Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat transcript: 08.25.14

Weekly poll:

Where will the Steelers finish the season in the NFL rush defense rankings

25-32:  33%

19-24: 6%

15-23: 33%

10-14: 22%

1-9: 6%

Comment From Dude_From_Cali

Ray: it appears Jarvis Jones will do okay with average LT's and be swallowed up by the great ones. Meaning 5 sack season. Agree?

Ray Fittipaldo: Jones has one sack this preseason. That came Week 1 vs. the Giants. It was a gift from the OT. Jones took the inside and was barely touched in his way to the QB. He definitely has to pick it up. If the OLBs in this defense don't get pressure the defense does not work.

Comment From Jake

Ray, I would say this is the worst defensive line since the mid 70's. They need to find a nose tackle. Your thoughts? Thanks

Ray Fittipaldo: It's still the preseason. There are some definite problems with the run defense, but let's give them time to fix before we start making comparisons to other bad years.

Comment From Dude_From_Cali

Ray, your colleague Ed sorta hinted at another season at best a little better than 8-8 or same. What's your prediction?

Ray Fittipaldo: I was leaning toward 9-7 or 10-6 before the Philly game. Now I'm thinking 8-8. I think the offense will be able to score, but I'm not as confident in the defense at this point.

Comment From Dude_From_Cali

Hi Ray: Has cut list been listed yet?

Ray Fittipaldo: No cuts yet. They have until 4 p.m. tomorrow to announce those.I would not expect them until tomorrow. They are practicing now and as far as I could tell by the locker room presence they still have a full complement of players at practice.

Comment From rj

They can't cut Heyward-Bey, can they? He showed what he could do against the Eagles

Ray Fittipaldo: Heyward-Bey is in a tough situation. He missed more than a week of camp with a concussion. When he was out Justin brown solidified his spot on the team. The only way I see Heyward-Bey making the team is if the keep six WRs. Or if they cut Martavis Bryant and, even though he has been slow to materialize I don't think they'll do that.

Comment From McGill

I've read that other teams have had their DBs practice while wearing boxing gloves or holding tennis balls, to get them to adjust to the new emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact. Do you know if the Steelers have done anything like that to prepare for the way the officials are now supposed to call things?

Ray Fittipaldo: I have not noticed anything along those lines. Whatever they're doing they'll have to adjust soon because the officials continue to make those illegal contact or defensive holding calls.

Comment From SnoopCatt

Fans heard a report early last week that the Steelers were trying to extend Cortez before the opener. Would you keep trying after last Thursday's performance?

Ray Fittipaldo: I don't know if one preseason game wold sway their opinion on a player they have had in their program for four years. They probably won't have Ike Taylor next season so they might like to have Allen locked up to a long-term deal, unless of course, they'd like to spend a lot of money in free agency trying to find their replacements.

Comment From Macon_Steeler

Since it appears the Steelers do not have the players to run the 3-4 like they want to, is it time to consider fundamental changes to how they approach building a defense?

Ray Fittipaldo: They have been making adjustments. We did stories over the offseason about how they are taking a different approach with their nose tackle. Those guys have to be able to play not only in base but in subpackages because otherwise it's not worth it to spend a high draft pick on them. But half the teams in the league are i the same boat. Of the 32 teams about half are 3-4 and the other half 4-3. It's not like the Steelers are alone in trying to figure things out.

Comment From Mark

Was deply embarrased and appalled at the lack of anything resembling competitive NFL quality football last Thursday. One would think by the 3rd pre-season game that teams should be able to display some quality level of play on both sides of the ball...so is this what we should expect in 2014 or was this a complete anomoly....thank you!

Ray Fittipaldo: I think it was an anomaly with the offense. Ben Roethlisberger said today they are holding a lot of things back during the preseason. I'd be more concerned with the defense. I don't think they're showing everything by any means, but they have some problems to address.

Comment From jcunningham

Are there any players that have been cut by othther yeams that are worth taking a look at?

Ray Fittipaldo: The cuts being made this week are not guys who likely be picked up. That comes when teams go from 75 to 53. These cuts are relatively easy

Comment From Rene

What can we realisticaly expect from Keisel?

Ray Fittipaldo: If he can stay healthy they can probably expect what he gave them last year. He was solid last year.

Comment From MichaelinNC

Yeah, Jones has one sack...he missed game 2, and probably played the equivalent of 3 quarters total.. people need to relax already about things.. its preseason and using statistics to determine how most players are preforming is ridiculous.

Ray Fittipaldo: Statistics are one thing. People can watch games and come away with opinions, too. It's not hard to determine Jones has been less than effective as a pass rusher.

Comment From Jack

Ray, Do you think the Rooney's hand out any discipline to Bell and Blount?

Ray Fittipaldo: Looks like they are going to let the league take care of it. They disciplined Santonio Holmes on their own in 2008 and they got some resistance from the NFLPA when they did that. I don't think they'll mete out any punishment on their own this time.

Comment From Rich in NYC

Personally, I think the offense is going to be fine; it's pre-season. But the defense looks alarmingly inept. Aside from an aging TP, I just don't see a playmaker on the field. JJ looks exactly as last year. LB's look undersized except for Timmons. The 3 down lineman are being handle, no penetration; being pushed back repeatedly, no pressure. I just don't see that changing once the season begins. Am I wrong? Are you optimistic? Thanks.

Ray Fittipaldo: I agree with you. The offense is ahead of the defense at this point and it might have to carry the defense early in the season. That's never really been the modus operandi for this franchise so it will be interesting to watch.

Comment From Jimmy

Will Moye make the team and can he ever be an impact player?

Ray Fittipaldo: I don't think Derek Moye will make the team.

Comment From Rob

Is it possible the antics of Cheech and Chong affected the team Thirsday night?

Ray Fittipaldo: Players wold never admit that, but the performance Thursday night leaves room for plenty of speculation.

Comment From jerry

Most people blame the defense for the steeler woes. I however believe that a great deal of the blame belongs to the offense. In todays NFL (in my opinion) the offense has to score 28+ points per game. The steelers however never seem to get in a flow. Either Ben is off or the receivers arent where they are supposed to be. Eagle receivers were open all night much as the NFL rules want them to be. However, when Ben threw to one of our receivers they were either closely covered or not open at all. I just dont understand!!

Ray Fittipaldo: Very few teams score 28+ points per game. The Steelers will win a lot of games if they do.

Comment From Bigk825

Any news on the injuries of Spence, Woirlds, and company in the Philly Game?

Ray Fittipaldo: Gerry Dulac reported yesterday Spence is out 2-4 weeks. He also said Worilds' injury is not that serious.

Comment From Steve K

Do you think Will Allen makes the team this season?

Ray Fittipaldo: Allen has been hurt the past week or two. That does not help him. However, he is a veteran and knows this defense as well as anyone. If they him it will be because of the emergence of Shamarko Thomas, who has played pretty well in camp.

Comment From Jimmy

Who wins the AFC Central? Bungals or Ravens?

Ray Fittipaldo: Or Steelers? Bengals might be taking a step back this year. Ravens will be good. Steelers will be good. It might be one of those years when the division winner is 9-7.

Comment From TerrellB1

Do you think Dan McCullers will make the team?

Ray Fittipaldo: Yes I do. He is good enough to beat out Hebron Fangupo, who did not dress for a lot of games last season. This year, it can be McCullers being the guy who gets deactivated on game day.

Comment From steelmann58

Ray any update on Pondesh will he be returning or they will seasrch the waiver wire since Wing has not got it done

Ray Fittipaldo: I have not heard anything about Podlesh coming back except that it remains a possibility.

Comment From Mark

Any chance a team like the Rams would trade for Landry Jones and give the Steelers something of value in return? I would trade him for a decent punter at this point.

Ray Fittipaldo: Why would the Rams want Landy Jones?

Comment From Tom

I hope the Steelers will be checking the cuts for a legtimite NT, hard to understand that a team that depends on one in the 3-4 would be so lacking?

Ray Fittipaldo: Nose tackle certainly is part of the problem but I refuse to believe it's the entire problem.

Comment From steelmann58

Ray What postions could the steelers be looking at through the next two series of cuts.

Ray Fittipaldo: Punter

Comment From NaplesDave

Hi RF, Have you observed any impact Munchak has had on the O line?

Ray Fittipaldo: Big impact in my opinion. The five starters have allowed on sack in the first three preseason games. Not so much in the run game although I expect that will be much improved as well

Comment From steelmann58

Ray any worries about SS and his kicking or is it due to Warren being Hurt.

Ray Fittipaldo: The snap and hold looked pretty good in Philadelphia. He just missed it unless there was some timing issue I am unaware of. I'm starting to get a little concerned about that. He has missed easy kicks the past three weeks.

Comment From Renegade

The defense is indeed the worry link. Is Jarvis Jones as thin and unimpressive physically in person as he seems on TV? I see him getting pushed around easily by OL on run and pass. Thanks Ray.

Ray Fittipaldo: He hasn't added much weight since last season.

Comment From Zib

After watching the Chargers play the other night, I see why they let Cam Thomas go. They have a stout DL, and so far, I see nothing from Cam Thomas that would merit his status as a DL starter with the Steelers. Your view?

Ray Fittipaldo: I think when they signed him they viewed him as a swing player. The hope was Tuitt would come on and earn a starting job. He hasn't done that so Cam was the guy until Keisel signed...

Ray Fittipaldo: Thanks for the questions this week. We'll do it again next week at the same time.

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