Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 18

Let's get to it:

JERSEY UPDATE: The Steelers will be wearing their white jerseys with gold pants for today's game in Cincinnati against the Bengals.

BYRON DONLOW FROM YOUNGSTOWN, OH:
Why wasn't Artie Burns a candidate for the Pro Bowl?

ANSWER: All players are candidates for the Pro Bowl, and so I'm assuming you're referring to the fan ballot that was on NFL.com. That ballot is made up way in advance of the actual playing of the game and/or the deadline for the voting, which was Dec. 13 by the way, and I'm fairly certain Artie Burns wasn't on the radar when those ballots were created. Fan voting, however, only counts for one-third of the process – consider it the NFL's way of making fans feel involved without actually giving them any real authority over the selections – and so Burns could conceivably be announced as one of the AFC's cornerbacks when the teams are revealed on Dec. 20. In my opinion, Burns is not a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback. Yet.

EDWARD BONTRAGER FROM PHOENIX, AZ:
I thought before the Steelers-Bills game that 300 yards from scrimmage would be very close to an NFL record. Obviously not. What are the Steelers' and the NFL's records for yards from scrimmage by a player in a single game?

ANSWER: In fact, 300 yards from scrimmage is very close to a record. The Steelers franchise record is 306 yards, which was set by Antonio Brown in the Nov. 8, 2015 game vs. the Raiders at Heinz Field. In that game, Brown rushed twice for 22 yards and caught 17 passes for 284 yards.

The NFL record was set by Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Flipper Anderson – 336 yards – in a game against New Orleans on Nov. 26, 1989, in which he caught 15 passes for those 336 yards, with one touchdown. That's the official NFL record, but it's also fair to mention that game went into overtime. On Dec. 10, 1961, Houston Oilers halfback Billy Cannon amassed 330 when he rushed for 216 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries and caught five passes for another 114 yards and two more scores in a game against the New York Titans. The Titans would be re-named the Jets for the 1963 season.

DANIEL TROMBETTA FROM RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL:
Why rule out a player on Friday, on the game status report, instead of keeping him questionable and then put him on the inactive list on game day?

**

ANSWER: Because the NFL monitors such things. Every team is required to file an official practice report with the league office on each day a practice is scheduled, and that report is to disclose all injured players and whether they practiced, were limited, or didn't participate at all – and the reason why. If a guy is listed as not having practiced all week with a knee injury, or an ankle injury, or a hamstring injury, and then he shows up on the Friday status report listed as questionable, and then is inactive on Sunday, the team submitting such reports is going to be subjected to an investigation. Playing fast and loose with injury reporting can lead to substantial fines.**

JACK SCHWARTZ FROM LOS ANGELES, CA:
The Cincinnati game will not affect the division champion if the Steelers are able to win their last two games, because that would make them 10-6 and the best record for the Ravens would be 9-7. Correct?

ANSWER: You are ignoring seeding within the playoffs and the impact such seeding could have on possible opponents in each round, but yes, you are correct.

MIKE ARBAUGH FROM RANDOLPH, OH:
I don't remember hearing Dan McCullers' name mentioned during the Buffalo game. Did he play any snaps, and if so, was he effective at all?

ANSWER: Against the Bills, the Steelers opened in their base 3-4 defense, which meant Dan McCullers was the starting nose tackle because Javon Hargrave was out with a concussion. He was not credited with any tackles, but since the Steelers controlled the Buffalo running attack it's reasonable to assume McCullers contributed to that.

WILLIE SHELTON FROM RICHMOND, VA
I haven't seen No. 93 on the field during the last couple of games. Does this mean we have given up on Dan McCullers? Such a big body, I thought we would utilize him more on short yardage downs.

ANSWER: Maybe you haven't noticed Dan McCullers, but he has played in every regular season game this season and has been credited with 18 tackles over the course of the 13 games. McCullers hasn't been "utilized" more because Javon Hargrave has been more productive.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 15 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

ED FUSKA FROM MIDDLETOWN, DE:
Does the salary cap include only players, or does it also include coaches and maybe even other staff?

ANSWER: The salary cap applies only to players. There was a rumor that a recent proposal concerned extending the salary cap to website writers, but it quickly was drowned out by uncontrollable laughter.

JORDAN LITTLE FROM WEST UNION, IA:
First, I just want to say your comments to some of these questions are ridiculously funny and entertaining. There are many strong candidates for the MVP this year, but has a player ever won the MVP despite missing multiple games due to a suspension?

ANSWER: Based on my very superfluous research, no.

GLEN WHITTEN FROM ADA, OH:
Now that the Patriots have claimed Michael Floyd off waivers, I am curious how the team order of waivers is determined and where the Steelers fall in that lineup currently.

ANSWER: At this point in an NFL season, waiver claims are based on the inverse order of the teams' current records. In other words, it's just like the NFL Draft, where the teams with the worst record picks first, etc. That means the 0-13 Cleveland Browns would have the No. 1 priority, with 2-11 Jacksonville at No. 2. The Steelers, at 8-5, currently are No. 22. And at this time of the season, all players – even vested veterans – are subject to waivers.

RYAN BOWSER FROM CORVALLIS, OR:
How do you maintain your sanity when reading through these ridiculous questions?

ANSWER: I sometimes use sarcasm to try to make it somewhat entertaining, but then I get submissions like the one below:

NEAL PATEL FROM OTTAWA, CANADA:
I enjoy reading your segment and find it to be very informative. My only issue is that some of your answers can come off as sarcastic and condescending at times. Why is that? We're all just fans of the game and the Steelers, and no one claims to be an expert.

ANSWER: Oh, I disagree with that. I'd say around half of the submissions made are by "fans of the game and the Steelers" who think they are experts. They believe they can draft better than Kevin Colbert, coach better than Mike Tomlin, and they certainly wouldn't be running this franchise into the ground the way Art Rooney II is. And every one of them knows they know more than Todd Haley and Keith Butler and Danny Smith. And then I'm nothing but a shill if I don't agree.


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