2017 Training Camp Underway: Steelers Friday Night Five Questions

Happy Friday to all of you once again and welcome to football in pads season. Well, almost.

The Pittsburgh Steelers held their first training camp practice on Friday and it included the team having to move their operations over to Latrobe High School due to inclement weather. It sure is nice that they have an alternative venue so they wouldn’t be forced to cancel a practice.

On the surface, it appears as through Friday was a productive day for the team. More importantly, it appears no serious injuries were suffered on day-one.

Several more practices are ahead of the team and we look forward to covering each and every one of them for you.

As many of you know, I traveled to Florida last Friday for my father’s Monday funeral and returned on Wednesday. The trip was a blur and I’m glad to be back home in Vegas now. My mother seems to be handling things well so far and hopefully that continues. I appreciate all of the condolences I received from site readers and Twitter followers.

Ok, now on to this week’s five questions and I’m sorry they’re late.

1 – Does it bother you at all when players make grand entrances into training camp in expensive cars, firetrucks or heavy machinery?

2 – Now that tackle Alejandro Villanueva has signed a new four-year contract, do you think he ultimately plays it out through the 2020 season?

3 – How much money would you bet straight-up that Ben Roethlisberger will still be the Steelers quarterback in 2018?

a) $1
b) $10
c) $100
d) $1000
e) $10000

4 – Will running back Le’Veon Bell report for duty before after the team’s third preseason game?

5 – How many games will Jerald Hawkins start at tackle prior to his rookie contract expiring and do you now consider him a wasted draft pick now that Villanueva has been extended?

Recap last week’s Friday night questions per David Orochena:

Question 1 – Most respondents (57%) do NOT think Le’Veon Bell will earn more than $48 million over the next three seasons (2017-19). Right now, if Bell is tagged again next year would earn $26.6 million ($12.1 + 14.5 million) over the next two seasons. If Bell stays healthy and is productive this year, it seems his best chance to achieve $48 million is to sign a long-term deal next year and with a signing bonus just might exceed that figure. Good news for the Steelers is the incentive for Bell to produce big. Steelers fans should be hoping he earns the big bucks since it means doing big things in Pittsburgh this year.

Question 2- L.J. Fort was the favorite to make the initial 53-man roster this year by a clear 55% majority. Primarily because his position group was deemed to have less depth and there may be room for five inside linebackers. The Steelers are not deep at running back but the acquisition of Knile Davis and drafting James Conner in the 3rd round depresses Fitzgerald Toussaint’s chances who got only 18.5% of the votes. Many people thought Demarcus Ayers has the most career potential of the three but is hurt by the deep pool of wide receivers limiting him to 22%. Jaybird decided that there was not room for any of the three on the initial 53-man roster.

Question 3 – Mike Hilton was the overwhelming (93%) choice over running back Terrell Watson as who we would likely be excited about following the second preseason game. This might be due to simple name recognition as at least six separate Steelers Depot articles had Hilton headlined compared to two for Watson over the past few weeks. But several people noted that the secondary was an area that had keen interest compared to running back since Le’Veon Bell is likely to take almost all the snaps. Looking forward to that second preseason game to see if both are still on roster and if either shine.

Question 4 – Eight different current players were named as having the best shot of ending up on another team’s roster to open this season. Six of the eight are wide receivers, unsurprising since this is considered the deepest position. Justin Hunter led the way with 8 votes followed by Demarcus Ayers (7), Sammie Coates (6), Cobie Hamilton (2), Eli Rogers (2), LB Arthur Moats (2), Darrius Heyward-Bey (1) & RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (1).

Question 5 – What a pleasure to read the various stories on how and when folks became Steelers fans. Nice mix of folks that followed the Black & Gold well before the Super Bowl years and those that have joined the nation within the past decade. Some have a Steelers Nation lineage going back a few generations while others had to correct the errors of misguided kin. There were Burghers born & bred, some from across the country and even crossing international boundaries. The response to this question demonstrates that the pool of Steelers fans is both wide & deep.

  • dillon degroot

    1. No, players should be allowed to have some fun.

    2. Yes, but I don’t think he’ll be the starter throughout…I think Hawkins will eventually take his spot, and Big Al will become the backup swing tackle.

    3. E.10,000

    4. Yes.

    5. As many as injuries dictate…No, he wasn’t a wasted pick.

  • PaeperCup

    1) I love it. I used to think it was Diva-ish, but it’s become more of a tradition. I don’t expect AB to be rolling around daily in a Rolls with a chauffeur, so I know that it’s all for fun. I like the Fire Engine too, nice to support those guys.

    2) Absolutely. Looking forward to it.

    3) Will Be? $0. I think this is last year. I’d put a Benjamin on that.

    4) ugh. After. I’m with Tomlin too, it’s gonna have consequences to his game. Hopefully the team doesn’t suffer.

    5) 4…5? He’ll plug in when an injury occurs. I don’t think it was a waste, I never thought of him as a potential starter. and he could be a quality backup. I still have faith that he’ll be an excellent tackle, but I also have faith in Big Al. There’s a lot of other teams, that Hawkins might be able to start for, so it’s not on him.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    1) Nah, it’s cool. This is their moment, like when starting lineups get announced. Let them have some fun.

    2) Sure – I don’t see why not.

    3) I’m gonna go with $100. My guess is it’s 1-2 years. I was listening to them discuss it on PTI, and read the article about what he said. The biggest thing is, it’s not about effectiveness or football. He wants to enjoy his retirement in good health, and spend time with his family. It seems pretty clear that he changed a lot after the incident in the night club, and I think there’s more in his life than football.

    If it was simply a matter of – “can I still play?” I’d say he could stick around for 4-5 years. But, it’s the ones with other priorities (family, health, etc…) who end up walking away (Barry Sanders, Patrick Willis, Calvin Johnson).

    4) I hope so. It’s not really clear to me why he’s not reporting. I get that some players don’t want to go to camp, and he has an excuse, but it’s not like he’s a 12-year veteran. It seems like a lot of unnecessary drama (and I say this as a huge Bell fan). I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’ll be there by Game 1, but since I don’t really know why he’s not there, it’s hard to say what will bring him back.

    5) No idea.

  • newguy68

    1. Let them have some fun. These guys are in shape 365 days a year (especially Deebo and AB). Let ’em cut loose.

    2. Yes, he will move to RT and Hawkins will take over at LT in a couple years.

    3. If they win the SB, he gone. If not ….. depends on how the season ends.

    4. Yes, 2-3 carries in the 3rd preseason game.

    5. NOT a wasted pick. AV moves to RT when Gilbert’s contract is up and Hawkins takes over.

  • Rob

    1) I think it’s dope to see players personality, and have a little fun before TC.

    2) Yes, he does. Barring a situation like Beachum’s, where they get an extended look at Hawkins in season, or his play suddenly deteriorates (no reason to think it will), AV is going to be here.

    3) D. A lot rides on what happens this year. I think he is truly 50/50, but has a desire to win another SB. If they get it this year, he’s gone, if not he’ll be around for one more (assuming the team around him stays the same or gets better).

    4) I’m going to say after. Really, even if he shows up in time for the third one, MT isn’t going to play him anyways.

    5) I’m going to say 3-6 due to injury. And enough for the team to see if he’s starter material. He seems like a capable player, Depth with starter potential can’t be seen as a waste.

  • Carlos

    1- no problem at all
    3- 100 but I earn pesos so multiply that by 18 for me.
    4- no, the Le’diva Bell will return until the season begins.
    5- He’ll be a solid backup, maybe 6 games, as a 4th rounder it’s not a waste at all.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    1) I think it’s a lot of fun.

    2) Yes

    3) 10 bucks tops

    4) Nope

    5) I thought it was a wasted pick the moment it was made (while Devontae Booker was still on the board). He’ll start 8 games due to injury though.

  • RickM

    1. No problem with any if it.
    2. It’ll depend on how he plays the next two years. After Bell rejected their offer they moved to AV and gave him a reasonable deal two years early. I think he’ll likely prove 2016 was not a fluke, but there’s no guarantee.
    3. Tough to bet anything as it’ll be health-dependent.
    4. I think he’ll report after the second exhibition game. He’ll want a few carries in the 3rd game when the first-string O gets most of its work. If he reports after Week 3, he’ll never play a snap in Game 4 behind a 2nd-string line…and not having any game contact in pre-season would not be wise.
    5. Not a wasted pick at all. One injury and it could be a lot.

  • WreckIess

    1. Nope. I look forward to seeing what AB is about to pull up in from year to year.
    2. Yup
    3. I’ll bet 1000. I think the biggest concern of his is health and I think the O-line will keep him in the game this year.
    4. After. No reason to show up before.
    5. 7. I don’t see him as a wasted pick, but with all the talk there was last year about how much everyone liked Dak Prescott, I definitely see a wasted opportunity there.

  • Chris92021

    1. No. Bring all the Roll-Royce cars you want. Having said that, nothing will ever top the tractor that Brett Keisel rode in before 2012 training camp.

    2. Yes. After that, I could see him retire and become a liaison between the military and the NFL, an ambassador not just for the Steelers but the entire league. As I said before yesterday, as an Army veteran, Big Al is the one commissioned officer I openly root for.

    3. as much money as you have so 10000

    4. Yes. My prediction is Bell reports after we break camp so the week of Aug. 20-26, Bell will sign the tender and come to Pittsburgh.

    5. Likely 5. Hey, injuries happen and Hawkins will likely start both at tackle and guard in the next several years.

    Enjoy the weekend, y’all. The road to Seven is currently being paved as we speak.

  • JohnB

    1. I don’t mind the entrances, always reminds me of the scenes from the Major League movies.
    2. as long as he stays healthy, AV will be the LT till 2020
    3. eh i’ll bet $1….2017 is Bens last year.
    4. I believe Bell will |show up| before the 3rd preseason game.
    5. Hm I think Hawkins will have 5-8 games started. Not a wasted pick. LT is a critical spot, back up or not.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    1. Not at all. Preferable goofing around off the field rather than on it.

    2. Sure, he’d be around 32 and barring injury should be able to continue f he wants.

    3. C. $1oo. The future is now. Get ‘r done in 2017.

    4. He better; sad fact is that Santonio Holmes has contributed more to Steelers getting a Lombardi Trophy than Le’Veon. Time for him to step up and help the team get another.

    5. 0 in 2016; hope 0 in 2017; maybe 2 in 2018; and then 6 in 2019 for total of 8 starts as he prepares to replace Alejandro Villanueva.

  • heath miller

    1 – Does it bother you at all when players make grand entrances into training camp in expensive cars, firetrucks or heavy machinery? NO I THINK ITS VERY COOL…love harrison in hte fire truck but thought he should have pushed it in not drove it in … love AB the old rolls .. used to like keisel in the dump trucks and earth movers.. that was the best ..

    2 yes AV will play through 2020 unless injury

    3 i’d bet $1000 he plays barring a concussion or 2 this year… if he has 2 concussions hes done…

    4 hope before think after

    5 impossible to answer … tell me how many injuries we will have and i’ll tell you have many games he starts … … same as will ben play in 2018 .. all depends on injuries.. question 2 all depends on injuries… 3 of the 5 questions this week are all dependent upon injuries..

  • walter

    1- no

    2- yes

    3- c $100

    4- before Did you leave out the word “OR” between before and after?

    5- no we need a backup tackle injuries happen

  • Jeff McNeill

    1) no problem
    2) yes
    3) e
    4) before
    5) 12

  • Beeze

    Was so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing Dave. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    1. Not at all. Good clean harmless fun that fans and players seem to enjoy.
    2. Health permitting yes he will.
    3. C. $100.00 unless ring #7 is won. In that case, $0.10 is my revised bet.
    4. Hoping he shows for practice #2, thinking he will after preseason game #1.
    5. The fewer the better as that would indicate great health for AV and Gilbert over the next three years. Will go with 5-7 games started though as football is a collision sport after all.
    Not a wasted pick at this point. Won’t be unless he is horrible and cut this year or next without playing much ala Limas Sweed.

  • Beeze

    “Le’diva” – love it!

  • SoCal Steeler

    Dave, My sincerest condolences on the passing of your dad. May he rest in peace.

    1. No, I kind of enjoy it. Used to really get a kick out of what Keisel would show up with.

    2. Yep, barring injury, Villy will play out his contract

    3. $100. I think he’ll be back for a couple more but I wouldn’t bet big money on it.
    4. I’m going to say before the 3rd preseason game. Pressure from teammates gets him in a little earlier.

    5. I’ll guess 4-6 starts due to injury. I don’t think he is a wasted draft pick at all. He may very well still end up being a starter at RT or LT but it may not be until Gilbert or Villy are gone.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    1 – Does it bother you at all when players make grand entrances into training camp in expensive cars, firetrucks or heavy machinery?

    no. need more dump trucks, backhoes and bulldozers.

    2 – Now that tackle Alejandro Villanueva has signed a new four-year contract, do you think he ultimately plays it out through the 2020 season?


    3 – How much money would you bet straight-up that Ben Roethlisberger will still be the Steelers quarterback in 2018?

    b) $10

    im not taking any undue chances, if we somehow win the superbowl i think he is as good as gone.

    4 – Will running back Le’Veon Bell report for duty before after the team’s third preseason game?


    5 – How many games will Jerald Hawkins start at tackle prior to his rookie contract expiring and do you now consider him a wasted draft pick now that Villanueva has been extended?

    very few unless something happens with gilbert. and partially a waste as i brought it up yesterday because as a supposed first round talent vily’s contract negates a lot of the value.

  • DirtDawg1964

    1. Not at all. These guys have earned it
    2. He plays it out
    3. I’d bet $100. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last season though. Especially if they win the SB.
    4. After
    5. Not a wasted pick at all. Even if he only starts 6 games or less (injury replacement).

  • Steve Johnson

    1. No, it seems to have become tradition. I think the fans like it, I’m not a big fan of it, but I like James Harris showing some support for the Firemen.

    2. Yes, I think he will play 3 to 4 years and then be resigned.

    3. I think #7 is the biggest Diva in Steelers History, I wouldn’t bet on him playing or retiring, just sick of him talking about it. Focus on the season, that 7th Ring.

    4. I think Bell reports after Training Camp. I also think he sustains an early injury because if it. Steelers will not tag him in 2018, they draft his replacement next April.

    5. I think he will be a swingman, will only start if someone is injured. Definitely not a waisted pick, never can have enough Offensive Linemen.

  • Dan

    1 – Nope, it adds personality.

    2 – Yes.

    3 – 1 dollar Bob. No guarantee he is here next year.

    4 – He’ll be back. It’s the dress rehearsal. Good time to knock the dust off.

    5 – 4. He’s not a wasted pick, OL depth is never a wasted pick.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    1. No
    2. Yes
    3. 100
    4. Yes he’ll be back for third preseason game.
    5. No idea but no, not a wasted pick. Only a 4th rounder and never a bad idea to have quality depth. Injuries happen all the time.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I think you misunderstood question 3. It’s not a bet

  • falconsaftey43

    1. No, it is fun
    2. Yes, probably. I don’t think he will be cut or walk away from football before then.
    3. $10, I’m not the betting sort and Ben seems to be 50/50.
    4. After. I don’t get it. Sign and garuntee yourself that $12M.
    5. 8 (Gilbert has injury history). Not a waste at all if a 4th rounder plays out their contract. He and Gilbert will be UFA the same year, they may end up giving Hawkins a little extension the year prior and end up with a cheap starter for a few years (like Timmons Williams played out).

  • Steel Realist PAul

    1. Doesn’t bother me at all. Seems like the players are excited to be back and I always enjoy the human/fun aspects of the game.
    2. Yes. AV will play his career in the Burgh.
    3. $100 – far from a foregone conclusion, but I think how 2017 goes likely the biggest factor.
    4. Bell will do whatever he feels is best for Bell, and that likely means after.
    5. You have to have depth to make it through any season. He will start as many games as AV is injured for the time being – and Gilbert as well.

  • Matt Manzo

    1: I love the crazy entrances! Gotta keep it fun!

    2: I think he either gets an extension before the last year, or he’ll retire when the contracts done. So, yes! He plays into 2020!

    3: $100!

    4: Before! Once he sees the guys in uniform he’ll be back before the 2nd game!

    5: Hawkins might get some snaps in 2018. Hubbard is still that guy this year.
    And no, I don’t think he’s a wasted pick. Swing tackles are valuable and he’ll provide something for us as soon as he beats out Hubbard.

  • Reader783

    1 – No

    2 – Yes

    3 – Depends on so much (winning the Superbowl, if Brady retires, etc.) so I guess maybe $100.

    4 – Before

    5 – Not a wasted pick, 4th round is a great spot for depth and potential down the road starter. He’ll start maybe (knock on wood) 6-8 games.

  • LucasY59

    dang I am making a habit of missing these (until after the weekend)

    1. No, I think it is just them having fun, there are the majority that just treat it like business, but having some fun is ok as well (most are guys that get to business right away after it so its not really a distraction) *im waiting for someone to ride in on a camel like Ricky did on Ballers

  • Zach Bolen

    1. It does not I think it is fun as hell.
    2.If healthy yes.
    5.I would say maybe 9, and not in the least if he shows to be a really good backup/could be a starter on most teams how is it a waste, say he gets like 10 games starting and a few take overs for injury and shows that he can start and be a damn good one then maybe he leaves for a nice contract and we get a 3 round pick because some team just paid him like he is the next Tyron Smith. I would be more upset if he turns out to suck and not be very good.