So Jason, the author of Bleeding Green Nation, the network's Philadelphia Eagles blog, had a couple of questions for me. In case you were not already aware, our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers return to the field tomorrow night in our first preseason game against the Iggles. We both agreed that we'd save the brunt of our back-and-forth questioning for our regular season matchup, which I briefly touched upon just a few days ago. But Jason had a few questions that were appropriate for the preseason . They were the following.
1) Who are some guys we may not have heard of that have emerged as camp stars in Pittsburgh?
BTSC: A few of the usual camp suspects have made an appearance again. Guys like Nate Washington and Willie Reid, both WRs lower on the depth chart, are again having huge training camps, something they both did last year as well. 7th round WR out of Florida from 2007, Dallas Baker, has also had a great camp, after spending last year on the practice squad.
Many of you guys may have heard of Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, our first and second round LB draft choices from a year ago. If you haven't, you will by year's end. Both are ready to break out in a big way during their sophomore campaigns.
2) The Steelers picked up Jeremy Bloom last year after the Eagles let him go before the start of the season. Has he looked like a real football player? Is there any chance he makes the team this year?
BTSC: Not much to report on Jeremy Bloom. Unfortunately for Jeremy, being in Pittsburgh is probably not the best situation for him. With Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, and Limas Sweed all firmly entrenched on the depth chart at WR, the only real shot at him making the team would be as a return guy. But the team also picked up 3rd down back and punt returner Mewelde Moore from Minnesota this offseason, and most recently, the team acquired Eddie Drummond, another return specialist. I just don't see how he makes this team barring multiple injuries.
3) Finally, the Eagles added QB coach Mark Whipple to their staff this offseason after he came highly recommended to Andy Reid from Bill Cowher. Some people have credited him as a big part of Big Ben's development. Do you remember Whipple and do you think he had a significant impact on the young QB?
BTSC: Mark Whipple is going to be a great addition to your coaching staff. When Mike TOmlin was hired, Whipple was shown the door, in favor of Ken Anderson, the current QB coach in Pittsburgh. That decision was probably more a familiarity decision rather than a performance based decision, as Whipple obviously had helped mold Roethlisberger into a SB winning QB in just two short years. I will say that Whipple's biggest influence on Big Ben might have been non-football related. I remember reading about how he and the young QB would have many a conversations about life. Even though the Eagles coaching staff is filled with very bright offensive minds, I think Andy Reid will find a nice niche for Whipple to leave his mark.