Welcome back to your weekly mailbag. When we do the next one, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be in the middle of reporting to St. Vincent College for training camp with the first practice kicking off the next day. So we’re here for any last minute pre-camp inquiries or anything else on your mind.
To your questions!
Dan: So how quickly do those bleachers at St. Francis fill up? I’ve been to camp a few times and they are always packed.
Alex: Yup, they fill up quick. There’s a huge line that forms 90 minutes before practice just to get into campus, though most of those people are waiting to run up the hill for autographs. But the bleachers can get crowded in a hurry, especially on a weekend. Only the first few rows offer shade so everyone wants to nab one of those spots (myself included). It’s a packed house.
Elyas Correa Nogueira: Hey, Alex. Let’s say both Sean Davis and Bud Dupree have well above-average seasons. Problem is, you could sign only one of them to a 2nd contract. Who would you sign and why?
Alex: It would depend on exactly what kinda of years they have, even knowing we’re working with the assumption that they’re pretty good. I would lean Davis over Dupree because I trust the team to find another pass rusher than another safety. Further away from the LOS this team has to find talent, the harder it is for them to evaluate. Davis is probably going to be a little cheaper too not off the 5th year option, even if the safety market got hot last offseason.
falconsaftey43: Hey Alex, I assume you guys have the charting for this. Could you let us know what the passing stats were on plays you have the defense charted as getting a pressure (but not a sack) and compare them to when the Steelers defense didn’t get any pressure? We always talk about the importance of pressure not just sacks, would be nice to see what effect it actually has.
Alex: Sure, give me one second to pull up the charting and look at the numbers. I’ll update here.
Ok, here we go.
Opponent passing when there’s pressure, 2018: 69/142 (48.6%) 681 yards (4.8 YPA) 4 TDs 4 INTs
Opponent passing when there’s no pressure, 2018: 308/464 (66.4%) 3443 yards (7.4 YPA) 22 TDs 4 INTs
So pretty clear difference. Think you just have me an idea for an article to write for tomorrow, too.
(1) What do you make of Brian Allen’s move to Free Safety (allegedly) – how could he fit and will he make the team. (2) Football Question: What do you make of OJ’s Twitter? Do you follow, do you support following, and do you have any thoughts on whether it is kosher to follow? Thanks!
Alex: We’ll find out soon. I know he moved on the depth chart. But those things aren’t always based in reality. Mike Tomlin isn’t updating the team site, ya know? I’d guess that move would have started in OTAs and something about it would’ve been reported already. But we’ll find out eight days from now. It does make sense with the logjam at corner and some thinner depth at safety.
OJ having a Twitter is bizarro world, that’s for sure. I’m sure the guy who invented Twitter didn’t have in mind “Let’s give OJ a voice!” upon creating it. I don’t follow it. I tried tweeting about it once but was an idiot and @’d a parody account. But I don’t care if people follow. Obviously a lot of people already do (861K right now). Follow doesn’t mean you endorse or support him. Some people just want to watch a trainwreck. So follow away if you’d like. Doesn’t matter to me.
WeWantDaTruth: Hey Alex. I live near Cleveland, and thus get to read what their sportswriters are saying. Today, an article was written suggesting that the Browns pursue FA Eric Berry to boost their safety depth. I know safety depth is a concern for us. Should the Steelers also kick the tires on Berry?
Alex: Probably not. He’s just a “name,” the offseason is causing people to run out of ideas, and it’s something that reads well in a headline. Berry is 30 – which already basically rules him out from the Steelers’ point of view – and has played three games in the last two years. I don’t know what he has left in the tank.
I’m all for adding safety depth but I’d rather do it via someone in a camp, full-go and in as best shape possible. Whether that’s trade or signing after cutdowns, I’m not sure. But that’s probably the route I’d go.
Is this the best front seven we’ve had since the last Super Bowl victory? I personally believe it is if Devin Bush is remotely close to what we all think he could be.
Alex: I hope so. Certainly could be. You have the combination of experience and youth with guys like Watt, Tuitt, Hargrave, and a little bit of Dupree. Leader and a stud in Heyward. Vince is solid. Bush could take off, that’s the hope, while Barron should have some sort of role and creates depth. So yeah, I think that’s a fair assessment or at least, a fair hope.