Answer Man: Absolutely no interest? Well, that's a little strong. If you're a scout and are getting paid, you have to have interest in a guy like that."> Answer Man: Absolutely no interest? Well, that's a little strong. If you're a scout and are getting paid, you have to have interest in a guy like that.">

Answer Man

<b>JW:</b> I've heard the word, Answer Man. I've heard what's being passed down the food chain for public consumption, that the Steelers have absolutely no interest in Drew Henson, that the media, particularly the Internet, is responsible for "throwing things at the wall to see what sticks." So I guess that's the company line these days.<p><b>Answer Man:</b> Absolutely no interest? Well, that's a little strong. If you're a scout and are getting paid, you have to have interest in a guy like that.

The point they're trying to make is that they haven't had any communication with the Houston Texans and that it's all moot anyway until he and the Yankees terminate the baseball agreement. The other half of it is what will be expected out of this trade. I just can't see them giving up another cache, as you called it in the Digest, after what we did last April. It's just too improbable and I think that's what they want their fans to understand. But interest? Heck yeah there's interest in that kid. You can say that about 20 other teams.

JW: That's fine with me. Go on about getting quarterbacks the way you're used to getting them. And no one ever reported the Steelers were interested anyway.

AM: I'm not agreeing. I'm just explaining.

JW: Alright, I know you have a plane to catch. Let's get on with the Monday nighter.

AM: I don't have a plane to catch.

JW: I do. Stop putting the facts in the way of this story. You're corrupting the Internectic Process!!

AM: You all right?

JW: Yeah. Just hittin' the wall. Go ahead, tell me about the 49ers.

AM: They're kind of like us. They're inconsistent. They have some talent and can play well, they just don't do it all the time. Good running backs. Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow are productive guys. The only thing they don't have is the home-run speed. Quarterback's going to be an issue. I don't like Tim Rattay at all.

JW: Didn't he play great the last game?

AM: As long as it's short, timing routes, which is their West Coast offense, he's alright. If you put pressure on him, or if he has to throw anything over 15 yards, no. He's not a mobile guy either. Jeff Garcia has to be hurt. Now, that's my opinion. I'm not out there every day knowing what they ask their quarterbacks to do. Between the two, I'd take Garcia. He's serviceable.

JW: He's not playing well this year, is he?

AM: Their whole team's not playing too well this year. It's kind of like Tommy Maddox. No one's playing really well out there.

JW: Why hasn't Barlow been able to take that job?

AM: Hearst is pretty good. I don't think it has anything to do with Barlow. If you watch Hearst, he's a very, very good starter. I like Barlow. You've got to have two. You're going to need them throughout the season, so good for them.

JW: What about the rest of the skill players?

AM: Terrell Owens is probably the third or fourth best receiver in the league. He doesn't have the pure speed. He's not Randy Moss, who will just outrun you from the line of scrimmage. Tai Streets is a good No. 2. He's not a No. 1, but a good No. 2. He's more of a vertical receiver. He's best on routes that are either crossing or down the field. Any time he's got to break some things off he has a little trouble, but he's a good No. 2. Brandon Lloyd's coming on lately. Cedrick Wilson is more of a return guy.

JW: Is Jed Weaver still just a receiving tight end?

AM: I would put him more in the blocking category now. He's not a devastating blocker like Mark Bruener of old, but he's always going to stay on his guy. He's a short receiver. He won't threaten down the field.

JW: And their line?

AM: Derrick Deese is a vet and knows how to play the game but he's always nicked up. Their line is solid, serviceable. No one stands out really. Deese is probably the best one. Kwame Harris plays when Deese is out. He's going to be really good.

JW: How does their offense work with Rattay?

AM: They run the ball with some play-action off the run. With Tim in there, they want to get the ball off short with timing patterns. If it's not there he's not a guy who can reload and make the throw. He lacks arm strength.

JW: Is that good against you guys?

AM: If we play with our guys off, it's great against our team. If our DBs are 10 yards off, they can't do anything against those 3-step drops. Now if we get up and disrupt the timing, it's tough on those timing routes. It depends on how we play.

JW: What do you like about their defense?

AM: I like their secondary and linebackers. I don't like their defensive line. Bryant Young is probably it for them. He's pretty good but everybody else is just average.

JW: Andre Carter's a big name?

AM: Big name.

JW: Wasn't John Engelberger a high draft pick?

AM: Big name. Show me their production.

JW: What about Anthony Adams, the rookie from Penn State?

AM: He's good against the run but he's not going to give you anything against the pass. I mean, he'd be great in our defense as a nose tackle. He's another Casey Hampton. He's going to do some things against the run that you really like, that we can get by with, but in the 4-3 he's a run-stopping DT and needs to come out in sub packages. Their linebackers are athletic and have speed and get to the ball. The corners can run and cover and the safeties are aggressive.

JW: Has Mike Rumph improved over his rookie year?

AM: He's doing well. What concerns me about him is he's got good timed speed but you'll see guys get behind him. Ahmed Plummer's playing lights out. Their safeties are good. You can win with their safeties and corners and linebackers. Their defensive line? They don't make any plays, especially the D-ends.

JW: Is Julian Peterson Player of the Year material?

AM: I don't know about that. He's a very solid player. He can rush as a D-end in the sub. As a linebacker he's got speed to get where he needs to be. I don't see Player of the Year but he's playing well.

JW: How about Todd Peterson?

AM: Ugh. He's going to be accurate from 30 in. After that, nothing. Nothing on kickoffs either.

JW: What's your gut feeling?

AM: If we go in with a swagger we'll be fine. The key will be how we respond when something bad happens. If we go 'Uh oh, here we go again.' That's going to be a problem.

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