AM: You know the guys who never come around, whose only sources are other reporters. Guys just out there swinging and seeing what sticks to the wall. It's maddening.
Me: Examples, please.
AM: How about this "Skippy" Reed nonsense? How about the Kendall Simmons-to-tackle nonsense? It goes on and on. Everything I read these days, it seems, is wrong and just plain stupid.
Me: Obviously you haven't played this game very long. This is the
time of year for that. Everybody's trying to sell themselves as experts down
the stretch. It happens every year. You can't let it bother you. Get a news
source you trust, turn off the nonsense and stay focused. It's easy. The only
show I listen to is WDVE's morning show. They make me laugh, talk good
football and play music. But I did hear Paul Alexander call your kicker
"Skippy." I wondered about that, too, but that's what I get for listening
AM: I can't just write if off that way. It drives me nuts!
Me: As for the Simmons-to-tackle rumor, the guy said his source was
"inside the Steelers organization." I think he was just guessing or talking
to someone who was guessing because it makes sense on the surface. Chukky Okobi
is playing well at center, so Jeff Hartings could go back to guard and Simmons,
who played tackle in college, could play left tackle here when Wayne Gandy
leaves in free agency.
AM: Kendall's too short to play tackle. He's a guard.
Mathias Nkwenti will be the left tackle next year.
Me: As always, Answer Man, whenever you feel the need to get it right,
use me, or something like that. But tell me about the Houston Texans. Why is
their defense so good?
AM: They can rush. They've got speed at linebacker and some
guys who can cover; they play teams that don't see the 3-4 very often and Dom
Capers is a good coach.
Me: Let's roll. Give me the rundown.
AM: You know about Gary Walker, their left end. He's good.
Seth Payne is a good nose tackle, an effort guy, strong, can hold the point.
Jerry Deloach at right end is alright, nothing special. He takes up blockers and
space. Kailee Wong is a good pass rusher but he's playing on the line and
he's a better stack backer. He struggles at the point, but plays end in their
nickel and dime. He can rush. On the other side, Jeff Posey is a lot like Wong.
Run at them. In the middle, Jamie Sharper's pretty decent. He has trouble with
offensive linemen but he's instinctive and athletic. Jay Foreman is the same
way but really doesn't play downhill. In the secondary, (Aaron) Glenn's good
but he'll gamble. He'll either make a big play or give up the big play. On
the other side, Marcus Coleman is big and will probably be matched on Plax (Burress)
but I don't like him at all as a cover guy. (Matt) Stevens is an aggressive
free safety with range but has trouble in space. Eric Brown, I like him. He's
aggressive, a hard-hitting guy. They take him out in the nickel for Kevin
Williams and I don't know why.
Me: How about David Carr? He's been hit so many times I imagine
he's getting gun-shy.
AM: He is, but he's tough and he's going to be good. He's
athletic and can run, but his line is really bad. The left guard and the center
are alright but they're average at best. The left tackle's bad. The right
tackle's bad. The right guard's bad. The tight end (Billy Miller) is good.
He's a converted receiver. Not a great blocker but gives good effort. Corey
Bradford is their deep threat. He's got speed. Jabar Gaffney will be good down
the road. He has good skills. I like him. Jonathan Wells is just a hard-running
guy who runs straight, no wiggle, but he runs hard. He fumbled last week and
they put James Allen in. Their third receiver is JaJuan Dawson. He's good. He
just can't run.
Me: What about the Steelers' last game? Did you see the film yet?
AM: I was surprised at the way they dominated the line of
scrimmage against those big tackles.
Me: Anyone stand out in particular?
AM: Up and down the line, everybody was nice. Alan (Faneca)
played his best game. Keydrick Vincent played well for his first game.
Chukky's playing very well as a backup.
Me: Is he better than Hartings?
AM: I couldn't say that at this moment. Last year, no one thought about Dermontti very much. Put it this way, if they lost Jeff for the season, they'd be comfortable with Chukky. Is Chukky better? I couldn't say t