Welcome back to your Pittsburgh Steelers’ mailbag. As always, we’re here for the next hour to answer whatever’s on your mind.
To your questions!
Beaver Falls Hosiery: Have you watched Pulp Fiction yet?
Alex: I did. A couple years ago, I think. It was alright. Not “classic movie of the century” like everyone else thinks. But no one should take movie critic advice from me.
Peter Rauch: How many o-lineman from this year are still on the roster week 1 next year if they rebuild it correctly?
Alex: Let’s go down the line.
LT Dan Moore – Yes, he’ll be here.
LG Kevin Dotson – Also will be here.
C Kendrick Green – Yes.
RG Trai Turner – First tough one. Tomlin seems to like him a lot. But it’s not like his play is super exciting but he’ll 29 and a free agent. So I’ll say no.
RT Zach Banner – Yes, I think he’s there for Week One. But that answer could change depending on how the rest of the season goes.
OT Chukwuma Okorafor – No. I think he’s gone.
OT Joe Haeg – Two-year deal, yeah, I think there’s value in a vet swing backup.
OC/OG JC Hassenauer – Yeah, I think they like him enough to be the backup again. But that’s all he is.
OC/OG BJ Finney – No, I think they move on. He was veteran insurance to begin with.
OG Rashaad Coward – Probably not. He just hasn’t been able to put it together.
So yes to: Moore, Dotson, Green, Banner, Haeg, and Hassenauer.
No to: Turner, Okorafor, Finney, and Coward. Means four new linemen are coming in. Which is probably needed.
Stooge mcclahn: Hey Alex, do you think Ben’s lost it more physically or is just trudging with the offense mentally more. Your video breakdown of chase running the correct route and Ben throwing the wrong ball made me think of this.
Alex: I don’t know if it’s either/or. I think it’s just a lot of the newness that’s tough for anyone to battle, especially a 39 year old QB who has been in his comfort zone for so long. He probably feels pretty limited right now with the no-huddle offense watered down. A new OC, a new o-line, trying to make it all work on the fly, it’s a lot to try to adjust to. And he – along with everyone else – is struggling.
I will say pressure may have influenced that bad ball to Claypool. It’s hard for me to say.
Hope all is well with you. I’ll try and get the inevitable Aaron Rodgers questions out of the way for you. Do you think he could actually come here after this year? From his perspective I think his best options would be us, Denver or Washington. What do you think? Also I saw people saying he has an opt out in his contract after this year, do you know if that’s true? I couldn’t see the Steelers trading for him, but I could see them signing him in FA.
Thanks for doing these as always!
Alex: I severely doubt Rodgers is coming to town. He wouldn’t want to go to a rebuilding/retooling team like Pittsburgh will be in with an o-line still in major flux. All reporting is he wants to go out west. He likes it out there more and obviously grew up and went to school in California. He can watch his Pittsburgh Dad videos from his phone in Cali. He doesn’t have to come to Pittsburgh for that.
His contract runs through 2022 so he’ll have to be traded by the Packers.
Way too early prediction. Do you think they go QB round 1 this year in the draft, or let Mason and Haskins duke it out for a year and see if anything is there?
Sounds like they’re doing their homework on this year’s QB class at least.
Alex: There’s just a lot of variables there. I think they should. I don’t think you waste your team seeing if Rudolph or Haskins are the answer. I would lean towards them taking a QB in round 1. But it depends on a million factors. Where you’re picking, the board, what guys you like, etc.
Anthony Palmerston: If you had to guess, do you believe Tuitt will play a game this season?
Alex: I still do. If for nothing else, because it’s a long season and it’s hard to see him still sitting out in say, December. But I don’t have any special insight here.
Sam S: What’s your take on minkah’s play so far this year? I’ve never seen such low scores from PFF. I know he was in coverage on that busted play against Oakland and missed a couple tackles. Is it possible pff is overlooking some ways in which he neutralizes offenses or has his play been that bad?
Alex: It hasn’t been as good as the scores make them out to be, I don’t think. Some of that can be sample size I suppose. When you allow a long TD in Week Two (which was his fault) that’s going to greatly ding your score. So basically any safety who hasn’t done that (most of them) are going to grade out higher.
But yeah, he hasn’t quite been his Minkah self. Maybe he was a little uncomfortable playing over slot after not doing it since basically his rookie season/very early into his sophomore year. He didn’t play anything over slot last week after doing it a bunch the first two. So maybe they’re trying to get him back to his roots and where he works best.
Anthony Palmerston: Is Ben struggling to read defenses and/or reacting late? It doesn’t feel like we’re getting the savviness in play that one would expect from a long time vet QB.
Alex: That’s a “big” question that’s hard to quantify. In some cases, yes. I mean, the INT to Logan Wilson, obviously he didn’t read that at all. I feel like he’s just trying to do too much. Partially because everything is on his shoulders with absolutely zero run game. This happened last year too. Where you start forcing and pressing and sorta locking in too much. He’s not a top-level QB and you’re asking him to carry this whole offense. And only those top guys are going to be consistently great every single game. That’s the bottom line here.
Steel Dodo: Hi Alex,
I’ve seen a lot of commentary about Green, but not much about Moore. Now that you’ve seen him for a few games, do you think Moore is likely the long term LT (at least for the next few years) or do you think the team will use a 1st or 2nd round pick on a new LT and put Moore as a backup/swing tackle?
Alex: I think we have the luxury of some more time to decide all that stuff. Moore has taken his lumps too, he’s not as good in pass pro right now as say, Villanueva (which isn’t terribly surprising, of course) but I think there’s starter potential there with him. So right now, I don’t think a top pick in the 2022 draft will come at OT, no. But that answer is subject to change. Not like they have to make a decision now.
Dan Blocker: Alex, with Kendrick Green’s struggles, would you still struggle with him, or go to Hassenauer, with a limited skill set? And are we seeing enough from Dan Moore to keep him in the lineup, and not switch back to Chuks when Banner returns? Thanks as always!
Alex: I’m all about making those decisions and evaluating guys after that fourth game. So post-Green Bay. A good body of work and sample size to see what guys correct mistakes and which ones don’t. So ask me about the Packers game.