Let's get to it:
JEREMY MILLER FROM ATLANTA, GA:
Are we making any changes at the quarterback position for the game against the Ravens? Landry Jones had a few, and I emphasize FEW good plays but for the most part his inability to think quickly in the pocket or take advantage of a chance to be mobile hurt us in the game against New England.
ANSWER: And another card-carrying member of the Landry Jones Fan Club checks in. You people are relentless, if nothing else. This time, I am going to allow Mike Tomlin to provide the assessment of Jones' play in the game against New England: "I thought that Landry Jones," said Tomlin, "as the game continued to unfold, produced good and consistent above-the-line play. His mastery of our offense, management of it and communication of it, got increasingly better as the game unfolded."**
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley's assessment: "Landry Jones didn't lose that game for us."
I don't know what else I can tell you.
JEREMY RANDALL FROM CINCINNATI, OH:
When it's my turn to eat crow, it's my turn, and after Landry Jones' performance (against New England) it's my turn. He did a great job. I wish he could have punched it into the end zone, but we were playing the Patriots.
ANSWER: I have learned to enjoy baked crow, lightly seasoned with garlic powder and cracked black pepper. I recommend it. Not as greasy.
CHARLES JOHNSON FROM WATKINSVILLE, GA:
Will William Gay ever get in a game? Is he injured?
ANSWER: Zach Mettenberger is not injured, but he isn't as good as Landry Jones and not in the same universe as Ben Roethlisberger. Unless there is a situation where the Steelers have both Roethlisberger and Jones injured, your next chance to see Mettenberger in game action wearing a Steelers uniform will be the 2017 preseason.
JUSTIN HENNEBERRY FROM HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA:
When is the last time a Wild Card team didn't emerge from the AFC North?
ANSWER: That would be 2013. The Bengals won the AFC North Division with an 11-5 record, and the Steelers and Ravens both finished 8-8. The AFC Wild Card teams that season were the 11-5 Kansas City Chiefs and the 9-7 San Diego Chargers.
CHRIS LEAVITT FROM COBOURG, CANADA
Is there any consideration by the Steelers organization to use the first year sweater that has the city's crest on it? Love the crest.
ANSWER: Been there, done that already. The Steelers wore jerseys from their 1933 season – their inaugural one in the NFL – as their throwbacks during the NFL's 75th Anniversary celebration, which took place in 1994. Not surprisingly, the players hated those jerseys, as did the vast majority of Steelers fans. And I would be remiss if I didn't close with this: In the NFL, they're jerseys; in the NHL, they're sweaters. Just helping you with the correct terminology.
ROBERT VEACH FROM HELENA, MT:
How much power does a player have when he is told he is going to be traded? Jamie Collins going from Super Bowl contender to football purgatory – New England to Cleveland. Can he say no? And in that case they just release him or bench him?
ANSWER: In the situation of a trade, a player who is under contract has no power. He can refuse to go, but he cannot play anywhere else, nor will he be paid. And in that situation – where a player refuses to report after a trade – the team isn't going to release the player, because then he would be free to sign with any other team and the original team would get nothing as compensation.
TERRY SUCHMA FROM SOUTHPORT, NC:
Coverage of the Jamie Collins trade to Cleveland states that New England will receive a third-round "compensatory" pick in the exchange. I thought compensatory picks are not assigned until after the season and wonder how one could be traded at this point? Am I missing something or is this just sloppy reporting language?
ANSWER: Also in the description of the transaction is that the terms at this point are conditional. I would imagine one of the "conditions" is that if the Patriots get a compensatory pick in the third round, that's the one that goes to the Browns. If they don't, then I'm sure that contingency also is covered in the "conditions." And besides, all trades have to be approved by the league, and so the terms of this one apparently violated no NFL regulations.**
SCOTT OSHINSKI FROM NEW MILFORD, CT:
When a player is out because of injury, who decides on his return? The doctors? The coach?
ANSWER: Coming back from injury first requires the player to be cleared medically, and that's handled by a doctor. Coming back from an injury also involves a player reaching a certain level of performance before he's returned to the lineup, and that's determined by the head coach.
PHILLIP COLGROVE FROM ESSEX, ENGLAND:
Newbie question: If a team misses a field goal attempt on third down, do they get another go on fourth down? Just thinking that in a situation with limited time left and an underperforming quarterback, two attempts at a game-winning field goal may be more preferable than one more attempt at an unlikely touchdown followed by only one attempt at the field goal.
ANSWER: Good idea, but the rules don't allow for that. No matter what down on which a team attempts a field goal, if the kick clears the line of scrimmage, then it counts one way or the other. Make it, and it's three points. Miss it, and the opposing team gets the ball at the spot of the kick. If a team attempts a field goal on a down other than fourth down, and the snap is fumbled and/or the kick is blocked, and the kicking team recovers, then it can attempt another field goal with the new line of scrimmage coming at the spot of the recovery.
MATT GUNTER FROM RAPID CITY, SD:
What was the number of defensive snaps that Justin Gilbert played against the Patriots? I know he was on the field for some kickoff return duties.
ANSWER: Against the Patriots, Justin Gilbert did not play any snaps on defense. He played 15 snaps on special teams.
ANTONIO VIDEGARAY FROM DALLAS, TX:
How do you rate the job Keith Butler has done with the defense? I see defenses like Dallas' that does not have stars on defense yet the Cowboys are playing very well.
*ANSWER: The Steelers have stars on defense? Who? Besides Cam Heyward, I mean? *
STEVE TRAUTMAN FROM SASKATOON, SASK.
Why do you think some fans have such unrealistic expectations about players and coaches? I see it in all the teams and all the sports I follow. This is a separate question from the above one. Answer it or not. How many scouts do the Steelers employ, whether they be full time or part time?
ANSWER: I cannot help you with the expectation question, and that's because I really don't know. As for the number of scouts, including General Manager Kevin Colbert, because he does school visits and attends college practices and games on a weekly basis like everyone else, the Steelers have 12 scouts.
DARRELL GRANT FROM NORTH CHESTERFIELD, VA:
In your greatest wisdom on a scale of 1 to 10 what do rate of significance of a win over the Ravens in Baltimore?