2017 OTAs On Deck: Steelers Friday Night Five Questions

Happy Friday to all of yinz once again and welcome to the end of what has ultimately been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While this week was expected to be slow news-wise, the Thursday releases of long snapper Greg Warren and tight end Ladarius Green with failed physical designations has certainly given us all quite a bit to talk about. With the team’s annual OTA sessions set to start this coming Tuesday, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of other news and interviews to discuss throughout next week.

If you’re a fan of all Pittsburgh sports, you’re probably getting ready right now to watch game No. 4 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals and likely hoping not to see a repeat of what took place in game No. 3 Wednesday night. Personally, I can’t wait to see how the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to their recent shellacking.

On a personal note, my father is now back at home and resting comfortably from his recent surgery. As it turned out, his spleen needed to be removed in addition to one of his kidneys as it also had a tumor on it. He’ll know very soon what kind of chemotherapy he’ll need when the biopsies are examined.

The weather in Las Vegas has been most-excellent this past week and while it is warming up quickly, there are some nice breezes in the early morning and late afternoon. Wifey and I have even started walking again for about an hour prior to night falling. It’s hard to believe it’s now been just over a year since we moved out here and I don’t regret doing so one bit.

Now on to this week’s Friday night five questions and I tried to come up with some exceptionally good ones for you this weekend to answer in the comments below and I hope several of you have the time to do just that.

Have a great rest of your weekend and thank you to all who visited the site this past week.

Peace and love, peace and love!

1 – Do you believe the Steelers knew there was a good chance Green wouldn’t make it to the start of OTAs ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft?

2 – With Green now out of the picture, name the tight ends who will ultimately be on the Steelers Week 1 53-man roster.

3 – Between tight end Jesse James and rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, which Steelers player do you believe will have more receptions during the 2017 regular season?

4 – The league’s owners are expected to approve a rule change that would shorten the length of overtime from 15 minutes to 10. Are you fine with that, or would you like to see them eventually look long and hard at adopting college football overtime rules instead?

5 – As things stand right now, there’s a good chance that the Steelers first five 2017 draft picks, along with sixth-round selection, long snapper Colin Holba, will all make the 53-man roster out of training camp. Of the two remaining draft picks, cornerback Brian Allen and outside linebacker Keion Adams, which one do you believe has the toughest path to the final 53-man roster?

Bonus: Would you start Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray in goal Friday night for the Penguins playoff game against the Ottawa Senators?

Last Week’s Recap:

Question 1 – There was a close vote between four players that Steelers Depot readers said they were excited to see play special teams during the preseason. Long snapper Colin Holba led with six votes. Cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen were just a vote shy of Holba while Keion Adams was just two behind the leader. Guessing that excitement in seeing how well Holba snaps the ball in the preseason has just increased given the news of Greg Warren’s release.

Question 2 – Thirteen different players were predicted to land on the practice squad. A surprisingly small number since everyone was giving three choices to make. At least one person traveled into fantasy land with Steve Johnson as one of their choices – don’t think he is eligible. Another struck out by choosing Akil Blount, who was just released by the Steelers. Keion Adams with sixteen followed by Demarcus Ayers were the most popular. It would be great if we could stash Ayers but some pundits believe he is destined for another team if he does not make the Steelers 53. Others that got interest are guard Ethan Cooper (8) and tight end Scott Orndoff (5) and Brian Allen (4).

Question 3 – We want more Joshua Dobbs. What areas do people want Steelers Depot to analyze the non-heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger? Deep throws; throwing technique; game winning drives; progressions/check downs; interceptions; rushing/scrambling/mobility; & red zone success. So far, since last week there have been four Dobbs articles: Parts 4 & 5 of his 3rd down incompletions and Parts 1 & 2 of his touchdown passes. There have been at least 22 articles in Steelers Depot about Josh since April. There is still some juice to squeeze out of this stone. Dave Bryan is just readjusting his grip and will pour us some more Dobbs soon.

Question 4 – Almost everyone is expecting T.J. Watt to make his first quarterback sack early in the season. The latest prediction was the 4th game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. The median response was game 1 against the Cleveland Browns! Would love to see the young man average a sack a game. We’ll see.

Question 5 – We are a cold calculating empirical lot when it comes to superstitions like the “Madden Curse.” By a very large margin – 91%, we stated that this curse is nothing but a myth. Of course, many wish it to be true when it comes to Tom Brady and the real question should be whether you ever want a Steeler to be on the cover.


  • Chris92021

    1. No. I thought for certain barring an off-the-field incident, Green was a lock to be a part of the team in 2017. Every indication (not drafting a tight end being the biggest sign) was that Green would be back. I am guessing his concussions have forced our hand. Good luck to Green but I agree with a previous article that Green should retire. It just isn’t worth it.

    2. Jesse James, Xavier Grimble, and David Johnson. James will get bulk of the snaps and if we have all of our WRs, James will get single covered every time. If everyone remains healthy for 2017, James better get more than 500 yards and 5 TDs in 2017.

    3. James, because he will get more looks because as mentioned before, he will get single coverage every time. JuJu will have to fight for playing time as I believe Eli Rogers won’t give up the slot position so soon. Right now, I have James getting 50 catches and JuJu getting 38.

    4. Absolutely fine with it. I thought this move should have been made years ago. Sudden death might be good for TV but I would rather see strategy than a coin toss. However, I do wish that for OT, along with 10 guaranteed minutes, the team which receives the ball first gets it at their 40 yard line, thus jump starting the action.

    5. Keion Adams because I believe he will more likely clear waivers than Allen would. I’ve said that Allen would have a monster preseason and 6’3 CBs don’t grow on trees. Adams might be further along than Allen but Adams is more likely to be a PS guy instead of active roster guy.

    Bonus: Matt Murray. Love the Flower but Murray has been the number 1 for most of the season for good reason.

    Good luck to your old man as he convalesces.

    Have a great weekend, y’all.

  • Burgh Ball

    1) yes they knew and the TE they probably wanted was not on the board in the round they had him graded in.

    2) James beyond that ?

    3) juju

    4) love college way – each team gets a fair crack

    5) Adams

    Bonus- the goal tender does not matter. It’s the ahl level defensemen that does, there is a lack of speed, toughness, awareness around the net in street, maatta, ruheagle, dumulim- that’s the issue. If this 4 continue to play as loose as they do, series to the sens regardless of gk

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    1. Yes. His injury woes were well documented and it took him a long time to get ready last season whether it was his ankle or lingering concussion issues. The Steelers had to know that they were a headache away from Ladarius nit being able to practice. Best wishes to his good health.

    2. Jesse James, Xavier Grimble, David Johnson. Possibly Phazan Odom but will say both he and Scott Orndoff initially goes on the practice squad.

    3. Jesse James will have to make the 1st downs & perhaps a few TD’s in the back of the endzone. Book it.

    4. In the regular season, I’d prefer they just go back to ties.

    5. Keion Adams.

    BONUS: Murray; can’t afford for Fleury to implode again.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    1. I don’t. If that were the case I think they either would have drafted a guy or brought in another FA TE before now. David you made a good point about not just drafting anyone but there were still good options left at some of their picks and I can’t imagine they didn’t like any of them. I just don’t think they viewed it as a huge need.

    2. James, Johnson, Grimble, and Barnidge.

    3. James. Still not sure JJSS gets a ton of playing time. Nobody ahead of him is bad or not deserving of their position.

    4. I am fine with it.

    5. Keion Adams probably has it tougher. The CB room has a lot of bodies but not necessarily “guarantee” bodies. OLB on the other hand has all guys with decent starting experience and/or a good locker room and community guy like Moats. On the other side we don’t really know what to expect from guys like Golson and Sensabaugh and Gay is getting up their in age so his spot (while likely to be kept) isn’t exactly cemented either.

    Bonus – Fleury and it shouldn’t be up for debate. He has been good up to this point and is the guy who got you there. I would have said the same last year for Murray had we been in a similar situation. Beyond that Murray is likely going to be rusty and it isn’t like he is leagues better than Marc Andre.

  • RickM

    1. Logically you say ‘no, they never could have envisioned that’. But then you ask yourself why did they have interest in multiple TE’s before the draft? So color me confused.
    2. Grimble and Johnson sigh, and James
    3. James. AB, MB, Rogers and Coates will all perform well and JuJu won’t see a lot of action. But he’ll make his mark down the road.
    4. The college OT rules are more exciting, but the league is a way too stodgy and navel-gazing to move to them.
    5. That’s a tough one. I want Allen to make it, but 5th-round corners have struggled to make our roster lately.

    I’d start Flower as he won a few games on his own and he has something to prove. But Murray has got the call supposedly. Either way, just win.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    1. I think you have to feel there’s a chance, but i think FO had to feel positive about Green and workouts and the time that has gone by add to the fact they didn’t draft a TE.
    2. Outlaw, Grimble, DJ, and Odom
    3. Outlaw will have more receptions because he’ll be on the field more.
    4. I think both teams should get a shot at the ball if a td is scored (unless the Steelers score and then the game is over)
    5. I think it will be easier to beat out Chick and Moats, so I say the road is tougher for Brian Allen.

  • Jaybird

    1) if they knew Warren was done, then they knew Green was done also.
    2)Grimble, James, DJ,and that Fordham TE (Odom ?)
    3) JuJu by a lot
    4) doesnt matter to me, but I guess I’ll go with the college rules
    5) I think Adams can make it as a special teamer, so I’ll say Allen to the PS

  • Big White

    1) I don’t think it mattered either way. I think they wanted to release him with as little attention possible, now.
    2) James, Grimble, Rosie Nix Package
    3) James easily. I see 50 catches.
    4) The 10 min overtime is fine. A tie actually helps sometimes to weed through tie-breaker playoffs scenarios.
    5).Keion Adams, OLB still not a critical condition despite the annual talk. Allen to practice squad.

  • AndyR34

    1) Yes, but the draft just didn’t fall their way in order to draft a replacement. They spent most of last year with the three incumbents and I think they are comfortable allowing for growth in Outlaw and Grimble.

    2) Same as last year: Jesse James, Xavier Grimble, and David Johnson

    3) Outlaw

    4) NCAA rules, but…TV wants certainty on the length of games…they will bend to their corporate masters

    5) Adams…he is not going to unseat Chick who is inexpensive and a quality OLB…might even be starting on some other teams…and a quality ST’er. His only hope is to unseat Moats…which is still along hike because of Moats ability to fill in at a moments notice and because of his locker room demeanor.

    Bonus – Murray

  • Matt Manzo

    Happy Friday!

    1: Yes! And I think they were more confident in Jesse than Landry.

    2: JJ, Grimble, DJ and Phazan!

    3: JJ, just cuz he’ll get more snaps and opportunities.

    4: College rules would be great.

    5: This ones close, but I think Adams has the harder time. Allen is an outside CB and there’s room for that now. Even if it’s just potential. I also believe that Adams will be easier to stash on the ps.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    1. No, otherwise they would’ve drafted one. Which to me, sounds like a lack of preparation on their part.

    2. Just 3, JJ, DJ, and XG

    3. Jesse James

    4. 10 minutes is fine. Pointless, but fine.

    5. Adams

    Bonus: Idk, I don’t watch hockey

  • Dan

    1 – No. I really don’t think they realized how bad his health issues were until it was too late. Always do your homework, kids.

    2 – James, Johnson, Grimble, with Odom on the PS.

    3 – JuJu. I expect more 3WR sets to give him more attention.

    4 – College rules all the way.

    5 – Adams, as that position will be tougher to crack than CB.

    Bonus: Murray, I like Fleury but he may have cooled off a bit. Murray proved that these moments aren’t too big for him.

  • Harley Crockett

    1. Yes
    2. James Gimble Johnson
    3. James
    4. I don’t think it makes a difference going from 15 to 10 and no I do t think they need to adopt college style — I used to think so but not now
    5. Adams
    Bonus. Fluery: he had one bad game but the way he played against WAS and COL while the team was grossly outshot, he earned a mulligan

  • PaeperCup

    1. No. I think they blindly followed their gut hoping he would be completely healthy. But if they knew he had a chance of not making it to OTAs they for sure would have drafted one of nearly a dozen quality TEs in the draft.

    2. Jesse James, Xavier Grimble, David Johnson. Maybe Orndoff…maybe. I expect them to more to run only single TE sets more often.

    3. JuJu Smith, I think he’ll be a solid safety valve. And often play the role that might usually be a TE

    4. Change OT rules. I don’t see how shortening OT makes things any more fair.

    5. Allen. I think Adams is more refined at his position than Allen.

    Bonus: Too tough of a question.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Maybe keeping only 3 tightends will enable an extra wide receiver to stay in Pittsburgh like Demarcus Ayers or Justin Tucker.

  • Ace

    1) No they didn’t realize the degree at which Green was injured. They brought in 1 TE for a pre draft visit and the biggest interest they showed were dinners with Njoku and Roberts. That shows me they were comfortable and confident with who they had. So either they had no clue, or they did know and were stupid for not drafting one in the mid rounds, or did know and are comfortable with the group as it stands now. My hope is they didn’t know because the other two options would lower my confidence level in the FO and their decisions.
    2) Gary Barnage, Outlaw, Johnson. If they carry 4, throw in Xman. But I really like Odom and look forward to the battle for the potential 4th TE.
    3) Good question. Outlaw will have 35 and JuJu will have 30. WR room pretty stacked right now.
    4) NCAA rules. It’s worked for 20 years and everyone loves it. Don’t count any of the stats in OT and let them go at it. Would be super exciting to watch. But I would push it back to the 30 to compensate for the bigger kicker legs and QB arms in NFL. Give them a little more room to work with.
    5) Allen has the tougher path. Late rounders make their mark on Teams. Unless someone balls out completely in camp to the point where they have to play him. Adams will work hard on Teams and push Moats off the roster. CB room very crowded if everyone is healthy and productive.
    6) Murray

  • Beeze

    1. Think they were expecting to have Green for this season but can honestly argue either position on this one.
    2. The Outlaw, X-Man and Johnson
    3. Probably James as Rogers is still the presumptive starting slot receiver over JuJu as far as we know.
    4. Was OK with the current OT time (15mins).
    5. Allen has an easier path. More questions at CB plus more available spots.
    Bonus: Flower got us this far, I would ride with him.
    Thanks for the update on your Dad, Dave. Continued good wishes to you both.

  • Thomas

    1: Yes. They would have to be delusional not to see the writing on the wall. 14 months signed and Green has been out of the protocol for maybe 5 weeks.

    2: James and Grimble. If they want to keep 3 TEs it will be a fight between Orndoff and Johnson

    3: James. Juju will probably be WR#4. I bet we run a lot of 4 wide next season however.

    4: I’m fine with 10 minutes. Rarely does a game end in a tie and it is just more opportunities for a person to get injured.

    5: Adams. CB depth is atrocious so Allen should fit right in, where as the 5 OLBs PIT typically carries is set in stone. I don’t see Moates or Chickillo being cut.

    Bonus: Gotta stick with Flurey. Pulling him would be an insult when the 3 people in front of him couldn’t play defense. Not sure they were even hockey players they were that bad.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    1) If they didn’t, they ought to be put on notice by AR2. That is their job to know those things.
    2) James, Johnson, Grimble
    3) James by virtue of a greater number of opportunities.
    4) Shorten to 10 minutes and play the whole period. Get rid of all sudden death situations.
    5) Allen. He isn’t a sure tackler. Hard to play on teams I’d you can’t tackle.

  • AndyR34

    Nice…Justin Hunter or Marcus Tucker? Or both?

  • Jason Campbell

    1) For all we know he had a setback once workouts ramped up. I think they were hoping for the best and expecting the worst. I think they felt the same about TE’s as safety – if it wasn’t a top 2 or 3 guy, they were passing. Obviously, they’re comfortable with the current situation. Good luck to Mr Green, you big tease.
    2) Outlaw, DJ, Xman, and maybe the slender giant from FU
    3) James in the first half, Juju in the second, pretty close overall with Juju taking it.
    4) love the college rules, but they will never adopt them. Stats get too crazy in extra OTs
    5) Adams
    Bonus – if you can prevent high numbers of SOG, goalie shouldn’t matter

  • Mike Lloyd

    1) No. I believe they were thinking he would be ready.
    2) James, Grimble, Johnson…later Orndoff or Odom joins in the fun at the expense of one of the last 2 above.
    3) James far and away will have more.
    4) I’m ok with changes…if it doesn’t work out with 10 instead of 15, then change again. Keep changing until something works the way you want it too.
    5) Adams. Although Allen’s inexperience may make him a casualty as well nevertheless his size is intriguing too.

  • Hard Row

    1. Yes, i hope so. They missed on him last year. How could they continue to be surprised this year?

    2. James, Grimble, Ben Braunecker. I think they sign somebody. Braunecker was a good prospect from Harvard last year but the Bears drafted Shaheen in RD 2 this year. I think Braunecker gets cut or maybe a trade for a late rounder to get him. 49ers may look to move Vance McDonald too.

    3. JuJu. With AB and Martavis drawing so much attention, it should be wide open for a 3rd receiver on most plays. That can be James or JuJu on most plays. Ben is aggressive and JuJu will likely run the deeper routes so i think he gets more targets than James.

    4. I don’t like the college rule. It’s exciting but it’s not football. I’d rather they just do away with OT in the regular season than use the college rules. With the 2 point conversion, it could make it more exciting if there was no OT at all in regular season.

    5. Keion Adams. It may just be that he’d be easier to keep on the practice squad. Allen tested out so well and each team carries so many DBs these days, I doubt Allen would last long on the practice squad.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    1) Probably – I imagine they have a decent sense of those things.

    2) James, Grimble, and someone else.

    3) I’m all in on JuJu.

    4) I’d kind of prefer they allow a second overtime, or something that ends games without ties rather than making them more likely.

    5) Probably Adams. I think they’ll give Allen the benefit of the doubt because of his size and athleticism at a premium position.

  • 1. No
    2. James, Grimble, Johnson
    3. Jesse
    4. Colleges rules would be fun, but I think

  • Rob H

    A little bored this morning, so I’ll give this a shot for the first time…

    1. Of course, they’ve seen him up close for over a year now, they had to know it was possible, and were prepared to move on from the idea of having a speedy TE if they couldn’t draft one.
    2. James, Johnson, Grimble, veteran FA (depends on who becomes available). Orndoff on the practice squad.
    3. Probably James in receptions, but Ju Ju in yards, Td’s, big plays, etc.
    4. I guess I’m fine with it, but I know for sure that I HATE the college OT rules, it reminds me of soccer when people just line up and take shots at the net.
    5. Adams, BY FAR!! Adams has a shot to make it, I guess, especially if he stands out on special teams. But, even as things stand right now, it would be hard to stash a 6-3 corner with speed and upside on your practice squad. If Allen shows any growth at all during the preseason games…forget about it, he becomes a roster lock.

    Bonus- Don’t know or care, since I don’t watch Hockey

  • jsteeler

    1). Hell Yeah. In the words of Stephen A Smith.: “He is an Accident waiting to happen”.
    2) JJ. Grimble, Orndoff, David johnson.
    3) JJ
    4) Keep it the way it is.
    5) Adams. Hopefully PS
    BONUS: Murray.

  • will

    “Old man”?……..very demeaning reference

  • will

    Flurry did no implode……his teammates did.

  • will

    Why did you move to Vegas?

  • Steelbeast725

    Question 1- No I don’t think they knew cause if they did then they are stupid for not drafting a TE with a draft this loaded with TE talent.
    Question 2- 1.James 2. Grimble 3.Johnson
    Question 3- JuJu for 2 reasons. One it will be because Bryant is suspended again or two the Steelers will go to a 4 WR set a lot more after cutting Green and being loaded at WR now (If Bryant is around).
    Question 4- It’s already a 3 hour game so cutting it to ten minutes is fine with me but yes I wouldn’t mind them adopting the college version.
    Question 5- Allen has a better chance making the roster because besides Burns and Cockrell, we are weak/unproven at the position. Adams however has the toughest path with Dupree, Harrison, Chickilo, Moats, and first round pick Watt in front of him.
    Bonus-As we found out last night always trust in Sully!

  • Steel Realist PAul

    1 I can’t think of a way the Steelers wouldn’t know the condition of any player on the team, especially one with a well-documented injury situation.
    2 James, Johnson, either FA Cameron or Barnidge
    3 if the team brings in a FA, JSS. If not, James
    4 College rules for sure.
    5 Man, it’s so close. More players at the CB position but also greater need. If Allen flashes something they don’t have, he could be in. Otherwise, Adams has the ST advantage, so I’ll go with Allen for toughest path.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    i was referring to past seasons. I like Fleury and appreciate what he has done in the playoffs to get the Penguins this far.

  • LucasY59

    way late to answer these,

    1. IF they didnt know then it makes them look pretty bad (but we were saying the same things last yr around the start of the season) maybe they were holding out hope for him passing the physical, but honestly they shouldve moved on sooner IMO

    2. James, Grimble, D.Johnson (the team didnt have much of interest in adding a TE and that should mean that they still dont have much interest (since they shouldve already known Green was not likely to be able to play) so I think they stick with the guys they have, there are a couple decent PS TEs on the team right now as well, so it isnt a huge need (only reason to add a guy is if there is a player cut from another team that is an obvious upgrade to the roster, and I doubt a guy like that becomes available)

    3. Jesse is good enough to be a decent mid fiels and check down option at TE, he isnt going to get a ton of targets (that is why I think there is little need to add a TE) there are too many other options to use for him to have a big season, Juju should be used quite a bit as a rookie, but I expect him to have about the same impact as JJ (maybe a little bit more, but not much) so I guess its S-S (to make it worth the 2nd pick)

    4. hmmm dont really care, seems like OT is either decided quickly or ends up in a tie, so shortening OT wont change much (so I guess its a good thing?)

    5.the same? I think Adams could make the roster because the team will make Moats a cap cut (so the decision is more about $) and with Allen I think the team should keep him and the final CB spot should be between Gay and Golson

    Bonus: too late for this one, but making the switch to Murray was a good idea, MAF helped get them to where they are, but I think Murray will help them keep the cup

  • Josh Cummings

    1. Yes, I do. The speculation leading into the drafy that they liked Engram or Njoku seems more real now. I don’t think the JuJu pick was related (Alex Kzora had a great article on why he doesnt replace a TE) but sure doesnt hurt now.

    2. James, Johnson, Grimble

    3. For the sake of being right… I go with James. More experience, TE1.. and just less to compete with within his own position, let alone the other 40 WRs we have on the roster. However, i love the JuJu pick and will be happy to see him on the field. Hedging here.

    4. Not a fan of the 10 minute OT… because of the possible Sudden death nature remains. Would LOVE to see some variation of the CFB rules.

    5. Brian Allen has the tougher route. I think he has the most competion, with the least amount of experience in CB. Adam’s comp has been listed as Arthur Moats, and i think as long as Adams’s can contribute on ST.. that’s who’s hat he gets.