Ask Alex: Steelers’ Mailbag

Another eventful week. Let’s jump into it.

To your questions!

Beaver Falls Hosiery: Hi Alex; how do you rank the DB’s in order of technical proficiency defending the pass?

Alex: In technique alone, it’s still Haden at the top. Which is what you would expect. Mitchell is next. Gets more crap than he deserves because you don’t see all the plays he doesn’t allow to happen. Would put Hilton third, Davis fourth, and Burns last because he’s struggled in his consistency but has definitely gotten better.

Matt: 

what do you think the biggest void the steelers FO will try to fill this offseason as of now? Coaching,safety depth, or maybe even QB depth?

Where do you think the steelers could execute better to make them the clear cut favorites in the AFC?

Alex: It’s always hard to say. Obviously, if Ben retires, we know what tops the charts. Bryant could be on the move and the team is always looking to add at WR. Could see another high investment into the position. Yeah, safety could be on that list. TE too. We’ll see.

As for what they have to do better, it’s all situational football. Third down offense (24th), red zone offense (30th) and red zone defense (26th) are wayyyyyyyyyy too low. No reason they should be struggling as much as they are.

srdan: 

Hey bud, great work this week. 2 questions:

Teams that don’t have physically imposing receivers often run “rub routes” or picks to get them open in the red zone. Especially when very close. I don’t see that a whole lot. I think it’s very effective.

Who you got tonight?

Alex: Thanks man. You’re right, we’re not seeing that stuff enough. I’ve talked about how one of my main criticisms of Haley is that the routes are a little too independent of each other. Thought he got back to more “concepts” the last two weeks. Even the AB TD, which yeah, could’ve been an INT, was a really nice switch verticals call that got AB on the nickel corner. Don’t remember last time I saw that from Haley.

Taking the Ravens. Brandon Williams is back. They’ll get just enough from that offense. Did you know Miami still doesn’t have a single rushing TD through six games? With a really good back. Makes no sense.

PaeperCup: Does AB make Ben a better or worse QB?

Alex: I know what you’re getting at PC but let’s not overthink it. It’s better. No doubt about it. Like the KC TD I referenced above, if it’s any other player, that’s not going for six. That pass is incomplete.

Darth Blount 47: Hey Alex, I guess we have to talk about the pink elephant in the room, right? Can you please explain to me your thoughts about how exactly did Martavis Bryant throw JuJu “under the bus, took a shot at him, or trashed him,” when all Bryant said was that he was a better football player than is JuJu? Which, for the record, many people would agree with MB about. He also then went on to speak effusively, quite effusively about JuJu. And JuJu wrapped it up by saying he and MB are friends and that he understands Bryant’s frustrations. I simply can’t see where Bryant said anything egregious or deserving of the vitriol.

Alex: Hey Darth. We’ll have to disagree. Maybe Bryant didn’t mean it the way it came off but there’s no reason to say it. Why go after some rando on the Internet? Saying things like “yall can have JuJu” and just the general, well, let’s be honest, dickishness of it is what was inappropriate.

Sure, when guys say it, they can give some vocal cues about how each guy thinks they’re the best in the world. But when you type it out, you lose that context. Bryant responding again was him just trying to walk things back after he realized he screwed up (which is why he deleted the comments). And JuJu took the high road, which was smart for him.

Bottom line. No need to get into those things on social media. No need to again complain about playing time. Especially when the guy you’re saying you are better than is making more plays. As Tomlin said, it’s not that Bryant doesn’t have a point (in a way, as I did the video on this morning), he does. But he’s gone about it the wrong way.

WB Tarelton: 

Let’s play, “You can only keep one.”

Vance or Jesse
Artie or Davis
Tuitt or Cam
Pouncey or DD
Watt or Shazier

Alex: 

Vance – more big pass plays

Davis – Close call. But Davis better football IQ. I can trust him more. He just needs to keep making the big plays like he has.

Cam – Love Tuitt. But Heyward has soul.

Pouncey – Again, really close. But Pouncey is so good to the point where it’s just a given. No one even talks about it.

Shazier – Excited about Watt. But Shazier is an MVP-caliber player.

Busforever: Hey Alex, a very serious question here: when a QB throws the ball on the ground right after the snap in order to stop the clock, why refs don’t flag it as an intentional grounding? I secretly hope to see it one day.

Alex: Because it’s not. You have the TE three yards away. The RB right behind. That would be considered a player “in the area.” Ergo, not grounding.

NickSteelerFan: Hey Alex! Are you pleasantly surprised with how well the ILB tandem has played this year? Or is it what you expected? I’ve been very pleased with how well they have both played and stayed healthy to this point.

Alex: Hi Nick! Not really. You guys know I have been really high on Vince Williams. And he, like the rest of this team, has really found their groove over the last two weeks. No one is saying a peep about how much of a liability VW is in coverage.

nikgreene: Assuming Bryant is benched for the Lions game…How could Justin Hunter be used to replaced Bryant’s role (limited as it is) in the offense? More specifically can he block, run a slant or WR screen in addition to being a deep threat?

Alex: Like you said, Hunter is really just that deep threat. He’s not going to offer much more for the offense. Eli Rogers will see the biggest uptick in snaps with Bryant out. JuJu gets moved to the Z, Eli kicks to the slot.

Jeff Papiernik: rue or False: The Lions game is the Steelers’ toughest on paper until the Patriots in week 15. If false, who presents a bigger challenge before then?

Alex: I’m still saying Tennessee is a tougher challenge. But it’s close. Problem with the Lions is that the Steelers’ defense goal is to always stop the run. And the Lions…well, they’re fine with not ever running the football. But their defense has given up too many chunk plays and the QB isn’t efficient enough.

And while yes, both teams have to deal with it, the Steelers play Tennessee on a Thursday. And that’s an offense that throws a lot at you. Difficult to prepare for.

Spencer Krick: 

Hey Alex,

Looking far, far ahead at the offseason, how is this TE group going to shake out? Do you think they find a way to keep Vance?

Alex: Maybe. We’ll have to see how he performs the rest of the way. He’s finally comfortable with the offense, gotten healthy, so now is the time to find out how much of an asset he really is.

Cheddar: Hindsight is 20-20. I know we all root for James Conner for the story, but I personally didn’t love the pick at the time and I remain unimpressed. There’s a lot of players out there I know I and other folks were clamoring for in the 4th who seem to be having pretty great years. If you could, would you toss him back for Carl Lawson or Deatrich Wise? Even later, George Kittle or Des King? Would adding any of those guys have a meaningful impact on our SB chances?

Alex: I don’t know if any one of those guys would have a meaningful impact on the chances this year but sure, I’d swap Conner for Lawson in a heartbeat. Probably even Kittle. Maybe King. I didn’t love the Conner pick when it happened.

Talyn: 

Hey alex,

I know this is way too soon but I typically start thinking about next year’s needs (draft wise) about mid season and here we are. My ranked order is this safety, tight end, qb (qb moves to 1 if Big Ben retires). Agree or disagree?

Alex: Well it depends on what they want to do with Mitchell. If they keep him another year, then I don’t know if it’s top of the list because there is no immediate, starting role. But the other two, yeah, they make sense. Like I told the others, it’s still too early to think about.

John Noh: Hey Alex, what does your crystal ball say about Cam Sutton playing any kind of a role this season? Or do you think he’ll be red-shirted?

Alex: Special teams only, I think. Maybe he takes Gay’s spot in the dime tole but I think it’s unlikely. So not a redshirt, I think he’ll come back, but his role will be small.

Grant Humphrey: Hi Alex,
Do you think Martavis Bryant will be traded by the deadline? What’s his maximum market value right now?

Alex: No, pretty confident that he won’t be. Because his value is about a ham sandwich right now. Trading him in the offseason will still be tough. I think you get like, a 6th rounder for him. Maybe a 5th.

CP72: Alex,
Why no fullback in short yardage situations? Nix was blowing guys up and it perplexed me to see him on the sideline on 3rd and 4th and 1.

Alex: A valid question. My best rationale for it was wanting to have extra TEs on the LOS to avoid some of the penetration. I would’ve liked to see Nix out there but still, fullback or not, team has to convert 3rd and short. They have the players to do it. So I focus more on what went wrong on the play as opposed to the personnel grouping.

HiVul: Alex, idk if you like fantasy football so I’ll phrase my question like this: best guess at stat line for JJSS this week?

Alex: Not as avid as I used to be but yeah, I really like JuJu this week. I’d start him.

Bill Sechrengost: Someone already asked about Cam Sutton, but I was wondering with already six healthy CB’s on the roster, it seems Sensabaugh is only a special teamer. Would they trade him (I realize they wouldn’t get much, maybe a 7th rounder) to make room for Sutton to come back since Sensabaugh isn’t really contributing in the secondary?

Alex: Nah. He has no value. And I like having the veteran corner depth. It’s a pretty young group at CB so having someone like Sensabaugh, who has shown he can play all three spots, is nice.

PghDSF: Do you think they should have kept Coates? He at least can run more routes than Hunter.

Alex: I don’t think it would’ve made a drastic difference but I wanted Coates over Hunter as the trade happened. And I don’t feel any differently now.

Phil Brennamann II: 

1. After this season you can only keep one between Hilton and Burns. Who you taking? Assuming it is Burns does the answer change if we hadn’t spent a 1st round pick on him?

2. 2. 3 or 4 years from now will we be talking about Dupree and Watt in the same way we were Harrison and Woodley when they were at their best?

Alex: It’s still Burns. I’ve been critical of him but the ceiling is still there. And I don’t think the draft pick has anything to do with it. You see the flashes, you see the potential, you see the improvement.

Boy, I hope so about your second question. Both guys have that potential. We’ll see.


Thanks for the chat everyone. Talk 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.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Hi Alex; how do you rank the DB’s in order of technical proficiency defending the pass?

  • Matt

    what do you think the biggest void the steelers FO will try to fill this offseason as of now? Coaching,safety depth, or maybe even QB depth?

    Where do you think the steelers could execute better to make them the clear cut favorites in the AFC?

  • srdan

    Hey bud, great work this week. 2 questions:

    Teams that don’t have physically imposing receivers often run “rub routes” or picks to get them open in the red zone. Especially when very close. I don’t see that a whole lot. I think it’s very effective.

    Who you got tonight?

  • PaeperCup

    Does AB make Ben a better or worse QB?

  • Darth Blount 47

    Hey Alex, I guess we have to talk about the pink elephant in the room, right? Can you please explain to me your thoughts about how exactly did Martavis Bryant throw JuJu “under the bus, took a shot at him, or trashed him,” when all Bryant said was that he was a better football player than is JuJu? Which, for the record, many people would agree with MB about. He also then went on to speak effusively, quite effusively about JuJu. And JuJu wrapped it up by saying he and MB are friends and that he understands Bryant’s frustrations. I simply can’t see where Bryant said anything egregious or deserving of the vitriol.

  • WB Tarleton

    Let’s play, “You can only keep one.”

    Vance or Jesse
    Artie or Davis
    Tuitt or Cam
    Pouncey or DD
    Watt or Shazier

  • Busforever

    Hey Alex, a very serious question here: when a QB throws the ball on the ground right after the snap in order to stop the clock, why refs don’t flag it as an intentional grounding? I secretly hope to see it one day.

  • NickSteelerFan

    Hey Alex! Are you pleasantly surprised with how well the ILB tandem has played this year? Or is it what you expected? I’ve been very pleased with how well they have both played and stayed healthy to this point.

  • Xi37

    Any idea what specific back issues Tuitt is having? Seems like the injury came out of nowhere and is semi-serious.

  • nikgreene

    Assuming Bryant is benched for the Lions game…How could Justin Hunter be used to replaced Bryant’s role (limited as it is) in the offense? More specifically can he block, run a slant or WR screen in addition to being a deep threat?

  • Jeff Papiernik

    True or False: The Lions game is the Steelers’ toughest on paper until the Patriots in week 15. If false, who presents a bigger challenge before then?

  • SteelersDepot
  • Spencer Krick

    Hey Alex,

    Looking far, far ahead at the offseason, how is this TE group going to shake out? Do you think they find a way to keep Vance?

  • Cheddar

    Hindsight is 20-20. I know we all root for James Conner for the story, but I personally didn’t love the pick at the time and I remain unimpressed. There’s a lot of players out there I know I and other folks were clamoring for in the 4th who seem to be having pretty great years. If you could, would you toss him back for Carl Lawson or Deatrich Wise? Even later, George Kittle or Des King? Would adding any of those guys have a meaningful impact on our SB chances?

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    Hey alex,

    I know this is way too soon but I typically start thinking about next year’s needs (draft wise) about mid season and here we are. My ranked order is this safety, tight end, qb (qb moves to 1 if Big Ben retires). Agree or disagree?

    Also, would you say that moving Bell or Bryant in order to move up in the first round and snag other assets including a potential franchise qb would be a move the Steelers would consider? (Typically they make conservative moves not aggressive but the potential seems to be there)

  • srdan

    vance, artie, tuitt, dd, shazier

    got more?

  • John Noh

    Hey Alex, what does your crystal ball say about Cam Sutton playing any kind of a role this season? Or do you think he’ll be red-shirted?

  • Grant Humphrey

    Hi Alex,
    Do you think Martavis Bryant will be traded by the deadline? What’s his maximum market value right now?

  • Alex Kozora

    What he said.

  • John Noh

    It’s also allowed explicitly in the NFL rules as part of time management.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I think we agree on some points and totally disagree on others.

    I like to read people’s actual words if they are in print and not see them for what I want them to be, but what they really are. The words Bryant chose were unnecessary, that is for sure, but they were not out of line in my opinion. Arguing with “fans” who could be trolling is never a good idea. We agree. And you and others can use supposition as to why MB followed up by praising JuJu and then ultimately by deleting all of the messages. But no one is actually taking the time to acknowledge the tremendous praise he did give JuJu. Nor the fact that they are friends. And I find it weird to take his “ya’ll can have JuJu’s” comment out of complete context, when what he was clearly saying is that if you trade me like I asked, I don’t care who is going to be left on the Steelers to take my job and fill my role. Which, when any of us leave our jobs, do any of us care who the company chooses to take our spots?

    I believe when I went back and read the actual words that were written, that many people have let emotion and the media, cloud the ability for rational and logical discussion on the words for the words themselves, and not for taking the totality of who Bryant is and what he has been through and therefore his potential motives as people see it. But I guess the seemingly negative reputation Bryant has built, will NEVER be vanquished for some people, to allow him to be treated simply as Player A.

  • CP72

    Alex,
    Why no fullback in short yardage situations? Nix was blowing guys up and it perplexed me to see him on the sideline on 3rd and 4th and 1.

  • CP72

    Fun question….nice job.

  • HiVul

    Alex, idk if you like fantasy football so I’ll phrase my question like this: best guess at stat line for JJSS this week?

  • Alex Kozora

    But he only said those nice things after he realized what an idiot he was being. If he had said it in his original comments, I think you’d have a point. But he said what he said, saw all the backlash he was getting, and followed up by writing the response. It’s an empty gesture by that point.

  • CP72

    It kind of goes back to a comment you made before. Haley gets to “cute” on occasion. Just because it’s the obvious option doesn’t mean it is the wrong option.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Someone already asked about Cam Sutton, but I was wondering with already six healthy CB’s on the roster, it seems Sensabaugh is only a special teamer. Would they trade him (I realize they wouldn’t get much, maybe a 7th rounder) to make room for Sutton to come back since Sensabaugh isn’t really contributing in the secondary?

  • PghDSF

    Do you think they should have kept Coates? He at least can run more routes than Hunter.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    1. After this season you can only keep one between Hilton and Burns. Who you taking? Assuming it is Burns does the answer change if we hadn’t spent a 1st round pick on him?

    2. 2. 3 or 4 years from now will we be talking about Dupree and Watt in the same way we were Harrison and Woodley when they were at their best?

  • Froggy

    Not a question, but spiking the ball isn’t intentional grounding because the rule book explicitly saith: “A player under center is permitted to stop the game clock legally to save time if, immediately upon receiving the snap, he begins a continuous throwing motion and throws the ball directly into the ground.”

  • Alex Kozora

    There ya go. Thanks Froggy.

  • PaeperCup

    Vance – Seems to be a better blocker to my surprise. Can’t catch, but has big play ability.
    Artie – Lots of Potential in this kid.
    Cam – Tuitt is younger, physically imposing, but can’t replace the leadership Cam brings.
    Pouncey – This is for Ben. The Center-QB relationship is big imo
    Shazier – Might change my tune in a year or two.

    Touch choices!

  • Darth Blount 47

    But does that mean he didn’t mean it? Like you said, social media is an imperfect platform. He was going back and forth with a fan so I’m sure he wasn’t taking the time to add everything in there that he could. Again, I have said I believed there should have been some form of punishment (fine or stern-lecturing). I also believe that he was out of line for not handling all of this behind closed doors with Tomlin and Ben, BEFORE taking his gripe to social media, so that the people in positions to change his frustration to glee, could be given a chance. But I still have to wonder after the reports that came out, and Jeremy Fowler openly wondered this too, whether Bryant was mislead or not, leading to the pot going from simmering to boiling.

  • Alex Kozora

    Mislead? What do you mean? Got bad advice?

  • Darth Blount 47

    Was told (as was then reported by the media) he was going to be a major part of the Offense that week to help potentially soothe his frustrations and instead received 2 targets. 2.

  • T3xassteelers

    Do you believe this defense is top 3 in the league?

  • Alex Kozora

    Well we don’t know how true that is. And you know that can’t be a promise. The way Bryant thrives, the way the Bengals play, and biggest of all, game circumstance (only 25 passes) all limited him.

    And again, even if true, it doesn’t mean what he did was appropriate.

  • Alex Kozora

    Probably not. But I don’t see enough of the rest of the league on a weekly basis to give you a well-informed answer.

  • Alan Tman

    Alex,

    More likely to win Daytime Emmy for the internal drama or the Superbowl??

  • Darth Blount 47

    But I think it is fair to wonder if that was the case, given how Bryant went from squelching rumors and being a firefighter one week, to being a race car in the red as soon as the game was over.

    Yeah, I watched your vid and have yet to comment over there because of this and reading the other articles, but I thought you did a good job of breaking down Bryant’s role on many of those plays. I saw in some of them, like the very first you highlighted, that he essentially had 3 guys peeking his way, opening up things for the other players. I understand how playing WR is more than just targets and catches. Especially for a player like Bryant who apparently still commands some respect from the defenses we have played. From what I’ve seen, Bryant appears to make his teammates better. At least, on the field. Lol.

  • T3xassteelers

    Fair point, I feel like the only D’s I’d take right now would be Jags and Seattles. Denver’s D is showing some cracks, albeit still top 5 for them

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I know you answered my Burns vs Hilton question so just answer if you don’t mind continuing the convo here in the comments, but don’t the things you said about Burns (flashes, potential, improvement) all apply to Hilton as well? Or are your more or less saying you believe Burns still has the higher ceiling and we are seeing him take the steps towards that ceiling?

    I am not necessarily leaning Hilton or anything but man oh man does he just keep showing up.

  • Nolrog

    >>> Alex: No, pretty confident that he won’t be. Because his value is about a ham sandwich right now.

    A ham sandwich on white bread, not even on rye.

  • Alex Kozora

    Maybe both?

  • Alex Kozora

    Sure, it’s not a slight on Hilton. He’s been awesome. But Hilton doesn’t have the potential to be a lockdown, take away your best WR, shut down AJ Green type. Burns does. So inherently, he has loads more value.

  • capehouse

    Sorry I’m late. Just got out of work. You asked me to ask you here about the statistics related to the 4-6-1 defense in 2016 and 2015.

  • GoSteelerz

    Just my two cents for fun I guess! LOL I say keep Hilton because I think it’s harder to find a versatile and effective slot guy than it is an outside CB. When looking at our roster, I think Brian Allen has similar if not better potential than Burns, he’s just way more raw. Other than Hilton, there isn’t anyone else on our roster that could be described as the next awesome slot CB. Nobody can defend the run like Hilton from that position and defending the run is very important for a slot CB in our defense. William Gay still can mostly get it done, but he is the past, Hilton is our present and future. Good luck finding another CB coming out in the draft who can defend the run these days. It’s gotten noticeably more and more pathetic anymore how college CB’s can’t play the run or tackle for crap. It’s disgusting to be honest. Hilton is a breath of fresh air and a beacon of light in the increasingly vast darkness of weak minded/hearted CB’s who seem to forget what being a true football player is all about. Hilton gets it, and his presence makes those around him much better and makes our defense much more intimidating than just about anyone else in our secondary. I get what you mean though, Alex, and if I didn’t think so highly of Allen, I’d be more inclined to agree with you. I think we have a guy in Allen who could replace Burns in the long run, able to play at a similar if not better level. But we don’t have that with Hilton, he is truly unique, and I doubt if we could find another like him.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Funny as I have an article going up about the goal-line defense this season in the morning. This year, it’s been 5 snaps, 5 TDs. There was a sixth snap that the offense false started on and settle for a field goal. 2 TD passes (LBs bit on play-action; every snap was against 23 personnel), 3 runs, including a QB keeper, FB dive, and RB leap from the 2.

    In 2016, they ran the goal-line defense 9 times and allowed 1 TD. 6 runs, 1 of which scored. One completed pass was wiped out by an offensive penalty, the other two plays were a sack and a scramble. It’s worth noting that all of these were not 4-6-1 but 4-5-2, with Davis and Golden the safeties (except one snap Davis was out for, with Dangerfield taking his place).

    I don’t have the master list for 2015 handy at the moment so Alex will have to get back to you on that, but I can guarantee it wasn’t as bad as this year. IIRC, there was a mixture of 5-2 and 6-1 that year.

  • WB Tarleton

    Got to stretch a little more for these but still compelling.

    Sutton or Bryan Allen
    Bell or AB
    Haley or Danny Smith (for some here this choice would be called “You can only get rid of one”) 🙂
    Nix or Boswell

  • Lambert58

    Those are some terrible choices! Like Sophie’s Choice. (for those who are old enough to remember)

  • Alex Kozora

    What he said.

  • capehouse

    Thanks, Matthew

  • Darth Blount 47

    Did you happen to catch the Ed Bouchette article in the PPG? I only just came across it myself. Ed titled it: “Did Martavis Bryant really do anything wrong?” Good ol’ Ed. He parroted almost my exact words in a comment I made a few days ago. He opens with: “What exactly did Martavis Bryant do wrong to prompt the discipline from coach Mike Tomlin that will bench the wide receiver for Sunday’s game in Detroit?
    He asked for a trade? He said he is better than a rookie receiver?
    Golly, throw away the key, right? No athlete has ever said those things before.”

  • Matt

    Hey Alex – 1 more question. Height, weight, and speed all seem to be pretty comparable between Justin Hunter and MB. Year before MB Hunter was drafted in the 2nd round. What are the major differences between him and MBs game?

  • Alex Kozora

    And then went to ESPN and did it all over again.

  • Work Toward

    Sir, may I add, that the leadership coming from Ben and AB in this matter is suspect. Why haven’t those two approached and resolved this matter in house? My point is that MB is reaching out for help/attention … At this time Ben has fails to talk with MB, why? Answer: He lacks the leadership and stamina to play with these weapons. Thus have him hide behind the running game, consequently, taking valuable snaps away from the other playmakers. When AB had his ill advised facebook video or throwing coolers (all in KC) he apologizes thus business is still booming. When Bell missed training camp to opt out of team building he returned sacrificing 4 games to get on track. Ben displayed in words how he felt to the media but water under the bridge. Now Martavis comes with a desire/situation that is a little more complex to Ben. How Come: While in rehab the responses that MB received from Ben was out of line coming from a philosophy that we are a band of brothers and drug addiction is a disease… The KC and New England games showed a depletion of arm strength so mentally retirement was considered leaving MB and other team situations in limbo. Great leadershit…afterwards coming back to the team making comments about teammates, looking out of shape, and having Bell and Brown question his game play gives Bryant reason to think what is good for the gander is good for me too. You can’t give me a year when Ben displayed average leadership…From the start he was a messy ill responsible leader. Need more proof, ask Wallace, Sanders and for an in depth perspective ask Porter?

  • Work Toward

    May I add that the leadership coming from Ben and AB in this matter is suspect. Why haven’t those two approached and resolved this matter in house? My point is that MB is reaching out for help/attention … At this time Ben has fails to talk with MB, why? Answer: He lacks the leadership and stamina to play with these weapons. Thus have him hide behind the running game, consequently, taking valuable snaps away from the other playmakers. When AB had his ill advised facebook video or throwing coolers (all in KC) he apologizes thus business is still booming. When Bell missed training camp to opt out of team building he returned sacrificing 4 games to get on track. Ben displayed in words how he felt to the media but water under the bridge. Now Martavis comes with a desire/situation that is a little more complex to Ben. How Come: While in rehab the responses that MB received from Ben was out of line coming from a philosophy that we are a band of brothers and drug addiction is a disease… The KC and New England games showed a depletion of arm strength so mentally retirement was considered leaving MB and other team situations in limbo. Great leadershit…afterwards coming back to the team making comments about teammates, looking out of shape, and having Bell and Brown question his game play gives Bryant reason to think what is good for the gander is good for me too. You can’t give me a year when Ben displayed average leadership…From the start he was a messy ill responsible leader. Need more proof, ask Wallace, Sanders and for an in depth perspective ask Porter?

  • Scott Gish

    Can’t understand all the questions about off-season and draft needs. We’re not the Browns! This team is 5-2 and tied for the best record in the AFC. Come on people!
    What is your assessment of Hubbard so far and how far above Hawkins is he in your eyes?

  • francesco

    I agree with you. Allen over Burns. Hilton to stay for a long time.

  • Conserv_58

    I don’t care if Hilton isn’t a lock down outside corner. He doesn’t need to be. He’s doing a great job in the slot. With Artie and Joe on the outside and Hilton in the slot it’s actually hard to believe that the Steelers have a trio of corners that don’t make us gasp, hold our breath and bury our faces in our hands whenever an opposing QB throws down filed.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I agree with some of your points and not with others. Agree that QB’s need WR’s to catch most of their passes, so you’d have thought that Ben would have a bigger wingspan for which to cover over his chicklets with. Be in fairly constant communication. Game-planning. Talking shop. Being pretty intricately involved in their lives. He talks up his report with AB all the time. But seeing as how that relationship IS so “old hat” at this point, I’d have hoped that he would be spending a significant amount of time with Bryant. Now, Ben calls Bryant a “great teammate”, so maybe this is just one of those moments and times where the diligence just wasn’t done quite enough. So be it. I’m most interested now in what it all looks like going forward.

    I also agree that there appears to be a bit of hypocrisy with how Bryant is being dealt with compared to others. Which is a shame.

    I disagree that Ben has lost much off his fastball. Maybe a touch. Maybe. But negligible, IMO. Ben comes into camp the last 3 seasons, actually lighter and in better shape than the one prior. So that narrative is a false one as well that he’s decidedly “out of shape.” He’s always been fairly big as a 6’5 240-er. As far as his overall leadership and the past players, I don’t take much from the insight of “jilted lovers” like Sanders or especially Wallace. But no one can doubt that Ben’s “leadership” early on was a complete work-in-process, that although admittedly rough or non-existent early, has done nothing but grow as the years have gone on.

  • Conserv_58

    The Jags defense is collecting sacks at a record rate. I think they’ve had two games already where they have gotten ten or more sacks. If they keep it up they’ll shatter the all time record. They would be an elite team if they had Wenz instead of Bortles. Apparently getting Tom Coughlin back as their GM made a big difference.

  • Work Toward

    Alex… I would love to hear you as the third person on the podcast. Change is imminent!

  • T3xassteelers

    At season start, I knew the Jags had a great D on paper, but actually seeing the D dominate like this is mind boggling. Good on them, but yeah they are a legit QB away from being the best team in the league IMO