens and kick returns. Not sure about 40 carries as a running back, but it's definitely a good possibility. Depends on injuries, of course.
JR in NJ: So we hear once again that the running game needs better production. I agree, but still don't see a Dan Kreider type FB in the plan. Just me being old school?
Gerry Dulac: They have Will Johnson as a fullback. That fits their needs and style.
Adam: Do you think the Steelers should extend Worldis now or let him walk? My concern is that if he has a solid season, he will command too much money but would also be too big of a gamble.
Gerry Dulac: Take a look at my above answer. I don't think the Steelers are going to let Worilds merely walk away, but, again, if I'm Worilds' agent, I think I wouldn't sign a deal now unless it was way too good to pass up. And I don't think that type of deal is forthcoming until the Steelers see what Worilds can do for a full season. Would it be a gamble to give him that contract now? Perhaps. But I think Worilds is going to have a big season.
Guest: Do you think Justin Brown will make the roster? And if so how do you see
Gerry Dulac: I know this, Todd Haley really likes Justin Brown and likes how hard and dilligently he worked in the offseason to get better. He will be given every chance to do so. And I think he will.
Adam: What kind of year do you expect out of Polamalu?
Gerry Dulac: I don't think it will be any different than last year. And I'll leave you to decide what that means.
Gerry Dulac: Well, that's it for today's chat. Good questions. See you next week.
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