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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Questions, questions, questions?

With this being the little bit of down time in the NFL, anybody have any questions?


Anonymous said...
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Bawlzofsteel said...

Dale why did the Steelers Bring in so many Center UDFAs this year?

emac2 said...

This isn't going to happen, but as a philosophical debate during slow times ...

What do you think about the idea of a 4-3 in which the ends are bigger linebackers like Dupree and you end up with basically 5 linebackers on the field?

If you have a line with Dupree, Tuitt, Heyward and Harrison who would be your 3 "linebackers"? Shazier Jarvis and Timmons? Shazier, Timmons and Shamarko?

Any chance

emac2 said...

The "any chance" wasn't asking if you tink it happens.

it was supposed to be for a second question...

Any chance the Titans trade for a lebeau guy that maybe Butler isn't as fond of?

datruth4life said...

Dale, any chance you think the Steelers might add FA LT Anthony Collins before training camp? I liked him with the Bengals. He showed a lot of versatility there, is only 29, and he's still on the market after signing a big deal and getting cut just a year later by Tampa Bay. BTW, do you see Chris Villanueva making this team as a backup tackle?

Mike Frazer said...

@emac2 re: your second Q...

Let's trade for Zach Mettenberger. That way we can call our QB group the "Berger Meisters".

Patrick said...

can you please ban Patrick for 2015?

Marc said...

isn't that what they do now when they line up in the nickel? drop the OLB's down, move the DE's in and get rid of the NT. it works when you have guys like Harrison (in his prime) and Woodley on the outside. I don't think it works well with guys like Jarvis jones or Harrison (on his last leg). don't know if Dupree can do it.

dale, do you have any numbers showing how opposing teams rushed against the nickel versus the 3-4 against the steelers?

emac2 said...

Yes, that's more or less the subpackage but my question is sort of about getting the personnel that allow it to be the base defense without giving anything up.

Dupree seems like he would do well in that role. Going bigger at OLB seems like a good way to get the base defense down to 2 linemen without being weak against the run.

Noel said...

With all the loss in leadership over the past seasons who do you see taking over those roles for the next generation? Heyward and Brown seem to be sharing a lot of that load with Ben but I think there was an emphasis on character in the past couple of drafts and especially wonder if some of these new guys catch your attention in terms of growing into that kind of role.

Anonymous said...

dale, do you have any numbers showing how opposing teams rushed against the nickel versus the 3-4 against the steelers?

Their nickel D versus the run wasn't as bad as it was made out to be. It was really bad in the preseason. But after the first couple of games of the regular season it improved.

Apparently the coaches weren't convinced, and continued to spend more time in their base defense instead of nickel, even tho their base defense wasn't that good against the run, and their pass D in base was worse. I have no idea what they were trying to achieve.

The Steelers Base 34 gave up 4.21 YPC versus the run. League-wide, for Base Ds, that ranked 27th.

The Steelers Nickel D gave up 4.44 YPC versus the run. League-wide for Subpackages, that ranked 9th.

Should go without saying, you give up a little run support in subpackages to get a little better versus the pass.

The Steelers Base D gave up 8.22 yards per pass attempt. That ranked 31st worst in the league.

And their Nickel D gave up 6.50 ypa, ranked 22nd.

Only Atlanta's Base D versus the pass was worse than the Steelers. But Atlanta at least mitigated it by using their Base D less. Just 37% of their snaps were in Base, 63% subpackages.

For reasons shrouded in mystery, the Steelers went the other way, opting to spend more time in base, 51%. One of 7 teams that spent more time in base than subpackages.

Even though their Base D sucked against the pass and their Nickel wasn't all that bad against the run they chose to ride their Base regardless. Made no sense, along with many other things last year.

Only reason I can think is their Run D in nickel was truly awful last year in preseason. and the Run D in general got off to a poor start at the very beginning of the year. And even though it settled down, and the nickel D got much better, LeBeau never really trusted it. But I have no idea why he would trust their Pass D in base more. That was putrid.

Much too much has been made of their Run D in nickel. When much more of a fuss/attention should be paid to their Pass D, particularly in Base.

datruth4life said...

Dale, Tyler Murphy from Boston College is going to be a surprise push for that 5th WR spot. He'll end up on the practice squad but he's dynamic with the ball in his hands. I want to see how his hands are and if he'll hit someone on special teams, but he definitely has some magic with the ball in his hands for someone who only ran a 4.6 in the 40 during his pro day. He has football speed and isn't caught much from behind.

Anonymous said...

What are the odds the Steelers look for another QB project (better than Landry) in the 2016 draft?
Day two or Day three more likely?

Dale Lolley said...

They brought in center/interior line types becauseCody Wallace is a UFA after this season. They don't want to pay him to be a backup when he's just a guy and they can put a young guy in the system.

Not much chance of five linebackers on a consistent basis. They want to limit Harrison's snaps. Plus, that would still leave you pretty light. Maybe as a wrinkle, here and there.

I could see a trade between the Titans for an inside linebacker - Vince Williams/Garvin - but not because Butler isn't fond of those guys. There's just a chance the Steelers will have to cut a guy like Garvin because of numbers.

I could see another veteran tackle being brought in. They're pretty thin there.

I haven't seen enough of Villanueva as a tackle to have an opinion. He signed late last year.

Heyward, Timmons and Gay are your defensive leaders. Roethlisberger unquestioned on offense.

Good chance they bring in another young QB next year. Jones will be vested in his fourth season. That likely won't happen in Pittsburgh,

Anonymous said...

When will camp dates be released? I want to make hotel reservations and file my vacation request.

Anonymous said...

Adrian Robinson RIP. Tragedy.

Chris Hein said...

How does the personality of the team shift year over year? Would you say it's been consistent?

Was there a noticeable difference when Tomlin came in?

emac2 said...

I'm hoping we're looking at some of the UDFA centers to maybe play a back up line role in addition to being the long snapper.

Bill in DC said...

Gardner pickup also useful for opening game prep?

datruth4life said...


Do you think the Steelers would be interested in adding a vet DL like Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen or Red Bryant before training camp? Anything to get Cam Thomas and his $2M salary off the roster. That has to be K. Colbert's worst free agent signing ever. Do you agree?

Dale Lolley said...

Figure the opening of camp to be 14 days before the first preseason game. That's the league mandate.

No change in team personna when Tomlin came in. They were a SB champ two years previous. There was a swagger. Always is. In terms of personality, I'm not sure what you mean.

Every team whiffs from time to time on a free agent. Thomas isn't good, but they'll give him a shot again. The guys you mention are all long in tooth.
Don't overlook Clifton Geathers.

datruth4life said...

Dale, who do you think the 6 DL will be to make this squad? I'm going with Tuitt, McClendon, Heyward, Conrath, Geathers and McCullers. Maybe the guy they took in the 6th round can beat Geathers or Conrath out of a spot.

I don't like putting good young DL prospects on the practice squad just so other teams can poach.

How much better would this DL look this year if you had Josh Mauro and Nick Williams already on the roster for DL depth?

adamg said...

Dale, is it true there's a rift between Troy and the Steelers?

Phil said...

Do you think the Steelers will win a Super Bowl before Ben retires?

Anonymous said...


When do you see Beachum getting a new deal? Or do you think the Steelers will let him walk?

Phil said...

How can the Steelers fix their red zone woes?

Anonymous said...

Is there a chance that the Steelers are looking at the 2 undrafted QB/WR as a hybrid player who could be the 5th WR, core special team, and serve as the emergency QB? This would save them a roster spot which they may need to keep all those LB's around. I think that would be brilliant.

Anonymous Brian said...

1) Will the Steelers offense make the leap in 2015? By "make the leap" I mean consistency (not so many droughts in between 40-point explosions), red zone improvement, and some fast starts.

2) At what point did the NFL jump the shark?

a) the crusade against James Harrison in 2011?

b) the conception of Roger Goodell

c) the creation of

d) the ongoing frenzy after each season to change rules

e) every fan from every team whining about calls every time they lose aided by HD slow-mo, All-22, etc.

I say d), only I don't know which rule yet.

"Overtime is no fair if we don't get our turn!"

"Made extra points are boring!" (Great solution - a few more missed extra points and 2-pt conversions. When am I supposed to go to the kitchen or the bathroom?)

"But Dez Bryant made that catch!" (Actually the CJ rule is pretty stupid.)

Dale Lolley said...

We'll see about the defensive line. There's still a possibility they sign somebody as well. I liked Mauro and Williams, but we're talking about a fourth defensive end. Probably not even active on game days.

It is interesting that they signed two former QBs to play WR. Could allow for the emergency QB.

LexingtonLegend said...

Anon Brian, if you're looking for a rule change to place blame on it should be the tuck rule game and the rule change that followed.

Anonymous said...

Dale, what do you think about this offensive line depth? I am confident in our starters from left to right, Beachum, Foster, Pouncey, DeCastro and Glibert but beyond this year and regarding depth, what is the plan? I know they like Beachum and he is expected to get a deal this offseason but I feel Beachum is undersized and getting by on hard work and technique, how long can that last? Plus DeCastro is due for an extension next year, I would not think the steelers could afford to pay 4 or their 5 starting lineman average to agove average money so it seems if they sign Beachum, could they let DeCastro walk after his rookie deal because they can't afford him? I would have though they would have taken an OT in this draft at some point too as there is very little OL depth especially at OT. On the bench at OT is Mike Adams...and thats it. God help us if Beachum gets hurt, LT will be Adams or Gilbert who both have proven they cannot play that position long term in NFL.

emac2 said...

How much of Beachum's success is due to him getting extra help?

Is he a legit above average LT or is the team getting acceptable "production" at LT because they are helping him out with a lot of extra TE, RB and WR blocks.

My thought has been that he's needed extra help and while that might be the most cost effective way to get what you need from the LT position, the ideal would be to upgrade there and no longer need the extra blocker.

I understand you can't pay big money at every position and understand scheming to help at an expensive position to use a less expensive player but as we consider a 2nd contract for Beachum, are we getting someone who can play LT on an island or does he need consistent TE help?

Are we better with him replacing Foster next year and upgrading at LT to free up that extra blocker for something else?

I like the idea of the LG being able to play a little like a LT given the stunts these days.

Am I behind the times and he really is an upper echelon LT or are his stats good because of the help he gets?

Anonymous said...

The doubt for Beachum really bothers me. If all you needed to do to make your LT really good was give them help then why did we suck at LT since Marvel Smith retired. Max Starks and the other jokers all stank even with help.

Beachum is good. He makes up for his lack of size with good technique and quick feet. What's the problem? Do you think good LT's grow on trees people? He's the best LT we've had in almost 10 years and people want to let him go?

Anonymous said...

On the DL:

All the FA mentioned (Bryant, Bowen and Cofield) are 31. For some positions that is "long in the tooth" but DL isn't one of those. Kimo was 29 when the PS brought him in; he played 6 years, missing one game. Kirsch was 30 when the PS brought him in; he played 6 years missing 4 games.

The 2010 PS Super Bowl DL had Smith 34, Hoke 34, Hampton 33 and Keisel 32. The '08 group was, obviously 32, 32, 31 and 30.

The Steelers have two fine young DE and nothing. There is room for two good FA. One is, imo, a necessity.

Anonymous said...

I am the anon that started the OL question. I like Beachum, he is the best LT we have had in awhile. But my question is where are your priorities and where is the depth? By most accounts, DeCastro is or is close to being one of the best G in football. He is a former first round pick so you have alot invested in him. Beachum plays the by most people's standards, the most important position but he is hardly Joe Thomas or even close. Do we pay him because he has been OK? I just don't see the steelers paying Beachum AND DeCastro so that 4 of the 5 OL are making $6 mill plus a year. Thats alot of your cap committed to the OL when you have a $20 mill QB.

Anonymous said...

They'll offer Beachum a good contract, far from Joe thomas et al, if he wont take then buh bye

Anonymous said...

That's a good point we can't pay both. Do you pay a decent guy at a more valuable position or a high pedigree guy at a lesser valuable position?

I guess it depends on how they assess both guys. Is Beachum just an average LT in the Steelers coaches eyes? Do the coaches see Decastro as a top 5 guard? Fans have their own opinions but the what the coaches think is often different.

cboath88 said...

I think Beachum has the advantage in negotiations frankly.

There's no one on the roster, really, who can handle LT other than him - if Gilbert could, he'd have it already..Can't speak for them, but i wouldn't want to go into '16 with adams at LT.

Dale Lolley said...

The depth is basically the same as it was last season. Everyone's back. They added some URFA interior guys. That's about it.

How long can you get by on hard work and technique? Longer than talent, I would say. Hard work and technique don't get old. Talent wanes.

emac2 said...

anon 12:20

assuming that whine was about my post I'll respond. if you add a name and who your responding to it makes it easier.

Helping isn't like a light switch. You can help someone once in a while, very often, or you can put a 6th olineman on the field every down and turn the LT into a second guard.

If you devote two players on the field to do one job it will make the (LT)stats look good but it also means upgrading the position would allow an extra WR on the field.

I think most people want to let him go because of the perception he isn't good enough but I'm sure everyone has their own reasons. I was asking Dale if he thought he was good enough or if he needed an inordinate amount of help. Personally, unless I learn otherwise I think signing him for above average LT money is a terrible move if he can't play the position without constant dedicated help from a second player.

Why does it bother you so much when people talk about things you don't want to talk about? Can't you just focus on comments that touch on topics you enjoy? This is a general question segment which makes it harder but it's pretty lame to have people freak out when you ask questions about players.

emac2 said...

OK, how about this

DL - Dupree - Tuitt - Heyward - Harrison

LB - Jarvis - Timmons - Shazier

DB - Tez/Golson - Mitchel - Shamarko - Gay

Why not use this as the base defense as soon as Dupree is ready?

Are we really better taking the extra linebacker off the field in favor of one of our other linemen? I get the general rule and history stuff but given our personnel, right now?

If we did use this as a base do you replace Jarvis with a DB in the nickle?

Do you switch Jarvis and Timmons?

kyle said...

Some of you calling for Beachum to be axed in favor of a big contract for DeCastro might want to go back and watch some tape. I watched all but two games this past season and the places that are dedicated to watching tape seem to agree: Beachum played very well last season and it wasn't because he constantly had help. He, on average, played clearly better than DeCastro and I like DeCastro. Beachum will never be 6'7 but for those complaining that he's not Joe Thomas...I suppose you've never watched Joe Thomas run block because as far as that's concerned, Beachum is Joe Thomas.

If Beachum gets signed to "Top 10" money, I know people will cry and complain, conveniently forgetting that a third of the Left Tackles in football get "Top 10" money. He's smart, high character, has good feet, and mirrors well. He's not Anthony Munoz...neither is anyone else in the league.

Anonymous said...


The Steelers just had one of their best offensive seasons ever. Do you really think they did that while giving Beachum help all the time?

I don't have the tape to prove this but I bet Gilbert gets way more help than Beachum and he still sucks. Why all this doubt for Beachum and no one talks about how Gilbert was a HUGE factor in our playoff loss to the Ravens? Gilbet is getting like 6/7 million a year to be average at best.

If Beachum was a 1st round pick and Decastro was a 7th you'd all be saying how we need to pay Beachum.

emac2 said...

I don't think changing a single fact makes an entire group of people all make the same change in opinion. I'm not sure what decastro has to do with any of my questions either so maybe emc is actually someone else.

I do think the steelers could and should have their best offensive season now even giving beacham a lot of help. The entire league is changing to make the offenses better. that includes the Steelers. They also have most of their stars on the offensive side of the ball.

I do think Beachum had a lot of help last year. I was also asking a question about it because I don't know for sure.

Take your bets to vegas. They don't answer my questions or dispute my points. Why are you defending Beach by bashing Gilbert and DeCastro anyway? They have nothing to do with Beachum and they aren't graded on a curve.

Anonymous said...

If this was still Arian's offense, I think there would be universal agreement on Beachum. Not in a good way. If he had to constantly hold up in pass pro for 3 or more seconds, he wouldn't be starting anymore.

Unlike Gilbert, Beachum busts his ass every play, giving you as much effort as he possesses. But it's just a constant battle with him every play just to produce adequate results. He just doesn't ever control a block. He will fight throughout to maintain a block. But he never ever locks up a guy, or controls him, or dominates, or pancakes. It's just high effort for adequate results. I'd rather see them pay that than a minimum effort guy like Gilbert. But the going rate for left tackles is $8m to $9m a year. I personally don't think he's worth that, and I have to wonder how much longer he can sustain his maximum effort play before he begins breaking down. If they could get him for Gilbert money, I think I'd be fine with it.

They've been trying to get the outside zone going for, what, 4-5 years now. And so far Munch hasn't had any better luck with it than his 3 predecessors. They run it almost exclusively to the right. There have been many things wrong with their stretch plays over the past several years, but one steady constant has been horrible backside blocking. Beachum and Foster are both pretty bad on the backside. And Munch does what nobody else does, and that's to peal back the TE for backside help. And they still can't get it blocked up. Spending several years trying to get outside zone working suggests it's something important for them to get going. Beachum and Foster are very poor fits for it. Munch is gonna have to really earn his money to get that working with those two.

Dale Lolley said...

There's nothing wrong with Beachum. He's solid, if unspectacular. But he's not getting top-10 money. And if that's what he wants, he'll get to test free agency. I guarantee that nobody else is paying him that, either.

As for moving to a 4-3, they don't have a true 4-3 inside linebacker. Vince Williams is the closest thing they have to it. They are set to run a 3-4.

emac2 said...

If you had to replace Heath with either Gurley (yes the RB) or Max Williams (yes, I know the draft is over) which way would you go?

I would take Gurley and be happy with him in that role because he's better in every phase of the game.

Not to mention the injury insurance.

emac2 said...

When you say they'll run a 3-4 are you saying they'll play more snaps with a NT then without?

I think they could do a lot of both but how many snaps can a 3-4 play 4-3 before a 3-4 is a 4-3?

The fact that they drafted a LB that can play end in the first round and doubled up later in the draft with the same, albeit lower horsepower, OLB model instead of getting a more dominating NT prospect makes me wonder if the 3-4 is the primary formation going forward.

Dale Lolley said...

Joey Porter and Clark Haggans were ends. LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison were ends. Etc. They were all ends who converted.

Woodley is probably the closest thing in terms of size to Dupree. He was never used as a true defensive end. Always as an outside linebacker.