Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Aug. 24

Let's get to it:

BILL MARTIN FROM DOVER, TN: During the Aug. 29 cutdown to 53 players, do you believe the Steelers will retain all four quarterbacks?
ANSWER: I don't know whether you're referring to keeping all four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, but if you are, my answer is a hard no. From what I have seen from Tanner Morgan, I don't see him as being in the same class as Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph.

MATTHEW CONFER FROM CLEVELAND, OH: Are you in favor of keeping a quarterback on the practice squad?
ANSWER: I am not, because I cannot imagine what a quarterback on the practice squad would do during the week throughout a regular season. The No. 3 quarterback typically runs the scout team, and with the new emergency quarterback rule now in place, I would expect No. 3 quarterback Mason Rudolph to be in uniform for each game serving in that role, which means he will need what limited reps he will get in practice to remain somewhat sharp. As I mentioned in the previous answer, I didn't really see anything from Tanner Morgan during training camp that would make him special enough to want to keep, and as I have explained in the past, players on the practice squad can be lured away by any team at any point in the season. A quarterback on the practice squad just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

JIM MACKLEHATTAN WHITEHALL, MT: Dylan Cook set numerous records as a high school quarterback in Butte, MT. He played two years of quarterback at a small Montana college, then transferred to a larger school and became an offensive lineman. He is now fighting for a spot on the Steelers 53-man roster as an offensive lineman. Have you ever seen a player progress from quarterback to offensive line?
ANSWER: Maybe it's not to that degree, but my only experience with something like that was when Russ Grimm, who was a quarterback at Southmoreland High School and then went on to become an All-America guard at Pitt, then a Pro Football Hall of Fame guard as a member of Washington's Hogs.

DANIEL KISH FROM BROOK PARK, OH: During the period of time between when training camp breaks and final cuts are made does the team have living arrangements for the players who are not guaranteed to make the team?

ANDREW ROWLEY FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: What are the rules regarding starters playing in the preseason? Are all roster players required to play some number of preseason snaps, or can the starting 22 get rested all preseason at the team's discretion?
ANSWER: There are no such rules regarding starters and how much they are required to play in the preseason, or how much they are limited to playing in the preseason. Each team is able to handle such matters at its own discretion.

MITCHELL SMYTH FROM LITITZ, PA: It was mentioned on last Saturday's game broadcast about the recent connection the Steelers have to drafting players from Wisconsin. It seems that even back to the Bill Cowher era, the Steelers have always liked drafting Georgia Bulldogs. Any insight into which schools the Steelers have drafted the most players from? Maybe top 5 or so?
ANSWER: Here are the top 10 programs in terms of numbers from which the Steelers have drafted since 1936 (because the Steelers have participated in every draft in NFL history): Pitt 46, Notre Dame 36, Penn State 27, Florida 24, Purdue 23, Ohio State 22, Michigan State 21, Michigan 21, Tennessee 19, and Georgia 18.

DAVE DEOM FROM KATY, TX: The Steelers just signed a linebacker and a wide receiver. With Kendrick Green's performance so far, why do you think the Steelers haven't signed a center to compete for the backup role behind Mason Cole?
ANSWER: There is really no agenda here except that the Steelers apparently don't believe there is anyone available to sign who would offer a better option right now to Kendrick Green. My personal opinion is that if the decision is made to waive Green, the Steelers will choose from among the players already on the roster to serve as the backup center.

CHIPPER NENADAL FROM ELYRIA, OH: With Cole Holcomb, Kwon Alexander, and Elandon Roberts all looking good at inside linebacker, will there be one who can be a three-down linebacker and get the most playing time, or will they just rotate all three based on situation/package?
ANSWER: That's to be determined. If there turns out to be some combination of two of those three that will allow the Steelers to defend whatever the opposing offense presents on every down and in every situation without substituting, I'm sure they would do that. But if that doesn't turn out to be the case, they'll try to put the best players on the field to deal with the particular situation.

CARLOS ARVIZU FROM MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: The Steelers recently signed receiver Aron Cruickshank adding to an already deep position and less than 10 days before the roster cut happens. Could you give us some reasons as to why would they make such a move? Could practice squad eligibility be a factor?
ANSWER: The most significant factor is that since teams are allowed to have 90 players on the roster at this time, teams are going to have 90 players on the roster, because that prevents the other players from being over-used either in practice or in the preseason finale. Also, with practice squads being expanded to 16 players, the Steelers essentially are getting a free look at Aron Cruickshank to see if he might be someone they would be interested in having on the practice squad. Even if he isn't, they still will getting a free look at a player they might be interested in doing business with at some point in the future. It's a way of doing their due diligence.

BOB MRUCZEK FROM BERLIN, NJ: I saw that you reported the waiver claims follow the same list as this year's draft. Does that go for every claim? Or does a successful claim put the awarded team at the back of the line? Also, in the case of pre-draft trades that change the draft order which list prevails?
ANSWER: I'll try to craft this answer in the order of your questions. Yes, the waiver system works the same way for every claim, and a team that is awarded a claim remains in the same position for future claims related to the cut-down to 53 players on Aug. 29. And the waiver priority list is the draft order prior to pre-draft trades. That order would be as follows: Chicago, Houston, Arizona, Indianapolis, Denver, Rams, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, Tennessee, Cleveland, Jets, New England, Green Bay, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Miami, Chargers, Baltimore, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Giants, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Kansas City.

JIM NEAL FROM FAYETTEVILLE, TN: I took my son to a Steelers game in Nashville, Tennessee to see them play against the Titans and on the very first play, I was the first to stand and scream, "It's a reverse!" It was the opening kickoff and they ran for a touchdown. What year was that? And do you think there might be an opportunity for something of that nature to happen this season?
ANSWER: That game was played on Sept. 19, 2010, and it was the second regular season game of that season. The Steelers were playing without Ben Roethlisberger, who was serving a four-game suspension to start the season. The Steelers won the toss and elected to receive – there was no option to defer at that time – and Mewelde Moore caught Rob Bioronas' kickoff at the 3-yard line, ran up to the 11-yard line when he handed the ball to rookie Antonio Brown, who ran the remaining 89 yards for the Steelers' only touchdown in what ended up as a 19-11 victory. As far as this season, I believe there are going to end up being many more fair catches on kickoffs than attempted returns.

SAMUEL HARTMAN FROM KEYSER, WV: With Myles Jack going to another team and retiring before the season started is that team still responsible for paying out the contract they gave him?
ANSWER: What I can tell you is the Steelers are responsible for $3.25 million in dead money on their 2023 salary cap as a result of the 2-year contract they awarded Myles Jack during the 2022 offseason that included a $6.5 million signing bonus. When the Steelers released Jack this offseason, his base salary for 2023 was voided because it wasn't guaranteed. The Philadelphia Eagles, Jack's most recent team, signed him to a 1-year deal this past offseason that included a $25,000 signing bonus, and so that number will be charged to their 2023 salary cap.

MATTHEW JOHNSON FROM CASHIER, NC: I like Mike Tomlin and really enjoy listening to his press conferences, especially this time of year. However, he has basically downplayed depth charts but at the same time before the Bills game said, "We appreciate the opportunity of our 2s vs their 1s…". While I agree it is good to see younger developing players against proven players isn't calling them "our 2s" just another way of saying what most of us refer to as a depth chart?
ANSWER: Coach Mike Tomlin's disdain for depth charts has to do with the public perception of them and the inflated importance that comes along with that. Within the team, there is a pecking order, or de facto depth chart, that's followed in order for practices to operate in an organized fashion, but within the team there also is an understanding that this pecking order can and sometimes does change from one day to the next, or even from one practice drill to the next. Also, within the team, the "2s" refers to an entire unit, whereas a depth chart highlights individuals and where they rank within a particular unit. To fabricate an example, a specific depth chart could list Darnell Washington as the No. 4 tight end, but during a practice when the "2s" are sent onto the field Washington could be a part of that group depending upon the play-call and the personnel group associated with that call.

TERRENCE VANCLEAVE FROM FISHERS, IN: Are joint practices/scrimmages between NFL teams becoming more common than previously? It will make my day if you say that they not only are, but that they'll also eliminate the need for these atrocious preseason games.
ANSWER: The problem with joint practices is that they often devolve into a serious of cheap shots, overly chippy play, and often large fights, because there are no NFL officials working the event to maintain order and there is no league discipline overseeing things to issue fines, etc. And even when teams decide to get together for a joint practice, that won't eliminate preseason games for one gigantic reason: they are a source of revenue that's divided between the owners and players to create that season's salary cap.