We caught up with the Answer Man again down on South Water Street, and he was surprisingly pleasant. He smiled and pulled up a chair by me. It started me wondering. Is this a product of a convincing win? Or did he take those lessons on media relations that Pitt's giving next door? Well…
Answer Man: Come on. Are you daydreaming or something?
Me: Oh, sorry. What do you see in this game?
Answer Man: Defensively, the Colts are small, they shoot angles. Now, I'm not the coach but I think you'd be foolish to run wide on these guys. Right up the middle.
Me: So this is a perfect game for Bettis?
Answer Man: Perfect.
Me: Run down that defense, please.
Answer Man: The ends are small but they're all right. Scioli and Bratzke are motor guys. Their middle is small. Josh Williams was hurt and missed the last game. He's their best tackle and I think he'll be back, but he's only 280. Tripplett comes in. He's 300, but that's really all he has going for him there. The linebackers, you know about Morris. Neal killed him a couple weeks ago and then you guys killed him last week.
Me: Well, Tunch helped. He saw it on film and told us. That's how we get any work done.
Answer Man: Tunch is a good man. You oughta listen to him.
Me: What about Mike Peterson? I keep reading good things about him.
Answer Man: He's overrated. You writers like him, though. You gotta pretend you know something. Marcus Washington's probably their best linebacker.
Me: Wasn't he a strong safety?
Answer Man: In college. Now, please, shut up. The secondary's OK. Bashir, their free safety, is a little overrated. Their strong safety (Bird) is hurt. He's good. The other guy, Jason Doering … um.
Answer Man: You said it. I didn't.
Me: Don't worry. I'm only quoting you on secret internet. What about the corners? How's the kid from Penn State doing?
Answer Man: Macklin is short and susceptible to mismatches. Harris, in my opinion, is just starting to decline. He seems just a step slow to everything.
Me: OK. Roll. Offense.
Answer Man: The line's OK to weak. You know about the tackles. They've been around a while. The interior is the problem.
Me: The tight end's good, right?
Answer Man: The tight end, Pollard, is outstanding. I think he's the second best offensive tight end in the league. The only tight end running better routes than him is Gonzalez.
Me: So, do they line up with three wides and Pollard?
Answer Man: Yes.
Me: Do they use a fullback?
Answer Man: No. James is the show back there, and you probably want to know about his recovery. Well, I think he's all right. He just hasn't had the blocking. There's no room to run, and they pass a lot.
Me: Sounds familiar.
Answer Man: It is familiar. It's like with you guys saying Bettis is done. They're saying the same thing about Edge, but he's just not getting any room. They're cutting him down behind the line. If you have to make a cut behind the line, you're done anyway. You have to make your cuts at the line of scrimmage. Bettis last week made the one cut in the open field and you guys all loved that, but he just finally had some room.
Me: I maintain he just didn't have it and is now regaining strength.
Answer Man: Maintain all you want, pal. Want a coffee?
Me: Yes. Extra caffeine. You're nice, but a little boring today.
Answer Man: You'd rather have grouchy but edgy?
Me: Yes. Anyway, their receivers are Harrison and Reggie Wayne, the first round pick I loved coming out.
Answer Man: We liked him too. He's the No. 3 guy. Ismail's No. 2. He's got speed. It's a good group.
Me: How do you stop Manning?
Answer Man: You change your call after he changes his call. We have our blitzes for him.
Me: So, you'll blitz more out of Cover 2? You seem to be using Cover 2 a lot more?
Answer Man: Let's see, we used it twice last game.
Me: Twice? How did Lee get two interceptions?
Answer Man: He got lucky. I mean, they happened in fire zones and the ball just came right to him. I'm surprised he caught both of them.
Me: Hey, that's pretty funny. Thanks. And here's your chair back.