Let’s get to it:
ERIK MONTGOMERY FROM ROCHESTER, NY: Just curious what position battle is the most intriguing to you? I'm curious to see who comes out as our two starting safeties.
ANSWER: I don’t believe there is going to be much of a battle for the two starting safety jobs, because barring injury I see Sean Davis and Morgan Burnett having those spots locked down. As for Terrell Edmunds, I see him as a player who can have a significant role in the sub-packages, and he could end up starting some games if the Steelers choose to open in one of those sub-packages.
THOMAS BAUMGARTEN FROM COLUMBUS, OH: Terrell Edmunds at 6-foot-1, 217 pounds, is not much different in size from Ryan Shazier who played at 6-1, 230. Would the Steelers consider switching Edmunds to inside linebacker full-time given he and Shazier are very similar in size and speed?
ANSWER: Wow, now we’re doing it the other way. For a couple of years, I had to deal with questions about moving Ryan Shazier to safety, and now before his first snap in pads during his rookie training camp the narrative has shifted to moving Terrell Edmunds to inside linebacker. The notion that Shazier was better suited to a position other than the one he played for his entire football life was proved to be false, and I would suggest to you that the same thing is going to play out with Edmunds. If nothing else, how about giving Edmunds a few minutes to determine whether he can become a dynamic player at his original position, as Shazier did at his.
MARK ADKINS FROM ST. AUGUSTINE, FL: In my humble opinion, the fact Donnie Shell and L.C. Greenwood are not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a travesty that has gone on way too long. How the voters have passed on the these two greats is beyond me. I have heard of a Steelers bias, in that the NFL doesn’t want too many players from one team to be enshrined to get more fans from more different teams involved. Can you tell me, from a writers perspective, was there anyone better than them, from their era?
ANSWER: I share your opinion, that both Donnie Shell and L.C. Greenwood deserve to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but let me clarify one point you seem to be making. In the years in which Shell and Greenwood were not elected, it wasn’t necessarily because other players at the same position were judged to be better. What the Board of Selectors is considering each year is which players from a particular group of finalists deserve to be inducted, and so it may have come to pass that a quarterback was judged to be more worthy one year, or a running back another year, etc. It’s not necessarily as cut-and-dried as your question seems to suggest. And at this point – because Shell and Greenwood are more than 25 years removed from the ends of their careers – their path into the Hall of Fame is through the Seniors Committee.
KEITH POMMER FROM CLEARWATER, FL: Tyler Matakevich was a tackling machine in college, and so why aren't the Steelers sold on his game? He's always around the ball.
ANSWER: Tyler Matakevich has been running with the first-team defense throughout the entire offseason program, so how do you come to the conclusion that the Steelers aren’t “sold on his game?”
STEVE COCHRAN FROM HEMINGWAY, SC: Why don't the Steelers give Le'Veon Bell what he deserves?
ANSWER: What he deserves? I’m fairly certain that “what he deserves” is one of the issues to be resolved if the sides are to come to a long-term agreement. And remember, there is a difference between “what he deserves” and “what he wants.”
MATT CONFER FROM VANDERGRIFT, PA: I seem to be in the minority here, but I feel Joshua Dobbs is too good to let go. Is there any way the Steelers keep four quarterbacks? Or Dobbs goes to the practice squad? He seemed to get better and better during the preseason last year. I think I like the idea of Mason Rudolph and Dobbs as the team’s top two quarterbacks after Ben Roethlisberger retires.
ANSWER: That retirement ceremony might not be held for several years, and so the team has to do what’s best for today. Keeping four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster seems unlikely, at least to me, but maybe some set of circumstances arise that make that a reasonable alternative. Putting Joshua Dobbs on the practice squad would entail having him first clear 24-hour waivers, and if he performs well enough during training camp and the preseason for the Steelers to want to pursue that option, I would guess another team would claim him during the waiver period.
KEITH STEVENS FROM QUAKERTOWN, PA: Isn’t it time to move on from Le'Veon Bell? Why not try to get a trade partner that works for both sides and call it a day. The talent isn't worth the distraction for one year. How about David Johnson for Bell? Is that possible?
ANSWER: This is one of the reasons why I wouldn’t make a good teacher, because I lack the patience to go over and over and over the same material time and again. One more time to celebrate the end of the offseason program: a player who is not under contract cannot be traded, and because Le'Veon Bell hasn’t signed the franchise tender, he is not under contract. If he sticks to his plan – in the event a long-term deal is not reached – and doesn’t sign the tender until Labor Day, that would all but eliminate the possibility of a player-for-player trade, because neither team would be getting a player who was well-versed in the new offensive scheme/terminology.
As for your trade suggestion: Arizona’s David Johnson injured his wrist in the regular season opener, and after surgery he spent the rest of 2017 on injured reserve. Not only is Johnson coming off season-ending surgery, but Adam Schefter reported that he’s skipping the team’s mandatory minicamp this week because he wants a new contract. And unlike Bell, Johnson currently is under contract.
CRAIG HUYA FROM VATICAN CITY, THE VATICAN: The next time a person suggests that Le'Veon Bell be traded while being franchised, will you please let that person know they are alone and they are the turd in the punch bowl that is Steelers Nation. Thanks a lot.
ANSWER: I’ll allow y’all to debate this among yourselves.
FREDERICK APPLE FROM PANAMA CITY, FL: Wide receiver James Washington. Rookie of the Year. Fiction or fact?
ANSWER: It’s neither fact nor fiction. It’s a guess.