Ask Alex: Steelers’ Mailbag

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Back at it for another mailbag. You know the drill – ask whatever is on your mind for the next hour. If you like these chats, be sure to like our Facebook page. We’re doing some Q&A’s from time to time over there as well.

I’m not in the market to replace my beloved – and begrudged – McLumina, but when I do in the next two to 200 years, what should I get? Who are the car experts out there? Or should I wait until the cars are self-driving and their inevitable revolt against humans. I, for one, welcome our new vehicular overlords.

To your questions!

Steelers12: Hey Alex do you think LeVeon Bell’s stregth of patience is also his biggest weakness and as of today what are the Steelers top 5 positions of need in the draft?

Alex: No, I don’t think it’s a weakness. Maybe occasionally gets him into trouble but does a lot more good than bad for him.

Top 5 positions:

1. OLB
2. WR
3. LT
4. CB
5. RB

RickM: What has happened to Todd Haley’s creativity?

Alex: Some of the injuries hamstrung him. He’s talked about focusing in on protecting Ben last week which I bet limited some of the things he normally wants to do.

And some of it is still there. It just isn’t always plain to see. Let’s see how these next couple of games go. He is still a top OC for me.

Nicholas Allen Cotner: If you were calling the offense how would you attack the Cowboys this week?

Alex: I still need to study it some more. But it’s really playing your own game. Attack that beat up secondary. No Barry Church. No Morris Claiborne. Gotta attack vertically and that’ll soften things up for the run game. Haley needs to be creative, move AB and Bell around, all the stuff that made them successful in past home games.


On a scale of 1-10(higher is better), can you rate the following peoples performances so far this year, with no caption.


Alex: Coaches and front office are always tough to grade. I mean, they all are, but coaches especially.

Colbert – 5. The outside linebackers are a mess and it’s his biggest problem. Plus side, he (and Omar Khan) have helped navigate this team financially and are now out on the other side.

Tomlin – 6. Sure many are giving him a “zero” after these last three games. But it was a strong start and his “next man up” mentality has served as an appropriate rallying cry through some tough times.

Haley – 7.5. The Dolphins game was bad as last week wasn’t great but other than that, I am happy with the job he has done.

Butler – 7. He hasn’t blitzed as much but hopefully last week showed him the light. His in-game adjustments are actually really good, especially vs the run. True linebacker mentality.

Smith – 6.5. Coverage units has still been really strong and Berry is developing well. But last week was tough to shake. Some very dumb things happening.

Ben – 6. So much good. So much bad.

Burns – 5. Little good, lot of bad. Last week was encouraging though.

Sonny Saks: Hi Alex,
Am I the only one who feels this team needs to change their philosophy and realize they need to be a little aggressive in free agency. Look at the way the Giants shored up their defense. Not looking to go crazy but a player or two on defense to get after the QB wouldn’t hurt?

Alex: I don’t think you’re alone. Many fans have asked for that for years, partially because it’ll mark March a lot more exciting. But I think they stick to their plan as long as Colbert is GM. Thrifty spending in free agency and invest in the draft.

I mean, it’s not like they’ve completely ignored free agency. They’re not Ted Thompson. Mitchell and Green cost some serious cash.

JohnB: Eight games in, Do you think a team would pay top dollar for Jarvis Jones next year? Or Do you think he’ll be here next year for cheap?

Alex: Top dollar? If McDonalds is our scale, then maybe. I think he’s done with them, they’re done with him. Go somewhere else, clean slate. Just a bad fit. It’s Ziggy Hood 2.0. Good against the run, hard workers, just not a great fit and neither side is particularly happy.

Only way he comes back is if they cut Moats (which could happen!).

Michael James: Of course it won’t happen, but if John Elway calls tomorrow and offers a trade Von Miller – Brown, would you do it?

Alex: Nah. I’m desperate for a pass rusher. But not that desperate.

Beaver Falls Hosiery: Alex – what is the real deal with Justin Gilbert – is it really that he does not know the defensive schemes yet?

Alex: I dunno man. The guy got a lot of work in the dime defense this year. Now he isn’t ready enough to dress on gameday. Beats me.

PaeperCup: Is Mike Mitchell good? I really can’t tell.

Alex: My assessment would be kinder if he could create some splash. No interceptions, no forced fumbles in 2016 after recording five last year. His job is a tough one. Play in space, be the last line of defense, I don’t envy it. But he has to, like the rest of the defense, make some big-time plays that get the offense the ball back.

That’s all for this week. Thanks guys!

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