LATROBE, PA. – Let's get to it:
SIMON FOX FROM PORT ALBERNI, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA:
We have been hearing lots of talk about Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree, but what about Jarvis Jones? Is he making any kind of impression at camp? What do you feel about his chances to become a starter and live up to his potential as a first-round draft pick?
The top photos of LB Jarvis Jones throughout 2014 season.
I am a Jarvis Jones fan, in that I like his potential as a playmaker and he seems to be someone who can really make an impact on this defense. There will be periods of a particular practice, or one practice over a several-day stretch where Jones looks like just another guy. After one pass-rush drill, Tunch Ilkin said out loud what everybody watching that was thinking: "If you didn't know who was the No. 1 draft pick and who was the No. 6 draft pick, you'd think Anthony Chickillo was the No. 1 and Jarvis Jones was the No. 6." There have been other snippets like that, but then just when a negative opinion starts to form, Jones puts together back-to-back days where he makes plays during the "tackle football" period. Then you saw him beating blockers and getting into the backfield and either blowing the play up for a loss or making the tackle himself for a loss. Jones largely has been able to stay on the practice field, which is critical to his development because he's only a 25-year-old going into his third season. I still like Jarvis Jones as a player, and barring injury he will be the starter at right outside linebacker on Sept. 10 against the New England Patriots. After that, it's going to be up to him.**
LORENZO SPEARS FROM WESLACO, TX:
I know that Brandon Boykin hasn't played one game in the black-and-gold and has yet to prove himself here, but do you think it is possible the Steelers keep him after this season? I know he's on the last year of his rookie contract. I think he's got some serious skills from watching him play the past few years.
The trade for Brandon Boykin was not a knee-jerk reaction to anything that had happened in this training camp, and the rent-a-player philosophy so pervasive in other professional sports never has caught on in football. The Steelers traded for Boykin because they like him as a player who will fit well within the scheme they will be playing moving forward. I see the 2015 season being one where both sides evaluate what it's like working together. If Boykin makes an impact on this team as a cornerback and interceptor of the football, the Steelers will become very interested in retaining his services, and if he falls in love with Steelers Nation after his three years in Philadelphia, then Boykin could be inclined to stay. When the Steelers traded for Jerome Bettis back in 1996, it was known at the time of the deal that he would be voiding the final year of his rookie contract to become an unrestricted free agent the next year, but the sides fell in love with each other. Maybe that happens again.**
BARRY BIBLER FROM SALEM, OR:
This is not going to be one of those "move Shazier to safety" question, but it's about the quick release of Shawn Lemon. I am kind of shocked at how quickly it happened after Lemon had an awesome season as a CFL linebacker. Is there something that happened behind the scenes that we do not know about with his release? Secondly, do you agree with me that Arthur Moats and Jarvis Jones will be the primary edge-rushers this year barring injury, with Bud Dupree coming on later in the year and James Harrison being in a supporting roll? I see Moats as our sack leader this year making good on his three-year contract. Thanks again for this great segment.
Let's start with Shawn Lemon. It's fair to characterize his 13 sacks in the CFL last year as an awesome season, but during the on-field portions of the offseason program he just didn't look like an NFL player. Granted, those sessions are padless, but if you watched Lemon and then you watched Howard Jones do the same things, it was clear that Jones is the much-better athlete/prospect. The Miami Dolphins found a gem when they signed Cameron Wake from the CFL and saw him post 63 sacks so far in his six NFL seasons, but the difference in the overall talent level between the two leagues is significant. Training camp opened with the Steelers carrying 14 linebackers on their 90-man roster, and that total included Lemon as a name on the physically unable to perform list. Lemon was 14th, and when his Achilles injury prevented him from practicing at the start of camp, the Steelers decided to move on. Midway through OTAs, Lemon getting cut looked to be inevitable. As for Arthur Moats leading the team in sacks – I'm OK with that as long as the number is in double digits. That's what I believe the Steelers are going to need for their defense to be a successful unit in 2015 – a sack leader in double digits.
PETER TOPA FROM OLD FORGE, PA:
When did the Steelers know about Senquez Golson's shoulder injury? If it was prior to the draft, do you feel that it was a wasted pick?
I'm no doctor, and I'm hesitant to play one for Asked and Answered, but my guess is the Senquez Golson injury happened during the offseason program. I remember him taking a spill and landing on his shoulder during rookie minicamp, and it's possible that's when the injury happened. It's still too early to say surgery is going to be required, and it's way, way too early to start labeling Golson a wasted draft pick.
Photos of running back DeAngelo Williams. Photos by AP.
ROOSEVELT RATLIFF FROM ORANGEBURG, SC:
When will we look for a big running back to replace Jerome Bettis and LeGarrette Blount to supplement Le'Veon Bell's efforts. This is needed for short-yardage situations and to build a reliable stable of runners such as Cincinnati, the Browns, and the Ravens are trying to develop.
I like DeAngelo Williams as the Steelers No. 2 running back. Yes, he is 5-foot-9 and weighs 215 pounds, but being explosive is a better asset for an NFL running back than being big. There's never going to be another Jerome Bettis – a 250-pound man with quickness and a dancer's feet – which is just one of the reasons he'll be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. And I hope there's never going to be another LeGarrette Blount, at least not with the Steelers. I really don't understand your dissatisfaction with the team's depth chart at running back, because let's face it, with Ben Roethlisberger and those pass catchers it would be a waste of talent and money to turn this group into a run-first offense.
RAY DINTINO FROM ODENTON, MD:
Has Terry Bradshaw "softened" on Ben Roethlisberger? I remember when Ben was suspended and Mr. Bradshaw was not too keen on the whole thing. But since Ben has been more of an elite player, Terry hasn't said anything negative about him – at least not that I have seen. Are they becoming pals, finally?
In the grand scheme of things, nothing could be less important than Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Bradshaw being "pals." Yes, Bradshaw had some things to say back in 2010 about Roethlisberger's personal life and how young quarterbacks should strive to have N-F-L associated with their names rather than T-M-Z. I remember when I first heard that it made me wonder, if TMZ had existed during the 1970s what would it have made of Bradshaw's marriages to Melissa Babish, 1969's Miss Teenage America, whom he subsequently divorced and replaced with Jojo Starbuck, then an international pro figure skater? Bradshaw is currently married to his fourth wife. I never have been a fan of people in the media moralizing about others' behavior, because at Central Catholic we always were taught a version of John 8:7, the Bible verse about "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." And I'm betting big on nobody in the media being without sin. Just my opinion.
RONALD CONNELL FROM BAKERSFIELD, CA:
This is not really a question, but I just wanted to say I really enjoy Asked and Answered. The detail that you include in your answers is from an organizational standpoint, and not from some know-it-all fan. So, thank you. Lastly, the bumblebee uniforms are amazing. No one cares what people from Arizona have to say anyway! Thanks.
I always heard that about Cleveland. And you're welcome.