Ask Alex: Steelers’ Mailbag

Lot to talk about this week. One quick site thing. For those reading on mobile, do you have any issues with GIFs? Any weird borders that surround it? Tweaking and troubleshooting some stuff this week to make sure that experience works well for you guys, too. Let me know.

To your questions!

Bill Sechrengost: If neither Mitchell nor Davis can play Sunday, do you think they will promote Hagen to the 53-man roster? If so, who gets taken off the roster so he can be added?

Alex: Yes, they won’t have a choice. Would only have two active safeties (Wilcox, Golden). Who gets bumped off? Maybe Feiler if Hawkins is ready to go.

srdan: But since I need a question, you still sticking to double digit sacks for [Dupree] this year?

Alex: I still think it’s possible, definitely. My biggest concern right now is health. He’s still dealing with that shoulder injury and it might wind up being something that bugs him all year long. As the wear and tear continues, his play could regress. But it’s been nice to see him play the way we know he’s capable of.

NickSteelerFan: 

Hey Alex! I didn’t find out until recently that Demarcus Ayers was released by the Pats a few days ago. What do you think the chances are that he circles back with the Steelers at some point?

Also, if Justin Hunter dresses, who looses a hat?

Alex: Ayers didn’t want to be on the PS before so I don’t think he would want to now.

It’ll be either Eli or DHB. I am leaning DHB just because I think they keep Rogers out there for punts another week. If Jacoby Jones can get a second chance, so can Eli. JuJu can take over some of the special teams work. Or have Wilcox/Brian Allen be the gunners.

PghDSF: Does AB play more slot with Bryant and Hunter playing out wide?

Alex: I don’t think any more than normal. He’s still going to be the X receiver on most downs. You like to get him isolated and either get that one-on-one coverage or force the safety to declare and bracket him. In this system, everyone has to play everywhere. Bryant has been in the slot before. So has Hunter. Hunter actually played A LOT in the slot last year in Buffalo.

Don’t assume Hunter is going to get a ton of snaps either. Some, I’m sure, that’s the reason he’d be active, but I am guessing 10-12 at most. Situational stuff.

Grant Humphrey: Alex, Never really want to say must win this early in the year but do you think, with the Steelers difficult second half schedule, That this is a must win game?

Alex: Yeah I don’t like to use those terms in Week Four. “Must win” is sorta like “fake news.” Been used to often the term loses meaning. But it’s critical. 3-1 and the sky is put back up. 2-2 and it’s falling. Fast.

NW86: Hey Alex! I haven’t seen much film or discussion on Haden yet since he was signed. How do you think he has looked so far? Best CB on the team? Worth the $7M?

Alex: He’s been steadier in Week One, which is what you would expect for a guy who was still learning his teammates names at that point. I don’t think he’s the most talented, that’s still Burns, but Burns has been more penalty-prone and inconsistent. Especially Sunday, as we’ve harped on.

Ryan Fazi: Which milestone do you think is most realistic in sunday’s game. Ben goes over 300 yards, Bell rushes for over 100 yards or a WR other than AB has over 100 yards ?

Alex: AB. It’s the safest bet. Running the ball on Baltimore is always tough, though they’ve had more success in recent years. Still not something I’d bet on, especially with the woes of this group. AB has his own force field around him. Gets his no matter what else is going wrong on offense.

Willie John: If you were the DC for the Steelers, what would you be changing this week to try to stop the Ravens zone runs?

Alex: Well I am all for getting Javon Hargrave on the field in nickel more. That’s not going to solve everything but I am in favor of getting your best players on the field.

Honestly, going back through the game, LT Walton looked really god. Bears ran seven times for 2 yards with him on the field. So he should cut into Alualu’s snaps.

Schematically, I just think they have to do a better job responding to motions and changes in strength the offense does. That got Pittsburgh into trouble last week. I’d probably play things more conventionally. Wouldn’t run that over front so you can’t get set weak by motion. Less run stunts, less scrapes, be less cute. Just play it straight up.

John Noh: All right, Alex, now are you going to revise the sack prediction total for Dupree this season? My bigger concern for him seems to be that he doesn’t seem to be even creating a lot of pressure like TJ has been able to.

Alex: I don’t know why you’re upset with his play. One sack in two games. And he has tied for the team lead with seven pressures. That’s bad?

The Tony: Do you think with the influx of fans leaving the NFL that next years salary cap will be affected?

Alex: No. Business is still booming for the NFL.

CP72: Alex,
Is it fair to say Ben not of using the middle is a consistent problem with his game?

Alex: Sure, I think that’s fair. He’s always been a feast or famine kind of guy. And it’s definitely been one of the central issues this year. Ben’s admitted to the problem. But that’s easy. His play has to change.

TJ Solomon: What are the chances that once Senquez Golson is healthy (hold your laughter) we give him another tryout and possibly sign him to the practice squad? If he can stay healthy I have to assume he’d be one of the more talented cb’s on our team.

Alex: That ship has sailed. I imagine he is healthy by now. Sometimes you just have to move on. Cut your losses. Even if healthy now, it’s just a matter of time until Golson gets hurt again. The lack of interest league wide speaks volumes. Has he even had a workout?

treeher: Hey Alex. Speaking of who’s sitting … who’s gonna kneel?

Alex: Don’t think anyone will.


Thanks for the chat, everyone. Talk to you in a week.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    If neither Mitchell nor Davis can play Sunday, do you think they will promote Hagen to the 53-man roster? If so, who gets taken off the roster so he can be added?

  • srdan

    Good call on trusting Dupree this year. I didn’t have the same optimism. Something helped him this offseason, he seems more agile like he has taken a step forward. It’s more of a comment than a question. But since I need a question, you still sticking to double digit sacks for him this year?

  • NickSteelerFan

    Hey Alex! I didn’t find out until recently that Demarcus Ayers was released by the Pats a few days ago. What do you think the chances are that he circles back with the Steelers at some point?

    Also, if Justin Hunter dresses, who looses a hat?

  • PghDSF

    Does AB play more slot with Bryant and Hunter playing out wide?

  • Grant Humphrey

    Alex, Never really want to say must win this early in the year but do you think, with the Steelers difficult second half schedule, That this is a must win game?

  • NW86

    Hey Alex! I haven’t seen much film or discussion on Haden yet since he was signed. How do you think he has looked so far? Best CB on the team? Worth the $7M?

  • Ryan Fazi

    Which milestone do you think is most realistic in sunday’s game. Ben goes over 300 yards, Bell rushes for over 100 yards or a WR other than AB has over 100 yards ?

  • Willie John

    Thanks for the Film Room. Really helps us understand where the breakdowns occurred against the Bears. If you were the DC for the Steelers, what would you be changing this week to try to stop the Ravens zone runs?

  • nutty32

    Prob nothing you can do about frames-per-second with the gif hosts, but some of the gifs run unnaturally fast, like Babe Ruth clips. Borders appear on some articles and not on others, but it’s not a huge bother IMO.

  • John Noh

    All right, Alex, now are you going to revise the sack prediction total for Dupree this season? My bigger concern for him seems to be that he doesn’t seem to be even creating a lot of pressure like TJ has been able to.

  • The Tony

    Do you think with the influx of fans leaving the NFL that next years salary cap will be affected?

  • Alex Kozora

    Do you see a green border at the top and bottom?

  • CP72

    Alex,
    Is it fair to say Ben not of using the middle is a consistent problem with his game?

  • PghDSF

    In Bob Labriola’s Asked & Answer today, it was pointed out that there is an NFL guideline that team must attend the Anthem. It also said there could be fines. Do see that happening?

  • Alex Kozora

    I’m aware of the rule but I could’ve sworn I saw a report that the NFL wasn’t going to follow through. I don’t think they would anyway. You want to talk about bad optics…Goodell has had enough of that. All that will do is fuel a story they probably want to go away as quickly as possible.

  • nutty32

    Sometimes on Android phone I see borders that are the top and bottom of whatever the gif is & the actual gif plays in between them.

  • There are times the gif’s work & times they don’t. Today’s worked perfectly. The site has a pop up ad that’s a video. If I’m listening to SNR & open an article it cause the broadcast to stop. Have to back out restart broadcast, if I go back to article it’ll stop the broadcast again. Probably nothing y’all can do about it. Just letting you know.

  • Alex Kozora

    Thank you

  • TJ Solomon

    Alex,

    First, thanks for doing this every week, it’s great.
    What are the chances that once Senquez Golson is healthy (hold your laughter) we give him another tryout and possibly sign him to the practice squad? If he can stay healthy I have to assume he’d be one of the more talented cb’s on our team.

  • treeher

    Hey Alex. Speaking of who’s sitting … who’s gonna kneel?

  • TJ Solomon

    One more if you don’t mind. It seems to be ignored that Tomlin is one of the worst game/clock managers in the history of the NFL. How can he consistently be so bad at it? Why don’t we have someone dedicated just to clock management?

  • Alex Kozora

    That’s a good question a lot of fans ask. But that’s part of a HC’s job.

    I think the issue with Tomlin is that he’s a “gut” guy. Decisions that aren’t cold. Sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But it makes him unpredictable and yes, can get him into trouble.

  • J Jones

    Seems as if the “greats” always become outstanding game managers in their later yrs. Makes up for the loss of physical talent. They become more consistent, more detail oriented, better clock managers. Ben has yet to reach that particular plateau. Maybe he turns it around going forward

  • Av232

    Alex, I’m reading on an Android phone (8.0.0) and the gifs usually don’t work at all. I end up copying the link and opening them in a new tab. Thanks for all the good content.

  • AndyR34

    From what source did you get that fake info?

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Pretty sure you misread one of the questions. He asked about “a WR other than AB has over 100 yards” not AB. No biggie though.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    what were moats snapcount for the bears game?

  • Alex Kozora

    Do you get any sort of error message?

  • Av232

    Nope. The blue loading bar on chrome hangs just below 100% beyond what’s reasonable. The gifs look like still images, but when I press them I get the gyfcat menu. It seems like the problem might be with gyfcat more than anything.

  • The Tony

    There is a small percentage of fans leaving the game a long with other ways to watch which is why ratings are down. Now I don’t really expect anything to happen out of this just because the NFL is a juggaurnaut

  • AndyR34

    Your words implied that there were a lot of fans leaving the NFL (although ‘influx’ is the wrong word to use, as it really means a flow inwards, not outwards). There are a very small number of fans who indicate on blogs, such as this one, that they are quitting the NFL. I would bet that the number that really do so, are a minuscule percentage of that group (way too many people say things with which they don’t follow thru). Ratings for most (I didn’t say all) games this year are up.

  • The Tony

    You’re right, exodus would have been a better term. Now what if it gets to the point where corporate sponsors begin to leave

  • Av232

    So it was a problem with chrome. I turned off the “data saver” feature and all is well now.

  • AndyR34

    Happens all the time…look at the naming and renaming of stadiums. I happen to think there might be a reasonable ‘sell signal’ on the stock of a company when they buy the naming rights. Too often they go kaput ot too long afterwards. 😄😂

  • The Tony

    That’s a good point.