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Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

Hey all,

Great to be back with you and still getting to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoff race. And they’re still in Pittsburgh. Which is something that, as we’re seeing, shouldn’t be taken for granted.

St. Louis Rams? Gone.

San Diego Chargers? Gone.

And I don’t think there’s anything more infuriating in sports than that. If I was commissioner for a day, a scary thought, I would make it practically illegal for teams to move. It’s the worst thing about these leagues. Hold the current city hostage and make tax payers empty their wallets or leave the city and have everyone heartbroken.

Stop it, Roger Goodell. And everyone else.

To your questions!

falconsaftey43: I know they are really good players, but why does everyone seem to be doom and gloom about limiting Kelce and Hill? They combined for 15 targets, 10 catches, 47 yards and two garbage time TDs. And that was before the defense was play so well. Not saying they shouldn’t be the focus, but they’ve already shut them down once.

Alex: I think they, like the Chiefs, have evolved into something much better. Hill is obviously a bigger part of the offense and much more comfortable. And Kelce is always a threat. Stopping him once doesn’t ensure the same success the second time around. Kelce is on fire lately with 100+ yards in five of seven games. It’s never easy to shut them down.

PaeperCup: If you thought Texans had any sort of chance up in NE, what factors do you think would play into a Houston victory?

Alex: Well for one, I don’t. But I will say this – Romeo Crennel has gameplanned forTom Brady better than any defensive coordinator in the league. And that Texans defense can get after you.

Still, no chance to win.

srdan: 

Do you see this or the miami DL as teh tougher matchup for our offensive line?

Do you like Rosie Nix as much as I do? I usually start screaming as soon as he goes into the game.

Alex: Well I think the Dolphins personnel wise have some really top talent but as a whole, that run defense was awful. So it’s hard to really gauge them. I’m conflicted. Kansas City has a tough front too though and it starts with Poe. Very Brandon Williams like. And a guy that doesn’t come off the field all too often.

I love Rosie. Every player is my favorite, they’re like children, but Rosie is the one slightly ahead of the whole pack. He’s my dude.

T3xassteelers: 

Do you think Deebo makes the HOF? Took Greene forever and he has quite a bit more sacks than 92. BUT Harrison does have those HOF type plays that voters will have in their minds. What do you think?

Also, when will you start going over prospects for the draft? Draft season is my favorite!!

Alex: 

I don’t know, it’s a good question. I think he deserves to be in. He was a dominant player for an extended period of time, 2007-2011. One of the best at his position. That’s my loose criteria. But the sack numbers don’t look very sparkly compared to everyone else and to the outside world, the part that’s actually important for this, it is problematic.

I think he gets in on his second or third try. Just my guess.

We are watching prospects but I don’t think we’ll start reports until the Steelers’ season is over. I don’t think anyone would care too much about prospect profiles with the team still chasing a Lombardi.

LK McCray: If bad weather in KC do Steelers pound away with Bell or would you like to see a better pass/run mix? Also, do you think BB is a good bad weather QB?

Alex: Sure, there will be an emphasis on the run. I don’t care about balance too much though. Run when you need to, pass when you need to. That’s a true mix, to me at least. Isn’t about numbers.

But we’ve seen the team throw in bad weather before. The only thing that might get taken away are the vertical shots if the wind is a factor (like the first Browns game).

Yeah, Ben is a really good bad weather QB. Been playing in it his whole life. Ohio in high school and college, Pittsburgh since 2004. Ideal resume for that. Seen it all. Played in it all.

James Cowan: I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Bud Dupree this year, is this he’s an upgrade on Chick/Moats/Jones or is he finally developing some pass rush moves to complement his athleticism?

Alex: Ha, oh yeah, there’s no doubt he’s an upgrade both in the present and for the future. He’s bending the edge a little bit better. He reads tackles well and shows the ability to counter. Still not sure if he’s found that “go to” move yet, or a counter, but hopefully next year, with a whole season under his belt, that’ll develop too.

He runs hard though, doesn’t quit, and creates his own opportunity. Good start.

Wes Lee: On a scale of 0 to 100, how would you rate the Texans chances of actually beating New England this weekend? I know how the old saying goes…….’any given Sunday’, but this is new England at home.

Alex: A five out of 100 and that’s all just the “random football luck/injury” factor you can put in for any game. Like you said, the Any Given Sunday stuff. Upset of the year, and maybe the last ten (since New England got beat by the Giants), if Houston wins.

Sam Clonch: Are travel plans confidential? I live in KC and would like to try and catch an autograph at the airport/hotel/when team arrives at Arrowhead, but it seems like I might need secret service level clearance.

Alex: You probably won’t know until they get there. But once they arrive, sure the cat will be out of the bag. From my understanding, you can be in the same hotel and see those guys. Not sure about autographs. Never been in that environment.

Robbie: Alex if you could add one of these two for rest of year which are you taking? Prime Polamalu or Prime Hines Ward?

Alex: Troy. No doubt about it. I love Ward but there’s a reason why Troy is a slam dunk, first ballot Hall of Famer and Ward is a guy who will be sitting on the sidelines for awhile. Not going to overthink it. Don’t worry about depth charts. Just choose the better player.

And Troy, without any doubt in my mind, was the better player.

Steelers12: with the forecast looking the way it is for Sunday could we see more D’Angelo Williams this week against the Chiefs

Alex: Doubtful. Rain doesn’t make Bell anymore tired. Dude can play every snap. He’s the guy. Williams is merely the understudy.

Sonny Saks: Hi Alex,
If a franchise QB was on the board round #1 do you take him? Can the Steelers recoup an monies if Green retire because of the concussions? Thanks

Alex: Hey man! Eh, I dunno, I don’t think I would. I want to win Super Bowls with Ben. And I need to add all the pieces I can in the closing window I have. That’s my focus. But I get the other side to the argument. Worked out for the Packers pretty well.

I don’t think so on Green. It’s not like he did anything illegal. But I’m not an expert in that stuff. Unless Green lied about his concussion history prior to signing.

Even if he did, and that’s probably not true, I wouldn’t go after him. The bad PR of going after a guy who left because of concussions isn’t worth the couple million you *might* get back. It’s like a bookie going after your Grandma.

CP72: Alex,
Have seen enough out of Bud Dupree the last 6 weeks to think he can be a double digit sack guy?

Alex: Yeah I think he can be that guy. It’s still an incomplete body of work and it’s difficult to stay but his sharp improvement this year on a week to week basis has me excited for what he can do over the course of an entire year.He had 4.5 in 7 games, 4 starts this year. Basically puts him in line for 10.

The quality of those sacks could be a different story though. Some will be a product of him just outworking everyone else and chasing the football. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course.

Spencer Krick: What are the Steelers top 3 positions of weakness?

1. Kick/punt coverage. Injury bug isn’t helping but this unit hasn’t performed well enough the last month. Pretty obvious.

2. Ability to finish. Not a gigantic problem but we’ve seen it come up. Red zone offense hasn’t been as crisp as it was at points earlier in the year. Not getting off the field in some third and long situations. Offense still not quite putting together a complete game, end to end.

3. Seam threat. I am a big fan of Eli Rogers but he will disappear in games (whether that’s his, Haley’s, or Ben’s fault is a different discussion). And without Green, you don’t really have anyone else who fits that bill.

Brian Tollini: Alex, do you feel like we are not giving DHB enough opportunities?  Are we ignoring his big play potential a little? Also, has he ever returned kicks/punts?

Alex: Nah, I think it’s been fine. He is still working his way back on offense. Even when he first got healthy and started playing again, he wasn’t seeing many reps on offense. It’s been a climb back. He has his role in the offense. AB is locked in at one outside spot. Eli Rogers is pretty secure in the slot. So that normally leaves just one spot left. And Cobi Hamilton has been impressive. So there is naturally going to be a split.

No, I don’t think he’s done kicks/punts in the NFL. Even if he has, he won’t be an option for Pittsburgh. Never done it here.

Ask Questions Later: Hey Alex, long time no see.

What do you think Pittsburgh should do at TE considering Greens ongoing issues?

Alex: Hey man! It’s hard for me the answer because I’m not privy to the exact nature of his issues. What was the setback? What is the long-term risk and outlook? I couldn’t tell you. So with so little information, it’s impossible for me to be able to make a conclusion. Right now, obviously, roll with what you have.

MR25BURNS: 

Alex,

Will Peezy be on the sideline Sunday?

Alex: Highly doubtful. And I wouldn’t expect him to be around for the rest of the postseason.


That’s all for this week. Thanks guys. Hopefully next week we’re talking about the AFC Title Game.

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