Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

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Welcome back to our weekly mailbag. As always, we’re here for the next hour to answer whatever’s on your mind.

To your questions!

Marcel Chris Chauvet: 

Got a question for you I posed to others in another forum. If the cost were virtually the same, would you prefer the combination of:
(A) Bud Dupree & Vance McDonald
(B) Hunter Henry & Vic Beasley

You could substitute Austin Hooper or Dante Fowler Jr or someone else for part B if you like. Basically, would you take the trade-off of a slight downgrade at OLB to get an upgrade at TE? Does it make you a better football team overall?

Alex: I see where you’re coming from. That’s a tough one. Dupree is better than Beasley, Henry better than McDonald, how do you weigh the two? I’m not really sure. I don’t spend really any time thinking about it, obviously, because it isn’t reality and I haven’t studied those other guys the way I have Bud and Vance. I’ve said before evaluating Vance’s terrible 2019 is figuring out whether he played through a nagging injury or if his body is simply breaking down.

Generally though, successful teams are ones who retrain their own, not let them go in order to chase outside free agents. Lot of teams have burned a lot of money that way. That’s why I wrote about this team needing to get back to drafting a tight end. Investing heavily in the position. Ultimately, given what I wrote about dancing with who you brought, give me Bud and Vance and also definitely take a TE within my first two picks.

Douglas Prostorog: I know it’s early, but got any free agents on the horizon that are worth looking at?

Alex: Honestly, it’s not *that* far away. New league year starts in what, a month? I do have a list I’m kicking around. Need to do more research, see what moves the Steelers make (or don’t make) to figure out what fits best. I’ll be honest though. It’s not an impressive list. Anyone writing about Hunter Henry or Teddy Bridgewater is just looking for surface-level clicks. My list is U-G-L-Y. Reality when this team has no money and must go dumpster diving.

I’ll give you one name here I threw out on Twitter last week. OG/C Max Garcia. Signed a $2 million deal with Arizona last year after tearing his ACL in 2018 with Denver. Rehabbed, came off PUP in November but didn’t play a single snap offensively. But he was a durable, decent-enough starter with Denver who played center at Florida and can be an interior swingman. Steelers had a Pro Day dinner with him coming out of Florida. So there’s a connection there. Probably will sign for the minimum or just a tiny bit more. Try to rehab his value now that he’s rehabbed his body.

disqus_PRLSFrvO2J: Has anyone with the site been able to spend some time evaluating the O-Line play from this season, in terms of scheme and technique?
Obvious that the run success rate was (except for Snell) horrible, but as a line that was previously coached to pass block & block for Bell, I am wondering if we can hope for any adjustments to improve things.

Alex: I’ve written about it and did a least one video on it. Couple links for you because you’re right, schematically, there were issues.

Steelers Run Game Woes Goes Further Than ‘Stacked Boxes’

Why Is The Steelers Run Game So Bad?

Hope that helps.

The Tony: Alex,
Are you going to play Kakarot this off-season? I’ve been really wanting to pick it up, it’s getting solid reviews.

Alex: Probably not, to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a DBZ video game before. Not big into fighting video games as a genre. Gets too predictable and repetitive. But I’ll look into it. Do you know when DBZ will come back on TV with a new saga? Tournament of Power’s been over for a few months now.

ImMikeD: Hey Alex. Do you see any chance that we continue to see the “Wild Side” of KC this year in the draft and making a move higher up in round 2 or late first? I know it’s early, but are you in love with a player in that area of the draft that you’d like to see them go after and how much would you (As PS GM)? Peace!

Alex: Colbert has been on his Rumspringa and living on the wild side for the last 18 months but I just don’t think he has the ammunition to be that bold again. If anything, he’s gotta look hard at trading down from #49 to acquire more picks to fill out the holes in the roster that free agency is unlikely to truly address. Last year, they were into the draft with ten picks. This year, they have just six and only two in the ~Top 100. So it’s a different landscape.

Don’t think I have that “in love” with player yet, to be honest. Not having that glaring need in the way they did ILB last year also probably makes them less likely to feel like they *have* to get a guy the way they did with Devin Bush.

Douglas Prostorog: I’ll give you one more: keeping in mind that we don’t know how free agency will play out, what would you do with the 6 picks that the team does have? I tend to think (in no particular order) they have to go TE, OL (just to fill in that pipeline again even if there is a bit of potential there with the PS guys), backup S (that got ignored last year for some reason), and of course NT. We all know they will grab a WR so that is 5 picks. How do you use that last one?

Alex: I have: TE, NT, iOL, and S as the top four needs on the team. So you try to address those early. But it’s all based on value and scheme fit too. Can’t just check boxes when it comes to positions. That’s how you reach and miss out on other talent. And if we’re talking late on Day Three, it’s really a dart throw. I didn’t see them loading up on LBs they way they did in 2019. But that’s probably where their board was telling them to go, not because it was some sort of urgent need.

falconsaftey43: I keep hearing a lot of people being worried about the Steelers run defense. Not in the sense of the impact of losing Hargrave, but in that they thought it wasn’t good in 2019. Any idea where that is coming from? Last Ravens’ game wasn’t great, but they still held Ravens to 5th fewest total yards of the season, and the D only gave up 19 points, didn’t allow a drive longer than 61 yards. And that was their worst game. Ended the year with the 3rd best YPC against average, though they did poorly in 3rd and short conversions.

Alex: It popped up in a few games. Maybe that’s true of all teams, it probably is, even good ones (Baltimore dealt with that when they lose NT Brandon Williams for a few days) but also true for Pittsburgh. Seattle ran up for 151. 49ers went for 168. Cleveland in the first game went for over 100 (they also ran it a lot, granted). Baltimore well over 200 in the finale. Here’s the number of 100 yard games allowed by this defense per year:

2019 – 8
2018 – 5
2017 – 7
2016 – 5
2015 – 7
2014 – 7
2013 – 9
2012 – 5
2011 – 7
2010 – 2

So second most games since 2010.

You’re right the average is nice but there was an inconsistency there, especially early in the season that still sticks with fans.

That’s all for this week. Thanks everyone!

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