Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Nov. 1

Let's get to it:

How would you assess the play of Ryan Shazier so far this season? He has been the most impressive to me out of all the outside linebackers so far this season.

ANSWER: This is how outside linebackers coach Joey Porter assessed that situation during a bye week interview: "Minus us not having sacks from really our team, period, I feel like he's definitely playing the run well. He's doing some real good things. He had some good reads where he shot the gap, tackled the guy in the backfield, started the (New England) game off with a tackle, a (forced) fumble, and a recovery. He's playing better than he has in the past, I see his game growing. But like I tell those guys all the time, we're in Pittsburgh, we play outside linebacker, we're going to get judged by production in the sack game. They don't care about you having nine, 10 tackles, that's all good. But we know what we're going to get judged for, and until we do that you guys won't see the good things he's doing. But he is playing much better than he has."

To summarize, Jarvis Jones is doing some good things against the run, but until the sacks start coming, that "doing some good things against the run" isn't going to be good enough. That's just the reality for an outside linebacker who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In regards to throwback jerseys, the Steelers had jerseys in the late 1950s or early 1960s that had a golden triangle on the shoulders. Is there any chance that those jerseys would be considered for throwbacks?

ANSWER: The uniform you reference was worn by the Steelers in only two seasons 1966 and 1967. A more detailed look at the history of that jersey, plus a photo or two of what it looked like, will be the subject of my "Labriola on …" column that will appear on on Friday. I will admit that of the remaining available options, that jersey is the most unique and has generated the most buzz among long-time, a.k.a., old, fans.

The Steelers are an extremely successful organization, in large part because they have had three head coaches in the 47 years since 1969. Many teams, usually the irrelevant ones, change coaches way too often to build any success. Why don't more teams copy the practice of sticking with their front office people?

ANSWER: I have no way of commenting intelligently on the operation of other teams, but I believe it's fair to point out that what matters most is not the showing of patience with selections, but in making good selections who then can grow into the job with support and patience. One of the things I always wonder when a team makes a decision on hiring a coach, or a general manager for that matter, is: who all is in the room when that team makes that kind of a decision. Because if you don't have knowledgeable people making the decision on whom to hire, the chances of making a good hire is lessened.

Do the players get the weekend off on a bye week to spend at home with families, or are they in meeting or practice?

ANSWER: According to the provisions outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, players are entitled to four full days off during the bye week. As that breaks down, coaches have a choice between giving the players Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday off, or Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday off. The Steelers go the Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday route, and then bring the players in on Monday for an extra day of preparation for the upcoming game, in this instance against the Ravens in Baltimore.

Do you think the Steelers will make a trade before the deadline?

ANSWER: I do not.

When is Bud Dupree coming back?

ANSWER: Maybe soon. Maybe.

Why does it seem that Mike Tomlin never gets angry with the players? For example when tackles are made out of bounds or shoving and trash talking results in 15-yard penalties, he always has no expression, like it doesn't matter that they just got penalized. I miss the days when Bill Cowher used to chew the guys out for doing stupid things.


In 2012 the Steelers defeated the Ravens in a regular season game 23-20.

ANSWER: Let me start off with this: Mike Tomlin indeed gets angry with players, but it just doesn't happen on the sideline during a game in front of millions of people. Watching the video after a bad loss isn't an enjoyable experience for the Steelers players, I can assure you, because the volume of Tomlin's voice carries through the hallways of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on those Mondays. Publicly scolding a player might make you as a fan feel good, but it isn't necessarily productive when you're dealing with grown men who are professionals, especially when the idea behind it is to correct and change behavior. Also, I believe your memories of Bill Cowher have been enhanced by the passage of time, as is often the case. Cowher might have chewed out the punter, or some down-on-the-depth-chart guy, but he never ever made a scene on the sideline with a front-line player over a mistake.**

Are the Steelers going to play in London or any other country? What is their record outside the United States?

ANSWER: I'm sure the Steelers will be involved in another regular season game staged outside the United State at some point, and I'm guessing their next destination will be Mexico. The Steelers all-time regular season record outside the United States is 0-1.

I heard the Steelers were thinking about picking up Santonio Holmes. He is only 31 and claims to be healthy. Is this true, and do you think this would benefit the Steelers?

ANSWER: No. "No" to every aspect of this question.

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