Welcome again to your Thursday Pittsburgh Steelers’ mailbag. As all the time, we’re right here for the following hour to reply every little thing and something in your thoughts.
To your questions!
Bryant Eng: Are there plans to do movie research on A. Brooks slot snaps at UMD? May be useful. Are there any lively slot varieties within the NFL that you’d evaluate Brooks too (aside from Hilton)?
Alex: Take a look at this article Jonathan not too long ago wrote, Bryant. I feel it’s what you’re searching for.
To your second query, I’m undecided who a very good comp can be. I don’t know if Hilton is even the most effective one to make. One, we nonetheless don’t know rather a lot about Brooks’ sport and two, there are apparent dimension variations. Brooks has a very good 20-30 kilos on Hilton. So their physique varieties are utterly completely different.
Discovering a comp is hard as a result of the “massive nickel” defender isn’t that widespread. Particularly if he’s a real slot cornerback. And Brooks isn’t the super-athlete another guys are. He’s common, at greatest. So perhaps a Chuck Clark sorta comp? Or a Khari Willis? Perhaps Jayron Kearse, although not fairly as lengthy? Onerous to seek out that 1:1 match.
Yough 61: With extra groups “staying residence” for coaching camps, do you see the Steelers holding camp at their foremost coaching complicated and never returning to Latrobe? I believe it will save the staff cash to take action
Alex: I don’t see cash being the problem. Most likely prices extra to re-sod Heinz Subject in the event that they’re going to tear it up this summer season. Logistically, I’m certain it’s simpler from a journey standpoint. My perception and hope is that they wished to get again out to St. Vincent, they may’ve simply stopped occurring their very own anytime earlier than 2020, so I hope they return in 2022. Sounds just like the NFL simply shut them down as a result of they didn’t need gamers within the cramped dorm rooms at SVC. Considered that as too dangerous. That’s my guess.
Billjump: With the steelers defence this 12 months, are there some specific enhancements you might be hoping to see from final 12 months? Are also there some regressions you might be nervous we would see?
Alex: Run protection completely light down the stretch. The primary six-seven weeks, they had been a prime 5 unit. Remainder of the way in which, backside third. A few of that was well being associated (no Dupree, Bush, basic rotation at ILB, Alualu enjoying harm, and so forth) and a few of that was most likely the grind of the season and enjoying towards good speeding groups just like the Browns and Ravens. However run protection must return to a prime ten stage.
By way of what worries me, EDGE depth and miscommunications within the secondary. To the latter concern, there shall be new faces there. Continuity that existed a 12 months in the past is gone. And that can include rising pains while you’re asking and relying on younger guys to step up into the roles left by Nelson, Hilton, and Sutton (now that he’s transferring from dime defender to RCB/potential NCB).
Ratsotex: Have you ever heard something why we will’t go to Latrobe?
Alex: Nope, no phrase. Like I wrote above, the NFL most likely didn’t clear them as a result of they didn’t need gamers packed in tight on a school campus. An excessive amount of threat of issues spreading shortly in shut quarters. That’s my greatest guess.
Alex, thanks for all of the work. I’ve a 2 parter. I do know it is a powerful query coming off an harm, however what space/talent you want to see Devin Bush make a giant enchancment on this 12 months?
If each Spillane and Bush keep wholesome, do you assume we’ll see extra blitzing from our ILB this 12 months?
Alex: Simply being extra aggressive. Extra attacking. Play like Vince performs. I do know Bush is just a little smaller however not that a lot smaller. Vince is like, 6’0, 235. He’s not a giant, Levon Kirkland-looking dude. Bush has improved towards the run and he’s good sideline to sideline however I need to see him enhance when coming downhill.
I don’t know when you’ll see extra blitzing. However that’s simply because the Steelers already do a variety of blitzing with their ILBs. It’s how Williams has put up good sack numbers and has all these TFLs – these run blitzes that get residence. So I feel the staff shall be aggressive, although I don’t know if Bush or Spillane shall be as efficient as Williams is/was. So if Williams isn’t on the sector, you truly may see rather less. However Keith Butler’s greatest trait is scheming up ILB blitzes. So that you’ll nonetheless see them.
falconsaftey43: Assuming Ben retires after this season, what are your ideas on drafting a QB? 100% should draft one in 1st spherical in 2021? Must draft one in some unspecified time in the future in 2021? Or hope you possibly can draft one, however don’t pressure it? It’s powerful as a result of they’re so essential, the hit price is so low, and among the riskier picks currently have turned out the most effective (Jackson, Allen and so forth.)
Alex: I don’t like the thought of feeling such as you have to do “X” at “Y” spherical and people kinds of issues. That’s the way you begin making dangerous selections. The way you attain and do issues the place you cease scouting the participant and simply scout the necessity. That’s principally what occurred with the Payments and EJ Manuel. At the least in keeping with their former GM Doug Whaley.
“I used to be Assistant GM, and the GM there was Buddy Nix, and he had talked to me earlier than about, ‘hey, earlier than I get out of right here, I’m going to ensure that we’ve a quarterback’ … And unbeknownst to me after the draft, he was going to retire. So I gave you the backdrop of that to say this: don’t ever again your self right into a nook by saying, ‘I need to get a particular place,’ as a result of then you definately overdraft, which ends up in some errors. So, EJ Manuel, that was (Nix’s) favourite quarterback out of that draft. He wished to get him and he didn’t need to lose him. Now I do know why. “
So the Payments drafted a QB so Nix might really feel like he gave the staff an on-ramp when he retired. As a substitute, he left them within the ditch. Colbert’s most likely in an analogous spot. If he retires, he desires to have the franchise in a very good place for the post-Ben/Colbert period (perhaps all of the extra purpose to get Rudolph prolonged for subsequent 12 months so there’s not less than one man round if Colbert hangs ’em up).
However, sure, if Ben is finished, that alarm must be wailing. It’s time to seek out one other QB. You discover each avenue potential for the following franchise man. Whether or not that’s buying and selling up, buying and selling for, no matter you gotta do. That’s your prime mission. Perhaps it doesn’t finally occur however that must be your intent. As a result of your franchise is, at greatest, in impartial till you get that man. You’re not profitable an AFC with Mahomes dominating for the following ten years, with up-and-comers like Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and your individual division that has three 1st spherical QBs (two of them the #1 total choose) with a “bridge man.” You may compete, may dangle round, however you’re spinning your wheels.
However they’ll most likely find yourself beginning Rudolph, signing some vet, and drafting a dude from the ACC within the third spherical. And I’ll be unhappy.
srdan: Who do you count on to have an even bigger affect total – Ebron or ‘muth?
Alex: Nonetheless Ebron. Drops had been a killer final 12 months (this staff knew what they signed up for) however the man nonetheless had a 50 catch, 500 yard, 5 landing season. Solely the fourth TE in Steelers’ historical past to try this. Not a foul 12 months. And he’s nonetheless the starter. Freiermuth is a rookie tight finish, a real junior who performed 4 video games in 2020, and that transition to the NFL is hard. Clearly I feel he’s the higher run blocker and might make an affect there Ebron can’t, however Ebron continues to be going to have the larger affect when he’s not less than doubling his manufacturing and snap rely.