Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets a throw off against the Bills in a preseason game earlier this month at Heinz Field.
Gerry Dulac: OK, sorry for the delay...slow computer. Let's get our chat started. Fire away...
kjacksonpgh: Hi Gerry, do you believe it is time to change the defensive scheme of playing 10 yards off of receivers when spread or timing based offenses comes to town? We have not done well against those teams, and have paid the price for not getting to the QB. It seems so obvious to play press coverage, so why not adjust? You're Thoughts?
Gerry Dulac: That type of press coverage is reliant on quick pressure on the quarterback, so, based on what I have seen, that is not a good option. Also, when you play press coverage, the chances of getting beat for deep passes greatly increases. Having said that, the Steelers gave up a lot of big pass plays last year playing the other way -- off the line of scrimmage. That scheme is designed to keep the aball in front of you, tackle the catch and prevent the bigger plays. That's the way Dick LeBeau likes to play.
Dude_From_Cali: Is it permissible within CBA rule to assign a draft pick such as Jarvis Jones to "get stronger" in the weight room with a conditioning coach or has to be on his own terms without coach present?
Gerry Dulac: It is probably more incumbent for today's professional athlete to hire a personal strength and conditioning coach to perform that task. that's what a lot of other players do.
DSF: do you attribute the terrible defense against philly to an issue of talent or miscommunication/preparation?
Gerry Dulac: Probably a little of all three. There's no doubt they have to figure out how to improve their run defense, especially through the middle. That's what leading to all the other problems. I haven't seen anything so far to make me think that problem has been corrected.
DSF: The inability to stop the run is a joke For a team that prides its defense on making teams one dimensional. Not a Lebeau critic but seems like we not prepared to play defense in the current nfl spread environment
Gerry Dulac: Same question. Same answer.
JamesinNYC: Who is your pick for a surprise performance that earns or solidifies a roster spot tonight?
Gerry Dulac: Darrius Heyward-Bey
kjacksonpgh: Gerry, do you believe that the Steeler's should give James Harrison a call to be a situational pass rusher? I have not been convinced that the depth after Moat's has been that impressive or for that matter the OLB starters
Gerry Dulac: No.
Tship: Hi Jerry, Certainly the secondary has been less then stellar and pass rush has been absent, but am I wrong in thinking that maybe the biggest problem with the defense is the d lines inability to control the line of scrimmage. Hampton, Smith and Keisel were so dominat in the day that they frred up everyone else, and now when they go to the nickel wiht 2 down lineman it is even woerse and they get gouged.
Gerry Dulac: I would say I agree with you. Look, I don't care who is in the secondary, it's not going to be very good if you don't get pressure on the passer. And, predominantly, that pressure has to come from the outside LBs.
Go Steelers!: Gerry, I've noticed for awhile that the Steelers use their punter as the kick holder. Do you know the logic or reasoning for this? They used to use the backup QB I thought to give them trick play options. Is it they would rather the punter use practice time on this instead of anyone else?
Gerry Dulac: I always wonder the same thing. But, yes, that is the primary reason -- the kickers and long snapper all work together in their own little part of the field, sometimes even at different locations.
Bruce NC Steel: Jerry, have been hand-wringing since their game w/Eagles, espec. re: the defense. Without a superb NT and w/all the sub-packages that take the NT off the field anyway, doesn't it make sense for the team to switch to a 4-3 so they can acess the more available DTs?
Gerry Dulac: Well, that change in philosophy would require a whole change in personnel. And that's what bad teams do -- keep changing schemes that don't fit their personnel.
Dude_From_Cali: Gerry: Your gut, Will James Harrison be a Steeler at some point this season?
Gerry Dulac: No
DSF: What do you think probability is that Jarvis Jones is a bust?
Gerry Dulac: I need to see more from him.
Gerry Dulac: I see flashes from him and think he can be a guy who gets 8-10 sacks. But I think they were/are hoping it would be sooner rather than later.
John B.: You think Bell/Blount will just get fines?
Gerry Dulac: No, I think Blount gets nothing more than a slap. His offense was a misdemeanor. His biggest penalty will be frequent random drug testing from the league from now on. Bell could get a one-game suspension from the league if found guilty, but that won't be till next year. Like Blount, his biggest problem going forward is frequent random drug testing.
John B.: Whats it going to take to see Sharmarko play ahead of Will Allen??
Gerry Dulac: I think right now -- an injury to Will Allen. I'm with you, I think ST needs to be on the field more now.
Lee: I seem to remember the same type of criticism being leveled at Troy Polamalu after his rookie season that J. Jones is getting now. Is the Steelers nation getting its panties wadded up for no good reason. Shouldn't Jones get at least another regular season before we label him a bust?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely. This is year 2 and let's see how he produces. Way too early to start calling him that.
Guest: do you see McCullers growing into being our starter and McClendon being more of a Hoke to McCullers Hampton? McClendon has the skills but McCullers has the size.
Gerry Dulac: Not right now. I think he makes the team and is a Sunday inactive now that Brett Keisel is back. McCullers is very difficult to move, but he still needs to learn to play lower, if such a thing is possible for a 6-8, 358-pound player.
DSF: But dont bad teams also not change with times? It's not 1990s anymore. No one primarily runs the ball on first and second down.
Gerry Dulac: I wouldn't call the Steelers a bad team. There are plenty of teams in the NFL who would like to be 8-8 two years in a row. That is a bad year for the Steelers, but they are not a bad team. Just a struggling one.
Dude_From_Cali: I have two suggested Steelers nick names: McCullers is big. [BIG MAC]. Ryan Shazier... blend the names together it's [RAZOR]. Approve?
Gerry Dulac: If you blend the names together, you get Dan Ryan, which is an expressway around Chicago.
Gabriel: Gerry can you shed some light on big dan. heard most of training camp from many pro observers he can't be moved and saw it in preseason games. being that the nt's job is to clog the middle and keep ol off backers. why is he honestly not being considered when the other dts have failed?(other than the auto response, rookies don't start in D.L.'s defense)
Gerry Dulac: Very good point, because I have made the same one before. If the NT's job is to eat up blockers and let the LBs run to the ball, nobody eats up two (and sometimes three) at a time like McCullers. He does that better than any of the other would-be NTs on the team.
AT: Any chance Moye makes the team? Is he eligible for practice squad?
Gerry Dulac: I think he misses out, even if they keep 6.
JP in VA: Hi, Gerry - How has Keisel performed since re-joining the team? Any predictions on his role in week one vs. Cleveland?
Gerry Dulac: All we have seen is two days of practice w 99. You can see for yourself tomorrow night. I'm sure he'll be fine. However, don't think he's going to come in and be a starter and instantly fix their problems.
Dude_From_Cali: May be the sky is not falling? Steelers never have an easy time in PHILLY. pre and or regular season. Thoughts?
Gerry Dulac: True true. Couple years ago the QBs were sacked 8 or 9 times in a horrid reg season game.
Lee: Why is Lance Moore a lock to make this team? He is old, slow, small, injury prone, and inconsistent. If I had to choose between him and DHB, I would choose DHB every time, at least he offers the THREAT of speed. If you answer is because the Steelers paid Moore so much money in free agency, then my question would be why did they do that?
Gerry Dulac: He's not that old, he's not that slow, and, if he's inconsistent, it's only because injuries have taken him off the field. I'm not saying he's the best slot guy in the ;league, but he's dependable, finds seams in the zone and catches just about everything. They paid him the money because they think he is a better receiver than DHB, who has done nothing in his pro career. You certainly don't want to start comparing stats, do you??
Dude_From_Cali: If Mucullers regularly takes up 2 blockers then he should PLAY, never mind these excuse-based words such as "raw". NT don't have extensive playbooks. Thoughts?
Gerry Dulac: There is a large element of truth in what you say about that very large man.
Spike: Would you cut Landry?
Gerry Dulac: No. After one year...why?
Adam: What's your biggest concern for the start of the season?
Gerry Dulac: Run defense
The Greek: I love Cam Heyward, but at OSU, he was a great pass rusher, but a poor run stopper. It seems like that in the pro's also so far.
Gerry Dulac: Cam Heyward is a stud
White Oak Paul: What position(s)do you see the Steelers eyeing on the Waiver Wire?
Gerry Dulac: CB or OL. For depth.
Adam: How has Ike Taylor looked?
Gerry Dulac: I think that's one of the things we need (and will) find out in the regular season.
Gerry Dulac: Well, that's all the time we have today kids. Wow, so many good questions. Sorry i couldnt get to them all. We will resume next wednesday. Bye now
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