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Asked and Answered: Jan. 9

Posted Jan 9, 2018

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

Let’s get to it:

MIKE WATSON FROM DENVER, CO:
In the past Ben Roethlisberger has had trouble in games where he missed the previous week(s) due to injury. Is there any data on how he performed the week after a bye in the playoffs?

ANSWER: There have been three times that the Steelers have earned a playoff bye during Ben Roethlisberger’s time as their starting quarterback.

In 2004, as a rookie, he completed 17-of-30 (56.7 percent) for 181 yards, with one touchdown, two interceptions, and a rating of 57.8 in a victory over the Jets.

In 2008, he completed 17-of-26 (65.4 percent) for 181 yards, with one touchdown, no interceptions, and a rating of 98.4 in a win over the Chargers.

In 2010, he completed 19-of-32 (59.4 percent) for 226 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 101.8 in a victory over the Ravens.

A couple of the times Roethlisberger has had trouble after missing a game because of injury, that injury has been a concussion. Comparing that to a playoff bye isn’t a fair comparison.

KEVAN MCGUIRE FROM ISLE OF WHITHORN, SCOTLAND:
Does the NFL have a formula for setting the playoff schedule? I remember the Steelers played the Jets in the 2010 AFC Championship Game with the Jets having an extra day to rest/prepare, although the Steelers were the higher seed.

ANSWER: Those decisions – which team plays when over the course of a playoff weekend – have much more to do with setting up the most attractive matchups for television than taking care of the teams with the higher playoff seed.

LEN ROSOL FROM GREENSBORO, NC:
Can you tell me anything about what James Conner's injury actually was, and what his outlook for recovery next season might be?

ANSWER: This is what Mike Tomlin said during his news conference on Dec. 19: “James Conner will be having knee surgery this afternoon. He will be placed on IR. He will be replaced (on the 53-man roster for the rest of this season). (The surgery) will be done later on today. You’ll be given notification at the appropriate time. He’s got an MCL injury. Unfortunate for him. I like the trajectory of where he is going and where his career is going here in 2017. He’ll get well and obviously continue on with his career.”

GUILHERME SILVA FROM RIO DO SUL, SANTA CATARINA, BRAZIL:
I'm part of the Brazilian Steelers Nation, and a year ago I bought a Steelers game shirt with a 33 number and an "est" inscription on the back. What player used this number? I didn't find any player who used to wear this number.

ANSWER: There are a lot of players who have worn the jersey No. 33 in Steelers history, but what you are describing – Est. 33 – refers to the year the franchise was founded, that being 1933. To translate it for you, it means Steelers, established in 1933.

SUSAN KOLMER FROM SPRING GROVE, PA:
In your latest edition of "Agree to Disagree", you stated that Mike Tomlin should be considered for Coach of the Year, and Mike Prisuta countered with a statement to the effect that Coach of the Year always goes to the coach whose team wins the Super Bowl. Yet Chuck Noll had four Super Bowl wins to his credit, and never once did he win Coach of the Year. What was up with that?

ANSWER: Two points of clarification: Mike Prisuta said that’s the way the Coach of the Year award “should” be determined, that it always should go to the coach of the team that wins the Super Bowl. Also, Chuck Noll was voted Coach of the Year in 1989.

ERIC JOHNSON FROM SUSANVILLE, CA:
I've been a Steelers fan for 48 years, and I think this team is the best all-around team they have ever had. Especially the offense. Your opinion, and please be kind.

ANSWER: I did some simple arithmetic, and what I came up with is that you’ve been a Steelers fan since 1969 – 2017 minus 48. That means your contention is the 2017 edition is the most talented team the franchise has had since 1969? With all due respect to this edition of Steelers, the 1975 team – and I’m just picking one for this argument – had five future Hall of Fame players on offense: Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster; plus four more on defense, including the greatest player in franchise history who was still in his prime – Joe Greene – to go along with Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, and Mel Blount, who was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year that season after recording 11 interceptions in 14 games. Donnie Shell, who would finish his career here as a safety with 52 interceptions, was a backup.

The 1975 Steelers scored 46 touchdowns and allowed 19 in 14 games, while the 2017 Steelers scored 43 touchdowns and allowed 36 in 16 games. The 1975 Steelers had 37 takeaways (27 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries), while the 2017 Steelers had 22 takeaways (16 interceptions and six fumble recoveries) in 16 games. The 2017 team did have a big lead in sacks, 56-43.

Looking at the 2017 roster, the only lock for the Hall of Fame is Ben Roethlisberger, in my opinion, while Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Maurkice Pouncey are on that path but still a long way away from Canton, Ohio, and there isn’t a single defensive player on the roster I would characterize a lock to make the Hall of Fame at this point.

For my money, the best team in franchise history was the 1975 Steelers. That’s as kind as I can be.

ERIC ASH FROM BEAVER FALLS, PA:
Not a question but a memory related to a question you answered on Jan. 4. I am a pastor and once I officiated at a wedding between a diehard Steelers fan and a diehard Browns fan. The bride, a Pittsburgh native, relocated to Phoenix, Az., where she met the groom, a Cleveland native. They returned to Pittsburgh to be married at the entrance to Heinz Field. The bridesmaids all wore Steeler jerseys and the groomsmen all wore Browns jerseys. My sermon included the line, “If a Steelers fan and Browns fan can fall in love and marry, there is hope for peace in the world." That was about 10 years ago; they are still together.

ANSWER: Thank God there were no Ravens or Patriots jerseys involved.

NICK MITCHELL FROM GLEN-LYON, PA:
If the Steelers happen to play the Saints in Super Bowl LII, which team will wear the black jerseys since both teams wear black and gold? How would that unfold?

ANSWER: For the Super Bowl, it’s either the NFC team or the AFC team that’s the designated home team, and the designated home team gets to choose whether it wants to wear its home jerseys or road jerseys. For Super Bowl LII, the designated home team is the AFC representative, so that would be the team that gets to choose its jerseys for the game.

MATTHEW FORCEY FROM CYPRESS, TX:
Bro, if you Google Steelers practice 1970s or similar searches, photos come up of the Steelers running around training camp with numbered jerseys. There is a good one of Jack Lambert with a No. 58 jersey, and it's obvious he's in the Latrobe camp. And there are some pictures of the players in plain jerseys. FYI

ANSWER: Bro, first of all the question was about a practice jersey from 1987. And, Bro, during every training camp during the Chuck Noll era, there was an event called Photo Day, during which the players wore uniforms with numbered jerseys and allowed themselves to be photographed by the media that covered the team throughout the season. And, Bro, the photo of Lambert that comes up from the Google search is of him – in his uniform – walking up the hill from the field at Saint Vincent College toward the locker room, and, Bro, that was taken during a Photo Day. FYI, Bro.

ROBERTA CAMPBELL FROM PORTAGE, IN:
Why wouldn't Mike Tomlin have played Joshua Dobbs in the final regular season game? Don't you think they would want to see more of him in a real game before the draft?

ANSWER: No, what they want is to get Landry Jones as many snaps in a real game as possible, because in the case of an injury to Ben Roethlisberger during the playoffs, it will be Jones who goes into the game. Training camp opens in late July 2018. That’s when Joshua Dobbs will get a chance. What’s going on right now is the playoffs.

LEVERNE JOHNSON FROM FLORENCE, SC:
Would it be possible for the Steelers to sign Darrelle Revis for this playoff run? I think he would sign if offered.

ANSWER: Rather than just try to entertain the masses with a sarcastic rebuke, I’ll deal with this seriously. First of all, Darrelle Revis signed a two-year contract with Kansas City in late November, and he was in the starting lineup last Saturday for the Chiefs’ Wild Card Game vs. the Titans. That means he is still under contract to the Chiefs, but we’ll have to see how long that lasts, because now I refer to a piece written by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk after the Titans eliminated the Chiefs from the playoffs:

“Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis, a late-season addition to the team who surely hoped to parlay a couple of strong postseason performances into a big payday next year (either under the second year of his Kansas City contract or elsewhere), clearly pulled up while pursuing Titans running back Derrick Henry on the key third-down play that ultimately sealed the game for Tennessee,” wrote Florio. “On one side of the ball, quarterback Marcus Mariota was throwing blocks and doing whatever he needed to do to help his team advance. On the other side of the ball, Revis, who was approaching from an angle, had a chance to catch Henry and to try to tackle him before he reached the line to gain. But Revis didn’t accelerate; he slowed down.”

If this isn’t enough to put this Revis garbage to rest once and for all, well, there’s this from me: Good idea. Maybe he could help at tight end after Jesse James is moved to cornerback to cover Rob Gronkowski.




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