HoWelcome back to your weekly mailbag. We’re post-training camp and ready to tackle the rest of the preseason.
As always, we’re here for the next hour to answer whatever is on your mind.
To your questions!
Sam S: Was watching Olympic rugby a few weeks and made me wonder which 7 I would choose from Steelers to form a squad. Let’s hear your 7
Alex: Oh man, good question. I don’t watch much rugby so maybe I’ll miss something position specific. But in my untrained eye, you just want guys who are fast, physical, and have good hands. So here’s my 7.
Najee Harris – Gotta go with your starting running back. Good lack tackling 240 pounds in the open field. He’ll run over the first guy, hurdle the next.
TJ Watt – To turn some people into mush. And he’s a former tight end so some of those offensive skills might show up with the ball in his hands.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – You want tough people in rugby. JuJu’s a tough dude. He’ll take a hit to make a play. One of those guys who will pitch the ball right before he gets popped. And he’ll bring some fun rugby celebrations…maybe make the sport a little more popular stateside.
Diontae Johnson – Probably an offense only guy and yeah, he’ll probably drop a couple but he’s going to make a lot of dudes look silly in open grass. You need points, that’s your guy.
Pat Freiermuth – Considered Ebron here but give me the more sure-handed guy. Freiermuth a big dude who isn’t going to put the ball on the ground. All-state linebacker in high school too. So he can tackle.
Henry Mondeaux – 300 pounder with some really plus athleticism. Dude played both sides of the ball in high school. Fullback, tight end, d-line, linebacker. Caught 12 passes his senior year of HS. Sneaky good pick here.
Pressley Harvin III – I don’t know if he’d be any good. But a 250 pounder running around who can punt is probably worth something in rugby.
Miles Killebrew (awesome open field tackler) and Anthony McFarland (good luck catching him) get honorable mentions here.
This is a random off-season question I forgot to ask a couple months ago, so please defer to any actual timely questions.
In honor of Bobby Bonilla, what do you think of the NFL mandating that a piece of all rookie contracts is placed in a trust and paid out over the next 20 years, to kindof force new players to plan for after their career?
Or for a timely question, is there any chance of the odd man out in the backup QB battle playing well enough for us to trade for a 7th? We’re really low on picks this year
Alex: Eh, I get your point but I’m not a fan of the idea. Let players have their money. They can do what they want. I’d rather do everything I can to teach better financial literacy than to force it upon players. Plus, inflation is going to make that money they’re making now look a lot different in 20 years. $1.5 million in 2001 is worth $1 million today. No one is playing a sad violin for these guys but that’s a pretty big hit on your money, even understanding it gets paid out in installments in your scenario. Think there are just better solutions.
I could see Dobbs get flipped for a 7th. That’s probably about it. Would Rudolph have some sort of value? Perhaps. But I don’t think they’re dealing him. Just signed him to an extension.
falconsaftey43: Eli Rogers and Nate Washington are the only UDFA WRs of any note in recent year, am I forgetting anyone? And do you see any of the current guys maybe sticking around on the PS and having an actual role next year with JuJu and Washington gone?
Alex: How dare you besmirch the great name of Tyler Murphy…
Most receptions by a true Steelers’ UDFA WR, Kevin Colbert tenure.
Nate Washington: 104
Eli Rogers: 78
Tyler Grisham: 1
Tyler Murphy: 1
Kinda crazy for a team that produces so many good WRs. Guess because they’re always just drafting them instead. No room for the UDFAs.
Really hard to say what things look like 12 months from now. Short answer, no, probably not. Not in the sense of being able to elevate their role into this offense. Bussey might be the most talented WR. Anthony Johnson/Cody White have that big slot thing going on. But I don’t think they’re anything more than bubble 53 guys, even though I’m a sucker for a guy like Johnson who does all the little things. My favorite players aren’t the biggest or strongest guys. They’re the dudes who do all the little junk. If Anthony Johnson even lines up as a wing on punt team I’ll probably faint.
PghDSF: In your camp reports there are several times Green is having problems with bull-rush. Should this be a concern?
Alex: Yes, it should be. Something I noted in my evaluation of him right after they took him. He’s a great athlete, he can handle quickness. Handling power will be a challenge. And technically, he’s gotta grow. Lack of size and technique is going to be an issue. How big/how often, I’m not sure.
WeWantDaTruth: Hey Alex! Stephon Tuitt has not practiced at all during the preseason. I understand he and his family is dealing with the death of a timely member, so it is understandable to take some time to mourn. But is that all it is to him not practicing, or is there an injury in there somewhere?
Alex: It’s really hard to say. I don’t see anything visibly wrong with him injury-wise. And he’s occasionally gone through drills. There’s been no “ramp up” work like you see players do along the sidelines when they’re working back from injury. Maybe there’s something going on but a part of it I’m sure has to do with him mentally after his brother’s death. I don’t have a lot of insight though.
WeWantDaTruth: Alex, a second question, if I may. With where the Steelers are with respect to the salary cap, do you foresee them making another move? If so, what position?
Alex: Two areas they could add. FS. They’ve spent all summer looking for one. And guard. Coward isn’t ready. Hassenauer would make me nervous there. He can play guard but I really want him as center only.
knoxly: Hey Alex, apparently Canada will be in the press box calling the offense what are the benefits of a coordinator doing this?
Alex: Better vantage point, for starters. Can see the whole field. Down on the sideline, tougher to see coverages, substitutions, etc. It’s quieter and more organized too. Easier to get access to information, not standing outside with 66,000 screaming fans right behind you.
Downsides are that it’s less personal. You’re definitely a bit removed from the action. Should be interesting – definitely took notice of the comment. Has Ben ever had an OC in the box before? I think Haley tried? Then went back to the sideline. Fichtner was on the sidelines.