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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.

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