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Asked and Answered: Game Day Week 17

Posted Dec 31, 2017

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

Let’s get to it:

DILLON PALMER FROM WARREN, OH:
Stephon Tuitt seems to be extremely quiet this year compared to last year. My guess is he is still battling the biceps injury. Do you mind sharing his statistics to date this year vs. last year?

ANSWER: In 14 regular season games last season, Stephon Tuitt had 38 tackles, four sacks, three passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. Heading into today’s regular season finale, Tuitt has 20 tackles, three sacks, 12 pressures, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. Don’t forget, Tuitt’s production last season was affected by Cam Heyward being on injured reserve, and this season Heyward has 45 tackles, 12 sacks, 22 pressures, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

MICHAEL WOLOZYN FROM OIL CITY, PA
Active rosters are limited to 53, with only 46 suiting up for a game. Are these seven non-suited players allowed to be on the team sideline during the game? If a player gets injured during a game and is unable to return to the field, can one of those seven players not suited up at the start of the game suit up to replace the injured player?

ANSWER: Yes. No.

AMY HOLLAND FROM MERIDIAN, ID:
Do you think James Harrison should have seen more snaps during the season? True, the Steelers won a lot this year, but many of the games were too close for comfort. Do you think some of those games wouldn't have been so close had Harrison been playing?

ANSWER: If he had, maybe some of those close wins would have turned into close losses.

RANDY KERS FROM WINTERSVILLE, OH:
When Ryan Shazier went down, Tyler Matakevich came in and was doing a pretty good job. Then he went down with a shoulder injury. Why has Matakevich not assumed that position since his return?

ANSWER: Here is Mike Tomlin’s answer: “Tyler is a guy who has been dealing with a shoulder injury that’s going to have to be fixed after the season. It’s going to allow him to participate on special teams. He’s been dealing with it for the better part of the year. He had no issues dealing with it as a special teams player, but the minute he checked in at inside linebacker for Ryan Shazier, he had issues with it and wasn’t able to finish the game. That being said, Tyler Matakevich is essentially a special teams player and not a down in and down out linebacker candidate. Guys like (Sean) Spence and L.J. Fort have to fill the bill alongside Vince Williams.”

EVAN TRISTANO FROM AKRON, OH:
How do practice schedules vary between playoff bye weeks vs. regular season bye weeks?

ANSWER: During regular season bye weeks, the CBA demands that players be given four consecutive full days off. There is no such stipulation for bye weeks during the playoffs.

HUNTER SHARPE FROM CULLMAN, AL:
Are there any specialists in the Hall of Fame, specifically any Steelers?

ANSWER: There are two placekickers – Jan Stenerud and Morten Andersen – and one punter – Ray Guy. None of them played for the Steelers.

MARK TERMES FROM FARGO, ND:
Tell my son he is wrong. The reason players do not wear jersey Nos. 12, 43, 52, 58, and 59 is out of respect for players who came before them, or is it because they are not made available to them by the Steelers?

ANSWER: Who’s wrong if the answer to both parts of that question is yes?

MATHEW MCKENNA FROM CLEVELAND, OH:
In one article I read about James Harrison leaving, it stated that there were hopes that Harrison could be a mentor to younger players and that was a role he did not want to fill. I understand that this is pretty much being asked to help train your replacement, but can you think of any players who happily filled this role knowing that it could benefit the franchise after they retired?

ANSWER: Pretty much all of them. It long has been a Steelers tradition that the older guys mentor the younger guys, and often it can be more about helping them make the adjustment to the NFL as opposed to helping them specifically with playing for the Steelers. Jerome Bettis. Hines Ward. Aaron Smith. Brett Keisel. Will Gay. Ramon Foster. James Farrior. Troy Polamalu. Cam Heyward. Maurkice Pouncey. Help is available to those who seek it from the older, more established players.

CHUCK NIST FROM CARLISLE, PA:
What people seem to forget is James Harrison was beaten out for his job by a rookie.

ANSWER: To quote Bill Cowher, “That is an accurate statement.”

GARY SNYDER FROM FAIRVIEW PARK, OH:
Will Donnie Shell ever be awarded a gold jacket at the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

ANSWER: I believe he is deserving, but I have no way of answering that question. I’m not a voter.

ISRAEL PICKHOLTZ FROM JERUSALEM, ISRAEL:
If you don't want to answer my question, please release me so I can go ask someone else – maybe the guy in New England.

ANSWER: Good one.




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