Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: June 17

Let's get to it:

JIM JORDAN FROM BLOOMINGTON, IL: I have read a lot of stories about how players are watching the draft on television and then share how they got a call from the coach just before being drafted. If a player for some reason is unable to answer the call, what happens? Does the team still draft the player?
ANSWER: This is the typical procedure for the run-up to the draft: the team will contact every draft eligible player and get a phone number (and often a secondary number) where the individual can be reached during the days of the draft, and then it behooves the player to keep the phone handy and the line open. It's not as though cell phones produce a busy signal, and draft eligible players are savvy enough to dump calls from friends, etc., quickly if expecting a call from an NFL coach. Teams like to talk to a player before picking him, just to hear his voice and make sure everything is OK before turning in the card with the individual's name on it.

EDDIE GANNON FROM AVON, OH: There seems to be a lot of debate on who will be the Steelers No. 3 quarterback. I find that funny considering a lot of NFL teams don't even have a No. 3 quarterback on their 53-man roster. If neither Joshua Dobbs nor Dwayne Haskins impress in training camp and the preseason, could they both be cut or traded and the No. 3 quarterback then be acquired through waivers or a trade? I wouldn't be surprised if the No. 3 quarterback was Brian Hoyer, Cody Kessler, or even Devlin Hodges.
ANSWER: The only time that the No. 3 quarterback or the individuals competing to be the No. 3 quarterback, are able to get any significant on-field repetitions is during training camp and the preseason, and that's why it would be highly unlikely the Steelers would carry a No. 3 quarterback on the 53-man roster who was signed off the street following the end of the preseason because they would be adding a player with no experience within the offense, with no experience with the terminology, and with no on-field experience with his teammates.

The Steelers believe in carrying three quarterbacks on the roster, twice since 2015 they have used at least three quarterbacks during the regular season, and during those regular seasons in which they used three quarterbacks they won games with each of the quarterbacks starting. If you're going to carry three quarterbacks on the roster, each of those quarterbacks should be capable of executing to a level to help the team win, and a good bit of being able to execute is a familiarity with the offensive scheme and your teammates. In the case of a significant injury, such as what happened in 2019 with Ben Roethlisberger's right elbow early in the regular season, things could change in terms of looking outside the training camp depth chart for a quarterback. Barring a significant injury, however, I believe the quarterbacks on the 53-man roster will be quarterbacks who were on the 90-man roster when camp opened.

KEN WALDROP FROM ONTONAGON, MI: I read a lot about how Ben Roethlisberger is picking up the new offense well. Have you seen or heard how the backup quarterbacks are adapting?
ANSWER: Ben Roethlisberger is the starting quarterback, a 17-year veteran who has been operating under the same offensive framework since being a No. 1 pick in 2004. The other quarterbacks on the roster don't have that kind of experience operating the same way for the adjustment to be the same for them.

JOHN NOH FROM SAN JOSE, CA: How recent is the practice of teams holding rookie camps, OTAs, minicamps, etc.? Didn't it used to be that players had the whole offseason to themselves and went to training camp to get in shape for the season?
ANSWER: Yes, it used to be that players had almost the entire offseason to themselves, with the exception of a short minicamp. But that also was the era when the Steelers, for example, used to play six preseason games, and one summer because they also played in the College All-Star Game as the Super Bowl champions, so they played seven preseason games and reported to training camp shortly after July 4.

JACOB ABELL FROM APOLLO, PA: If either of our edge rushers were to get injured, do you think we would make a trade to get Bud Dupree back?
ANSWER: Why would Tennessee, which signed Bud Dupree as an unrestricted free agent to a contract that included a $16 million signing bonus that already has been paid, trade him without him taking a snap for a defense that managed only 19 sacks in 16 regular season games in 2020?

JASON PRASTER FROM SAN ANTONIO, TX: Do you think having an extra preseason game is an advantage for the players trying to make the team and for the coaches to evaluate those players? Or do you think it's a disadvantage with the possibility of players getting injured?
ANSWER: You can paint this situation either way – as an advantage to evaluate the lower levels of the depth chart, or as a disadvantage in exposing players to injury in games that don't count in the standings. I expect Coach Mike Tomlin to mitigate the injury risk by not exposing his starters and/or front-line players to too much playing time during the preseason.

DIABLO SAYAYIN FROM CDMX, MÉXICO: Coach Mike Tomlin generally does not play starters in preseason games. But the Hall of Fame Game seems special to us because of the number of Steelers who will be enshrined in the days immediately following the game. Will we see starters? Will Ben Roethlisberger open the game at quarterback?
ANSWER: The Hall of Fame Game might be special to Steelers fans because of who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but the pride the franchise has because of having such a presence among the inductees has nothing to do with an extra preseason game. I do not expect to see many, if any, starters on the field in Canton on Aug. 5, and I would be shocked to see Ben Roethlisberger on the field at all.

TIM GAYDOSH FROM MOUNT AIRY, MD: I was looking at Quincy Roche's stats - 45 tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. He did that in an 11-game season in a new system. If you extrapolate that out to a 17-game season that's a pretty good stat line. While he's not going to be playing every snap, for sure, it seems like there's still something there to get excited about. So why are people saying he couldn't take his game to the "next level'" at Miami? Sounds like he's at least as promising as any other mid-round rookie.
ANSWER: I'm not here to rip the pick of Quincy Roche, but the picture you paint appears to be done to some extent through rose-colored glasses. Extrapolating Roche's statistics to the NFL isn't really valid unless teams such as Louisville, Florida State, Pitt, and Duke suddenly were admitted to the AFC, because the level of competition is going to be significantly tougher. And another thing, as a sixth-round pick and the 216th overall selection, Roche is best described as a late-round pick. Where a guy is drafted has absolutely no impact on his chances to succeed, but you can't extrapolate what a guy did vs. Atlantic Coast Conference competition and use that to project how he will produce in the NFL. And finally, quit listening to "people" who likely have no idea what they're yammering about.

RON WILLIAMS FROM ASTORIA, OR: In your opinion, are the Steelers unhappy with the output they received from Jordan Berry after they re-signed him during the 2020 season? From my view I thought he came back and was an instant upgrade to a very poor decision made previously.
ANSWER: There can be little argument that when he was re-signed during the 2020 regular season, Jordan Berry was an upgrade over Dustin Colquitt, but what I think the team wanted in using a seventh-round draft pick on Pressley Harvin III is more consistency on a punt-to-punt basis. Training camp and the preseason will reveal whether Harvin is capable of providing that.

PERRY BIGGERSTAFF FROM WASHINGTON, IL: Is it me or does the general public have a problem in discerning legitimate media from the host of basement dwelling writers of hack sites? So many of the questions asked seem to stem from rumor or baseless comments generated solely for "hits."
ANSWER: Clickbait sites get away with clickbait content because people click on the clickbait. Stop clicking on the clickbait.

RUSSELL BLACKBURN FROM SPOKANE VALLEY, WA: I see that all of the draft picks have signed contracts with the exception of Kendrick Green. What could be the holdup?
ANSWER: Rookies don't have to have a signed contract to participate in OTAs or minicamp. I am completely confident Kendrick Green will be signed for the start of training camp.