AFC North mailbag: Steelers edition

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Let’s see what’s on the minds of fans of the defending champs.

Farhood from Dubai noticed the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers' no-huddle offense and wants to know the best way for defenses to shut it down.

James Walker: I’m always appreciative to our international readers, Farhood. It’s crazy to think people all over the world are reading the AFC North blog. The best way to stop a no-huddle is to have good, versatile players on defense. The biggest challenge for defenses against the no-huddle is it prevents substitutions on both running and passing downs, which gives an advantage to the offense. But if your base defense is versatile and can stuff the run as well as cover the pass equally without subbing in extra defensive backs, you can have success.

RJ from Virginia Beach writes: It sounded like the fans at Heinz Field were yelling something special when Heath Miller made a play. It sounded a little like booing, but that's impossible for Heath Miller in Pittsburgh. Any idea what it was?

James Walker: They were yelling “Heeeaaattthhh,” which is the tight end’s first name.

Collin from ChiTown, Ill., is curious if the Steelers would have any interest in free-agent offensive tackle Jon Runyan.

James Walker: Not a bad suggestion, Collin. I haven’t looked into this but to my knowledge the Steelers have not expressed interest in Runyan. Keep in mind, Pittsburgh extended the contracts of a lot of players. So there’s minimal room left under the cap to make any significant room for free agents.

Renato Cozzarelli from Pittsburgh writes: Do you think Troy Polamalu MEANS more to his defense than Ed Reed does?

James Walker: I think Troy Reed means more to his defense than both of them.

Coreen from Davis, Calif., wants to know what it will take to bring up Pittsburgh tailback Isaac Redman from the practice squad.

James Walker: It could be an injury on the 53-man roster or Pittsburgh would have to release someone. Initially, I didn’t feel the Steelers had a need for four tailbacks on the active roster. But after the first game I’m not sure Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore or Rashard Mendenhall will excel in short-yardage this year. Third-and-short plays happen several times in every game, and these are crucial situations Pittsburgh is losing so far. As I mentioned before, even if Redman gets two carries a game that result in two first downs, he will be well worth the roster spot.