Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 25

Check out the Color Rush uniforms that the Steelers will be wearing on Christmas Day.

Let's get to it:

JOSEPH ZOOK FROM WYTHEVILLE, VA:
When was the last time the Steelers played the Ravens at Heinz Field with Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown in the lineup? And what was the final score?

ANSWER: The last time was on Nov. 2, 2014. In that game, Le'Veon Bell had 10 carries for 20 yards, plus five catches for 38 yards and a touchdown; Antonio Brown had 11 catches for 144 yards and a 54-yard touchdown; and Ben Roethlisberger completed 25-of-37 (67.6 percent) for 340 yards, with six touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 136.3. The Steelers won, 43-23.

SAM CLONCH FROM KANSAS CITY, MO:
Who would you rather have for the Baltimore game: the Sammie Coates from the first four weeks, or the Ladarius Green from the last four?

ANSWER: I'm going to exercise my prerogative as the Asked and Answered czar to modify your question so that it covers the first six weeks of the season for Sammie Coates and the last six weeks for Ladarius Green because that's how many games Green has played since coming off the physically unable to perform list. I'm going to choose Coates, because of the deep threat he provides. Green's longest catch of the season is 37 yards, and he's averaging 16.9 on his 18 receptions. Coates had six catches of 40-plus yards over the first six weeks, and averaged 22.2 on his 19 receptions.

PAUL DONEN FROM DEERFIELD BEACH, FL:
How does Chris Boswell not make AFC Special Teams Player of the Week? He was 6-for-6 in field goals, five of which were from 40-plus yards, and a shoestring tackle on a kickoff return that saved a touchdown. He won the game for the Steelers.

ANSWER: I picked Chris Boswell as the Steelers Digest Player of the Week, a selection that has been made after every game – preseason, regular season, postseason – since 1988, and Coach Mike Tomlin gave him a game ball in the visitor's locker room at Paul Brown Stadium after the victory. If you're asking why he didn't win one of those other awards, ask those people.

KENNETH BOCZKUS FROM ELIZABETH, NJ:
If a defender intercepts a pass and laterals for a touchdown, it's a pick-six, but since it was a lateral what does the defender who scores get credit for since he didn't get the interception?

ANSWER: The guy who intercepted the pass gets credit for an interception, and the guy who scored the touchdown gets credit for the six points.

DAVID DUNN FROM SWARTHMORE, PA:
Can you tell us about the communications network during the game? Who on offense/coaches/staff can communicate or listen in? What about the defensive side? Is it one channel for offense and defense, or separate?

ANSWER: Here are some of the basics: there are separate channels for offense and defense, and Coach Mike Tomlin has access to both. Generally speaking, the offensive assistants are all hooked up and can communicate, and the defensive coaches are all hooked up and can communicate. Special teams coordinator Danny Smith doesn't wear a headset.

FREDERICK KERESTURY FROM CLEVELAND, OH:
I'm curious about what you know about how William Gay fits into the future plans for the Steelers, or if he fits in at all? Inevitably, Ben Roethlisberger will retire, though hopefully not for several more years. As a sixth-round pick, does Mettenberger have what it takes to become a starting quarterback in the league, or can any amount of coaching get him there?

ANSWER: Zach Mettenberger has started 10 NFL games and played in 14, but based on what he showed in the NFL so far – 60.3 percent completed, 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, rating of 75.4 – he doesn't project to being a full-time starter as a candidate to follow Ben Roethlisberger. If Mettenberger had that kind of potential, it would have been revealed in some way in the playing time he already has had, and he wouldn't have been available on waivers. Mettenberger is a clear No. 3 on the depth chart today, and if Landry Jones would falter or leave via free agency, he would have a chance to compete for the No. 2 job.

DUSTIN KOMMES FROM DAVIE, FL:
I would love to see Le'Veon Bell return from his injury this week against the Ravens. I feel his availability can create some confusion for the Ravens, in that the Steelers can align Le'Veon Bell as a slot receiver and Williams as the running back, and still be able to run the ball effectively. What kind of impact could having Williams back possibly create?

**

ANSWER: The Steelers played in Miami against the Dolphins on Oct. 16. Remember that far back? Well, since then DeAngelo Williams has one carry for no yards, and he was inactive for seven games with a knee injury. It's likely Williams will be active against the Ravens, but I'm not so sure he's going to have enough of a role to make an impact. That's expecting too much too quickly after such a long period of inactivity, because not only was Williams missing games but he also was missing practices.**

JAMES CRUZ from CITY TERRACE, CA:
Going back to when it was the AFC Central Division, which teams have won the most division titles, and what are the numbers?

ANSWER: The AFC Central Division was formed in 1970, divisional play was suspended during the strike-shortened season of 1982, and it became the AFC North starting with the 2002 season. That means there have been 45 division championships won since 1970 under two different names. The Steelers have 21; Cincinnati has nine; Cleveland has six; Baltimore has four; Houston/Tennessee has three; and Jacksonville has two. Just taking into consideration the AFC North, the Steelers have won it six times, with Baltimore and Cincinnati winning it four times apiece.

BRIAN ANTONINKA FROM EAST BERLIN, PA:
I really feel for you. Week after week, you have to put up with a lot of stupid questions. Do you need a hug?

ANSWER: Regularly. And Marianne steps up and delivers every time.

KIRK COLLINS FROM WHEELING, WV:
I know you hate questions about position changes, but we are getting so thin at defensive line. Do you think William Gay could be used at nose tackle? Offset him like Joe Greene, and his quickness along with strength and leverage could be effective?

ANSWER: Marianne, I need another hug.

RICKY YAKIMOWICZ FROM LEWES, DE:
No question. Just the realization that all of you hard working Steelers employees will also be working on Christmas Day, and that it's not just the players missing family time. You guys are going to miss it, too. So thank you, and I hope you all have happy holidays. Love Asked and Answered, by the way.

ANSWER: Thanks for noticing, and I appreciate the compliment.


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