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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Nov. 2

Let's get to it:

When do the Steelers have to decide if they are going to activate Cam Sutton? I am super excited about this kid even though he is unlikely to play this year.

ANSWER: Cam Sutton began practicing with the team on Tuesday, Oct. 31, which activated a 21-day window for the Steelers to decide whether to make him a designated-to-return player. Because of the time Sutton already had spent on injured reserve, the Steelers could add him to the 53-man roster at any time during the 21-day window that began on Oct. 31. If they decide to add him to the roster, they would have to make a corresponding move to open a spot; if they don't decide to add Sutton to the roster within the 21-day period, then he would spend the rest of the 2017 season on the injured reserve list.

Now that the season is half over, what is your assessment of our draft class? JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.J. Watt are winners, but we haven't seen enough of the rest of the class to judge them. Personally, I grade this class a B-plus.

ANSWER: With the exception of the sixth-round pick – long-snapper Colin Holba – who already has been waived, it's not possible to say any of the team's draft picks from 2017 don't belong in the league. You already mentioned JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.J. Watt, and I also believe we already have seen enough from James Conner to make the case that he has what's necessary to be an NFL running back. Joshua Dobbs already is good enough to be a No. 3 quarterback; Brian Allen has the measurables to be an NFL cornerback and has flashed enough special teams ability to keep him on the roster until he has a chance to develop; and we'll see if Keion Adams can duplicate and then extend what he showed in the early phase of his rookie training camp.

We are halfway through the season and have made big strides overall on defense. What are the biggest concerns for continued success in the second half on defense?

ANSWER: Health, by far is the most important element. Not only the big, season-ending injuries, but also the ones that prevent players from practicing also can have an adverse impact on a unit's ability to continually develop and improve.

My question goes along with one from Oct 31, regarding receiving statistics for Steelers rookies. What were Nate Washington's stats in his rookie season? He came out strong. He also graduated from my hometown Tiffin University.

ANSWER: Actually, he didn't come out strong. Signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie from Tiffin in 2005, Nate Washington played in one regular season game that season. In that game he was targeted once and finished with zero receptions. He played in three playoffs games that season, and he finished with one catch for 13 yards in those.

I was there in 2009 when Ben Roethlisberger had a perfect quarterback rating against St. Louis and poor Willie Parker broke his leg. There was another time Ben had a perfect quarterback rating. When and where was it?

ANSWER: You might have been there when Ben Roethlisberger had a perfect passer rating and Willie Parker broke his leg in the same game against the St. Louis Rams, but it happened on Dec. 20, 2007, not in 2009. And it's also a fact that Roethlisberger has posted three perfect passer ratings in his career, not two. In addition to the 2007 game against the Rams in St. Louis, he did it for the first time in his career on Sept. 11, 2005 against Tennessee at Heinz Field. The other time was on Nov. 5, 2007 against the Ravens at Heinz Field.

Do players get any kind of compensation when they win awards like offensive player of the week or month?


I get so frustrated with challenge plays like I am sure so many do. Why in your opinion do they use the slow motion views instead of normal speed? Breaking down a play at slow motion I feel is creating more controversial rulings than needed. Finally, having the league office involved easily adds to the chaos.

ANSWER: The only way to "fix" the instant replay situation would be to abolish it, and that will never happen. Pandora's Box has been opened. My opinion on why the play is judged in slow motion, one frame at a time, is because that's the way the networks will show it to viewers, and the league office is overly sensitive to the notion that its officials are getting it wrong, even though that's exactly what's happening more often than not.

No one works harder than you, Bob, so tell us, what will you be doing on our bye week?

ANSWER: For staff, it's not so much a bye week as it is a bye weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, I'll be watching football. As much as my wife can stomach.

There was an obvious grounding call on Matthew Stafford when he chucked the ball and Vince Williams was hit with it. Since there is no way to determine where Stafford was throwing, can a quarterback just throw a "longest yard pass" into a defender?

ANSWER: Theoretically, yes. But if that defender is able to catch that ball, or it deflects off that defender and into the hands of another defensive player, then the quarterback will be sorry he didn't just take the grounding penalty.

Although I was aware the Browns have been bad for a while, I was surprised to read that Joe Haden got the game ball after the opener against the Browns in Cleveland because he had never been on a team that won its regular season opener. I looked up their records and he was 29-83 during his time in Cleveland, and most of their "success" occurred earlier in his career. So I'll say this to the fans who wanna second guess every draft pick, change players' positions, and fire Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and every third hot dog vendor after a loss: Be thankful we have people running the organization who for quite some time have put respectable teams on the field that can compete for championships and win them. Be happy your team is the Steelers – like Joe Haden is now. No wonder the guy's always smiling.

ANSWER: Agreed.

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