Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Game Day Week 7

Let's get to it:

MIKE REIBMAN FROM MERRICK, NY:
It's Alumni Weekend, and I just saw an article that among the former Steelers in town is Kordell Stewart. So why didn't we sign him to play quarterback in place of Ben Roethlisberger this week?

ANSWER: Excellent idea. As for some background on Alumni Weekend, at least once during each season, the Steelers host a weekend and invite alumni from different eras to participate in the festivities. This indeed is an Alumni Weekend, and the players in town are from the late 1990s-to-mid-2000s, which would make them in their 40s, but we're not going to concern ourselves with that. And since we're going to do this, why stop at Kordell Stewart at quarterback? He could also reprise 'Slash" in some packages. Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes certainly would bolster the corps of receivers, plug Casey Hampton in the middle to stuff the run, Jason Gildon can be coming off the edge, Jerome Bettis can split carries with Le'Veon Bell, and then Jeff Hartings and Alan Faneca can help with the paving of the way for them. I just wonder if any could stay beyond just one weekend.

GENE QUICKEL FROM YORK, PA:
Who starts in place of Cam Heyward?

ANSWER: Either Ricardo Mathews or Javon Hargrave, depending upon whether the Steelers are in their base 3-4 or in one of their sub-package defenses.

MARK SAMPLE FROM CHITTENANGO, NY:
I just don't understand why there seems to be such animosity towards Landry Jones. He is a BACKUP quarterback. No team is going to have Tom Brady talent sitting on the bench. And Dallas didn't have a clue that Dak Prescott would be so successful. Sometimes you just get lucky. In recent memory it seems to me that Charlie Batch was a popular backup. How do his numbers compare to Jones?

ANSWER: Charlie Batch played eight seasons with the Steelers and never was a full-time starter. His record as a starting backup was 6-3. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes, with 12 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a passer rating of 79.0. Landry Jones is 1-1 as a starting backup. He has completed 57.1 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, four interceptions, and a passer rating of 76.0.

JERRY SMITH FROM MIDDLETOWN, MD:
Mike Tomlin always talks about failing in all three phases of the game when they lose. I think he is leaving out a fourth phase that is just as important: coaching. Pittsburgh has a bad record against teams that are sub-.500 teams. Miami is a good example of that. All I'm saying is that maybe the coaches need to be included when Tomlin is talking about lack of execution in phases of the game.

**

ANSWER: You haven't been paying attention to what Mike Tomlin has been saying. In his postgame briefing after the loss to the Dolphins, he said, "I accept responsibility for that, as I always do. We didn't play well enough today. We didn't tackle well enough. That's football. When you don't tackle – when you turn the ball over – you're going to lose."**

During his weekly news conference that came the Tuesday after the win over the Chiefs as the team was set to begin preparing for the Jets, Tomlin said this after listing a dozen names during his injury update: "It's a good thing we responded well to those circumstances a week ago, because we are going to be challenged even more so as we prepare this week. We have to be thoughtful as coaches. We have to put these guys in situations to perform. It's less about who we are playing and more about dealing with these things to make sure that we lean on the strength of the men who are available to us and that we work to minimize potential weaknesses, and that we stay out in front of some of these things. Some of the sub-packages and special teams, the trickle-down that's associated with some of these things, we have to be razor sharp from a planning standpoint."

In his postgame briefing after the loss in Philadelphia, Tomlin said: "We know you guys saw that. We lost in just about every element of that match up. It was a poor performance by us. But when I say us, I mean all of us. It starts with me. They out-coached us; they out-played us."

ALEX TITTLE FROM BEAVERTOWN, PA:
In your respected professional opinion, do you think Troy Polamalu could pull a William Gay and come out of retirement to help the Steelers make a playoff run if injuries are a problem at safety?

ANSWER: No. There is much more running involved in playing safety, much more ground to cover. Even during the season before his last, Polamalu had lost a couple of steps and no longer could cover the kind of ground that's necessary to play the position in the NFL. And a safety who can't run anymore becomes a liability instead of an asset.

MIKE BOYD FROM NORFOLK, VA:
Isn't Tim Tebow's style of play similar to Ben Roethlisberger's? This kid has heart and a head for football. Don't you think this is the type of player we need to help our team?

ANSWER: In this litigious climate in which we now live, "Isn't Tim Tebow's style of play similar to Ben Roethlisberger's" could be considered libelous in some jurisdictions. Besides, I would rather have Kordell Stewart anyway. Even at his current age of 44.

JAMES MILLER FROM LAS VEGAS, NV:
The Steelers of the 1970s practiced as hard as any team in the NFL, and they had fewer injuries than today's team. That goes for all the teams back then. Do you think the NFLPA will ever allow go back to allowing teams to practice that way, in your opinion, do you think it should?

ANSWER: Never going to happen. The NFLPA bargained for more offseason free time, less hitting during training camp, and fewer padded practices during the regular season. In return, management got a better cut of shared revenues. The owners aren't going to trade money for more practices and more physical practices, and the players aren't going to go back to more practices and more physical practices without financial concessions.

LES CLEMENS FROM AZLE, TX:
What does the league do with all the fines it levies on players? Roger Goodell's bonus?

ANSWER: My suggestion that the money go into a slush fund to line the pockets of writers of Asked and Answered was rejected, and so the money will continue to go to charity.

DAVE SCHOFIELD FROM HAGERSTOWN, MD:
Kevin Hogan, Dan Orlovsky, Brett Hundley, Tom Savage, Scott Tolzien, Chad Henne, Matt Moore, Shaun Hill, Ryan Nassib, Matt McGloin, and Trevone Boykin. All of these players were listed as their respective teams' backup quarterback during Week 5. Is there any one of them that you would take right now over Landry Jones? Because I wouldn't.

What they don't understand is that by having a capable backup for a low cap number has allowed Steelers to extend contracts of many fans' favorite players. No team wants to be forced to play their backup quarterback, and yes, Landry Jones is not Ben Roethlisberger. But if he was, he would soon be the starter of another team.

ANSWER: Was that a mic drop I just heard?


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