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Asked and Answered: March 10

Posted Mar 10, 2016

Another installment of Bob Labriola answering your questions about the Steelers and the NFL.

Let’s get to it:

BILL KILPATRICK FROM MONONGAHELA, PA:
In the run-up to the draft, do the Steelers talk to their own players about underclassmen they played alongside when they were in college to find out whether a player was a hard worker, good in locker room, etc.?

ANSWER: I cannot speak specifically to when such intel is sought, but, yes, the Steelers do check with their own players who may have been teammates of some of the guys coming out in the draft. One specific example I can cite is the one involving Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert. The team’s first-round pick in 2010, Pouncey quickly established himself with Coach Mike Tomlin that summer in training camp, and the Steelers didn’t need a lot of time to realize they had a building block for the offensive line in their rookie center. And so the following year when Gilbert was eligible for the draft – and because Gilbert and Pouncey played on the same University of Florida team on the same offensive line – the Steelers sought Pouncey’s opinion. As you may recall, Gilbert was the team’s second-round pick in the 2011 draft.

JIM LIPKA FROM LANCASTER, OH:
No question. However, I'd like to say THANKS for bringing Asked and Answered to Steelers.com. I was born/raised near Pittsburgh and although Steelers Nation lives strong here in Ohio, there is nothing like my hometown. Your pieces on Steelers.com help bring me a little closer home.

ANSWER: You’re welcome. Happy to know the Internet can penetrate enemy lines.

ANDREW SANDERS FROM MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA:
I am someone who often is awed by the Steelers offense, and my question is: are our receivers actually that good, or does Ben Roethlisberger make them great? Mike Wallace looked good in Pittsburgh and then did nothing with Miami or Minnesota. I know there are other factors, but our receivers weren't the same with Mike Vick or Landry Jones at quarterback.

ANSWER: If I personally were forced to choose between having a great quarterback and average receivers, or an average quarterback and great receivers, I would choose the former. And I think what Tom Brady recently has been able to accomplish with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, et.al., helps prove my point. Since you brought up Mike Wallace specifically, let’s look at the track of his career. With Ben Roethlisberger throwing to him – and based on his arm strength and accuracy down the field – Wallace was a dangerous receiver who gained a reputation as a game-breaker. That made Wallace a sought-after free agent, but when he got to Miami and didn’t have that caliber of quarterback throwing him the football, he soon came to be perceived as a disappointment. Wallace hadn’t lost any speed or forgotten how to catch the football, but he wasn’t as productive because the quarterback wasn’t as capable of making the throws that made him a dangerous receiver and a sought-after free agent in the first place. Give me the great quarterback, and I believe he’ll be able to make the receivers look a lot better.

DAVE TRONE FROM ROCK HILL, SC:
Love Asked and Answered. Thank you. Look forward to reading it every week. Keep up the good work.

ANSWER: I’ll try.

ANTONIO JACKSON FROM MCCOMB, MS:
What does the signing of Robert Golden mean for Will Allen?

ANSWER: Personally, my perception of the situation was that because he was going to be 34 before the start of next summer’s training camp, Will Allen would be more of a wait-and-see free agent. And by that I mean, the Steelers would wait until after the draft to assess themselves at the safety position and then determine whether they wanted to do more business with Allen, who has to be close to the end of his football career even though he was a capable starter in 2015. This isn’t meant to disparage Allen, or his contributions to the Steelers, but 34-year-old football players usually are not a priority at contract time.

ROBERT JOHNSON FROM MIDDLETOWN, DE:
Do you think the Steelers should take a stab at trying to sign Antonio Gates?

ANSWER: Based on what I read on Twitter throughout the day yesterday (March 9), it seems as though the Steelers’ interest is being directed at a different San Diego tight end. And at this exact moment in time, he is better than Antonio Gates.

JAMES WILLIAMS FROM SACRAMENTO, CA:
Do you think the Steelers should draft a true nose tackle in the first round? If so, who?

ANSWER: No, I do not.

RYAN MUELLER FROM EGG HARBOR TWP, NJ:
Just wanted to say how much I enjoy Asked and Answered. Don't have a question, but just wanted to point out that some of our so-called Steelers fans have the idea that management doesn't do its due diligence during free agency. Any real fan knows the Steelers build through the draft and prefer to develop from within. Like you, some things just drive me nuts.

ANSWER: Amen.

KEVIN JACKSON FROM WATERFLOW, NM:
As a Steeler fan since 1974 (10- year-old boy who grew up in Sparta, Ohio, which is smack dab between Browns territory and Bengals territory). I was pondering what would be best for my team this year: another Rod Woodson or Troy Polamalu?

ANSWER: Are you asking me to pick one? Both were dynamic playmaking defensive backs whose specialty was creating takeaways, sometimes by attacking the backfield and other times by making plays on the ball down the field. Rod Woodson is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and in time, Troy Polamalu will join him there. I have a tremendous amount of respect for both players, and either would provide a significant upgrade to any defense. Can I have both? If not, I’ll let you pick first, and I’ll take the other one.




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