Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

What Kwon Alexander means for the 2023 Steelers

When the Pittsburgh Steelers acquired inside linebacker Kwon Alexander as a free agent just days into training camp, the fan base was excited. But at the same time they were also curious as to what this meant for the team’s roster.

How would Alexander fit into the Steelers’ defense?

Is this a damning statement towards the other inside linebackers on the roster?

I’m not one to just sit back and speculate, instead I wanted answers to these questions, mainly because I had the same questions as many fans once the team acquired Alexander. So, I went to find those answers and was able to talk with Wesley Coleman, who covers the New Orleans Saints for FFSN and is a huge LSU fan, about what Kwon Alexander brings to the team.

For those who forget, before Alexander spent a year with the New York Jets in 2022, he was the inside linebacker of the Saints for a year. After speaking with Coleman, you got a clear picture of what Alexander does well, and what his limitations have been throughout his career.

To list them, it would look something like this:

Weaknesses/Concerns

  • Slow to diagnose
  • Guesses when hitting the hole in run support
  • Speed and athleticism can get him out of position

Strengths/Non-concerns

  • Ability to cover running backs and tight ends
  • Great in coverage
  • A run-and-hit player who isn’t afraid of contact

At the end of my conversation with Coleman I asked him a simple question which painted a picture of how Alexander could success with the Steelers in 2023.

What would the ideal role for Kwon Alexander be in a defense?

Coleman’s response was the exact role most assumed Alexander would have since he was acquired. A sub package player who comes in on obvious down and distances. He has the ability to blitz, and is quite good in that regard, but letting him use his athleticism in those situations will help elevate the inside linebackers who might not be as adept in coverage as Alexander.

This all looks great on paper with everyone around him healthy, but Coleman warned the fan base if there are injuries which force Alexander into more of a traditional 3-down linebacker is when some of the weaknesses in his game start to protrude to the surface.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, and let’s also hope a role like the one outlined above is not just what Alexander needs to succeed, but also the Steelers defense.

If you want to hear the full conversation with Coleman, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest and most up-to-date Steelers news around.

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