Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Nov. 18

Let’s get to it:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Steelers will wear their white jerseys today for the game against the Jaguars.

MATTHEW BRUMLEY FROM WAYNESBURG, PA: Are any of the wide receivers who were drafted ahead of Antonio Brown even close to him in statistics?
ANSWER: Antonio Brown was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and as such he was the 195th overall pick, and there were 21 wide receiver picked before him. First, a list of those players: Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Arrelious Benn, Golden Tate, Damian Williams, Brandon LaFell, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Shipley, Eric Decker, Andre Roberts, Armanti Edwards, Taylor Price, Mardy Gilyard, Mike Williams, Marcus Easley, Jacoby Ford, David Reed, Riley Cooper, Kerry Meier, Carlton Mitchell and Dezmon Briscoe.

Heading into today’s game, Brown has 790 receptions for 10,600 yards (13.4 average) and 69 touchdowns. I don’t know what you consider “even close to him,” but here are the numbers for the competition (in order of draft status): Thomas has 668 receptions for 9,116 yards (13.6 average), and 60 touchdowns; Bryant has 531 catches for 7,459 yards (14.0 average), and 73 touchdowns; Tate has 583 receptions for 6,955 yards (11.9 average), and 37 touchdowns; and Sanders has 520 receptions for 6,863 yards (13.2 average), and 36 touchdowns.

LEE JOHNSON FROM MIDLAND, PA: I see the Steelers have a losing record in the all-time series against Jacksonville. Are there any other teams where we have a losing record in the all-time series?
ANSWER: Yes, and the following records include the postseason. The Steelers are 7-22-1 in the all-time series against the Chicago Bears; 15-17 vs. the Dallas Cowboys; 11-19-1 vs. the Denver Broncos; 16-22 vs. the Green Bay Packers; 9-17-2 vs. the Cleveland-St. Louis-Los Angeles Rams; 15-16 vs. the New England Patriots; 7-8 vs. the New Orleans Saints; 31-46-3 vs. the New York Giants; 13-15 vs. the Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders; 27-48-3 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles; 10-11 vs. the San Francisco 49ers; and 34-43-4 vs. the Boston-Washington Redskins.

ISRAEL PICKHOLTZ FROM JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: I read that Randy Fichtner "worked with Le’Veon Bell" at the 2017 Pro Bowl. I thought that the Pro Bowl coaches were from the teams that lost the Conference Championship games. Did they change that policy without telling me?
ANSWER: They changed the policy, but I was told you didn’t answer the phone when they called to tell you. When the NFL moved the Pro Bowl to the Sunday before the Super Bowl, it became logistically impossible for the coaching/support staffs that lost in the Conference Championship Game round to get to the site of the Pro Bowl and get set up to work the game. So now the coaching staffs are picked from the teams that lose in the Divisional Round.

BRETT WOODBURN FROM HARRISBURG, PA: You were recently asked a question about individuals being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in more than one category. When Dick LeBeau is discussed, people refer both to his accomplishments as a player and as a coach. Is he in the Hall of Fame as a contributor, and was his time as a player an important part of evaluating him for induction?
ANSWER: Dick LeBeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player, and during the discussion about his candidacy the members of the Board of Selectors were reminded that his career as a coach was not allowed to be considered.

CHARLES GLATZ FROM DPO, UNITED STATES: If the Steelers receive a compensatory draft pick for Le'Veon Bell sometime down the road, does the draft pick come from the team that signs him, or is it a new one created by the NFL?
ANSWER: Compensatory draft picks awarded to teams based on the formula for losing/signing unrestricted free agents are extra selections added by the NFL. Teams cannot lose draft picks via the compensatory draft pick program.

JIM MILLER FROM TULSA, OK: Is it possible for the Steelers to get a compensatory pick for Le'Veon Bell that is higher than the third round?
ANSWER: No, the NFL doesn’t award any compensatory draft picks that are higher than the end of the third round.

COLBY TAYLOR FROM DENVER, CO: Why was Tyson Alualu inactive last Thursday night against the Panthers, and do you expect him to start if Stephon Tuitt does miss the game with his elbow injury?
ANSWER: Tyson Alualu was not inactive against the Panthers. He played 19 defensive snaps (33 percent of the total) and two snaps on special teams. He made one tackle on defense. Stephon Tuitt already has been ruled out of today’s game vs. the Jaguars, and I would expect Alualu to see action at both defensive end and nose tackle today. The distinction of “starting” is rather inconsequential because of the way the Steelers roll their defensive linemen in and out of the lineup.

MARK CRISCI FROM SAN DIEGO, CA: With Le’Veon Bell out of the equation, who do the Steelers view as the direct backup to James Connor? I noticed they now list Jaylen Samuels as No. 2 on the depth chart, but how would that translate to touches if Connor was not available or taken out of the game flow?
ANSWER: I caution everyone about putting too much credence in the specifics of the depth chart, because Coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t see what’s there as a hard-and-fast pecking order. Here is what Tomlin said when I asked him on Friday about the backups at running back behind James Conner: “It depends on circumstance. You have two guys with two distinct skill-sets. Stevan Ridley is a one-cut downhill runner who has a certain run demeanor, and Jaylen Samuels is a quality young guy who has distinguished himself in the passing game, particularly in college, and he’s working to round out his game in other areas. We’re afforded an opportunity to use those guys because of skill-set, but we’re also at times just rotating them on a fluid basis as well.”

JOE BACCARIE FROM CRANSTON, RI: Since Mike Hilton is playing so well, why don’t they start him at cornerback opposite Joe Haden and use Artie Burns in the slot?
ANSWER: Two completely different skill-sets are required for the two positions, and Mike Hilton is way too valuable at his current position and the Steelers align in their sub-package defense way too often to mess with that.

ALVIN COOK FROM HENDERSONVILLE, NC: In regard to Mark Cusack’s question on Nov 15, concerning Markus Gilbert in Asked and Answered. That was a very good non-answer. Have you ever thought of going into politics?
ANSWER: I have not. Since the submission was made by Mark Cusick, and the player’s name is Marcus Gilbert, have you ever considered a spelling class?

RON WILLIAMS FROM ASTORIA, OR: In the game last Thursday night against Carolina, which our group attended, we noticed that there were back-to-back passes to Rosie Nix. Our question is: Will he now want receiver money?
ANSWER: I cannot speak for Rosie Nix, but I want receiver money. Wouldn’t you?

ANDREW PARRISH FROM SULPHUR CITY, WV: With Ben Roethlisberger nearing the end of a Hall of Fame career, is it possible the Steelers pick Will Grier of WVU this year in the draft? A deadly accurate, clutch, big-arm, mature pocket passer seems to be a perfect fit.
ANSWER: And as I was reading your question, I swore I could hear the West Virginia fight song playing in the background.

MATHEW MCKENNA FROM BROOK PARK, OH: What do you believe the Steelers will do with the money saved by Le’Veon Bell not signing his franchise tender?
ANSWER: I dropped a note in the Suggestion Box at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex suggesting it be divided up among the Asked and Answered staff.

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