Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat: 6.19.17
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Ray Fittipaldo
11:53
Welcome to this week's Steelers chat. Let's get it going
Avg Joe Flaccid
11:53
Any chance the Steelers pitch a shutout against the Ravens this season? Their offense looks to have taken a step backwards ...
Ray Fittipaldo
11:55
I think they'd just be happy getting a season sweep against them. And never underestimate the Ravens. John Harbaugh always seems to find a way to make that team competitive. I know they have some issues at the skill positions, but Jeremy Maclin could help them.
gary@northernVirginia
11:55
Great work Ray. Recent coaching comments about Golson seem to indicate his status is shaky....Do you think this is mostly motivation for him, that barring another injury, it's unlikely they'd really cut him?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:57
Don't be surprised if he is cut. They've parted ways with plenty of high picks in the past. Does anyone remember Scott Shields? He was a second-round pick and I don't think he lasted past his second year. There have been plenty of others. Golson is in a crowded CB room. Burns, Cockrell and Sutton have the team made and probably Gay too. They brought in Sensabaugh as a free agent and they seem to like this Hilton, another free agent. He has his work cut out for him in camp.
SinceDa70s
11:57
Any of the returning wounded not on course for the start of camp? Heyward, Coates, Bell, etc.?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:59
Heyward and Coates both practiced in OTAs and mincamp. I think they'll both be close to 100 percent, if not 100 percent when camp opens. As for Bell, we just don't know. I would expect them to be cautious with the injury. He doesn't need six weeks to ready himself for the season. All that matters is he is healthy for the start of the regular season, and I think he will be.
SinceDa70s
11:59
Only one each PK & P on roster: No concerns about injury/fatigue during camp?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:00
Nah. They have machines that can simulate punts and they use them in camp. As for place kicker, you can easily limit his reps.
Todd D
12:00
I think the Steelers offense in 2017 has the potential to be the best they've ever had. Do you think that will be enough to get ring #7?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:02
I was just working on something this morning about that very possibility. But you do realize it all revolves around health. When the Big Four were together for that 10-game stretch in 2014 they were nearly unstoppable. They averaged 31.2 points per game and went 8-2 to finish the regular season. But I think they only played one game together since 2015 due to suspensions and injuries. If the Big Four of Roethisberger, Bell Brown and Bryant are together all season, or large portions of it, then yes they have a chance to be the best offense they've ever had. But as we all know that hasn't happened very much the past two years.
SinceDa70s
12:03
I know professional reporters are able to suppress any "fandom" while covering teams, but have you ever kept something as memorabilia from a game or event you covered? Maybe a press pass or something like that? Ever get anything signed by a player or coach for that reason?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:06
Never had anything signed by a coach or player. But I have kept game credentials and things like that. For the longest time I had the game credential from Joe Paterno's record-setting win that broke Bear Bryant's long-standing mark for most wins by a Division I coach. I think it's still around somewhere, but it was misplaced in a move. I also kept a lot of stuff from Super Bowl XLV. That was my first and only Super Bowl to date. I have my credential from that and some other things. Other writers probably do a better job than I do in that regard. After a while, all these games run together and you don't stop to think you should save something.
SinceDa70s
12:06
Moats and Chickillo both had opportunities to start last season, and Pittsburgh drafted an OLB with its first pick (and another later on) in the recent draft. Meanwhile Vince Williams has effectively been presented with a starting opportunity after serving as a fill-in starter. What about the first two, and what about Williams, accounts for the difference? I know productivity is the obvious answer, but is there something intangible as well?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:08
It's just as simple as the Steelers not believing Moats or Chickillo have the ability to be premier pass rushers. For the Steelers, the OLBs have to be productive as pass rushers. That's why Joey Porter got a little perturbed this week when he was asked about the Steelers not having a double-digit sacker since the 2010 season. So when you don't have that guy on your team you try to go out and find him in the draft. As for inside LB and Williams, it's an important position on this team but not as important as OLB. He will be used in base packages as a run-stopper. He's not likely to be on the field all that much in nickel and dime.
Travis
12:08
Has James Harrison done enough to be a hof? Longest interception in super bowl history, 2 time sb champ, defensive mvps, and still productive and playing at 39 years old, changed the physicality of the game and will probably reach 90 sacks.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:11
I was looking at some stats for Hall of Fame pass rushers last week and he's not even close to some of the top guys. Bruce Smith leads with 200. He's in the HOF. Reggie White is close behind along with many others with 150 or more. Harrison only has 81 1/2 sacks. That's a lot of sacks, but so many other players who are not in the Hall of Fame have more. Now, it should be pointed out that Harrison has been an equally prolific run-stopper and a better all-around player than many on the all-time sacks list. So that must be taken into consideration. But many times, the writers who vote for the HOF are enamored of numbers and won't consider Harrison even if his overall games does indeed warrant it.
Jay
12:12
I understand most people are pro Tomlin based on his overall success (record-sans the bad teams, championship, etc.) and stuff that remains unforeseen to us average Joe's who don't get privy locker room info (perhaps I should seek out AB for that)...But, and I know I'm on a limb here, Tomlin seems to rank high with his contemporaries based on that fact that there just aren't many exceptional head coaches around the league. Why does he, according to Cowherd (who I normally don't agree with), get a media pass when there SEEMS to be just as many faux pas with his coaching as there are the aforementioned accolades???
Ray Fittipaldo
12:13
I don't know. I just think it's a matter of everyone, including Tomlin, not measuring up to Bill Belichick. He an all-time great coach and he tends to overshadow every one of his contemporaries because of his record and success in the playoffs. So I don't think it's Tomlin so much as as every head coach's accomplishments being dwarfed by Belichick's big achievements.
Chris
12:13
Ray I'm reading that S. Golson may be a question to even makectgec53 man roster.  Has something happened or does he just not look that good after injuries, or too soon to say?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:15
Well, this was foreshadowed by Kevin Colbert this spring when he pretty much came out and said they weren't going to be counting on him due to his missing two years of football with injuries. It's hard to come back from that. That's a lot of missed reps and a lot of missed training time. Younger and equally talented players have been added to the mix and Golson has make the roster based on his ability to play special teams. It's also worth noting that Carnell Lake said last week that Golson appears to have lost some of his speed.
Stiller Fan in Buffalo
12:15
As the players and team as a whole try to improve over last year, what specifically would you say Tomlin himself as HC needs to improve upon?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:16
Getting his team in position to compete for the No. 1 overall seed. They haven't done that during his tenure with the team and they might need it if they want to knock off New England.
Big John in VA
12:16
Thanks for taking my question, love your chats. Since all the Draft picks are signed and sealed, who will be first ..Bell, Tuitt or AV? my bet is on Tuitt.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:16
I'll say Bell just because of the July 15 deadline. If not Bell then Tuitt.
Big John in VA
12:16
Could there be a chance that Gay gets moved to safety or will he be a cut?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:17
If the Steelers were going to cut William Gay I think they would have done it in March. I think for better or worse he'll be on the team. And yes, there is a chance he can be used as a safety in some dime packages, but that hasn't been determined yet.
Jay
12:17
My follow-up question (sorry, long time/first time) would be, he doesn't seem to have what it takes (like Harbaugh and some other sparse teams' coaches) to beat New England. How does this team which, comparatively speaking, on paper is better than New England (games not played on paper, I know, I know), beat the Pats?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:18
Because Belichick is a master tactician and his QB is Tom Brady.
GregLeaper
12:18
Decent chance all the draft picks make the team?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:18
Don't think that will happen. Brian Allen might have to start his career on the practice squad and the same might be the case for Keion Adams.
El Guapo
12:19
Ray if you had a notebook and could write down goals for this Steelers season what would it say?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:19
I don't need a notebook, just one line on a sheet of paper: The Super Bowl. They're good enough and it's time they got over the hump for the first time since 2010.
Chris
12:19
How disappointing will it be if the Steelers have a really good season again but lose to New England again in playoffs?  And if that happens would you foresee any significant coaching changes
Ray Fittipaldo
12:21
Lots of ifs there, but I don't think you'd see significant changes if by significant you mean the head coach.
BishkekSteeler
12:21
Who makes the Dline work other than Heyward and Tuitt
Ray Fittipaldo
12:21
They're the main guys and Hargrave proved he was a good nose last year.
JerseySteel
12:21
Will the Steelers look at David Harris for ILB depth?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:22
They might look for depth at ILB, ut I don't think it will be until September when the other 31 teams pare their rosters down to 53 players.
JerseySteel
12:22
It did not sound like Carnell Lake was too excited about Senquez Golson. Do you think he can contribute on defense this year in some role or more special teams and gone after 4 years like Shamarko Thomas?
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