Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

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Welcome back to your weekly Pittsburgh Steelers’ mailbag. We’re answering your questions over the next hour to get you ready for tonight’s game against the Vikings.

To your questions!

stan: The Steelers don’t actually have to start letting a player on injured reserve practice if they don’t want to right? I’m just wondering because with Banner, then McFarland and now with Carlos Davis, they’ve started an injured player practicing, activated him onto the 53 man, and then not used him. I wouldn’t care except that in all three cases the player has taken a roster spot that they could have used for someone else.

Alex: Players on IR can’t practice until they are designated to return. Then the window opens for them to practice and the 21 day span to be activated off IR and to a team’s 53 man roster. If they aren’t, then they spend the rest of the year on IR.

Sometimes being activated doesn’t mean you’ll play. It just means you’re healthy enough to play. And once those guys get healthy, the team will begin practicing them because you never know when you’re going to need them. Davis being down last week was a surprise though.



Have you studied the Ravens failed two point play to see how Andrews got open? Someone (who in your opinion) blow an assignment, good offensive scheme or what? Thank you

Alex: I hadn’t dedicated a lot of time to it. It can be so tough to read and gauge that stuff on the goal line when you’re trying to focus on the run. It’s either on Devin Bush or Minkah Fitzpatrick. Probably Bush since Andrews came across but it’s tough to tell coverages and assignments in those bang-bang kind of moments, to be honest with you.


Hi Alex. If you could take one attribute from Troy Polamalu and give it to Minkah, what attribute would it be? If you could take one attribute from James Harrison and give it to TJ Watt, what would it be?

Secondly, do you see us going QB in the draft in the first round?

Alex: Oh man, it’s not like Minkah or Watt need a lot of help, ha. For Fitzpatrick, probably Troy’s reckless abandonment. Fitzpatrick is more of a wrap up tackler. Capable of delivering a blow but not in the Tasmanian Devil way Polamalu is.

For Harrison to Watt, probably Harrison’s bend and ability to corner. That probably involves shrinking Watt down three inches, that’s what gave Harrison the advantage, but there aren’t a lot of traits Watt doesn’t have.

Could a QB happen? Yes, I think it’s possible. But that’s so far away and I don’t think QB is the favorite.

Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt: Hi alex this is probably a question for Dave but I’ll let you have at it when players are promoted from the practice squad do they get a bigger payday and vice versa for the players being put back on the ps

Alex: Yeah, probably best to ask Dave on that one. If they’re on the active roster though, I believe they get paid as such. But I’m not 100% sure on the mechanics for the elevated players and how that works.


Hi Alex,
Who will Tomlin name as his bestie of the year?


Alex: Sounds like you hope he names you.

Kevin Reich: The last Ravens drive they were called for holding and Tomlin declined. In a 2 minute drill I think the yds would be more important than a down especially against a big play guy like Lamar who can convert for 1st downs. Thoughts?

Alex: I hadn’t thought about it much. I hear what you’re saying though. Field position wasn’t a major issue though. It’s not like a difference between your 10 or 20. It was like, midfield or the opposing 40. So I think downs is more of a significant factor because the more downs/chances you give Lamar, the more chances he’s going to make a play. Steelers’ defense played a lot of snaps in that game so you don’t want to make them work even more.

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