Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat: 6.5.17
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Scott in Dallas
11:49
Would the Steelers consider signing Kirk Cousins in free agency next year to be the starter for the next decade at QB even if it means cutting Big Ben? Who knows if Ben even plays out the final couple of years of his contract with his retirement talk. I don't like the prospect of facing another decade of QB's like we had before Big Ben came to the rescue. I have much respect for him as a player and wish he could play 10 more years but...
Ray Fittipaldo
11:51
The Steelers would never cut Roethlisberger to sign someone like Cousins. I have full confidence the Steelers will know in advance of any retirement and will be able to plan for the future. That doesn't mean they will be assured of finding a competent replace for Roethlisberger. We all know how hard it is to find an elite QB. But you'll never see a situation when the Steelers cut him because someone else is going on the open market. The Steelers will keep Roethlisberger for as long as he wants to play.
Brij
11:51
What can explain Ben's struggles on the road last season? And what can team do to rectify it? We need homefield advantage in the playoffs!
Ray Fittipaldo
11:53
Great question but one I don't have an answer for. I'd like to think their rediscovery of the running game in the second half of the season could remedy that if they employ a similar approach next season. I've voiced this opinion in multiple platforms since the end of the season, but I'll repeat it here. Roethlisberger is at the point in his career when he can greatly benefit from a great running game. The Steelers have a great running back, and they should use him. That will open up the play-action passing, and it will put him in favorable second- and third-down situations.
ManuB
11:53
Hello Ray. Greetings from Mexico. Have you heard of any chances the Steelers come to Mexico for a regular season game in the upconig years?.... Thank you!
Ray Fittipaldo
11:54
Yes I believe it will happen soon. There has been talk in recent years, but the Heinz Field lease is an issue as the Steelers have to play eight home games. It's more likely to happen as a road game, but finding a playing partner is likely the big issue at this point.
John
11:54
Do you see Dirty Red making an impact on this team this year?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:56
On special teams, yes. On the defense, I hope not. He's a solid backup but not much more. I've watched him in pass coverage in OTAs, and he struggles. The new tight end, Phazahn Odom, beat him for a long touchdown last week. Not only is he limited with his speed and athleticism when it comes to tracking these guys down the field, but he's short, too. That doesn't help when trying to cover these tall tight ends.
John
11:56
I hate the coin toss going into overtime. I would rather have the game just end in a tie. Your thoughts about it please.
Ray Fittipaldo
11:58
They've tried to take the randomness out of overtime, but instituting the rule about having to score a TD to end the game on the first possession. Anything else, and the other team gets to have at least one possession. I think I'm OK with overtime as it is now. It's definitely better than what it was previously when the game could end on a FG without the other team possessing the ball.
AJ
11:58
Do you think the reason Sutton has been practicing as outside corner is because they have more slot depth (Golson, Sensabaugh) but not much outside depth? And perhaps Sutton is the most versatile/adaptable at this point?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:00
I think they're taking a look at him on the outside now because they want to know if he can do it. With his size and skill set I think they know he can transition to the slot if need be. But there is room for improvement on the outside, and if he's better than Ross Cockrell I don't think they'll hesitate to make that move at some point next season. I'm not saying that will happen, but Sutton has shown a good ability to break on balls and intercept passes in OTAs. Yes, it's football in shorts and it doesn't mean much, but I'm looking forward to camp and the preseason games to see if he can continue it.
esoluke
12:00
Hi Ray. I looked up NFL running back salaries for 2017, and Le'Veon is highestcat $12 million... Next is Shady McCoy at $8 million. I thought the franchise tsg was an average of top 5 at your position. How could the average be $12M if he's the only one at that number?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:00
It's calculated on the top five for last year's backs, and at that point Peterson that that big contract on the books so that was factored in.
Mack
12:01
Does it appear that any player's off season surgery will hurt the chances for a return at the beginning of Training Camp.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:01
Maybe the beginning for one or two guys, but there are no concerns that I know of for any of the rehabs to linger into late August or early September and the start of the season.
12:03
Conner, but his hamstring injury isn't helping his cause. He barely participated in rookie minicamp and OTAs because of it. He needs to get healthy and show he can hold the job in training camp. If not, it's likely to be Knile Davis, whom I wrote about Sunday: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2017/06/04/Steelers-runnin...
Tune
12:03
Who do you see as the front runner to be RB 2?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:03
Question to previous answer...
John
12:04
Hello Ray, love the chat and never miss it. The thing I do miss is how making the OT frame 5 minutes shorter affects players being healthier. What am I missing?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:04
I think it might force some coaches to go for it earlier in the overtime period than they did previously. In other words, you might only get one possession so you had better make the most of it.
Bj
12:05
Do u think bell is holding out because of contract or is just still recovering from groin surgery?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:05
Likely a combination of both but mostly the injury. He can rehab anywhere. As long as he is present for training camp there really won't be a big issue made of his absence.
tentacles
12:05
how many dumb game plans either from the offense or defense this upcoming season?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:08
Hopefully they come up with a better defensive game plan they did in the AFC title game. I re-watched that game Friday and I forgot how bad they were on defense in that game. I mean, I remembered the blown coverages and the New England WRs running free all over the place, but I was blown away at the number of times the Steelers weren't lining up right, or were running around like chickens with their heads cut off as the ball was snapped. That's inexcusable for such a big game. That kind of stuff can't happen in any game but especially a title game when the Super Bowl is on the line. I don't know what their chances were to win that game to begin with, but I can tell you those chances diminished greatly every time the defensive linemen and outside linebackers were 5 yards off the line of scrimmage at the snap because they didn't know where to line up.
Drew
12:09
With the uncertainty surrounding Bryant and Coates, should the Steelers take a look at the recently released Jeremy Maclin?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:10
Um no. Gerry Dulac wrote about the crowded WR room today. They need to pair down in camp, not add. Here is Gerry's story: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2017/06/05/Steelers-wide-r...
Coop
12:10
Looking at the receiving group. Is there anyway steelers keep 7 wide receiver's
Ray Fittipaldo
12:10
I can't see that happening.
Bj
12:10
Has cam Sutton been getting in reps at slot corner because last I heard he was only working at outside corner
Ray Fittipaldo
12:11
Mostly outside from what I have seen. I expect them to take a look at him in the slot at some point this summer.
Ike Steelheart
12:11
For years Farrior was the QB of the defense. Who has that role now?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:11
Shazier.
StillerNJ
12:11
Seems like every year there's a "spoiler" waiting to derail the Steelers before they start. Injuries, suspensions, name it. This year, it looks like the Villanueva contract might be a headache. Unlike the other situations, this can actually be avoided, so what's the holdup?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:12
Apparently, his agent is asking for more than the Steelers are willing to pay. But really, the only way this is an issue in 2017 is if Villanueva retires or decides to hold out, and I can't see either happening. There is no leverage for Villanueva due to the CBA, and if he retires the Steelers still retain his rights so he'd be in the same predicament.
Justin Hanlon
12:12
Mike Florio said that he believed the Steelers are trying to put the squeeze on Villanueva. Wouldn't this be the wise move with other contracts to younger players coming up, and not to mention the hopes that Hawkins could be the future?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:14
I read that story from Bob Labriola and did not interpret it as a squeeze on Villanueva. Bob has been around the team for a long time and he offers his opinion from time to time on certain situations. I don't think the Steelers asked him to write that or even approved it before publication. I think it was just simply his view of a situation. Nothing more, nothing less.
mtsteel
12:14
Hi Ray, thanks for your time. So at this point what do you feel is the Steelers biggest "hole ", position wise, that they need to address? Thanks
Ray Fittipaldo
12:16
The area where they need the most improvement is the secondary, but they didn't use a draft pick on one until the third round. That's why I've been saying this draft hinges on Cam Sutton, at least they way fans grade it for 2017. If he plays well the Steelers defense has a chance to be better. If he's not ready to contribute then what's going to be different about the pass coverage?
Mark Alt
12:16
It seems tight end is a big gap for us still. Any options to shore this up?
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