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Asked and Answered: Game Day Week 2

Posted Sep 17, 2017

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

Let’s get to it:

JEFF WENZEL FROM NEW MARKET, MN:
Does Coach Tomlin encourage, or do current players ever go back on their own and watch film of great former Steelers players like James Farrior, Greg Lloyd, Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu to learn how they made plays?

ANSWER: That’s going about it in the wrong way, in my opinion. Watching Troy Polamalu make great plays in the secondary, or in attacking the line of scrimmage, by anticipating what the opposing offense is about to try to execute wouldn’t be as worthwhile as the current player watching video of the upcoming opponent in an effort to learn its tendencies to put himself in a position to make plays. Polamalu and James Farrior and Ike Taylor were great 10 years ago, and for Lloyd it was more than 20 years ago. The sport has changed significantly, and the Steelers have changed as well. Players need to be themselves and work hard to be the best versions of themselves they can be, not waste time trying to mimic the skill-set of guys from 10 or 20 years ago. If a current player wants to learn something from Farrior, it would be more along the line of how to be a professional day after day, getting your rest during the week, taking care of your body, things of that nature.

RAY RUGGIERI FROM LAURENCE HARBOR, NJ:
How many former No. 1 draft picks are on the Steelers starting 22?

ANSWER: Based on the depth chart for today’s game, there are three on offense and six on defense, including Joe Haden, who was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. For the record, the No. 1 picks are Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Ben Roethlisberger on offense, with Cam Heyward, Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier, T.J. Watt, Haden, and Artie Burns on defense.

JIM DARWAY FROM CLARKSBURG, WV:
Who is showing the Mike Tomlin press conference on Tuesdays at noon? And also, The Mike Tomlin Show? I can’t seem to find it on AT&T SportsNet, which I thought is supposed to be taking over for Root Sports?

ANSWER: The Mike Tomlin press conference is streamed live on Steelers.com every Tuesday at noon. It is no longer televised. The Mike Tomlin Show airs at 11:35 p.m. on Saturdays on KDKA-TV.

DARRELL GRANT FROM RICHMOND, VA:
Can we expect possible two-back sets with Le’Veon Bell and James Conner?

ANSWER: The days of Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris are over. If the Steelers employ any two-back sets, it will be with Rosie Nix at fullback. Neither James Conner nor Le’Veon Bell is a blocker, and in a two-back set with the two of them on the field together, if the Steelers are going to run the ball, then one of them would have to block.

ISAAC BUSSELMAN FROM RICHLAND, WA:
If a player is injured, does he still come to practice?

ANSWER: Generally, yes, unless he’s rehabilitating or visiting the doctor.

DAVID NORRIS FROM WHITTIER, NC:
What are your thoughts on the NFL.com allowing game tape to be viewed for anyone and everyone to see? I think it's not a good thing myself as it gives the other teams something to watch and learn from in terms of how to defense their opponents better.

ANSWER: All NFL game videos are available to anybody on any team who wants to watch/study them at anytime. There is nothing in any of the videos posted on NFL.com that isn’t already readily available to every team in the league. This kind of thing might be new for some fans, but it’s old-hat to NFL personnel.

DOUG WUERSCH FROM GARDEN GROVE, CA:
If receiver takes a handoff on a sweep play and is bottled up and won't be able to get back to line of scrimmage couldn't he throw away the ball like a quarterback instead of taking a loss in yardage?

ANSWER: A receiver in that situation cannot “throw the ball away like a quarterback” because he is not a quarterback. The protection is for players at that particular position, not for everyone behind the line of scrimmage with the football in his hands.

VAL MCMORRIS FROM TYLER, TX:
Are both Cam Sutton and Keion Adams on the injured reserve/designated to return list, and can that designation be changed?

ANSWER: There is no such list anymore. Teams do not have to identify players as designated-to-return before the fact any longer. The rule was changed. Now, teams don’t have to identify those players until they’re ready to return. The only stipulation is that players must first be on the original 53-man roster and then placed on injured reserve to be eligible, and since Adams was not on the original 53-man roster he isn’t eligible to return. Cam Sutton is eligible to return.

JOHN MILKO FROM DOYLESTOWN, PA:
Could you please define the difference between a timeout and a 30-second timeout?

ANSWER: The difference, obviously, is in the length of the timeout, and that is dictated by television, based on how much commercial time is needed at that particular point in the game.

KEVIN NEWBY FROM EMIGRANT, MT:
When do home teams have to let the visitors know what color jersey they have decided to wear?

ANSWER: Well before the start of the season. For example, the Steelers already know which jerseys they will be wearing in all of their regular season away games this season.

ROBERT STANGER FROM GREENVILLE, SC:
How can Fitz Toussaint, who started in a playoff game, and L.J. Fort be eligible for the practice squad, but Matt Feiler is out of practice squad eligibility?

ANSWER: The reason Matt Feiler is out of practice squad eligibility is because he already has spent three years on practice squads. That’s the maximum amount of time allowed.

LOU BOLOGNA FROM HERMITAGE, TN:
Whose voice do I hear at Coach Tomlin's press conference when they're “wrapping up?” He usually says, "Any more questions for Coach?” I ask because I wanted to send out props for doing a yeoman’s job in the midst of some "Asked and Answered-esque" questions that are sometimes asked by the reporters in the room.

ANSWER: That voice belongs to Director of Communications Burt Lauten. And just so you know, someone actually asked Mike Tomlin about moving Ryan Shazier to safety last year. Asked and Answered-esque, indeed.

JOSEPH ZOOK FROM WYTHEVILLE, VA:
How many receiving touchdowns did Heath Miller have in his rookie year?

ANSWER: As a rookie in 2005, Heath Miller caught 39 passes for 459 yards and six touchdowns.

BOB HAMPSON FROM CINCINNATI, OH:
I've noticed that you get some questions from far away places. Do you make an effort to search through the questions and feature those from outside the Pittsburgh region, or is it that they are simply random choices?

ANSWER: I am only looking for good questions. To paraphrase what Chuck Noll said in his first news conference after being hired as the Steelers coach, “Stupid questions have nothing to do with geography.”




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