CHRIS BARLETTA FROM COOPERSTOWN, NY:
ED SLONIGER FROM PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA:
After our bad experience with kickers this season and the losses that came with them, what are the chances we keep both kickers? I would hate to see one of them cut and kicking in the AFC North. My second question involves the long-snapper, and I'm a fan of
ANSWER: In 2008, the Steelers were playing the defending champion New York Giants at Heinz Field, and Greg Warren injured a knee, which left the Steelers without a trained long-snapper.
SCOTT VANSICKLE FROM EL DORADO, AR:
Shaun Suisham or Chris Boswell , which one will be the kicker in 2016?
ANSWER: All I feel confident in answering right now is that it won’t be both.
How does Joe Greene in his prime compare to J.J. Watt?
ANSWER: I will admit to a bias on this issue right up front, because in my mind Joe Greene was the most significant player in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise, and the Steelers franchise has won more games and more championships than any other during the Super Bowl era. And another thing on Greene’s resume is that the Steelers franchise never had won anything until Greene was drafted in 1969, and he was the linchpin of the complete change of culture that was orchestrated by Chuck Noll. For all of Noll’s greatness, I don’t believe he ends up making the Steelers into what they became without a similarly great player/presence in the locker room. That player/presence was Joe Greene.
But here’s a specific anecdote I present to attest to Joe Greene’s greatness: It was December 1972, and the 9-3 Steelers were on their way to Houston for a game against the 1-11 Oilers. Sounds like a simple afternoon, but here are some other circumstances:
L.C. Greenwood and Sam Davis were out. Jon Kolb and Gerry Mullins had the flu; while Kolb played, Mullins only made it into the third quarter. Bruce Van Dyke pulled a calf muscle in the first quarter and was done for the day; Jim Clack injured an ankle and was done for the day. All six of those aforementioned players were starters. Craig Hanneman, Greenwood’s backup, aggravated a knee injury and was done for the day; Dwight White injured a knee; Steve Furness injured an ankle. Ron Shanklin was injured in the first quarter and was done for the day; Terry Bradshaw dislocated a finger in the second quarter and was done for the day; and tight end Larry Brown, who would grow into an offensive tackle, was that day playing flanker.
The Steelers needed a hero, and Joe Greene stepped up. He had five sacks and blocked a short field goal attempt by the Oilers; he recovered one fumble and forced another, and those takeaways led to two Roy Gerela field goals. The Steelers won, 9-3, and Greene was responsible for nine of the points himself – six the Steelers scored and the three the Oilers did not.
If the Steelers lose that game to the Oilers – and in every previous year of their existence, the Steelers always lost those kinds of games, because in December 1972 the team had yet to win the first division title in franchise history – they finish the season at 10-4, tied with Cleveland for the best record in the AFC Central Division. But based on a better division record, the Browns would have finished first and the Steelers second in the division, which then would have sent Oakland to Cleveland, and Pittsburgh to Miami for the first round of the 1972 AFC Playoffs. No Immaculate Reception. Then who knows? I’m sure knowledgeable people can make a case for Watt, but I’m picking Joe Greene every time, and I’m very happy with that pick.
DAVID CHAPMAN FROM HARTFORD, CT:
Does anyone care to unwrap the mystery of why CB
ANSWER: I can tell you that neither Mike Tomlin nor Keith Butler agree with your assessment of the situation. There was no conspiracy. No riff. It was simply a case of the coaches playing the guys they believed gave the team the best chance to win.
Any chance you think the Steelers will bring back Dri Archer and continue to let him develop as a kick returner?
ANSWER: After the Steelers cut Dri Archer on Nov. 5, the team tried to sign him to the practice squad. But Archer declined. I believe the ship sailed on bringing Dri Archer back right then. Had Archer signed onto the practice squad, I believe he would’ve been going to Latrobe this summer with another chance. Now, I think the Steelers move on. By the way, Archer declined many other teams’ offers for jobs on their practice squads, too, back then.
MICHAEL DUPLINSKY FROM GRIMES, IA:
How is yardage calculated for a running back and/or receiver? For example, if a back rushes for 2.5 yards, is he credited for 2 yards or 3. It seems like a lot of yardage could be lost over the course of a game and the season, or do those fractional yards get added up at the end of the game?
ANSWER: There are no fractions involved. On every play, the statistics are adjusted so that every gain or loss is a whole number, no fractions. The way this is done is there is great latitude given to the offense, where even if the ball is just a nose beyond the 42-yard line, say, the ball officially will be recorded as being at the 43-yard line. Actually, runners and receivers get the benefit of the doubt many times in these computations over a game, a season, a career.
BEN FLOWER FROM DEVON, UK:
Will the Steelers be playing in London anytime soon? Really would like to see them play again in Britain.
ANSWER: Not as much as a lot of us in the organization would love to come back. Guaranteed.
JIM RACALTO FROM NEW YORK, NY:
What is, in your opinion, the most annoying narrative from the uninformed sector of Steelers Nation? Shazier to safety? Tomlin's clock management? Drafting a "big" corner? I see and appreciate your sarcasm. I feel you deserve a chance to vent for answering some of these dumb questions.
ANSWER: The judge disagrees.
ZACK FAITH FROM BLAIRSVILLE, PA:
The Pro Bowl is the least entertaining event in all of professional sports. Do you think it would, "spice up the game" by having players switch offensive and defensive positions? Meaning, if you are an offensive player, you must play a defensive position in the Pro Bowl, and vice versa. Some players have already made the switch during this contest anyway.
ANSWER: I say we give all of them musical instruments and ask them to play Beethoven.
BILL MARTINO FROM BINGHAMTON, NY:
Just want to make a comment. You seem pretty objective about the team even though I believe the Steelers sign your paycheck. They do, don't they?
ANSWER: You said just a comment, and then asked a question. That’s illegal procedure.
JERRY ATRICK FROM ANCHORAGE, AK:
Since the season is over all you do is field questions about moving players to different position; each one more asinine than the last. Will you ever answer questions that require some sort of football intellect?
ANSWER: Will you ever send me one?