Hello from Pittsburgh, where I am attending the second day of mandatory minicamp. I will be heading to see the Ravens tomorrow to wrap up my minicamp tour. Let's see what questions you have for me ...
Who do you think will be the Best AFC North Quarterback in 2012?
The same one from last year, and the year before and the year before ... Ben Roethlisberger. It's not even close right now.
Seneca Wallace came out and said that Brandon Weeden would be the starter for the Browns and that neither McCoy or himself would be happy with being the #3 QB in Cleveland. Would the Browns keep Wallace as a good veteran to learn from or keep McCoy to help push Weeden?
I would keep McCoy because the team just invested a full season of starts in him and he's young. But what I'm hearing out of Cleveland is Wallace is favored to stay. He has a long history with Holmgren.
Are the Bengals going to be ok in secondary? On paper schedule seems easy early till Leon Hall gets back.
Dre Kirkpatrick has talent but he will make mistakes as a rookie. Adam Jones struggles when he isn't playing press coverage. And Terence Newman looked good when I watched practice yesterday. I think there is enough talent and experience there for the Bengals to do well in pass defense.
Who has upper hand. mcphee or jones? smith or williams? in ravens camp
McPhee and Cary Williams have both been injured. So, DE Art Jones and CB Jimmy Smith are in the lead by default.
Any update on Mike Wallace?
Roethlisberger just said in the locker room that he expects Wallace to report at the start of training camp. That sounds about right to me.
Do you think that the Bengals Defense or Offense Unit will improve more this year? Or do you think that one of the units will get worse?
Offense. More potential room to grow with A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and two new guards on the offensive line.
is there any hope of changing the silly rule that has kept Luck DeCastro and other players from participating in OTA's?
I've been saying this rule is crazy for years. When I was covering the Ravens, Haloti Ngata couldn't attend offseason practices in 2006 because of that rule. Honestly, it doesn't make sense in this era.
What are your impressions of Ike Redman. My son had a chance to meet him a few weeks ago and when I saw the picture I was surprised by how small Redman looked. He was extremely kind to my son by the way.IMG_1279.JPG
I like Redman's toughness when he gets the ball in his hands. The question with him is durability. We'll find out that answer this year.
Hey jamison whats the chance travis benjamin starts opposite greg little? could you see josh cooper take over as the slot guy since he has familiarity with weeden?
Benjamin has a shot at being the No. 3 WR. He really only has one route -- the go route. Cooper is a practice squad guy. There's a reason he went undrafted.
Which of the AFCN wideouts will see the largest overall change in production during the upcoming season? Will Green and Wallace take a step back since they played at such a high level last year? Will Smith and Little step up or drop back?
The best chance to step up: Torrey Smith. I don't really see a wide receiver who will make a dramatic fall. I think Weeden will look at Little at lot. Green and Wallace will remain the top two WRs in the division.
Obviously the Ravens can't be happy with Reeds unexcused absense from mandatory training camp. The Ravens also can't be happy with the many no-shows at the voluntary OTAs. These events alone may not paint a picture. But togther do they raise a concern about the teams mental state and focus going into this season after the devastating way last season ended?
The biggest concern is Reed not calling Harbaugh before skipping camp. The other absences hurt a little as far as getting familiar with terminology of the system and building chemistry. The bigger distractions are the contract situations with Rice and Flacco as well as the injury to Suggs.
AFC North QB facing the most pressure in 2012: Big Ben, Flacco, Dalton, McCoy or Weeden?
Flacco. He's in a contract year and is coming off a mediocre regular season.
Jamison, greetings from Eagle country! Last week your wrote extensively on the Browns' new offense. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the defense. Do they look like they are up to the challenges that Big Ben, Ray Rice, and A.J. Green will present them?
The Browns defense is very good and would get more recognition if it wasn't in such a tough division. I would like the secondary more if Patterson started at CB over Sheldon Brown. I also thought the Browns should have parted ways with Fujita. The biggest question is whether this group can remain strong when there is so much pressure on this group as the result of a rebuilding offense.
Torrey Smith emerge as the #1 in Blatimore this year?
I believe I predicted that last month. I like the chemistry between Flacco and Smith.
Apparently Suggs is off crutches and walking in a boot? For a partial achilles tear, do you know if this is ahead of typical recovery progress, about on track, behind?
Honestly, I have no idea. The key date isn't even when Suggs returns to the field. I want to know when Suggs returns to playing like the old Suggs. We might not see this until next year. He could play this season but it's going to be hard to have the same explosiveness early.
How will the improvement on the Steelers offensive line be felt this season? Will running be easier? Will Ben have more time to throw? Will it take a year or two before we see a tangible change?
I'm hearing good things about Haley's pass protection schemes. The key to the offensive line (and this will get old) is rookie left tackle Mike Adams. If he can hold down that spot, the Steelers will be in good shape. If he can't, there will be problems.
The Ravens Defense has seen a lot of major events this offseason, including the injury to Terrell Suggs, the promotion of Dean Pees to head Defensive Coordinator, and now Reed's absence from the first day of mandatory minicamp. How do you think that all of this will impact the Raven's performance defensively this season?
All of these adjustments and distractions can wear on a team. How much? No one will know until the season starts.
How likely do you think it is that the Ravens offense will be more pass-oriented this year than previous years? Given the absence of Rice at team activities thus far, the hiring of Caldwell to coach Flacco, and the likelihood of more points given up by the Defense this year (due to Suggs' absence), it wouldn't be surprising, in my opinion.
With every year, you should expect Cam Cameron to put the ball more in the hands of Flacco. That's what you're supposed to do with a maturing quarterback. This is still a passing league.
Hey Jamison! When the Browns drafted Weeden, you were not a fan of the pick, mainly because you thought it was too early. Based on your write-up about him last week it seems you may be viewing the pick differently now. Right or wrong?
I still feel the Browns hurt themselves by using a first-round pick on Weeden when they could've gotten him in the second round. Before the draft, I thought the Browns should have addressed the other skill positions before QB. You could go with McCoy for another year and then address QB in 2013 if nothing improved. That said, Weeden looked good in minicamp. But you still have to have concerns about his age.
Is there any update on the Steelers starting CB battle opposite of Ike Taylor? I know Keenan Lewis or Cortez Allen are the most likely to win the spot, so who has the upperhand at this point? I havent heard much about Curtis Brown, is he in the mix as well?
I wanted to see first hand at practice today. But I wasn't allowed to watch it. The Steelers' policy is not to allow national reporters attend practice.
Who are you most interested in seeing when you attend Ravens camp tomorrow and why?
Rookie running back Bernard Pierce. I hear good things about him and want to see for myself.
As you know, all Bengals fans are extremely excited about AJ Green's upside and his lack of diva qualities. I really enjoyed your article about that earlier today. I know it was only one day, but how impressed were you by AJ at yesterdays session?
There was one moment in practice that I wasn't able to fit into the column. Green was running next to Dre Kirkpatrick on a deep throw. When he hit the goal line, he kicked it into an extra gear to gain separation and make an over-the-shoulder grab. It didn't seem fair.
Now that the draft is over, would you have dealt Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Mitchell Schwartz and next year's 1st rounder for RG III? And remember, Mitchell Schwartz was the deal breaker out of that group.
Very good question. There's no doubt that all three players will make an impact on offense. But this is a QB-driven league and RG3 gives you a better long-term solution at that position. Yeah, you would lose a great running back and a solid right tackle. If the Browns would've made that trade, they still had enough cap room to sign players to fill those voids via free agency.
How is Taylor Mays looking with the Bengals first team D?
Miles made more of an impression on me than Mays did yesterday.
I have read that Vontaze Burfict is impressing Marvin Lewis and co. With that in mind, if Maualuga gets a suspension, do you see him starting for those games? And could you see him possibly taking the spot from Maualuga if he plays well enough?
I threw that scenario out (Burfict starting for a suspended Maualuga) after the Bengals signed him following the draft. Skuta has a better chance of filling in for Maualuga. And there is no chance of Burfict taking Maualuga's job this year.
Any update on Ray Rice?
Sorry, some hiccups happening on chat. As for Rob, expect more movement with Rice when it gets closer to the July 16 deadline. As for Ballin, I was the only reporter who had a one-on-one with the Ravens owner for the past decade. I think that's a sign of respect. But nice try.
Who was most impressive as the possible #2 wr at bengals camp yesterday?
Brandon Tate. He constantly got open.
Does Tom Heckert have a clause in his contract that signing veteran WR's is not allowed? It just doesn't make sense to me how they're going into another season with the worst unit in the NFL.
Whether you agree or not, Heckert has stuck with his plan of building through the draft. But the lack of talent at that position is alarming.
The Steelers secretly know you're a Ravens spy, so they wouldn't let you in!
Ha. That's funny. But the Steelers have had this policy in place before I showed up at this position. But I love conspiracy theories.
Who will produce more at WR in Pittsburgh this year Brown or Sanders?
Barring injury, it would be Brown. I like Sanders' speed, though.
Here's the most important question - Pepsi or Coke?
Any details on how close DeCastro is to signing?
Don't worry. It's only a matter of time. No holdouts this year for draft picks. They can get find now under new CBA.
Jamison, you're doing a great job!
Is that really you JW? Thanks. Our paths haven't crossed since the Super Bowl. But I am an avid reader of the AFC East blog.
Jamison regarding your coverage of specific games, how is it decided which one you will cover in person? Do the higher ups split you and your colleagues up, or do you decide? I noticed you did not seem to come to Cleveland to cover a lot of the games last season. Not an accusation of anything, just wondering about the process.
I talk to my editor a week or two to decide the games. I did cover the Browns, just not in Cleveland. It's difficult when you have three playoff teams and a four-win one. But we do strive to provide equal coverage even when it doesn't seem like it. I've been to the Browns' facility more than any other one in the division this offseason (that includes the Ravens).
And even if you don't answer this question, I appreciate the work you do and I think you're doing great as well.
What do you think the chances are of Big Ben starting all 16 games (or at least not missing games due to injury) this year with Todd Haley's new blocking system and the new offensive linemen?
It's not just about playing all 16 games. It's playing all games while not limping. While Big Ben doesn't expect to change his game, I think Haley will emphasize getting rid of the ball quicker.
Dennis Pitta was here for our Ravens Nest banquet a very impressive individual. I love Pitta's hands and Dickson's athletic abaility. Who do you think emerges as the Ravens number one TE Dickson or Pitta?
Dickson. But Pitta was better on third downs last year. Every team now needs two quality tight ends. The Ravens have that with Dickson and Pitta.
Miami Heat or OKC Thunder?
Thunder in six.
I heard Mike Zimmer is struggling to get everyone on the same page with a few new coaches on D. Did you get this impression at all yesterday?
For the two hours that I watched, I didn't notice that. The Bengals looked fast on defense, at least to me.
I think it is about time you stop putting posts about how good of a job your doing. I agree you are doing well. But will you stop wasting time by putting these posts up during the AFC North Chat?
Wow. Somebody needs a Bengal hug today.
Which veteran wide receiver should I sign?
It would have been overspending (still, the Browns have a lot of cap room sitting there) but I would've gone after Garcon. His speed is much needed.
With the signing of former Bengals LB Johnson, is this a sign the Steelers don't have much confidence in their backup LB core?
This was more of a special teams move, in my estimation.
Thanks for the great chat today. Have to get back to work here at the Steelers. Hope everyone has a great rest of the week.