Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Nov. 1

Let's get to it:

LAYNE PENROD FROM RIVERDALE, UT: Being that the Steelers' season is basically over, do you think it would be prudent for the team to just let T.J. Watt sit out the rest of the season so that he doesn't suffer any additional injuries playing games that really don't matter?
ANSWER: I would bet that if the Steelers tried to keep T.J. Watt from playing once he was medically cleared to do so in an effort to keep him from sustaining "any additional injuries playing games that really don't matter" they would need to present him with a court order to enforce that decision.

DAVE STEFKO FROM LARGO, FL: I recently looked at Monochrome moments on the team website, and there was a picture of Steven Sims getting ready to travel to Philadelphia. I thought he was on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. I also thought that players on injured reserve rarely travel to games. Am I wrong? Maybe I have all of it wrong, but it hit me as strange.
ANSWER: I believe you must be confusing Calvin Austin III with Steven Sims, because Sims played against Tampa Bay and then missed the game in Miami with a hamstring injury. He was not placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. That was Austin, who now is on IR for the remainder of the season with a foot injury.

AL PRESTON FROM TERRA ALTA, WV: A team is kicking off and tries an onside kick. A member of the receiving team recognizes the attempt and immediately calls for a fair catch. Would the kicking team then have to stay back and allow him the opportunity to catch the ball?
ANSWER: You cannot fair catch a ball that bounces on the ground, and since 99 percent of onside kick attempts begin with the kicker driving the ball into the ground in order to make it bounce high to give the kicking team a chance to recover the ball, the play never would unfold the way that you describe. And the ability of the receiving team to signal a fair catch once the ball is in the air is a primary reason why the strategy of kicking the ball into the air is never used when attempting an onside kick.

DUSTIN COVAULT FROM VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: Is the 21-day window for T.J. Watt based on games or actually 21 days? Is it a longer time frame with the bye week or does he have to be activated by the Cincinnati game?
ANSWER: When a player goes on injured reserve, he is required to miss four games, not four weeks; and the 21-day window is based on 21 calendar days. I expect T.J. Watt to be added to the active roster and then play on Nov. 13 vs. New Orleans at Acrisure Stadium.

PAUL CUE FROM COLUMBIA, MD: It feels like Najee Harris is getting more opportunities based on draft position rather than production. Do you not feel as though Jaylen Warren is the better running back option at this point?
ANSWER: What I believe is that Najee Harris has all of the tools to be a franchise back in the NFL, but what he is lacking is maybe some of the finer points of playing the position, such as when to try to create a big play vs. when to simply turn upfield and get as much as possible. Jaylen Warren is a nice addition to the roster as a complementary back, but I'm not benching Harris for Warren unless and until Harris resists or ignores the kind of coaching that could rid him of what has become an annoying and unproductive habit of always looking to make a move or create more than what the blocking has provided. Harris is the more pedigreed player. Benching him, instead of working with him, to me smacks of laziness.

ROY JONES FROM LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: At what stage does the lack of basic technique stop being the fault of the players and start becoming the fault of the coaches?
ANSWER: I think many people put too much belief in what coaching can do when it comes to making somebody a player. Physical ability, desire, and work ethic are critical components to someone developing into a quality player, and one of the phrases scouts often use when identifying what makes one individual a special player and another individual something less is "hearts and smarts." How much does an individual want to be great, and does he approach his business in the proper way to become great. Great teachers always are the people who have intelligent and motivated students. A player has to be willing to do the work that is required to become great.