Ask Wexell (Feb. 8)

Enough time has been wasted, so let's get right to our newest gig – that's not fashioned after the outstanding "Ask Vic" series in Jacksonville. No, this one's much different. It's called "Ask Wexell."

Terp41: Would the Steelers be interested in re-signing Larry Foote if the Lions cut him?

Historically that's not been their style. I realize many have written how the Steelers missed Foote this past season, but I've disagreed all along and have no reason to change my mind now. It's time to draft James Farrior's eventual replacement, and I think it can be done in the fourth round – the same round in which they found Foote. Right now I'm really liking a mid to late-rounder named Phillip Dillard from Nebraska.

Felllasheowed: Let me try the second part of my previous question again. Is the need to get better on special teams going to factor into the priority the Steelers place on linebacker or running back, the 220-250-pound men Mike Tomlin spoke earlier about?

I think it's naturally going to be on their minds whether they realize it or not. A hideous body of special teams work such as the one this past season will do that to anyone who followed the Steelers. But I'm leaning more toward defensive backs such as Chad Jones, Kyle Wilson, Perrish Cox and Devin McCourty, guys who were used on coverage and return teams all season by their coaches. I agree with Tomlin that playing a 3-4 lends itself to having more linebackers on the roster, and that those types can lead to strong special teams play, but because of the team's weak pass defense I've been eyeballing the DBs. I'm sure any mid-round backup will have his special teams ability scrutinized no matter which position he plays. For that reason – and because of the presence of backup linemen such as Sunny Harris, Nick Eason, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky and Kraig Urbik – I don't think the Steelers will draft mid-round linemen. So the players they do draft in the mid rounds should be able to cover kicks.

I think my answer is more confusing than your question. Sorry about that.

Pghtwo: What is the coaching staff's opinion of Anthony Madison's ability to play defensive back in the sub-packages? Are special teams his only niche? What I'm afraid you'll say is that they showed their opinion when they cut him initially in favor of Keiwan Ratliff.

Last year Doug Whaley told me that Madison had improved his cornerback skills to the point where he could play in the sub-packages. That was considered a big jump for Madison, but, as you pointed out, the head coach didn't think him any better than Ratliff. I can't see Tomlin's opinion changing much. If the Steelers draft a guy like McCourty in the second round, Madison's job will again be in jeopardy.

Speaking of second-round cornerbacks, how about that Tracy Porter? The latest Super Bowl hero was the cover corner who wasn't physical enough for the Steelers. I'm wondering if they're changing the way they scout corners now.

Pghtwo: Also, what's your opinion on how the new Pittsburgh all-sportstalk radio station (93.7 FM) will do?

I've never been good at predicting radio or TV ratings. My tastes never coincide with what becomes popular. I will say that I like a couple of the risks they took in hiring relative radio novices Jon Burton and Joe Starkey. Burton has always been one of the funniest guys in the media room and I've always felt he should be part of a radio show in town, so I'm excited for him. Starkey is another underrated talent to whom I've enjoyed listening on Saturdays. I used to enjoy Ron Cook's radio work a few years ago on weekends as well, so, to me, they have a good start. But it doesn't mean it'll pay off in high ratings.

Cboath88: This isn't as much a question as it is a request, but could you pass along our heartfelt congratulations to Dick LeBeau for making the Hall of Fame?

Done.

Chilibean: Jim, I don't ask many questions so take this for all it's worth. I know it's hard to believe but I did not watch the Super Bowl. My daughter had a gymnastics meet that ran well past kickoff. So here is my question, from one old rocker to another: How was The Who?

You missed another game in which half of our time was spent watching Peyton Manning barking out commands at the line of scrimmage followed by a bunch of sideways passes. Knowing I'm in the minority on what's deemed exciting football these days, I said quietly to the guy next to me at our Super Bowl party that I'm always bored watching Manning play. He agreed. So, don't buy all the hype from the media that this was all that great of a game. It was a good game, but nothing like the Super Bowls of the past two seasons.

As for The Who, I was pleasantly surprised. I was apprehensive for my old boys because I'd heard Daltrey's voice is hit and miss these days, and I wondered how the new cool crowd of new football sophisticates would take to the old dinosaurs, but I thought they did a great job. I was also pleased that Townsend didn't smash his guitar. I understand that was a prop bet somewhere in Vegas, but he acted his age.


Steel City Insider Top Stories