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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Feb 19

INDIANAPOLIS – Let's get to it:

When are the Steelers going to fire offensive coordinator Todd Haley?

Not soon, I hope. The Steelers have improved on offense in each of Haley's three seasons in the job, and 2014 was pretty special. The impact of Le'Veon Bell missing the Wild Card Game vs. the Ravens aside, the Steelers do need to improve in the red zone. The Steelers finished 18th in the red zone in 2014, with 29 touchdowns in 55 possessions for a 52.4 percentage. With the players on hand, with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, that's not good enough. But you work on improving that part of your game, you don't fire the coordinator. And what's best about Haley's tenure is that Roethlisberger is taking fewer hits than he did under Bruce Arians. This is a style of  offense that can win a Super Bowl.

Do you think Shamarko Thomas will be the Steelers' starting strong safety this season?

Yes, I do believe Shamarko Thomas will be the starting strong safety in 2015, and I understand what that would mean with regards to Troy Polamalu.

Has there been any recent consideration by the owners to extend the season beyond 16 games?

I'm sure there has been consideration, because the owners always are looking for ways to grow the pie of revenues, and more regular season games would mean more money from the television networks. What I think will happen before they would expand the regular season is an expansion of the playoffs, which also will mean more money from the networks.

Top Ten Photographs of Brett Keisel.

Will Brett Keisel play next year or will the Steelers be looking for a replacement? I know that Brett had an arm injury that kept him out awhile. He was my favorite player growing up, and I was just wondering if he will be staying?

I don't have a crystal ball, but I truly believe the Steelers want to move on with their younger defensive players. Brett Keisel tore a triceps muscle last Nov. 30, and those kinds of injuries can require up to 12 months of rehabilitation time. Keisel will be 37 years old in September. Cam Heyward is an emerging star in the league, and Stephon Tuitt needs to be on the field. All of those things combine to point to this being the end of the line for Keisel.

Is it true that a network originally approached the Steelers to be called "America's Team" and the Rooneys declined? Thus having the network approach the Cowboys and the rest is history.

Actually it was NFL Films that approached the Steelers with the America's Team label, I believe it was going to be for use in the 1979 Steelers highlight film, and Art Rooney Sr. responded with, "We're Pittsburgh's team." And yes, NFL Films then approached the Cowboys, and the rest is history.

I haven't seen this brought up so I would like to get your thoughts. The Steelers definitely need a backup for Le'Veon Bell. Ray Rice needs a job. I would think that a year out of football has made him a very humble man, and he didn't incur any wear-and-tear. If they could come to a reasonable deal, do you think it would be a good fit?

No. I could never see the Steelers signing Ray Rice under any set of realistic circumstances. Any other NFL team considering Ray Rice has to be willing to accept the media circus that certainly will accompany him, and then follow him wherever the team goes. And NFL teams are nothing but pragmatic, and in his last season with the Ravens Rice rushed for 66 yards (3.1 average) and four touchdowns. He's a 28-year-old with 1,430 carries on his body, and his style is more about running through tacklers than away from them. And just because Rice may need a job doesn't mean he should have one as an NFL player.

With some of the recent classes of the Pro Football Hall of Fame including some very undeserving people to say the least, can you or anyone please explain to me how Donnie Shell, a four-time Super Bowl champion and a total class act on and off the field, is not in the Hall?

I will gently disagree with your assertion that recent classes have included some very undeserving people, but I won't argue Donnie Shell's Hall of Fame qualifications. Sad to say, I also don't see him ever getting elected, not with the number of 1970s Steelers already enshrined and the sense among voters that there has to be a limit on one team's players from a single era. If there are any more 1970s Steelers to be elected, I believe it would be L.C. Greenwood as a seniors candidate.

Why did you cut the "Agree to Disagree" segments to only two questions per episode from the four questions per episode in previous years? I really got a lot of good information from that show, and I really do like it.

The arm of the NFL that sets the standards for team websites has mandated that videos like "Agree to Disagree" be no longer than three minutes. Since Mike Prisuta talks so much, we had to cut it down to two questions. Glad you like the show, though. Hope you'll keep watching.

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