Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 21

Let's get to it:

MARK BIERCE FROM VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
Last year we put all of "our eggs in one basket" in the fact that we had no backup running back for Le'Veon Bell. If he were to get hurt again this year, what is Plan B for the Steelers?

OK, even though re-answering questions violates official Asked and Answered policy, I'm going to make an exception here, quite frankly because the assumption you make as part of your question honks me off. On March 28, 2014, the Steelers signed veteran LeGarrette Blount with the idea he would serve as a complementary back to Le'Veon Bell. Blount was more of a straight-ahead power runner, which offered a contrast to Bell's pick-a-hole style. Blount was a veteran. He had averaged 5.0 per carry the previous season. He was durable. LeGarrette Blount also quit on the Steelers when he walked off the field before the end of a game in Tennessee on Nov. 17 as a protest for not getting any carries. That's what left the Steelers in the lurch for the final five games of the regular season. In 2014, the Steelers had a backup plan, but they didn't have was a plan for the backup turning into a quitter. In 2015, the Steelers signed DeAngelo Williams to be Bell's backup, and what I feel comfortable saying definitively right now is Williams is no quitter. DeAngelo Williams is Plan B.

RASMUS MILLER FROM COPENHAGEN, DENMARK:
What happens if DeAngelo Williams is killing it in Le'Veon Bell's absence? You think Williams then will take away from what would have been Bell's carries? Further, do you see Williams scoring more touchdowns than Bell? Something in my gut tells me Williams could kill it on red zone carries. Is it just me?

To reiterate a portion of the previous answer, DeAngelo Williams was signed to be Le'Veon Bell's backup. They are not co-starters. They are not equals. Whenever Bell is available, the job is his, because he's the better player. As for the red zone, I'm not dismissing Williams' ability to gain the tough yards, but Bell is a multi-skilled red zone threat in that he also is a skilled receiver. I think this tandem can be special, but it's a partnership where there is a clear No. 1.

BRANDON LATTANZI FROM STRATFORD, CT:
I keep reading here about how Steve McLendon isn't getting the job done. If people take the time they spent complaining and used it instead to actually watch video of the guy they would see that he, for the most part, is getting the job done. No, he's not Casey Hampton, but Casey Hampton wasn't Casey Hampton at the end of his career, either. My hope is McLendon can play a full year without injury, because I think with Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt we could have a pretty formidable front three, not one that just eats up blocks, but also makes plays. What are your thoughts on our 'new' front three?

This will be the most athletic three-man defensive line unit the Steelers have put on the field in quite a while. It also will be the youngest, and there's usually a correlation there. Heyward tied for the team lead in sacks, and a defensive lineman hadn't done that since Aaron Smith actually led the team in sacks in 2004. And for me, what I believe can become a signature Tuitt-type play was the one against Kansas City where he turned and chased the ball after it was thrown to running back Jamaal Charles and then blasted him from the blind side to force a fumble. I believe this Steelers defensive line has some potential, but it now has to realize that potential and turn it into production.

BOB SPINELLI FROM KIMBERTON, PA:
Teams are coming up with different looks for their uniforms every year – keeping the same colors, but switching some things around with jerseys, pants, etc. I like the Steelers' uniforms and admire the traditions, but is there any talk (or chance) of the Steelers going with black pants (sometimes) while wearing their black jerseys? I think that look would be great, especially against the Ravens in a night game at Heinz Field.

Sorry, but I don't share your enthusiasm for an alternate look to the basic black-and-gold uniform. Yes, there are teams that have gone that route, but none of those are the teams I would refer to as the NFL's flagship franchises – the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers. Switching uniforms is a gimmicky thing to me, with the possible exception of the occasional use of a throwback uniform. But that's only my opinion, and my opinion matters not in something like this.

SKYE CHRISTY FROM BUTLER, PA:
How many years did Terry Bradshaw play for the Steelers?

Fourteen seasons, from 1970-83.

RAFAEL OMANA FROM MEXICO CITY, MEXICO:
Is it possible to have a Super Bowl at Heinz Field?

Hosting a Super Bowl is more about an entire metropolitan area, instead of just about a stadium. That said, I believe there would have to be more work done on Heinz Field, in terms of seating capacity, and in the metropolitan area, in terms of available hotel rooms, before a Super Bowl could be held in Pittsburgh. Heinz Field will debut its new South Plaza seating for the 2015 season, and it'll be interesting to see how that impacts capacity. It's not impossible, but it's also not something that's on the immediate horizon.

KELLY GOSS FROM PITTSBURGH, PA:
What numbers do the rookies get to choose from, and do the get to choose from Nos. 43 or 24?

The NFL has rules about which numbers players are permitted to wear based on the positions they play. After that, rookies have to see what's available on their new teams within those parameters. Rookie cornerback Doran Grant was issued No. 24, but no one has No. 43. No one has No. 99 yet, either. The jersey numbers that have been in long-time storage are Nos. 12, 32, 52, 58, 59. Also, no one has been issued No. 36 since Jerome Bettis retired after Super Bowl XL. Joe Greene's No. 75 was retired officially last year, and Ernie Stautner's No. 70 was retired in the 1960s.

RAYMOND GATTER FROM SAN ANTONIO, TX:
In the vein of some of the recent positional change questions, Joe Namath looked good on TV recently. Will the Steelers pick him up and convert him to cornerback or linebacker? Lol.

Don't laugh too loud, at least not until you read the next question.

ED SCOTT FROM HEREFORD, AZ:
From what I have read Darrius Heyward-Bey has been working hard to provide value to the team but not having a lot of success as a receiver. Would it be a huge step for him to transfer to the defensive side of the ball, especially since we are still weak at cornerback?

See what I mean?

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