Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat: 8.7.17
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Ray Fittipaldo
11:52
Welcome to my Steelers chat. Let's get started.
Scott in Amsterdam
11:53
The Steelers front office really dropped the ball in this Martavis situation...they should have been fully aware of all requirements for reinstatement and had their people on it. Poor management if you ask me...someone should be fired, don't you think?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:55
I don't know the entire story. Bryant hasn't done any interviews since camp started. But I'm hearing the NFL is to blame for at least part of this. Perhaps not all but some. Either way, you would have thought the Steelers and the NFL would have had this all worked out before camp started.
Scott in Amsterdam
11:55
When the first official depth chart is released, should we expect to see Knile Davis as the top backup at RB?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:56
That depends on how James Conner does the rest of camp. He hasn't practiced since the first day in pads so Davis or Fitz Toussaint would be the top backup to Bell now. But if Conner plays well and stays away from injuries he could have a role, too.
Ryno
11:56
Ray, is my understanding correct that the reason Bryant is not yet allowed to practice with the team is because he has not yet met all the conditions the league set for him? And if my understanding is correct, why was it so difficult for Steelers management to just come out and say he has not yet met all the requirements, instead of being vague and evasive about the answer?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:58
I would imagine there are some HIPPA issues at hand when it comes to how they divulge information on this matter. Even the NFL is vague. The statement issued in April referred to "clinical resources." I suppose that means drug aftercare programs but I don't know why they just don't come out an say it.
Ryno
11:58
Would you consider the number of injuries they have had so far to be more than usual or about average at this point?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:59
Probably average overall, but the injuries in the secondary are mounting and that has to be a concern. I just wrote about that this morning. http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2017/08/07/steelers-injury...
Scott in Amsterdam
11:59
Based on what you have seen in camp so far, who do you think are the five (or six) receivers that make this roster?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:59
There is a lot of talent there so I would say six at this point.
JJ
11:59
How is Phazam Odom looking.  6'8" good hands,fast ,willing blocker-could be a nice addition to the T.E. group.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:04
I'd say practice squad might be an option for Odom. You say "willing" blocker. What does that mean? He might be willing but he's not very good at it.
Tampa Steeler
12:04
If Burns misses part of the season due to injury, do we have enough in the secondary to replace him and still contend?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:05
There is nothing to suggest at this point that Burns is in danger of missing any time in the regular season. But if he does it won't be good for the Steelers. He is their No. 1 CB.
Twan
12:06
There's a lot of optimism going into the season which worries me. What do you see this teams ceiling and also where do you think the floor is?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:07
With all important players healthy and available, the ceiling is 13-3 or 12-4 and a Super Bowl contender. But if any of these injuries turn out to be longer term or if the situations with Bryant and/or Bell go south then all bets are off.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:07
Tomlin mentioned that while they have confidence in his abilities, Vince Williams is not the anointed starter at MLB...do you think anyone else on the current roster could step up? Fort or Matakevich perhaps?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:07
Matakevich is the top backup at ILB. But Vince Williams will start. That's why they signed him last August.
Dennis N
12:08
With Leterrius Walton moving to NT and so many injuries in the secondary, is it likely that the Steelers only keep 5 defensive lineman, and keep an extra CB to open the 53 man roster?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:08
Way too early to say. The first preseason game is Friday. Let's see how these injuries play out.
Derek O.
12:08
Hey Ray, it's clear that Dirty Red is the backup at both ILB spots, who do you think is the next man should there be an injury, Fort or Johnson?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:09
I think Fort is better in pass coverage and Johnson might be better vs. the run so it would depend on how they wanted to deploy.
Derek O.
12:09
Justin Hunter has been a training camp darling every year of his career, but clearly hasn't put it all together on the big stage. Do you think he gets a lot of reps in the preseason to show if this year is different?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:09
Yes. They'll take a long look at him.
Thomas
12:09
I hope the Bryant hold up is not his fault.  I wouldnt want to be in his shoes around this town if he isnt practicing due to something dumb on his part.  If he isnt ready week 1, who is WR2?  Rogers?  Hunter?  DHB?  Coates is useless.  Can JuJu be ready then?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:10
They certainly like JuJu. Much will depend on his learning curve, but he's taking advantage of the reps with the first-team offense with Bryant and Coates out.
Derek O.
12:10
What makes Dulac think Bryant will be reinstated this week? There's conflicting reports from the Steelers and NFL, and Goodell is known for flexing his muscles for no reason.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:11
Gerry said he had a source. Plus, he had his pads on Friday night. He thought he was cleared before being told he could not take part. Clearly, he is close.
Adam
12:11
Are there any in the orgnaization concerned about Bell's absence?  Is he planning on missing regular season games or will he report during the preseason?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:12
He's not going to miss any regular-season games. He'd be forfeiting about $1 million a week if he did that. And I don't think the Steelers care about the absence at this point in camp.
Norm from Leiden
12:12
Of course we are all thrilled that AV is a Steeler, but how much help does he get in blocking schemes compared to other starting LTs?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:12
That might have been the case in 2015. I don't think they really chip as much now.
Norm from Leiden
12:12
Any idea on how Ross C. is doing in man-cover drills this camp?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:13
Antonio Brown burned him for a TD last night. Others have fared well against him, but he's had his moments, too. He's an OK corner, but I don't necessarily think man coverage is his strength.
Charlotte John
12:14
With all our great offensive weapons, do you feel a tight end (who can stretch a field) would be more of a weapon than a solid blocker? I like Jesse, but another playmaker would be insane in the offense right???
Ray Fittipaldo
12:14
Tight ends have to block, too. That's why James is the starter and that's why they keep Davis Johnson.
Nick Kennedy
12:15
The Steelers obviously have high expectations this year.. with the Super Bowl being a realistic goal. With that being said, an issue that has been crippling the Steelers the last few seasons has been dropping the games they’re ‘supposed’ to win. Many factors can play into that, but there’s no doubt that has negatively affected our chances to have homefield advantage in the playoffs.. do you think the Steelers traveling the least out of any team this year will help counteract the road-woes and also do you think that this year has a different sense of urgency than in years past?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:16
That was the case in years prior to 2016. They really didn't have any horrible losses last season. But I see your point. They have to have a 13-3 or better type of season to get home-field advantage and give themselves their best shot at a Super Bowl. I get it.
Norm from Leiden
12:16
Hey Ray, to what degree would you say that MT and Joey P have been given a pass by the media (esp. local) re their poor behavior around high school football?
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