Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat transcript: 6.17.14

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<b>Poll Question:</b> In honor of Chuck Noll, which team was his best coaching job? <b>Answer #1:</b> Super Bowl IX team (27.5%)<p> <b>Answer #2:</b> Super Bowl X team (10%) <b>Answer #3:</b> Super Bowl XIII team (0%) <b>Answer #4:</b> Super Bowl XIV team (0%) <b>Answer #5:</b> 1989 team (27.5%) <b>Answer #6:</b> 1976 team (45%)<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Welcome to my weekly Steelers chat. Please post your questions and we'll get started soon. And check out the poll question on Chuck Noll.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> Sorry if it was asked already, any chance we can sign Brandon Flowers or Chris Houston?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Houston is coming off an injury. I heard he is supposed to be fine by the fall, but I don't see that one happening for the Steelers. Flowers is interesting. He did not have his best season last year, but he had several good ones before that. He might be a good get if he can get back to where he was in 2012 and 2011. The Steelers certainly can use some depth there, but to be honest I haven't heard any buzz about either the past few days. Flowers and Houston were released Friday and the Chuck Noll news was Friday night. We've all been preoccupied with that. If the Steelers are interested they will have to get in line because there are others in need of CB depth, too.<p>

<b>Rod Rust:</b> Could Chuck Noll coach in today's NFL culture and be successful?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Yes, the great ones can coach in any era. Noll was one of the greatest of all time. He knew how to coach superstars and he could get the very most out of every player on the roster. He also had an eye for coaching talent and had many great assistants. He could coach in 1969, 1979, 2009, 2029.<p>

<b>paul:</b> Should Worlds leave after rejecting latest offer, where does that leave us next year?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> The Steelers could tag Worilds again next season if they wanted. But if not, it would leave them in the position of having to draft another OLB fairly high next year. Unless Arthur Moats or Zumwalt or another unknown comes through this season as an up-and-comer, there is not an answer on the current roster.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> In a perfect scenario how many touches do you see Dri Archer getting and how many touches for Blount per game?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> If he can return punts and kickoffs, I'd say he could get 8 or 10 a game on special teams and then depending on the offensive game plan each week he could get another 5 or so on offense. Maybe more, maybe less depending on the opponent each week. As for Blount, I think they use him a lot in goal line situations and he'll spell Bell every once in a while. Guessing maybe 8-10 touches per game for Blount.<p>

<b>Frank The Tank:</b> Do you agree with the huge contract they gave Poucey? That made no sense to me.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I have a lot of respect for Mike Munchak. To me, the contract says Munchak believes Pouncey can excel in his system. That's my takeaway. You need an athletic center to run the outside zone and that is one of Pouncey's strengths. And plus, in two or three years Pouncey will be not be the second-highest-paid center in the league. He might be the fifth highest-paid center. The salary cap will continue to go up and thayt $8 million a year might be reasonable in 2017. We'll have to wait and see.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> Do you have a favorite Chuck Noll sound bite? Mine was referring to Sydney Thornton, he has many problems and they are great.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> That's certainly a great one. "Getting on with your life's work" is another. I never covered Noll, so I have to rely on stories from guys like Ed and the old NFL Films footage.<p>

<b>paul:</b> Any chance Brown wrestles starting WR position form Wheaton?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I wrote about Justin Brown a few weeks back and noted how much he had improved. I'm not sure he'd take that leap, but no one should be surprised if he earns a roster spot.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> To me Brandon Flowers could come in and on Day 1 be a starter at CB for this team. Colbert and Tomlin have to realize that, no?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Flowers was not great in 2013 and the Chiefs had to cut him for a reason. If he can play the way he did a few years back he'd be a great pickup for almost any team in need of a CB. The Steelers coaches seem to like some of their own guys already on the roster, so we'll have to see how that plays out.<p>

<b>Ryan:</b> There have been limited reports about any of the rookies besides shazier. how have they looked so far?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> They're all getting their feet wet. I expect Tuitt will be a bigger story on training camp because I think they'd like to see him challenge for a starting job. Right now Cam Thomas is working with the 1s. We've written about all of them at some point from the draft until now. Click on our Steelers coverage on <a href="http://podst-gazette.com" target="_blank" >podst-gazette.com</a> to see the stories.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> That would be <a href="http://post-gazette.com" target="_blank" >post-gazette.com</a><p>

<b>Guest:</b> Who's going to be the Punter next season?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Adam Podlesh or Brad Wing. Wing is punting pretty well now, but it will be decided in training camp.<p>

<b>Tom:</b> All of the Steelers high draft picks recently have been normally low salary positions. How can you afford to get playmakers on the team if all your money is in your center, guard, and DE positions? Can we really luck out with another 6th round all-pro receiver?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> They've had pretty good success getting playmakers in the middle to lower rounds. Brown is not the only one. Mike Wallace was a third-round pick. So was Emmanuel Sanders. Le'Veon Bell was a second-round pick. That's pretty high. History says you can get some quality receivers in the middle rounds. I don't really have a problem with where they've been getting their playmakers. It seems to be working all right.<p>

<b>Joe:</b> I think the reason why so many are upset about Pouncy's contract is because he has acted very immature in the past and he was rewarded in a big way. Not the Steelers way at all. I agree that he should not have been given the benefit of the doubt. Not an outstanding individual, but very good player.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> The Steelers obviously not worried about his maturity level. The front office and his peers consider him a leader. Ben Roethlisberger talked about him last week and how good his work ethic is, how much he watches film, how he is always one of the first players in the building. That's the stuff the team sees.<p>

<b>Ryan:</b> I have been seeing alot of reports about Antwain Blake is this all "football in shorts" talk or could he actually be a contributor to the defense this year<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I honestly do not know, but as time goes by and camp approaches and they go to camp with guys like Blake and McCain that tells me the like them. That being said, they're fourth and fifth corners, if they make the team. The top three are Taylor, Allen and Gay. And remember, Shamarko Thomas can play in the slot if need be so I am not sure how much any of the depth CBs will see the field if there is not an injury.<p>

<b>Wild Bill:</b> Maybe Pouncey is good, but is he a difference maker? Can't say our o-lines were great with him.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> You might see him being more of an impact player in Munchak's scheme and with Munchak coaching him.<p>

<b>Alan:</b> People tend to freak when the see the average yearly value in contracts like Pouncey's his guaranteed money is much lower than Mack<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Correct. And some national writers were mistaken when they wrote Pouncey is the highest-paid center. Mack still holds that distinction.<p>

<b>Wild Bill:</b> Where would you put your money as GM, a corner like Keenan Lewis or a center like Pouncey?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Apples and oranges, really. I don't have Lewis' contract handy, but he got around $4 million a year from the Saints. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong). He was signed and plugged into the starting lineup, but he was not a high-profile signing. Pouncey is a high-profile player and demanded top dollar at his position.<p>

<b>Wild Bill:</b> Isn't all the money basically guaranteed in a Pouncey contract? Would the Steelers cut him in the next two or three years?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Nothing is guaranteed beyond the signing bonus and this year's salary, which I believe totals $13 million. The signing bonus is spread out over the contract so there is dead money for the next few years, but they can most certainly cut him in 2017 or 2018 and it won't be a huge deal. Not saying that will happen, but only a third of his contract is really guaranteed.<p>

<b>Carlo:</b> In your opinion, who wins the #5 WR spot? Heyward-Bey or Justin Brown?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Tough call right now. But the battle for the fifth receiver spot will be tightly contested.<p>

<b>Gus:</b> In all the tributes to Coach Noll I don't see any mention of how many of his former players are now dead from links to steroids. Is that a fair criticism of the man?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> He has been criticized for that in the past, but he was never accused of asking his players to do it. Those players made their own decisions in a very different time in the NFL. Plus, the Steelers were not the only team that had players on steroids. Every team in the NFL had players on steroids.<p>

<b>Aaron:</b> How was Martavis Bryant looking in otas? didn't hear much about him?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> He is finding his way. He is a rookie and a young rookie at that. It takes time.<p>

<b>Wild Bill:</b> Sirius radio this am was talking about who may be the next dynasty team (Seattle, SF, etc)? We have heard this talk about many teams like GB or Saints then they barely make it to conf. champ game. Isn't it truly amazing how dominant the Steelers have been since 2000? Do we take that for granted?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> It's tough to call the Steelers "dominant" when other teams have been as good or better in that time. The Patriots won three Super Bowls. The Giants, like the Steelers, have won two in that time. Consistently good is probably the best way to describe this franchise since 2000. I would not say dominant. That is reserved for the 1970s Steelers.<p>

<b>Troy:</b> Where does Smarko Thomas fit in? With the Mitchell signing and with him likely taking over Ryan Clark's old spot. Is Smarko a bit of a let down to the Steelers, or they see him as still learning?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I wrote about him a couple of weeks ago. I was a bit surprised he was not seeing more reps with the starters with Polamalu not present at OTAs. Maybe he is still learning the defense. I think this is a big training camp for him.<p>

<b>JamesinNYC:</b> Thank you Coach Noll.<p>

<b>Jack Splat:</b> What is all of this "grass being greener" in terms of getting other players (cast offs)?. The guys that are going to have a winning season and make the playoffs this year are alredy on the Steeler roster!<p>

<b>John:</b> How much cap space is left for this season? I know Jermichael Finley option is unlikely, but is there any wiggle room left for additional moves?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> They still have to sign Stephon Tuitt. After that there will be some money left to extend some others like Cortez Allen. It's always nice to have a few million handy if there is an injury and you have to go out and sign someone late in the summer.<p>

<b>afrazier9:</b> do you think tuitt will get an opportunity this season to contribute or will he be put into the rookie development slot we always use for rookie dline<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> With their defensive line depth he has to contribute. I think it's a matter of whether he will start to be honest with you. In terms of their handling of rookies they've tried to change that the past few years. They tried to give Jarvis Jones a starting job last year. It didn't work out for him, but I don't see them changing their approach with rookies. They want to find out about them sooner and see if they can get some bang for their buck with them right away.<p>

<b>John:</b> Based on previous performance, who do you see as a better long term fit at RT? Adams or Gilbert? Adams run blocking would sure fit nicely there.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Gilbert might price himself out of a job with the Steelers if he has a good season. Some very average to below average right tackles signed some big contracts this winter. Gilbert will likely demand $5 million or more per year. So it might be Adams by default.<p>

<b>Trevor:</b> Do you think zumwalt could be a replacement for worilds in the coming years?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> He's learning inside and out, but when they drafted him they said they see him inside in the future.<p>

<b>Zack B:</b> Is Adams being given the chance to compete with Beachum?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> We'll see in training camp, but Beachum has taken most, if not all of the reps with the starters in OTA.s<p>

<b>Ryan:</b> One of the positions thats not getting attention is tight end they basically have nothing behind miller. Do you think the team sees this as a problem<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> It's a big problem in 2014 if Miller get hurt again. They did not address tight end until the seventh round of the draft and I don't think they see Rob Blanchflower as a future starter. He is a guy who maybe can develop into a Matt Spaeth in the future. In all likelihood the long-term starter at tight end is playing somewhere in the college ranks.<p>

<b>JamesinNYC:</b> They cut Woodley..to answer isn't Pouncy's deal fully guaranteed.<p>

<b>Steve Smith:</b> Do you thinks this Steelers defense has enough depth currently on the roster, or do you anticipate, smoe sort of veteran signing some time the rest of this off season?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> They're not deep at defensive line, which is why you've seen speculation about Brett Keisel. They're not terribly deep at OLB either. I'm not ruling out a move at either spot, especially if there is an injury or two in camp. That's why you save some money under the cap.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> Word is the ravens have their eye on CB flowers... Any chance we (the steelers) make a move to intercept him? Or at least help drive the price up on him to make it more expensive for them to sign him?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> The Lions and the Falcons also are rumored to be interested. I don't think Flowers comes cheap, which is why the Steelers might not be in it.<p>

<b>Aaron:</b> Who's your favorite rookie that was drafted and why. If it's Shazier who's your 2nd.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Too early to tell. Intrigued by Archer and what he might be able to do with special teams.<p>

<b>Ryan:</b> There are reports that say Worilds turned down a long term contract from the team. if thats the case could this be his last season with the team<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Ed reported that last week. He said the Steelers were not going to budge from their original offer. It could be his last season, but it should be noted they can tag him again in 2015.<p>

<b>Ivan:</b> What do you think of Worlids not accetping the long term deal and how do you think will handle this going forward?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> He's trying to maximize his worth. I have no problem with a player trying to get as much money as he can. You just hope he's getting proper advice from his agent about his worth. He might want to see what he's worth on the open market. But he might not get that chance until 2016.<p>

<b>Chris from the Burg:</b> Why don't teams utilize the slash type players anymore? Players seem to be a lot more athletic now and could be used in multiple roles. Kordell Stewart was really hard to stop in his hey dey...except when he played QB of course.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> We've seen that recently. The Jets had a QB from Missouri, Brad Smith, they used as a returner and sometimes on offense. It's still done. I'd like to see Terrelle Pryor be used that way in Seattle. Maybe that's why Pete Carroll went out and got him.<p>

<b>Ryan:</b> This whole thing with Worilds makes me nervous because if we lose him more than likely we will be drafting a linebacker in the first round of next year draft again<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Maybe not if he's tagged again.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Thanks for all the great questions this week. We'll have plenty of coverage from minicamp this week and I'll have another chat next Monday.


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