Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Game Day Week 4

Let's get to it:

ANZLEY MORRELL FROM FARMINGTON HILLS, MI:
I have Le'Veon Bell on my fantasy team. He keeps appearing under the "exempt" status. When can I remove him from my reserve bench to active? Hasn't his suspension been cleared by the NFL?

ANSWER: I have previously explained that I have no knowledge of fantasy football and even less interest, but Le'Veon Bell was a part of the team's workouts on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. During his weekly news conference, Mike Tomlin said, "But rest assured you're going to see Le'Veon Bell, and probably a lot of him on Sunday."

STEVEN UMPHREY FROM SKIATOOK, OK:
With Eli Rogers out for the game and the lack of reliability from Markus Wheaton last week, what are the odds of seeing Le'Veon Bell in the slot frequently this week?

ANSWER: Where the Steelers choose to line up Bell in the formation is different from the areas on the field in which they will attempt to utilize him. Wherever Bell lines up, I expect him to be working in many of the areas of the field and in many of the same ways as Eli Rogers has. And the door hasn't been closed on Markus Wheaton. Not by the coaches.  

AL HAWKINS FROM ROBERTSDALE, AL:
With injuries hitting the linebackers, do you see increased play time for some young guys like L.J. Fort, or Tyler Matakevich? As a fan I see the enthusiasm and energy of these guys offsetting their inexperience to a certain degree.

ANSWER: Enthusiasm and energy are not going to offset inexperience to any degree. As a fan, you might believe that, but the players and coaches know differently. Remember back in 2004 on the day after Tommy Maddox was injured when All-Pro Alan Faneca was asked if he was "excited" to see what rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could do? That answer said everything you would want to know about enthusiasm and energy vs. experience when it comes to how veteran players see the job of winning regular season games in the NFL. Now, Roethlisberger was an exception, and I'm not trying to paint a picture that L.J. Fort and/or Tyler Matakevich would prove to be a liability tonight if they play against the Chiefs. I am simply emphasizing that they won't be playing on defense unless and until they know what they're doing.

PATRICK BRIGHT FROM PITTSBURGH, PA:
Do you think that teams are starting to notice that as Ben Roethlisberger gets knocked around a bit his accuracy starts to suffer? He's as tough as anyone and hard to bring down, but it does get into his head and affects his performance.

ANSWER: The same is true for every quarterback who ever took a snap and dropped back to pass, and that's why defenses always endeavor to get pressure on the quarterback and get hits on the quarterback. How do you think the New York Giants beat New England twice in the Super Bowl? From getting pressure on Tom Brady and hitting him. It's no secret and hasn't been for 50 years that quarterbacks don't like to get hit. No quarterbacks.

LORI VERNA FROM NORTH HUNTINGDON, PA:
Can you explain how the silent count works? How do the offensive players know when the ball is going to be snapped without tipping off the defense?

ANSWER: This is going to be a generalization, but I'm hoping it gives you an idea of how the silent count works. In the huddle, Ben Roethlisberger will tell the rest of the unit the snap count – one, two, three, whatever. When the team gets to the line of scrimmage, the left guard turns and looks back at Roethlisberger, who typically is in the shotgun. When Roethlisberger lifts his foot, the guard will slap Maurkice Pouncey on the flank. Pouncey then counts in his head – at a pace the offense has come to understand – and snaps the ball based on the count Roethlisberger said in the huddle. If there's no huddle, there would be some other way to make sure all 11 players know the snap count, and then the procedure would proceed as just explained.

KEVIN MCCLAIN SR. FROM ITHACA, NY:
Again, I ask do you feel the Steelers need to make a move and get two experienced pass rushers from the free agent pool if there is no pass rush against the Chiefs?

ANSWER: Again, I answer that there is no such thing as a free agent pool that contains experienced pass rushers, and certainly not in October. All the experienced pass rushers have jobs, because every team needs more experienced pass rushers. There is no such thing as a team having too many experienced pass rushers. The same goes for cover cornerbacks, too, before you even ask. This is it. There are no moves to make, certainly not kinds of moves you're imagining.

MATHIEU LAPLANTE FROM QUÉBEC, CANADA:
Is it me or does Sean Davis seem to have a hard time making good tackles?

ANSWER: That's why they refer to them as rookies.

HERB HIGGINS FROM ADAMS CENTER, NY:
Do you know if Jesse James is a descendent of the bank robber?

ANSWER: Jesse James' father's name is Rick, so maybe he's actually related to the singer/composer who came to be known as the "king of punk funk." Then again, Jesse James never struck me as a very super-freaky kind of guy.

SCOTT FERRELL FROM POCATELLO, ID:
Your Asked and Answered on Sept. 29 lacked your usual snark. You seemed quite agreeable actually. Are you OK?

ANSWER: I will try to do better.

ROSS HUNT FROM LISBURN, NORTHERN IRELAND:
Are you as sarcastic with your friends, family, and colleagues as you are with us?

ANSWER: I have no friends. My wife is more sarcastic than I am. And the solitary confinement set-up takes care of the rest.


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