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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 11

Let's get to it:

RUSSELL INGRAM FROM RIVERSIDE, CA: On the field goal that Chris Boswell fell down, would it be classified as blocked or missed?
ANSWER: It wasn't blocked because the ball actually hit one of the Steelers offensive linemen in the back. It's a missed field goal, but both missed and blocked count against the kicker's percentage in the same way.

DAVE MARR FROM BRANTFORD, ONTARIO, CANADA: Don't the players check the game field conditions? I can see there being footing problems late in the game, but to have cleats brought out in the first quarter seems like a team unprepared and out of gas.
ANSWER: This is professional football. Players are responsible for wearing the proper footwear, and there is a two-hour pregame period where the footing can be tested by everyone and anyone on the field. If guys aren't wearing the proper cleats for the conditions, that's on them. The Steelers bring enough shoes with them on the road to open their own store.

MIKE CLAPPER FROM BEDFORD, PA: Out of disgust, I did not watch the press conference after the Raiders game. Did Coach Mike Tomlin say why Ben Roethlisberger was healthy enough to play in the last five minutes but not any other time in the second half?
ANSWER: I don't know many specifics, but I will try to relate what I do know. First of all, rib injuries can be very, very painful, and for an NFL quarterback his torso often is exposed during the physical process of standing in the pocket and throwing the football. And please understand that there are many degrees of health, and being medically cleared doesn't necessarily take into account the amount of pain an individual might have to endure to do his job on the field. My assumption is that there was some hope the Steelers could find a way to win the game without subjecting Roethlisberger to more punishment/pain, but when it became apparent they could not, he agreed to go back into the game. In a way, it was very similar to the situation the Steelers faced in the 2015 AFC Wild Card Game in Cincinnati, when Roethlisberger hurt his shoulder on a cheap shot from Vontaze Burfict but when it became a critical situation because Landry Jones was ineffective, he went into the game and saved the day.

STÉPHANE PRÉMONT FROM QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC, CANADA: I know you have touched on this before but how long do you see the Steelers being patient with Chris Boswell?
ANSWER: My worry with Chris Boswell at this point is whether he's been damaged mentally to the extent that he's no longer capable of doing his job. And it's not as though Boswell can be benched and replaced in the lineup with another player, because NFL rosters only contain one placekicker.

JASON BRECHT FROM ANAMOSA, IA: Another disappointing performance in Oakland. Just read your article on the loss, spot-on as usual. Something not mentioned specifically are the two potential interceptions that were once again dropped, and I thought one had the potential to turn into a pick-6. Do the Steelers run the defensive backs through consistent pass-catching drills similar to receivers?
ANSWER: Yes, they do. Every single day in practice, and as part of the pregame warmups before every single game on the schedule – preseason, regular season, and postseason.

JONATHAN BASTIAN FROM LEXINGTON, KY: When JuJu Smith-Schuster took the lateral from James Washington on the next-to-last play of the game, were Smith-Schuster's yards considered receiving yards or rushing yards?
ANSWER: Those yards were considered receiving yards, and it put JuJu Smith-Schuster at 130 for the game.