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mesaSteeler
08-02-2009, 07:17 AM
Walker's weekend mailbag: Steelers
http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afcnorth
August 1, 2009 5:30 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The AFC North blog received a lot of questions from Steeler Nation this week. So let's dig into the weekend mailbag.

Erik from Washington, D.C., wants to know who will fill the shoes of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau once he retires.

James Walker: The favorite right now has to be Keith Butler, Pittsburgh's linebackers coach. There was some interest in Butler from other teams like the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, and the Steelers wouldn't have any of it. That leads me to believe the organization internally is very high on Butler. Head coach Mike Tomlin may also want to bring in his own D-coordinator, perhaps someone with more Cover-2 experience. But I would assume Tomlin would favor continuity over any major changes since the defense is currently hitting on all cylinders.

A.J. from Pittsburgh wonders why Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is so underrated.

James Walker: You're right, A.J. Colbert is one of the brightest minds in the NFL. He doesn't get a lot of credit because he doesn't seek it. Colbert is fine doing his job behind the scenes and letting the results speak for themselves. That is the culture within the Steelers' organization. But what stands out most about Colbert is that he is equally adept at making good draft picks as he is at finding under-the-radar free agents. Everyone knows Pittsburgh's draft record with Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. But I think people often lose sight of Colbert's affordable free-agent pickups like Ryan Clark, James Farrior and Mewelde Moore. All contributed to winning championships.

Rich from Bellevue, Wash., writes: There was talk last year of the Steelers using Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall in the pony backfield. Obviously, that never materialized. Any talk of them trying it this year?

James Walker: Good question, Rich. Although I didn't attend every practice, that idea has been temporarily put on the shelf from what I've seen. I think both players recovering from injuries this spring had something to do with it. Mendenhall and Parker were both rehabbing and were in and out of practices. So to go as deep as a gimmick set for both players just wasn't in the cards at that moment. But this could be an idea that is revisited in training camp once both players are back in the groove.

Becky from Galloway, Ohio, writes: If you don't have HBO where else can you see "Hard Knocks"?

James Walker: Unfortunately, HBO will be the only place to see it, Becky. I've seen the NFL Network air past episodes from earlier seasons, because it is league footage. But I doubt you can see new episodes on the Cincinnati Bengals this summer anywhere else but HBO.

Sam from Cleveland wants an update on the status of Cleveland Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth.

James Walker: Nothing has changed in the past few weeks, Sam. The Browns are still waiting on the NFL to rule on Stallworth this season so they can determine all the contract and salary-cap ramifications moving forward. The Browns are expected to cut ties with Stallworth at some point, and it will probably be sooner rather than later if he is suspended for the entire 2009 season.

Eddie Kilroy from Brunswick, Ohio, writes: Hey, James! Now that Alex Mack has signed with the Cleveland Browns, do you think that Hank Fraley would be traded for a draft pick or some depth at other positions?

James Walker: It's not going to happen, Eddie. The Browns have a lot of depth on the offensive line this year and want to keep it that way. Linemen always get injured during the course of a season.

Baer from Baltimore wants to know which attribute is more important for a cornerback: speed or size?

James Walker: Naturally you want both, but those are rarities, Bear. Otherwise it depends on the defensive scheme. For instance, if you're playing a lot of Cover-2, you want big, physical cornerbacks who can jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and eat up space in the holes of the defense. If you're playing more man-to-man defense, you want speedy guys who can stick to those quick receivers for more than a couple of seconds.

Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, AFC North, mailbag

Read comments or leave a comment

Galax Steeler
08-02-2009, 07:24 AM
Nice read Mesa thanks.

steelerdave1969
08-02-2009, 12:29 PM
yeh that was nice.. thnx