Let’s get to it:
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Steelers will wear their white jerseys today in the game against the Raiders.
SCOTT BYERLY FROM BROOKFIELD, OH: Do you think that Matt Feiler has done enough to justify a spot above Marcus Gilbert? Gilbert is a quality starter but injury has sidelined him, and Feiler has been great during his absence.
ANSWER: No argument from me regarding the quality play Matt Feiler has provided during Marcus Gilbert’s absence with a knee injury, but Gilbert is a very good player in his own right, a Pro Bowl-caliber player in fact. Gilbert will be entering the final season of his current contract in 2019, and if he has injury issues next year as he has had this year maybe the team thinks about going in another direction at that point. But right now, Gilbert is a starter and Feiler is a quality backup.
BILL LETRENT FROM BEDFORD, PA: We always hear about teams making halftime adjustments. By the time the players and coaches get into the locker room and then return to the field, I’m guessing the teams might have nine or 10 minutes to make adjustments. Not a whole lot of time. How do they do it?
ANSWER: In a recent interview I did with Coach Mike Tomlin, he detailed the halftime procedure. Here is what he said: “Initially, coaches get together and make necessary adjustments, have discussions, additions, subtractions to our plan. Players take care of their personals – use the restroom, get any minor injury things looked at, any necessary equipment things are handled. After several minutes of that, then it’s the adjustment element of it when the players get with their coaches. There’s a player-coach exchange formally, talking about things that need to happen. And then the last thing that happens is there is an exchange between players, talking about what has been presented to them and how it may affect them in terms of how they work together. Then we’re back out on the field.”
BOB COLWELL FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: If all touchdowns are reviewed so that they get the call right, shouldn’t the touchdown where the Chargers offensive lineman moved before the snap been reviewed and the correct call been made?
ANSWER: You are correct in believing that all scoring plays are reviewed, but the review only entails things such as did the player have possession of the ball when he crossed the goal line, did the ball break the plane of the goal line, things of that nature. Penalties are not part of that review process.
WES PLANTHABER FROM HUNTINGDON, PA: It is said that penalties cannot be challenged, but I have seen it happen to overturn pass interference in the case of a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. Why is that one reviewed, and others are not?
ANSWER: There are only a couple of instances where penalties are part of the review process. The scenario you describe is one of those instances, and another instance is in the case of 12 men on the field.
BRONX TOELUPE FROM PROVO, UT: Do you think if the false start was called, and the offside penalties were blamed on the long-snapper, that the Steelers would have won that game?
ANSWER: I would’ve liked their chances a whole lot more than after they weren’t.
TODD HAMMERS FROM FLORENCE, SC: What is the logic behind teams winning the opening coin toss and deferring until the second half begins?
ANSWER: I don’t know about other teams, but Coach Mike Tomlin likes the idea of getting a score at the end of the first half and then getting the ball right back to start the third quarter. And the Steelers have scored touchdowns at the end of the first half in seven of their games so far.
JAMES ZUCCO FROM GARDEN GROVE, CA: As we all know a quarterback can slide to avoid a big hit. Are other players awarded the same protection?
ANSWER: Any player with the football can give himself up by sliding to the ground. When he does that, he is not to be hit by the opposing team.
MARC TRINCHILLO FROM BALLSTON LAKE, NY: Regarding the question about the quarterback giving himself up. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was about to get sacked in a playoff game against the Steelers a couple of years ago, and he slid down to the ground. The defense, assuming the play was over, did not touch him. He then got up and threw a pass for a completion. To me, that is more of a give-up than taking a knee but the play stood. Is there a now a rule preventing a quarterback from doing that?
ANSWER: That was just a garbage call that Peyton Manning got because he is Peyton Manning. He’s retired now, so there’s no need for a specific rule.
ROBERT CARR FROM CHESAPEAKE, MD: When was the last time that we won in Oakland?
DAVE HARRIS FROM PALMDALE, CA: No questions. Only an apology. I did not wear my Ernie Stautner jersey the last two Sundays and the Steelers lost. I will try to wear it this Sunday, hoping the Steelers can beat the Raiders in Oakland.
ANSWER: And here I thought it was because of turnovers in Denver, and three blind zebras – see how they run – against the Chargers.
CHRIS GALLOWAY FROM FATE, TX: I always watch Agree to Disagree, and it seems like Mike Prisuta gets a lot of wins from Missi Matthews. Is there some kind of fix going on? Between you and me, I can make the bell go away for the right price.
ANSWER: I think she’s just being charitable to the less fortunate.