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Old 07-01-2009, 10:46 PM   #1
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Default AFCN Chat with James Walker

(Steelers questions only - mesa)
http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/27203
Chat with James Walker

Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.

Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.

James Walker
(3:59 PM)

Let's get started and talk some AFC North football.
Steve Spedden (Boise, Idaho)

Hey James, With young and hungry Lawrence Timmons ready to step in and replace Larry Foote do you think the Steelers Defense will be even more dominating this year? I know they lost Bryant McFadden but William Gay has proven he can play. Much easier schedule than last year as well. Thanks

James Walker
It's hard to be more dominating than the No. 1 defense. But I think you're going to see Pittsburgh be even more dynamic. Dick LeBeau can do things (like blitz) with Timmons that he couldn't do as much with Larry Foote. He's going to have a new toy to draw up more schemes.

kyle (maryland)
When viewing the steeler's OTAs, which rookie outside of ziggy hood impressed you the most?

James Walker
I liked Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis. I really think Wallace could be the fastest player on the team (at least in shorts) as a rookie. He's really a blur. Lewis has good size and looks like a Cover 2 corner. My guess is Mike Tomlin wants to use that defense a little more this year or in future years.

jason (atlanta)
james - do you think that b. mcfadden would still be in the black and gold right now if the starks deal had gotten done earlier this offseason or would he still have walked.

James Walker
The two were not related. The Steelers really like William Gay and felt it was his time. So they didn't make much of a push to pay Bryant McFadden top dollar.


SteelCityTA (Tha Burgh)
James, with Parker coming into a contract year and the recent play that he has given with the short yardage carries, do you Mendenhall starting the 2010 season?

James Walker
I get this question a lot and this is something that everyone is going to have to wait and see how it plays out. The Steelers don't know at this point. It's going to be up to the play of these two players.

Reid (Greensboro)
Lawrence timmons will give the steelers more blitzing options but will he be able to match what Larry Foote did against the run?

James Walker
That's the flip side of it, Reid. Timmons will have to take on guards and fullbacks, too, which Foote was good at. Physically, Timmons can do it. He just needs more experience at it.

John (Sanibel Island, FL)
James, you mentioned a while back that Ryan Mundy looked impressive in workouts. Do you think this will affect the way the Steelers approach resigning 2010 UFA's, considering Ryan Clark is on that list?

James Walker
Lot's of Steelers questions today. Mundy had a good spring, but coaches prefer to keep it all in perspective. It's just practice without pads. Pittsburgh knows what it has in Ryan Clark and is interested in extending him.

Mark ((Los Angeles))
J-Dog! I love the blog. Do you think there is any credence to the idea that the Steelers O-line will be better because they are more familiar with each other? Can something be said for continuity on the line?

James Walker
It's valid to believe that, Mark. It makes sense. But I'm not sure the ceiling is very high for this group. Those that read the blog know I've been critical of Pittsburgh not upgrading this unit.

(One thing I noticed about this chat was how many Steeler questions came from outside of the burgh. The reach of the mighty Steeler Nation is truly amazing. - mesa)
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: AFCN Chat with James Walker

Nice read thanks Mesa.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: AFCN Chat with James Walker

I LOVE the idea of the Steelers incorporating more elements to confuse the oppositions. I don['t want us in a base Cover-2, but there's no reason we can't implement parts of the defense into the 3-4, run more 4-3, whatever it takes to get the opposition off their gameplan and out of rhythm.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: AFCN Chat with James Walker

and that is the beauty of having MIKE T as head coach. its as if he has taken the cuffs off Le Beau and is inputting his own Defensive philosophy. Remember.. .he kept Le Beau... but that doesnt mean Mike T's influence or presence wont be felt in the Defense. He is after all a Defensive Coach at heart.

All this means is the Steelers Defense will continue to improve and revolutionize the way the game is played... kinda a scary but awesome thought hu?
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: AFCN Chat with James Walker

Its so funny how the only thing 3-4 about us is our very base defense. How many times have we seen 2 down linemen or 4 down linemen only to see it develop into something totally different.

Our defense is so evolved past just a basic 3-4, its scary.

Love the Wallace Pick. Hope this kid works out to be a Solid 4 or Future 3.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: AFCN Chat with James Walker

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelKid212 View Post
and that is the beauty of having MIKE T as head coach. its as if he has taken the cuffs off Le Beau and is inputting his own Defensive philosophy. Remember.. .he kept Le Beau... but that doesnt mean Mike T's influence or presence wont be felt in the Defense. He is after all a Defensive Coach at heart.

All this means is the Steelers Defense will continue to improve and revolutionize the way the game is played... kinda a scary but awesome thought hu?
Exactly. I think Tomlin fixed the one chink in LeBeau's defense, pass coverage. LeBeau was SO dependent on getting to the QB, that if that failed, we got burnt. Tomlin fixed that element, IMO. What a pairing those two make.
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