Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat: 5.15.17
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Ray Fittipaldo
12:16
Don't pay attention to jersey numbers until September.
JoJo
12:16
Looking ahead a little here...just interested in your thoughts about what could potentially happen when Martavis is due for a contract. Let's just assume he has his act cleaned up and keeps it that way. Seems to me that bringing in a WR in the 2nd rd sort of paves the way for Bryant to walk. I think he'd be looking at a fairly significant contract if he returns to form.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:17
Bryant has two years left on his contract. I think the Steelers are just hoping to get two good years with no suspensions. If he's too expensive to keep in 2019 then so be it. You have Smith-Schuster and Brown in the final years of his contract still on the team.
FRANK CA
12:17
I DO REALY LIKE THE PICK UP OF JU JU BUT THIS DID CREATE QUITE THE STIR AMOGST THE RECEIVING CORPS.... OF COURSE, AB, BRYANT I EXPECT JU JU TO BE SHOE IN'S... I THINK THEY ARE TOO DEEP RIGHT NOW...SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE. WHO IS ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN AS YOU SEE IT?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:18
The final WR spots will be one of the best story lines of camp. Demarcus Ayers, Cobi Hamilton, even Darrius Heyward-Bey are going to have to prove their worth. I'll throw Sammie Coates' name in there too. Either way, players who contributed to this team in the past won't be on the 53-man roster unless, of course, there are major injuries.
Tom AZ
12:19
Ray, although a very good coach, M. Tomlin, has sllowed our punt and kick off return teams to be way below the line. Why has he accepted their poor pergormance?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:20
I don't think he has accepted it. He has been on the record many times saying the special teams have been lacking. You can help those teams by adding some players to the mix via the draft and free agency. Either way, the special teams have to improve if the Steelers want to contend for a Super Bowl. There is no reason for them to be so mediocre, or in some instances poor.
Lambert Lunatic
12:20
Hi Ray, sorry always so much talk about beating Pats. But don't we need to improve as much or more on offense than defense? Even with our top rated defenses this century, Brady still picked us apart. That's why I loved our #2 pick plus Conner. Isn't a more dynamic offense (keeping #12 off the field) with a decent defense a much better formula to beat them at this point?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:21
History has shown you need all three phases clicking to beat the Pats. You need first and foremost a strong pass rush. You need to play some man coverage. It also helps to possess the ball and keep it away from Brady. Lots goes into beating that team.
Joe
12:22
Are you as high on the Ravens and Bengals drafts as others? The Bengals added weapons and the Ravens added to their very good defense. However the Bengals have no o-lineman to protect Dalton to use those weapons and the Ravens have NO weapons at all.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:23
The Bengals took some chances on players with either injury of character concerns. Sometimes those guys pan out; sometimes they don't. It seemed like Ozzie Newsome was more worried about his defense than his offense. Maybe he's trying to rebuild the defensive side of the ball first. But you're right, Joe Flacco is lacking weapons. It seems to be the Ravens might be trying to win some 17-14 games next season.
Steely
12:23
How long into the season does James Harrison continue to start?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:24
Good question. You want to keep him fresh. You also want to win as many games as possible so you have a chance at the No. 1 seed. It all depends on TJ Watt. If he progresses well enough maybe the Steelers can use Harrison as a pass rush specialist late in the season rather than as a starter. The only downside to that is Harrison has been so strong against the run over the years so Watt would have to be very good at that for the coaches to start him.
KJ
12:25
Ray, do you have any information on Akil Blount other than he is Mel's son? What is the likelihood he makes the 53 man roster this season?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:25
I don't think there is a high likelihood. He'll have to have a great camp for that to happen.
12:28
You mean undrafted free agents from this year??? I think Francis Kallon has a shot to be on the practice squad. He has traits they like to work with. Maybe Scott Orndoff has a chance at the practice squad too. Way too early to tell though. All of these guys have to prove they can play in training camp.
Tom
12:29
Who do you expect the Steelers to extend on long range contracts thus summer?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:29
Tuitt, Villanueva.
KJ
12:29
How did Josh Dobbs look in practice last week? How was his arm strength & accuracy?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:30
He looked OK. I'm not going to judge guys off a few practices.
Bill
12:30
People seem to forget we were missing possibly our best defensive player, the second half of the season in Cam Heyward. With that being said who takes the biggest jump on defense this year?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:31
I still think there is another level for Ryan Shazier if he can stay healthy all season. He made the Pro Bowl last year, but I'm talking about All-Pro level. And people are on the Bud Dupree bandwagon, too. He has all the athletic traits. He just needs to stay healthy and pit it all together, too.
KJ
12:32
We've heard of NFL QBs inviting their receivers to work out with them, run routes, get timing down, etc. How often has Ben done this in the past and do you know if he has any plans to do that this offseason?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:32
Ben has done that the past few years. It helps with timing so they can hit the ground running in the spring and summer.
Michael
12:33
JuJu has tweeted his support for the Pens. Will he be at the game tonight? (It's just too hard to come up with a football question this time of the year!)
Ray Fittipaldo
12:33
Le'Veon Bell was there for Game 1. NBC showed him and apparently no one on the broadcast recognized him.
mike
12:33
Ray I feel in order for the the team to improve in all three phases, they need to use some of these rookies. I know it is all about them showing they can, but I feel JuJu can easily be the third receiver if not number two, and I feel that Sutton needs to be a part of the defense? what are your thoughts?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:34
Yeah I agree on Sutton. For this defense to take the next step it needs to have the ability to play more man coverage. So Sutton and Burns would have to be able to do that. I'm high of Smith-Schuster, too. I really like that pick. He's a big target over the middle for Ben late in his career.
Patrick
12:34
What do you think the realistic expectations are for senquez golson this year if he stays healthy ?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:35
Honestly, I have no idea and I don't think the Steelers do either. He literally has practiced like three times in pads in two years here.
Eddie
12:35
Last year Ben played great at home. Why of lately does he struggles on the road?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:35
The $100,000 question. If they can figure that out maybe they'd challenge the Pats for the top seed in the playoffs.
Taz
12:36
With 90 guys right now, obviously this roster is going to be more or less cut in half by the time the season starts. What are the positions where the no-names have more of a fighting chance to make it? Obviously not WR or LS, for instance.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:36
ILB, DB, maybe DL.
Ryno
12:36
What about Watt intrigues you the most? What he showed in college as far as a potential upside, or his DNA?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:37
Both. And that's why the Steelers drafted him. They liked the production in his one and only season as a starter, but they know the family and the work ethic and believe he will get much better.
ssa76
12:38
Any takeaways from rookie camp?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:39
Yeah Brian Allen had a great one-handed interception...Oh you mean those takeaways. No, I like to judge players in a truer football setting such as training camp.
Davis
12:39
do you think Ross Cockrell will be our starting outside CB when the season starts?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:39
It's looking that way, yes.
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