Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat: 5.22.17
powered byJotCast
Ray Fittipaldo
11:53
Good afternoon. Let's get the chat started.
Steelers Fan in Cincy
11:53
Ray, with Green gone, do you believe the Steelers are set at TE? Or do you think they will wait to see if a quality one gets released from other camps? And was he the worst FA signing in the Tomlin era?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:54
Yes, I believe it was the worst free agent signing of the Tomlin era. Others have pointed out the Sean Mahan signing, which wasn't good. But Green takes the cake for me for two reasons: 1. he was coming off ankle surgery; and 2. there was a concussion history that was not properly investigated.
Steelers Fan in Cincy
11:55
From what you saw in rookie camp and Greens departure, does this give JuJu a better chance to start in the slot? Swann said JuJu's another Hinds Ward with his battle catches and blocking in run support.
Ray Fittipaldo
11:57
Yes, I wrote about that late last week. Smith-Schuster's role is now clearer. The Steelers can split him out and use him as they planned to use Green. He won't line up as an inline tight end, of course, but they can scheme it up so his abilities are highlighted. He is a big target, which should come in handy in third-down situations in the middle of the field and in all situations in the red zone. Many thought his selection in Round 2 was a luxury. Now it's pretty clear they knew Green wouldn't be back.
Steelers Fan in Cincy
11:57
With the youth drafted and last years on the defense, I am anticipating a much faster defense this season. Your thoughts on this?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:59
The hope is the three rookies who played last year are much more comfortable and play faster because they know what they're doing. I think that'll be the case. All three seemed to pick things up in fairly quick fashion. I think they're hoping Watt and Sutton can do the same this year.
Steelers Fan in Cincy
11:59
Ray, is OTA's this week or were they last week. Can't recall much coverage other than rookie camp.
Ray Fittipaldo
11:59
The first of 10 OTAs is tomorrow. We'll have coverage all week. There are 10 of them and then a three-day minicamp in mid-June. Lots of Steelers stories coming in the next month.
Steelers Fan in Cincy
11:59
Ray, do you believe the O-line depth is good enough or will they look to sign additional back ups or practice squad players for back up depth?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:00
Assuming there are no major injuries between now and the start of the season, I think their depth is really good. They like Hubbard for his versatility. They like Finney. He started a couple of games last year. They like Hawkins, too.
Steelers Fan in Cincy
12:01
Living here in Northern Cincy my neighbors are on edge if the Bungels can win with the bad character guys they drafted and still have on the team. Not one can stand Pac-man Jones.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:02
Marvin Lewis can stand him. Why else would he be on the team??? I kind of liked Cincy's draft. They took some chances on some talented guys. We'll see if they pan out. But you have to remember, they also lost quite a few important guys in free agency. I don't think they'll be much of a factor in the division unless those rookies play great.
SteelersFanFromIndia
12:02
Hi Ray, How do you rate Gary Barnidge and what are the chances of Steelers signing him? I think he will be an upgrade over most of our TE's except may be Jesse James
Ray Fittipaldo
12:04
He's a pass-catching tight end and not much else. And he's 32. I think you can bring him in if you have a specific role for him. He might be an option, but you'd sign him knowing his role would be limited to catching passes.
davesdogs
12:04
If the Pitt kicker has a slightly better to better summer and preseason do they cut Chris Boswell ?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:04
Um, no.
Justice_Rises
12:04
Has Martavis Bryant completed his requirements to return for the OTAs?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:05
I believe he has. He is expected to be at OTAs tomorrow.
SteelByDesign
12:05
Yinzers have already seemed to make a folk-hero out of Jesse James. I like the kid, but he's a solid #2 TE at best.

Do you think the Steelers are satisfied with a starting TE that they took off the field on run downs in lieu of Chris Hubbard last season?

Any chance they kick the tires on a vet like Gary Barnidge? Or someone else's camp cuts later in the summer?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:06
They certainly could and should kick the tires on some guys, including Barnidge, but James played well enough that anyone signed would serve in a complementary role. In other words, can they upgrade over Xavier Grimble...
SteelByDesign
12:06
None of us should be surprised by the Ladarius Green release, but the fact that the Steelers didn't address the position in the draft actually had me feeling optimistic about Green.

Was his failed physical a surprise to the team? Or do they just feel okay about what they have?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:09
I cannot imagine the failed physical being a surprise to the Steelers. They have been dealing with his health situation since they signed him in March of 2016. The doctors knew he had to miss the final six games of the season due to a concussion and they had to know that he would be susceptible to them in the future given his inability to recover quickly. All concussions are different, but I don't think the Steelers wanted to be in a situation again next fall when he might only be available for a handful of games. They decided to make a business decision and cut their losses.
Rich
12:09
Good morning Ray, with Green absent do you foresee The Steelers going 4 wides with Rogers and JuJu both settling in the middle?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:09
Yes. Haley has done a nice job drawing things up to take advantage of the players at his disposal. He'll do the same this time around.
Rob H
12:10
I'm actually intrigued by what this current group of receivers and RB's could do out of more 3 and 4 receiver sets, and think they will only look for possible veteran insurance at TE....How about you?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:10
For sure as long as Bryant remains clean. Lots of reason for optimism.
anthony
12:10
Do you think that Coach Tomlin is clever enought to beat Belchick in New England? Also how many rookies do you think will make the 53 man roster?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:12
He's only done it once and Tom Brady missed that game in 2008. Has nothing to do with him being "clever" enough though. It has everything to do with the Patriots having the personnel and the games plans to defeat the Steelers. The Steelers tried to address that by selecting Cam Sutton and Brian Allen, two CBs that can play in man coverage, but I'm not sure counting on two rookies to turn the tide in a lopsided series is a smart move.
Guest
12:12
Do you really think the Steelers picked JuJu to be a tight end and/or replacement for Green because they knew or strongly suspected they were going to cut him?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:13
Not to be a tight end, but to take advantage of his skills and use him in the same way they planned to use Green.
Guest
12:13
Chances that the Steelers will have a good enough secondary that they can cut finally William Gay, who's play fell off a cliff last year?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:14
I think if they were going to cut Gay they would have done so by now. He was awful against New England and there is no reason to believe he'd do any better next season against Tom Brady. However, he is useful in zone coverage and the Steelers won't completely abandon their scheme.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:14
Apparently, Ladarius Green still believes he will play in the NFL again (maybe even this year)...so why did the Steelers decide to release him at this particular moment? How much money did they truly save by releasing him now vs. later in the year? Seems like it would at least be worth the wait...
Ray Fittipaldo
12:15
It's not worth the wait if they don't believe he'll be a reliable and available. Obviously, they thought otherwise.
12:16
I am not. Ed's chat is tomorrow and you can ask him. Bryant is expected to speak tomorrow after the first OTA.
Tayvon Reed
12:16
Do you think Artie Burns will have a breakout 2017 season
Ray Fittipaldo
12:17
Any second-year player that started eight games and three playoff games should be better. Breakout season? I don't know. He'd need some help from the pass rush.
Larry S.
12:17
Ray: Your take on potential CB contribution by Golson this season? Also, is more help needed at ILB?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:18
Everyone is in a wait and see mode with Golson, including the coaches and GM. Will be interesting to see what he looks like this week after being injured for two years.
Load More Messages
Connecting...