Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Aug. 25

Let's get to it:

In your opinion, will the loss of Maurkice Pouncey have a bigger impact on the Steelers run game or pass game?


I'm going to choose a third option, and that is as the unquestioned leader of the offensive line. Over the past few seasons, that group has improved together as they matured together, and I perceived the offensive line to be a tighter group as that process was continuing. During an afternoon practice during the final days of training camp, rookie Bud Dupree and Ramon Foster got into it a little bit, and it quickly became apparent to those watching practice that when it came to the offensive line – in Pouncey's words – "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us." There was an attitude that developed over the previous couple of seasons within this group of offensive linemen, and Pouncey was the alpha in the room. My hope is that the other guys can maintain what was built until their leader returns.**

So lets say that in Fantasyland Kam Chancellor and the Seahawks couldn't work out their differences on a new contract. What would it take for a trade to the Steelers? The Seahawks traded Percy Harvin fast.

I'm not familiar with all of the goings-on in Seattle, but from what I have come to understand Percy Harvin was not exactly an asset in the locker room, and Kam Chancellor is the kind of leader a team just doesn't discard quickly because he's unhappy with his contract. Michael Robinson played for the Seahawks and is now an analyst on NFL Network, and this was his recent take on the situation: "He's dug in. He really feels that they have the ability to pay him. Kam is not only a leader on this defense, he's a team leader. He's a guy who can go to and be able to talk to a guy like Marshawn [Lynch], be able to talk to a guy on the offensive side of the ball to get him straight. He is everything to this team. I know there are guys out there making plays for the Seahawks right now, but nobody's Kam Chancellor. Nobody sets the tone physically like Kam Chancellor … He is the boom to the Legion of Boom." Chancellor is so unhappy with the $4.488 million he is scheduled to make in 2015 that he has said he's willing to sit out the entire season if he doesn't get paid what he believes he deserves. Because of the kind of player he is and the impact he has on the field, I just cannot envision a realistic scenario in which the Seahawks are willing to trade someone like him. Not even in Fantasyland.

I just finished watching Tunch Ilkin's video on how offenses can attack the cover-2. I'm very worried now. Before his video I liked the cover-2, because it seemed to be easier to learn than Dick LeBeau's schemes, but now it looks easy to attack by any team that has even an average quarterback. Am I overreacting? Please tell me I am.

You're overreacting, because as the saying goes, "In the NFL it's more about the Willies and the Joes than the Xs and Os." In other words, players make the scheme, not the other way around. Any scheme can be attacked successfully in the NFL if that scheme is being played by average guys. This is the way Coach Mike Tomlin described cover-2: "It's an umbrella of defense that keeps the ball inside and in front. It disrupts the normal flow of the offense by re-routing the perimeter receivers, and the rush is a tremendous part of the coverage. The ball has to come out of the quarterback's hand on time. If it doesn't, it breaks the coverage down." The Steelers of the 1970s played cover-2, and they fielded one of the most dominant defenses in NFL history; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played cover-2, and they were so good at it that they won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson as their quarterback. Remember, it's the Willies and the Joes.

Check out the highlight photos from the Steelers vs Packers game.

Speaking in terms of Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier and how quick people are to throw the term "bust" out, how many more preseason games until someone calls Bud Dupree a bust?

It already has happened, if my Twitter timeline is any example. But just to throw in a bit of reality: against the Packers – in what was the third preseason game of his career – Bud Dupree had one sack, he had another one nullified by a stupid encroachment penalty on Cam Thomas, and he was very close on a third sack that ultimately was awarded to Ian Wild.

Thanks for doing this informative blog. I enjoy reading it every week. Can you explain the waived/injured designation and what happens to those players who are not claimed? Also, I saw a picture of Ben Roethlisberger and his daughter taken after the family day practice. He had a huge ice bag on his right knee, and I've noticed he has been wearing a knee sleeve during regular practices. Is there anything to be concerned about?

Let's start with the waived/injured designation: In this case, a player with an injury is waived, and then if he clears waivers – no other team claims him over a 24-hour period – that player reverts to the original team's injured reserve list. Once that happens, the sides have five business days to work out an injury settlement. Often, an outside doctor is consulted to examine the player and make a determination as to when the player would be able to return to playing/practicing football. The player is then paid according to that settlement. As for Ben Roethlisberger's knee: many players have joints iced regularly after practice and/or games just as a matter of course. All I can tell you is that Roethlisberger didn't miss a single practice during training camp because his knee was bothering him. Many times, ice on joints and/or the wearing of a sleeve is a function of age and years in the NFL. Roethlisberger is 33 years old and has played in 174 games over 11 seasons, not counting the preseason.

A collection of photos featuring Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at 2015 training camp.

The letter from Matt Butler was a hoot, and really made my day. I have blamed myself for a Steelers loss, if I didn't wear my No. 7, or No. 43 jersey, or forgot my Terrible Towel on game day. In Ben Roethlisberger's rookie year, I skipped evening church services to watch the whole game. That loss was definitely my fault. Anyway, I enjoy Asked and Answered, along with all the other features on I hope you print my letter.

Here it is. But since you had nothing to ask, I have nothing to answer.

First, I've just started reading Asked and Answered, and I've really enjoyed your responses. I just wanted to comment on the Aug. 20 installment when you answered the Terrible Towel question and suggested upgrading to a newer model. I liked your comparison to a Civil War gun, but as a gun owner and Towel-waving fan for almost 40 years, I have four for every game that range in age from 30 years old to more recent models. As that gun owner, and superstitious fan, all of them contribute in some way based on the experience they've seen over the years. From the missed field goals by Buffalo while sitting in the end zone at Three Rivers Stadium to the missed field goal by the Jets during the 2004 playoffs while sitting in the stands at Heinz Field, to the Mike Tomlin coached AFC Championship Game against the Ravens, all of the Towels have grown with the organization and need representation. If maintained honorably, they will last a lifetime. They've been around the world during my 20-year career in the USAF and will continue to be at every game the remainder of my life. Retirement isn't an option. Just another loyal Steelers fan's opinion on a Towel that most every team has been trying to duplicate since it's inception, and in every sport. Long live Myron Cope's great idea.

I have nothing to add to that, but I believe we do agree on the need for occasional reinforcements. Leaving it all on just one veteran Towel, one veteran Towel that has served honorably for decades, just didn't seem fair to me.

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