Poll Question: Are training camp fights a good thing or bad thing for team building? Answer #1: Good thing (94.7%) Answer #2: Bad thing (5.3%)
stelmann58: HI RAY any chance the steelers keep only 2 qb and put Jones on the PS
Ray Fittipaldo: I suppose that is an option, but they would have to expose him to the other 31 teams on waivers before they could re-sign him to the practice squad. Then if someone claims him they wouldn't have their fourth-round draft pick from a year ago. Jones has been slightly better this training camp, not great, but I still think they keep three.
stelmann58: Hi Ray after the first week who is your top 3 suprises and 3 dissapointments
Ray Fittipaldo: I really like undrafted free agent guard/center Chris Elkins. he has really impressed in one-on-one pass rush drills. He stymied Cam Heyward early in camp and continues to perform well no matter who is he going up against. Daniel McCullers got him theother day on a bull rush, but I've seen mcCullers get David DeCastro, too. Sometimes big guys win those drills. I also like Jordan Dangerfield, the safety from Towson. He has been really good in almost all phases, hitting, interceptions, the whole nine yards. Howard Jones has been pretty impressive, too. He's another undrafted free agent from Shepherd College. As far as disappointments go, Mike Adams has not improved at all. In fact, he is making the same mistakes he made a year ago. Wesley Johnson, the fifth-round O-lineman from Vandy, doesn;t look like he's ready to make a 53-man roster. He has struggled in one-on-one pass rush drills. Chris Carter, the fourth-year OLB, hasn't really done much either. They're think at OLB and I thought he might be able to provide some depth, but it just doesn't seem like he's improved all that much over the years.
DSF: If Adams and Beachum draft rounds were swapped, would Adams be cut by now?
Ray Fittipaldo: Probably, yes.
Ray Fittipaldo: Hard to say at this point after only nine days in Latrobe, but those three I mentioned two questions ago are making a push. The only thing I worry about with Elkins is his size. He is short with short arms and I don;t know how much the coaches will look at that in terms of long-term development. He's kind of like a Hank Fraley or Doug Legursky. He doesn't look like much, but coaches have a hard time cutting those types of players because they do so many other things well.
DSF: Are you still concerned about Spence's knee or can we be confident in it?
Ray Fittipaldo: He hasn't missed a day of practice yet. Yesterday was the fifth practice in a row. I think that's a good sign. However, I thought it was interesting yesterday when the Steelers released their first depth chart of the season and Spence was third-team behind Terence Garvin. Spence played mostly with the second-team defense throughout the first nine days of camp. Depth charts don't really mean a while bunch this time of the year, but I took note of that.
Goods20: Any return date on Zunwalt?..
Ray Fittipaldo: No update from Tomlin yesterday on Zumwalt. It's unfortunate for him. I think they like him, but you can't make the club from the tub. Hopefully, for Zumwalt's sake he gets back soon. His problem is trying to crack a very deep and good linebacker group.
Steel: Is Howard Jones doing enough to push Carter and gain a roster spot? I liked him a lot out of Sheppard and his combine numbers were outstanding.
Ray Fittipaldo: I originally thought he was practice squad material and he still could be, but Cartrer hasn't really done much to warrant a roster spot at this point. If they think Jones can be solid in a reserve role and on special teams he could make it over Carter.
Steel: Is Big Dan doing enough to challenge for a roster spot? How about Josh Mauro?
Ray Fittipaldo: They've had Mccullers at nose guard for the most part in camp so I think it will come down to a spot between him and Fangupo. He's been pretty solid and there is some upside there, so I think he has a shot.
Weegie Thompson: With Troy, Thomas & Mitchell at S. That sounds like some hitting. Any observations or comments about our athletes at the S spot ?
Ray Fittipaldo: Thomas has been dishing out the hits since day one. Dangerfield, too. It's a hard-hitting group of reserves and they're much faster than Ryan Clark. That's a good thing.
Goods20: After DeCastro/Foster... Who do they like next at Guard ?
Ray Fittipaldo: Chris Hubbard has been taking second-team reps. He was on the practice squad last year. I kind of like him. Good fundamentals. They tried Cody Wallace at guard when Foster missed the first few days of camp, but he didn't last long there. He was back at center after a day or two. And don't forget about Guy Whimper. He's played mostly tackle in camp, but he is position flexible and can play guard. Whimper has played pretty well in camp. Or maybe that's just because I'm comparing him to Mike Adams.
Steel: Why do we always do so well at acquiring these lesser name talents such as Dangerfield and struggle somewhat at drafting players? They seem to always hit on guys that nobody has on their radar. Is it just finding the ideal player for the system we are running? Thank you.
Ray Fittipaldo: Slow down. I didn't say Dangerfield was going to make the team. I said he has been impressive. That safety group is fairly deep. Thomas is having a good camp and Golden is a very good special teams player. I'm not sure if they can keep him.
Sai Konakanchi: What do u think about justin brown an how his career in Pittsburgh will be
Ray Fittipaldo: Brown is having a very solid camp. Catching almost everything. The coaches like the way he prepared during the offseason. He was No. 2 on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown, ahead of free agent signing Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Goods20: How's the Arnfelt kid looking?... Outside chance to start ? - or is that what they are paying Tuitt for ...
Ray Fittipaldo: Cam Thomas is the starting DE opposite Cam Heyward. Tuitt will get playing time and so will Arnfelt. I asked defensive line coach John Mitchell about Arnfelt the other day and he really likes what Arnfelt did over the offseason. He got bigger and stronger and he didn;t lose any of his running skills. He's one of the guys they're watching this preseason. If he plays well there won't be a need to sign Brett Keisel.
LambertLunatic58: Thanks to you Ray and many others around the league, we've had lots of feedback on the rookies. How about your thoughts on our vets at CB...Ike, Cortez, and Gay? The position that seems to be our weakest link isn't receiving much attention.
Ray Fittipaldo: They've been OK. This is a big year for Cortez Allen whether the Steelers sign him long-term or not. He is a free agent after the season and can make himself some cash with a good year.
stelmann58: Ray who are going to be the ILB for Depth alot of good players their Williams Spence Galvin
Ray Fittipaldo: If they can all contribute on special teams maybe a lot of them will be on the 53-man roster. Today I wrote about how they would like to save a roster spot by not having a FB on the roster. Maybe that opens up another spot for a LB. But as I said they have to be able to be impact special teamers.
Steel: Can you provide feedback on the progression of Martavis Bryant? Does it look like he and Ben are developing chemistry?
Ray Fittipaldo: Saturday and Sunday were his two best days of camp. He made a one-handed touchdown catch Saturday that was the offensive highlight of the day. He needs to show consistency though.
Justin: If Tuitt finishes off pre-season on a really high note...1. Do you start him on over Thomas...2. Does that mean "The Beard" won't return?
Ray Fittipaldo: Tuitt will be in the rotation. Not sure if he starts. Thomas is a bog body, a veteran and has looked pretty good thus far.
Goods20: As of Aug 4... What position do we seem thinnest ??
Ray Fittipaldo: Probably OLB. After Worilds, Jones and Moats there isn't much depth.
Postman: Evals of mike Adams not positive in his 3rd camp but Gilbert is in his 4th camp. Don't recall many positives about Gilbert in his 3rd camp last year - should we wait to see if it clicks for Adams next year before judging? Both 2nd rounders just seems Adams is a bit of a punching bag this year when Gilbert wasn't exactly lighting it up this time last year.
Ray Fittipaldo: Good point and a tough decision for the Steelers front office. I reported Saturday the Steelers and Gilbert's agent have been having dialogue about a long-term contract. If that get done it leads me to believe Adams isn't in their long-term plans. And it's very telling to me that Gilbert, and not Worilds or Cortez Allen, was up next after Suisham got his deal.
Goods20: Can you tell a difference in the presence of Munchak ??
Ray Fittipaldo: Great teacher, not a yeller. Players love him, respect him. The proof will be in the pudding. The players have to perform in games. Munchak can't put the pads on again and play for them and I remind people all the time all five of these guys struggled in previous years under two different coaches.
Steel: Our poll question is awesome and the fact that all of us think fighting is good epitomizes our fans.
Scott: Has Dri Archer shown his speed yet? Againt top guys or just camp filler? Can he be a versatile weapon this team desperately needs?
Ray Fittipaldo: He had about a 40-yard run yesterday against the second-team defense. I'd like to see him more against the likes of Shazier and Timmons though before I get real excited. Or the NYG defense Saturday.
steelmann58: RAY you think someone will claim Jones if put though waivers.Looking forward to his time Saturday. Also is DHB not being on the field hurt his chances to make the team.
Ray Fittipaldo: Yes, the concussion hurts DHB, but I kind of thought Brown was ahead of him anyway. They gave Jones some $ to sign with them as an undrafted free agent, which means other teams knew about him. I'm not sure about that. That's a question for the Steelers to ponder especially if they don't think Carter will be of much help.
Mikey: How much faster does Shazier look than the others on the 1st D? Does he show a physcial nature?
Ray Fittipaldo: It's the NFL. They're all fast. It's all about making plays and Shazier has done pretty well through the first nine days.
stelmann58: Ray Any chance Allen or Gilbert gets an Extension before the start of the Season? Think Allen a must CB depth very little depth even though i hearing good stuff about Blake
Ray Fittipaldo: Check answer above. They're looking at Gilbert first before Worilds or Allen. He's done well in camp and there is the problem of no long-term starter behind him.
stelmann58: Ray has Moats impressed you as an OLB because still feel this is a week spot.
Ray Fittipaldo: Moats has been very solid. The problem would be if a starter went down and Moats had to be elevated to a starting role. There isn't much depth after the top three.
Eric H: Ive read good reports about both Brown and Bryant. Bryants been flashing potential and getting better, but it seems Brown has been extremely consistent and dominant at times. Although Bryant is flashier, Brown may deserve the #4 wr spot. Who do you think will get it?
Ray Fittipaldo: If they drew up the 53-man roster today I think they'd both be on the team so I don't think it matters much who is fourth and who is fifth.
ryan: what are the odds that ike taylor doesnt start this year
Ray Fittipaldo: 0 percent chance of that unless he gets hurt.
Gareth: we have heard a lot about justin brown, but not much about wheaton? how has he looked?
Ray Fittipaldo: Wheaton has been impressive, too.
J R: What seems to be the problem with Mike Adams? Is it is work ethic?
Ray Fittipaldo: I don't think it's work ethic. He tries, but he has struggled in pass protection since coming to the Steelers and has not shown much improvement. The first thing an offensive lineman is taught is not to get beat to the inside because it's the fastest way to the QB. I see him get beat to the inside almost once every practice. He doesn't strike a blow with his hands either. Defenders get their hands on him and push him back. These are fundamental things. Maybe Munchak can help, but it hasn't happened yet.
John: How has cam Thomas looked? Haven't heard much
Ray Fittipaldo: He's been solid. I don't think they feel like they have to rush Tuitt. We'll see how he does in games though. His history in San Diego doesn't exactly make me confident.
Carl: Andy Dalton just received a 115 million dollar contract. That is a lot of money for a QB who has never won a playoff game. What do you foresee Ben's contract looking like?
Ray Fittipaldo: I'll withhold judgment until I see how much of that contract is guaranteed.
Rob: With MItchell being activated off of the PUP list does that mean the Steelers have to release somebody and when is the 1st cut down day?
Ray Fittipaldo: No and the first cut-down day isn't for another couple of weeks. Don't have the exact date in front of me.
Ryan: Derek Moye? What's the deal on him this training camp.
Ray Fittipaldo: Moye has been solid, but I think he might be in a tough situation. Brown has played better and Moye doesn't contribute much on special teams.
CD: You think Mike Adams could get cut?
Ray Fittipaldo: I honestly don't know. As I mentioned earlier Wesley Johnson has not been impressive either. There is not much depth at tackle. For that reason maybe they keep him.
Goods20: Any progression on Jarvis Jones ?
Ray Fittipaldo: Jones has been good. But he looked good at times in camp last year. It's all about game production for him.
Ray Fittipaldo: Thanks for all the great questions this week. We'll do it again next week after the first preseason game is in the books.
First Published August 4, 2014 12:00 AM