Let’s get to it:
KEN METZ FROM PITTSBURGH, PA:
Terry Bradshaw is doing great being retired from the NFL, talking about football on TV for FOX. Whatever happened to Terry Hanratty? Tells how far back I go.
ANSWER: After being a star quarterback at Notre Dame, Terry Hanratty was a part of the 1969 NFL Draft, and many fans and members in the media were clamoring for the Steelers to use their first-round pick – fourth overall – on him, partly because he was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and partly because he was a starting quarterback at Notre Dame. But Chuck Noll had other ideas, and the Steelers used that pick on Joe Greene, and then they used their second-round pick on Hanratty.
Hanratty ended up starting 17 games for the Steelers during his seven seasons with the team, and he was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams as a backup quarterback. He was 6-11 in those 17 starts, and Hanratty completed 38.3 percent of his passes, with 24 touchdowns, 35 interceptions, and a rating of 43.8. Hanratty was waived by the Steelers in September 1976 and picked up in October by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who finished 0-14 that season. He finished his NFL career with 2,510 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 35 interceptions, and a rating of 43.0. Following his retirement from the NFL, Hanratty worked as a stockbroker for many years. Hanratty celebrated his 70th birthday on Jan. 19, and he is now retired from his second career.
JORGE DE LA ROSA FROM MEXICALI, BC, MEXICO:
Are the Steelers willing to sign Chris Boswell to a long-term contract?
ANSWER: I believe that would be the team’s preference.
RICHARD FABER FROM JACKSON, MI:
I would like to see the Steelers draft an inside linebacker, defensive end, and outside linebacker with their first three picks. Do you agree, or what would you modify in the first three picks?
ANSWER: I believe the Steelers would be wise to use one of their premium draft picks to reinforce themselves at safety.
FRANK ANGLIN FROM ELLENBURG DEPOT, NY:
When a coordinator leaves a team, are they allowed to take plays with them? If not, how does this get enforced ?
ANSWER: Fired coordinators, or other coaches for that matter, take with them whatever personal property they brought with them when they were hired. In the case of an offensive coordinator, that could include plays and terminology.
NICK KRASKI FROM FRANKLIN, TN
Cam Heyward and Rosie Nix weren't voted to the Pro Bowl initially, but they are both now going because of injuries/exemptions. When their careers are over, does this still qualify them as "Pro Bowlers" for the 2017 season, or is that only for those who got voted in?
ANSWER: Players are recognized as “Pro Bowlers” whether they’re voted in originally or whether they end up going because of injuries/exemptions. That’s why the Associated Press All-Pro team is a much more prestigious honor, and Cam Heyward was voted first-team All-Pro. In the case of the All-Pro team, there are only 11 offensive players selected and 12 defensive players selected from the entire NFL. The Pro Bowl originally selects more players than that from each conference.
MATTHEW POWNALL FROM FORT MYERS, FL:
I just want to start this by saying I like Landry Jones and think he is a very capable backup. With the third-string quarterback getting few-to-no practice reps, how does that player get the chance to develop enough to contribute to the team and possibly become the backup?
ANSWER: In the specific case of Joshua Dobbs, Mike Tomlin had him working on his mechanics throughout the regular season, because it was those mechanics that needed to improve before he was going to be able to make a run at playing time in the NFL. During the regular season, Dobbs would be on the practice field and off to the side during special teams periods, where he would be working with Randy Fichtner and Todd Haley on his throwing mechanics, his footwork, those kinds of things. Dobbs also stayed late regularly and served as the arm for any and all of the receivers who wanted to get in some extra work, including Antonio Brown. This work will continue for him during the offseason program and then through OTAs and minicamp, because it will be during training camp and the preseason when Dobbs will get a chance to show if and how much he has improved in the areas that needed improvement.
DESTINY CONZEMOUS FROM BRECKENRIDGE, MN:
When do you think the Steelers should start looking at someone to take over for Ben Roethlisberger? Would this person most likely come from the draft?
ANSWER: After the season ended a couple of weeks ago, Ben Roethlisberger said he would like to play three more seasons. Taking him at his word, I would not draft a quarterback this season. Maybe a year or two down the road, but not in 2018.
ZEV YUDOVICH FROM ST. LOUIS, MO:
I saw the Steelers’ 2018 schedule with dates TBD. The schedule does list who is home and who is the visitor, with no reference in playing in London. Can I assume the Steelers won't be playing in London in 2018, or is that TBD?
ANSWER: The NFL already has announced the schedule for international games, and Steelers have none in 2018.
DARRELL SAUNDERS FROM MIAMI BEACH, FL:
If the Steelers are serious they better shore up the defense through free agency and not through the draft as we traditionally do. Our offense is too good to wait on a young defense to develop. Do you think the Steelers are going to be aggressive in free agency?
ANSWER: Based on early projections, the Steelers aren’t likely to have the amount of salary cap space to be “aggressive in free agency.”
FRANK MCINTYRE FROM ONTARIO, NY:
When a team watches film, do they ever watch film on the team they are playing in which that team has lost, to see what tendencies the other team used to beat them to help with game planning?
ANSWER: More than choosing video of wins or losses, a team preparing for an upcoming opponent typically chooses more recent games to study. As an example, if preparing for an opponent for a game in late December, studying video of a loss in early October might not really apply because of personnel changes that have occurred in the interim.
JACK DINGER FROM BROOKVILLE, PA:
What happened to Marcus Gilbert in the Jacksonville game? I noticed Chris Hubbard was out there most of the game. I didn't hear mention of an injury on the telecast.
ANSWER: Marcus Gilbert sustained a concussion in the game and did not return.
JOSEPH LIEBDZINSKI FROM CONCORD, NC:
Did Ryan Shazier play in the October game against the Jaguars?
ANSWER: Yes, and he finished with eight tackles and an interception.
RICK WAGNER FROM WARREN, PA:
Do you think it would be possible to trade Le’Veon Bell to a team high enough in the draft in order to draft Saquon Barkley?
ANSWER: No, because the team trading for Le’Veon Bell would do so because it had a need for a running back, and the total of a four-year contract for Saquon Barley would cost less money than one year for Bell’s services. It wouldn’t make any sense for a team to make that trade.
TONY LIPINSKI FROM CLARKSVILLE, TN:
Why would the Steelers tag Le’Veon Bell again this year? Seems to me he’s earned a long-term deal this year with over 1,900 yards rushing and receiving.
ANSWER: For the Steelers, the idea behind using the franchise tag often comes down to buying more time to negotiate a long-term contract with the player. If no tag is used on Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers would have until March 12 before other teams would be permitted to begin negotiating with his agent, and then on March 14 he could sign with another team. By tagging him, that deadline to come to a long-term agreement extends until July 15. And also if he’s tagged, the Steelers would get two No. 1 draft picks as compensation if Bell would present them with a contract offer from another team that they would choose not to match.
ROBERT GRENFELL FROM WARSAW, IN:
Please explain the reserve/futures contract. Are the players paid?
ANSWER: It’s a contract that players sign now for the upcoming season. And players who sign reserve/futures contracts aren’t paid the salary in that contract unless and until they’re on the 53-man roster next September.
WAYNE TUCKER FROM CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA:
I'm guessing people don't read every Asked and Answered. With that said, on average, how many times would you say you've answered the same question over and over again in a calendar year?
ANSWER: Typically, I don’t answer the same question – or at least I try not to answer the same question – more than twice. After that, I just don’t select those for inclusion into an installment of Asked and Answered.
VICKI RIZZO FROM ST. CHARLES, MO:
Are you going to be watching the Super Bowl, and have you learned the words to the Eagles fight song yet?
ANSWER: Yes, I will be watching Super Bowl LII, and for everyone out there who will be rooting against the Patriots, as will I, here are the words to the Eagles fight song:
Fly, Eagles fly!
On The Road To Victory! (Fight! Fight! Fight!)
Fight, Eagles fight!
Score a touchdown 1, 2, 3! (1! 2! 3!)
Hit 'em low!
Hit 'em high!
And watch our Eagles fly!
Fly, Eagles fly!
On The Road To Victory!