Ask Alex: Steelers’ Mailbag

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Steelers’ Nation, I’m mad.

I don’t watch a lot of movies but I keep seeing the trailer for The Accountant that’s opening tomorrow. Now, I’m taking all of the details my the trailers I’ve glossed over during Sunday Night Football and reruns of American Pickers, but my understanding of the movie’s plotline is.

Ben Affleck is a socially awkward/recluse but total James Bond and the MAN is out to get him.

I have no problem with the whole “weird dude who kills everyone” Hollywood trope. But you don’t get to be the weird dude and and look like Ben Affleck. You should look like Milton from Office Space. You don’t get to have it all, Ben. I hope Tom Brady throws ten interceptions and Bill Simmons blocks your phone number.

To your Steelers’ questions!

@bocote311: mailbag: what’s the gameplan vs. miami to avoid the “laying an egg” kinda situation that’s plagued the steelers in the past?

Alex: I think the Steelers are aware of how tough it is in the NFL. They’re probably still smarting from the Eagles’ loss and losses last season in games they “should have” won. You listen to the way Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler talk and they always speak highly of the other team.

That’s not just lip service or for us. It’s to make every game sound like the Super Bowl and so every player takes it with 100% seriousness, no matter what a team’s record is.

Swiss-Steel: What do you think of the Dee Milliner situation? Should maybe the Steelers take the risk?

Alex: I wouldn’t do it. Steelers rolled their dice on Gilbert. Milliner wouldn’t have a role. If it comes to it, as it did Sunday, I’d rather see Shabazz get playtime. When this team is healthy, they have enough guys. Millner isn’t near the physical talent Gilbert is anyway.

The Tony: Leveon Bell is such a transcendent talent, which player do you think is his best comparison? I was thinking Marshall Faulk

Alex: That’s actually who I was going to go with. Some say Roger Craig but Bell is a much better and will be a more accomplished runner. I’m not big on comparisons but Faulk is mine too.

RickM: What should we look for offensively if Coates and Wheaton can’t go and how effective do you think the O will be?

Alex: Well I think Coates at least will and hopefully Eli Rogers does. So even if Wheaton is out, Rogers is the natural replacement – and starter over Wheaton even if both were healthy.

But the good thing about Haley’s offense is the versatility He has no problem going 22 or 13 personnel just like he does his base of 11 personnel. When injuries strike, the Steelers just make some adjustments and roll with the punches.

srdan: When completely healthy and practicing all week. Do you expect Green to be a shoe in for 80% of TE snaps?

Alex: That’s a good question. I’m really not sure. He was brought in to be the guy but Jesse James is playing well as a receiver and it’s not like Green is a great blocker.

I do think he gets that 75-80% range though. He’s so much more dynamic than James. The team knew what they had in James, his general progression, and still wanted Green. It’s hard to sit a guy when he’s causing a matchup problem on every single play. And opens the offense up even more.

RMSteeler: Looking ahead, (I know, I know) do you think that the Steelers have the personnel to defeat the Patriots like they did the last time they won?

Alex: Sure, in theory. But I don’t think I’ll ever pick against Brady/Belichick. It’ll be a great litmus test though.

Da Bus Driver: Is Sammie Coates officially the WR #2 in Pittsburgh?

Alex: Yes sir.

Jeff Papiernik: Do you think we’ll ever see this combination on the field at the same time: Ben, Bell, Brown, Bryant, Rogers, Green?

Alex: Oh man Jeff, I sure hope so. I mean, Bell and Brown are going to be back next year. So it’s just a matter of Bryant’s situation and Green health.

I think you see one snap of all of them. And it’ll be the most glorious snap ever.

Michael James: I think our CBs and safeties are really improving, but if you could upgrade one position in our secondary right now, what would it be?

Alex: I’m cool with the safeties, assuming a healthy Golden. But you can never have too many good cornerbacks and the Steelers don’t have an elite guy. Gay is steady, Cockrell improving, Burns promising, but if you could give me Aqib Talib tomorrow, I’ll do it. I don’t care if he shot himself. He’s a shutdown guy.

natty: No data to back it up, but it seems like Ben and AB have not been on the same page so far this season far more often than in previous years. More incompletions and a look of frustration/confusion after a disconnect. Are you seeing anything on tape?

Alex: I obviously don’t know for sure what is going on but I think it’s much ado about nothing. This is Ben/Haley all over again. Steelers “weathered” that storm pretty well.

Yeah there has been some miscommunication but when you’re targeted as much as Brown, there’s going to be the occasional breakdown.

They’re two elite, highly competitive guys yearning for a title. Sometimes emotions run high. But the sky isn’t falling. Most of these rumors are just noise. I pay no mind.

falconsaftey43: Chris Simms recently said the Steelers offense is too reliant on the deep ball (suggesting good defenses won’t give them that, and their offense would struggle to operate without it). Can this offense produce if teams scheme against the deep ball?

Alex: I saw it and thought it was a dumb take. It’s not like their only source comes from the deep ball. Heck, they’re tied for 4th in 20+ completions with a bunch of teams right behind. It’s not like they’re running away and hiding.

Look at the Jets game. Look at the end of the first half and the second half. Not a lot of deep shots. You have a guy like Bell who is on track to catch 91 passes this year. You can’t say you’re only a vertical offense when your RB could still lead his position in grabs.

We went from “Haley’s offense is too horizontal” to “Haley’s offense is too vertical.” Yawn.

Ok, thanks everyone! Talk next week. Be sure to hang around for our live stream/chat at 3 PM/ET tomorrow.

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