Answer Man XII

<b>Reporter:</b> First of all, how are the ex-Steelers are doing in Jacksonville? <br> <b>Answer Man: </b>Dewayne Washington is playing like he played here before he got benched. Jason Gildon has flashed. He was alright.

On one sack he beat the running back, which you'd hope he'd do. He may be a little fresher now since he just got signed. Troy Edwards is accepting his role as a No. 3 receiver. He's still going to have some drops but he's got quickness and can separate. The way he carries himself on the field, he knows he's the No. 3. Fu's just like Fu but he's still getting hurt.
Reporter: How good can their defense be with Washington starting?
AM: They're set up like Baltimore with guys who run and get after the ball. They play hard. They play fast. They're one of those fast defenses. Dewayne's problem is just finding the ball and playing the ball. He's in position a lot of times but he just can't play the ball. The other corner, Rashean Mathis, has got very good ball skills, excellent ball skills. Donovin Darius is one of the best safeties in the league. Deon Grant isn't a physical guy but he can cover ground, he's fast and he's got ball skills. The linebackers can all run and get after the ball. The D-ends have been depleted. That's probably their weakness. Gildon and Greg Favors are outside linebackers so they're going to be speed guys, but they aren't that stout. They've got their stout guys inside, (John) Henderson and (Marcus) Stroud. Those guys can be world-beaters and they can also take plays off for a series. They have the ability; they just don't do it consistently.
Reporter: It would behoove the Steelers to run outside?
AM: Yes.
Reporter: But that's not your strength.
AM: Right. Exactly.
Reporter: So they match up well don't they?
AM: You would think. Their defense is good. When you see them, you'll see that if they get some defensive ends they're going to be like Baltimore, just a physical, fast, get-after-you type that buttons up the chinstrap and says let's see what you've got. They don't do a lot of things, but what they do they do well.
Reporter: Mathis' background and where he was drafted is similar to Ricardo Colclough's. How's Colclough doing?
AM: He's got the skills. I think so. He's got all the physical skills and he hasn't been showing up in the times he's played, and that's always a good thing. The difference with Mathis is he's started and he's been in position and had opportunities to make plays and show his ability. Ricardo just hasn't really had that many opportunities. By the third year, when he's starting, you can kind of judge, but I like where he is now.
Reporter: What about Willie Williams?
AM: Well, we haven't missed a beat.
Reporter: Any chance he'll keep that job when Chad Scott comes back?
AM: There's a good chance. Let me just say this: You don't want to mess with what's working. You saw what happened with Ben (Roethlisberger) and Tommy (Maddox). Know what I mean? I mean, you've got to do what's best for the team. Chad's going to need some time before he gets back up to full speed anyway, so we don't have to make that decision for awhile. But Willie hasn't shown a weakness yet.
Reporter: Offensively, what about Byron Leftwich? Why does he have critics?
AM: Most of his critics are saying he'll get in streaks where he'll hold the ball too long. He'll also get on streaks where he's hot and picking people apart. He can't move. So you need a line to protect the guy. I like him. He's got a strong arm, makes pretty good decisions, but last week, when it came down to (rug)-cutting time, he didn't come through. But if you look at all the games they've won, he has come through. Now, this was his first game back after a two-game layoff with the knee, so I'm not emphasizing the fact he didn't come through there. I like the guy.
Reporter: Is he as hard to bring down as Steve McNair or Daunte Culpepper?
AM: No. He's big but he's not strong. Culpepper and McNair are strong, thick guys. He's just a big guy. He's one of those guys who'll never be underweight. When he gets out of football he'll probably balloon up, unless he wants to be one of those miserable guys who are always dieting, always working out. He's just one of those guys.
Reporter: That would seem to play into the Steelers' hands, wouldn't it?
AM: Right. Exactly. Blitz him.
Reporter: Bill Cowher said that Fred Taylor looks just like he did. I'm assuming that's just coachspeak.
AM: No. He's even better than he was because he's not hurting. You watch the Minnesota game, he ran for a buck-forty. I don't know why he doesn't get more accolades. Anytime he touches the ball he can take it to the house, and there aren't too many running backs in the league like that. You've got Deuce McAllister, this guy, (LaDainian) Tomlinson and Ahman Green. Those are four guys who have a chance any time they touch it.
Reporter: So Jimmy Smith's playing well too?
AM: Yes. He's still good.
Reporter: What about Reggie Williams? Doesn't he have critics?
AM: He has his critics just because he doesn't have that blazing deep speed but he's a big guy that has a catching range, and he knows how to use his body and he's got some quickness. He's just not going to run past you.
Reporter: What about their line?
AM: Left tackle's a problem. He (Ephraim Salaam) is an athletic guy and he's used to Denver's system and he's just not that good. He doesn't have the strength; people dishrag him. They're talking about using Bob Whitfield there. Their middle guys are solid. (Vince) Manuwai, (Brad) Meester and (Chris) Naeole and (Maurice) Williams, that's a solid group. It's a pretty solid line. Left tackle's their only weakness, and it wouldn't be if the guy they had (Mike Pearson) didn't get hurt.
Reporter: Hey, this team's pretty impressive isn't it?
AM: I'm telling you. They're scratching the surface this year. Next year, this team is going to seriously battle Indianapolis.
Reporter: What about this team? Do you have a take on the so-called slump of the Steelers' offense?
AM: Yeah. People get paid, too. Know what I mean? When we have a good game against anybody else, and our defense plays great, the other team wants to know what happened to their offense. Hey, you get three or four games on us, ‘This is how we gotta attack 'em.' And the good thing is, people are attacking us but we're still winning. It's not always going to be the New England and Philly games. I just think the things that have gone wrong we can correct, like the sacks, just getting the different run blitzes we probably didn't have the first couple games. Then, boom, so now we have to be aware of that. As for Ben, he has to remember every meal doesn't have to be a banquet. If nothing's there, dump it off. I'm not concerned. People just have to understand they get paid, too.
Reporter: What do you expect Sunday night?
AM: It's going to be a tough game. Just the history of us playing there, a night game and they're fighting for their playoff hopes. It's going to be a tough game.

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