Let's get to it:
ERIC HUMPHREYS FROM DAYTON, OH: What is process to get sideline passes for training camp?
ANSWER: Fans can attend a practice at training camp simply by going to Steelers.com and securing their free tickets. That is done by going to the website and clicking on "TRAINING CAMP" on the top NavBar, which takes you to a page that includes the option to secure tickets. The people who are standing on the sideline during practice are part of either a sponsorship group or a community group. In my opinion, you see more of the on-field action and are better able to understand what's happening with a higher vantage point.
JAMES PRUSACK FROM GRANTSVILLE, WV: I know each team has an equipment manager, and it's their job to make sure each player's equipment makes it to and from away games. Can you give us a little insight on how this job is done? Do they use more than one plane?
ANSWER: Whenever possible – whenever distance allows – the Steelers truck their equipment to the site of an away game. This is possible because the Collective Bargaining agreement limits the number of padded practices a team can have over the course of an entire regular season and their three opponents in the AFC North are a drivable distance away. But there are still items that have to be transported on the plane – helmets, as just one example. And even for trips where the equipment cannot be trucked to the site in advance, there is only one plane.
DENNY CLEARY FROM LOUISVILLE, KY: On July 25, you addressed the various personnel groupings, which made me wonder about the actual in-game mechanics of how that works. I guess the offensive or defensive coordinator makes the decision and somehow relays it to the sideline. Are the players then required to be in a certain location, where they can get the information in a manner that allows them to make the change within the limits of the play clock?
ANSWER: The headsets worn by the coaches allow for all of the position coaches to be able to hear their respective coordinator, and players stand by their position coaches on the sideline. That's how personnel groupings are able to get onto the field in a timely manner.
LARRY KLASSEN FROM SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA: Just wondering if the Steelers would ever consider signing a former Cowboys running back by the name of Ezekiel Elliott, who would make for a very good goal-line back?
ANSWER: In 2019, Ezekiel Elliott signed a six-year, $90 million contract with Dallas in 2019, and he was released in March in what Jerry Jones referred to as a "mutual decision." I cannot decide which is more unlikely – the Steelers committing the cap space to sign him and turn him into a "goal-line back," or Elliott being willing to accept such a role for the money the Steelers would be willing/able to pay him.
MARK HETZLEIN FROM ENDWELL, NY: In the July 25 installment of Asked and Answered, there was a question about a drafted player not signing with the team that drafted him. If that did happen, is there any compensation to the team that drafted the player?
ANSWER: There is not.
DAVE MONAHAN FROM GREENSBURG, PA: From what I have read and seen of the kicker out of Clemson (B.T. Potter) he is really accurate and can make long-range kicks. Does he have a chance to replace Chris Boswell? If not, can the Steelers keep him on the practice squad, or will other teams be able to try him out?
ANSWER: The Steelers theoretically could keep a second placekicker on the practice squad, but I don't envision that happening, and as for the rookie's chances of winning the job I believe it would be more of a case of Chris Boswell losing the job.
JOHN LASSITER FROM YORK, PA: Joey Porter Jr. is the last of the Steelers' 2023 draft picks who is still unsigned. Is it because he is holding out for more money since is he a de-facto first-round pick? He can't get a fifth-year option, so is the issue guaranteed money?
ANSWER: This question was received before Wednesday, July 26, and Joey Porter Jr. signed his contract on that day and took part in the camp-opening conditioning test. He didn't miss anything, so he never was a "holdout," and because he didn't miss anything the timing of his signing turned out to be a non-issue. There is absolutely no difference between a draft pick signing a contract the day after he was selected or on the day players report to training camp.
THOMAS WARD FROM LADSON, SC: What's with all the Kenny Pickett criticism going on? John Elway was 4-6 during his rookie season and Troy Aikman was 0-11. Why can't everyone let the season unfold and let his play speak for itself?
ANSWER: In my opinion, both sides of this debate – Kenny Pickett's critics and Kenny Pickett's backers – would be wise to take your advice to "let the season unfold and let his play speak for itself."
MINGO SCOTT FROM SOAP LAKE, WA: The Steelers have 6 Super Bowl victories, and we love them for that. But of all the big-time failures we have had in the playoffs, which one chaps your hide the most?
ANSWER: Yes, the Steelers have 6 Super Bowl victories, but they also have 2 Super Bowl losses. And in my experience, there is absolutely nothing more gut-wrenching than getting to a Super Bowl, having a chance to win it and then losing.
SEAN DELANEY FROM GARDNER, MA: Is Chuks Okorafor certain to start at right tackle? Preseason talk about the offensive line seems limited to a competition between Broderick Jones and a reportedly improved and determined Dan Moore. If Jones lives up to his pedigree, could Moore play his way into starting at right tackle?
ANSWER: I believe the plan the Steelers have is for Dan Moore Jr. and Broderick Jones to open at left tackle, with Jones learning and eventually taking over that spot. Once Jones is at left tackle, Moore figures to finish out the season as the swing tackle. In 2024, depending upon Jones' progress and the kind of 2023 season Chuks Okorafor has, maybe then there is a competition at right tackle.
TAD MURPHY FROM OLATHE, KS: In your opinion, what was the reasoning behind re-signing Mason Rudolph? And who do you think would be a good No. 3 quarterback?
ANSWER: I thought this had been settled months ago, but apparently not everywhere. Mason Rudolph was signed to a team-friendly contract, and he provides the Steelers with a quarterback with starting NFL experience who is familiar with the way they do business and is familiar to the majority of the players and coaches on the offensive side. Rudolph will be the No. 3 quarterback in 2023.
RICHARD ROMERO FROM FRESNO, CA: I just saw a news feed that Colin Kaepernick had a workout with several current players from the NFL. I know Colin hasn't played in six years, but judging from the remarks from those he worked out with it would seem that he was outstanding. Do you think the Steelers would consider giving him a tryout and have him compete for the second or third spot on the quarterback depth chart?
ANSWER: No, I cannot imagine a realistic scenario where that would happen.