Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Nov. 8

Let's get to it:

KEVIN JAMES FROM INGLEWOOD, CA: Is there a punter the Steelers could target who would be an improvement in that area? Jordan Berry scares me.
ANSWER: The Steelers tried Dustin Colquitt at the start of this season, and he absolutely, positively was not an improvement over Jordan Berry. There may be too much inconsistency in Berry's punting, but he came through with a couple of clutch punts in the second half of the win over the Ravens. Late in the third quarter, with the Steelers protecting a 21-17 lead, Berry got off a 56-yard punt. Then with 59 seconds left on a fourth down from the Steelers 15-yard line, Berry's punt traveled 48 yards and the Ravens returner had to make a fair catch. Also, understand this: the punters on the Steelers' Super Bowl winning teams were Bobby Walden, Chris Gardocki, and Mitch Berger. Berry is better than any and all of them.

RYAN YEDLINSKY FROM LANSING, KS: Knowing the Cowboys' current quarterback predicament, how do the Steelers prepare during practices when they don't know which quarterback they'll face on Sunday, and there won't be any real tape from either player from which to game plan? How do our backup quarterbacks simulate the unknown at practices?
ANSWER: When this question was received, the Cowboys hadn't settled on a starting quarterback, but on Friday Coach Mike McCarthy announced he had decided on Garrett Gilbert. But by the time that happened, the Steelers already had completed their three primary days of preparation. But as part of my weekly Q&A with Coach Mike Tomlin I asked him the question you posed to me, and here is his answer:

"We focus our energies on known commodities like Ezekiel Elliott, because I would imagine they're going to lean on their strengths in an effort to support the inexperienced quarterback. And with that lean-on, all roads lead to Ezekiel Elliott for us, and so the type of attention we generally pay to the quarterback position in all those situations and discussions I was mentioning we had this week, we shifted that focus to No. 21 and how he might be impacting those scenarios, and we believe that was appropriate."

JEFF ELINOFF FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: Can you explain why Henry Mondeaux was added to the active roster and played ahead of Carlos Davis? During the Titans game I saw he lined up as a blocking back. Is that a skill that Mondeaux has that Davis does not?
ANSWER: There never is anything complicated about these kinds of things. Henry Mondeaux played instead of Carlos Davis because in the opinion of the Steelers coaches he's better and/or more ready to play in an NFL regular season game. There is no conspiracy, and Coach Mike Tomlin is completely transparent about playing the guys who give the team the best chance to win. No other agenda. And it had nothing to do with the ability to line up as a blocking back on offense.

KEITH MILLER FROM WAYNESVILLE, NC: Seven in the rearview mirror and 10 on the horizon. What's the longest Steelers winning streak ever?
ANSWER: The Steelers' longest winning streak to open a season was in 1978 when they started 7-0. The longest winning streak in franchise history was 14 games in 2004 when they finished 15-1.

KHARI CLEMMONS FROM MCALPIN, FL: I totally forgot that we brought Sean Davis back. I never hear mention of him on the field. I checked the website and he appears to still be on the active roster. Is he getting any playing time? If not, why?
ANSWER: Sean Davis has been active for each of the Steelers' seven regular season games this year, but he has played only two snaps on defense, and both of those came last week against the Ravens. He has played 76 snaps on special teams. Davis' plight in terms of not playing more snaps on defense is that there currently is no spot for him. Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick are the starting safeties and that's not going to change. When the Steelers go into their sub-packages it usually involves bringing more cornerbacks into the game, and that means Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, and Justin Layne are the ones to see playing time. Right now Davis is a special teams player and someone who provides depth at safety in case of injury.

JAMES BALAS FROM TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA: If a quarterback completes a pass for 10 yards and the receiver fumbles the ball and the other team recovers, does the quarterback get the completion and 10 yards for his personal statistics?
ANSWER: In the scenario you describe, the quarterback gets credit for one attempt, one completion, and 10 yards passing. The receiver is credited with one reception and 10 yards receiving. The receiver also is charged with a fumble and a lost fumble.

ALBERTO ALVAREZ FROM MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: My question is, what is the record and stats of Ben Roethlisberger playing against the Dallas Cowboys?
ANSWER: Ben Roethlisberger has played four games against Dallas, and the Steelers are 2-2 in those games. They won in 2004 and 2008, and they lost in 2012 and 2016. Roethlisberger's statistics are 99-of-144 (68.8 percent) for 1,144 yards, with eight touchdowns, one interceptions, and a rating of 108.1.

DJ MOHNEY FROM RIMERSBURG, PA: Why is it that teams like Kansas City and even Baltimore and Seattle get more attention as being Super Bowl contenders and No. 1 in the league than the Steelers?
ANSWER: Getting attention from the national media for arbitrary things such as being designated a Super Bowl contender or attaining the top spot in a Power Poll is meaningless to the Nth degree. Don't waste any of your time on those kinds of things, because a lot of the national media who author those things do it strictly to get fans riled up.

MATTHEW MILLER FROM BRISTOL, CT: Do you think it's too big a stretch to give Robert Spillane the nickname "Mike Hammer?" Also, am I too old to be suggesting nicknames?
ANSWER: You're too late to the nickname party, I believe. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler already has given Robert Spillane the nickname "Mickey," because Mikey Spillane is the author who created the character of Mike Hammer. You and Butler were on the same nickname wavelength, I'll give you that.

FRITZ SCHERZ FROM VERONA, NY: I know earlier in the year some folks asked you about J.J. Watt, but given his comments within the last day or so about not wanting to be around the Texans when they rebuild as well as the Steelers having some defensive line injuries, were you surprised Pittsburgh didn't try to trade for him?
ANSWER: Let's skip right over the issue of what it would take in terms of draft pick compensation to acquire a player who is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner, the combination of which makes him the face of that franchise and just concentrate on the arithmetic. Based on his salary of $15.5 million this year, the Steelers would have owed him $8.2 million for the rest of the 2020 season, and then they would owe him $17.5 million for the 2021 season. I can't speak for you, but if I'm going to spend that kind of money on somebody named Watt, I would rather it be T.J. than J.J.

JAMES SNOWDEN FROM LATROBE, PA: What are the chances the Steelers kick the tires on nose tackle Dontari Poe, who was released by Dallas. A massive space-eater who might be willing to play one year at the minimum for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
ANSWER: It's amusing that you use the phrase "kick the tires" and refer to Dontari Poe as a "space-eater," because the biggest tire to kick on Poe is the one around his midsection and he apparently has been eating things a lot higher in calories than space. The Cowboys released him because Jerry Jones said he was 30 pounds overweight. And this is a guy whose "listed" weight is 346 pounds.

JAMES SMYDER FROM MOUNT PLEASANT, SC: Heard a rumor that Baker Mayfield dressed up as a Steelers quarterback for Halloween. Any chance the Steelers try to acquire him if Cleveland cuts the cord after this season?
ANSWER: Won't be any room on the roster after the trades for Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins get done.