Answer Man VI

<b>JW: </b>I was hoping to look back through the previous transcripts to see how you are doing this year, Answer Man. I'll wait until after the bye week instead. My feeling is you're doing well. At least you had the nerve to go on record that Ben Roethlisberger would be better than Tommy Maddox, and that seems to have come through.

But I wanna jump right into the Dallas game.

Let's see, Vinny Testaverde and Eddie George. Wow, that's boring, isn't it?
AM: Well, Eddie George ran well last week. He did. He's obviously not what he used to be but he's going to be a guy who can still run strong and, with a hole, get you five. He's not going to break anything long. If he does, it'll be like a 20-yarder. That's it. But he ran better last week than he had up until then.
JW: What about Vinny?
AM: Vinny, he's definitely on the decline. He played well until the last two weeks. The last two weeks, he's seeing things late now. His arm strength is not there anymore, so it'll be a nice game for the DBs because you can get a jump on the ball.
JW: Hasn't it always been a nice game for the DBs when he plays the Steelers?
AM: If it's there, and it's wide open, he can hit it. But if he's got to anticipate a throw, he doesn't, and that's why DBs can get a break on it.
JW: Are their receivers living up to their potential?
AM: I like them all. Keyshawn's one of those size receivers but I don't think his hands are that great. He has some drops. He bodies a lot of balls. He doesn't have natural hands, but he's a big guy and a competitive receiver. Terry Glenn is good and Antonio Bryant, you'd just take those two starting on your team any day. Take away the off-the-field stuff and those two could start here.
JW: Keyshawn Johnson sounds like Plax, doesn't he?
AM: Yeah, but Plax is, I think, faster and has a little more quickness in and out of his routes. But catching-wise, yes.
JW: How's their offensive line?
AM: Flozell Adams, very good; Larry Allen, not as good as he used to be but still good. On the right side, Andre Gurode is a young guy who's pretty good but he's coming off an injury. Their center, Al Johnson, is alright, nothing great. And their right tackle, Torrin Tucker, is horrible.
JW: Wasn't Tucker the guy who gave up the two sacks to Alonzo Jackson in preseason last year?
AM: Yes. He's bad. He's really bad.
JW: Did you guys like Bryant coming out of Pitt?
AM: We liked him. But he was a No. 2 and we had Hines and Plax. The way we saw him, he was an outside receiver and we had two already. That was three years ago. We'd just gotten Plax and Hines we'd just signed, so that's overcrowding the position to take him where he was going to be taken.
JW: Did his negative personality traits hurt him?
AM: You put it in the equation, but to draft him where we would've had to taken him? It didn't make any sense. We had other needs.
JW: What do you like about Dallas' defense?
AM: Three quarters of their secondary is very good. Between Terence Newman, Roy Williams and (Tony) Dixon, all three of those guys could start here. I like them all. Now, Jacques Reeves is a young guy out of Purdue who has some learning to do. I would attack him and I would use double moves on Newman.
JW: How will they defend the Steelers' passing game?
AM: I don't know. Those safeties are very aggressive. They may just stick with zone, let half the field play zone and let Newman just take a guy out. If I were them, I'd put Reeves and a safety on Plax and put Newman on Hines.
JW: Are their linebackers still small and fast?
AM: Yep. Dat Nguyen and Dexter Coakley are small, fast guys who have trouble when you run at them but if you run away from them they'll get you.
JW: What about running at them? Do they have the tackles to keep them clean?
AM: La'Roi Glover's pretty good, and Leonardo Carson, they're good run-stuffing guys. Now, their ends I'm not that impressed with. They get the job done - Marcellus Wiley and Greg Ellis - but nothing to be concerned about. If you double on the tackles, kick those ends out and run Iso on those linebackers, you'll be fine.
JW: What about the mental aspect? With the Steelers coming off two division games and the Cowboys coming off a loss, I'd imagine the Cowboys would have the edge.
AM: Oh, yeah. It's going to be a tough one. It's going to test to see how good we really are. Don't get me wrong. Dallas is not a great team, but it's a solid team coming off a bye and then an embarrassing loss. Bill Parcells will have those guys ready to play. I'd be highly surprised if they beat themselves. We're going to have to beat them. We're going to have to go into a hostile environment, play our game and not screw up because they're not going to screw up. That's the way you've got to approach it. Like I said, they're not a great team but just because of the situation it'll be a good litmus test to see where we are.

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