Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 1

Let's get to it:

DEVON SIMMER FROM ANKENY, IA:
Would it be best for the Steelers to have a running back duo of DeAngelo Williams and Le'Veon Bell or just Le'Veon?

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Before Ben Roethlisberger's injury, I would have said that Le'Veon Bell was the primary running back and should play in all game situations unless he needed a breather. With Roethlisberger at quarterback, Bell is an every-down player and part of what I believe is the team's best personnel grouping: Roethlisberger, Bell, Heath Miller, Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and either Darrius Heyward-Bey or Martavis Bryant. During Roethlisberger's rehabilitation, however, I'm more willing to be open-minded about the personnel groupings and the direction of the offense in terms of running vs. passing. Running the ball more – if it's effective in a particular game – is something I believe the Steelers would do, and that may lead to seeing more of Williams and Bell on the field at the same time. But neither one is a lead blocker, and so keep that in mind as well.**

ALLEN JACKSON FROM GREENVILLE, S.C.:
With Mike Vick getting the nod as the starter and Landry Jones as the backup, do you see Todd Haley getting Tyler Murphy some snaps at quarterback or even some use of the wildcat?

Tyler Murphy was waived from the 53-man roster when Le'Veon Bell returned from suspension. Since then, Murphy has been added to the practice squad, and therefore he isn't eligible for games. If there would be an injury to Mike Vick, then maybe Murphy somehow joins the mix at quarterback if added to the roster from the practice squad, but the Steelers aren't going to utilize him as a runner when they already have Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams to handle that chore. The running of the ball is covered by proven NFL players. It's the passing of the ball that would become the issue is Murphy needed to be added to the mix at quarterback.

BART PIERSIMONI FROM BIG FLATS, N.Y.:
Any thought on bringing in Tim Tebow?

I certainly hope not.

RUSSELL POLLOCK FROM ZANESVILLE, OH:
With Ben out for several games, I was just wondering about Bruce Gradkowski. Is he still a backup or on the injured reserve list? I never thought he did too bad when called upon to play.

Bruce Gradkowski was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 25 as the companion move to the signing of Mike Vick.

DAVE SCHOFIELD FROM HAGERSTOWN, MD:
I have always believed Will Allen is a very good safety. I still thought he should've played in the playoff game last year – not that he's better than Troy Polamalu, but Troy wasn't allowed to be typical Troy in that game. The fact that he's now playing over Shamarko Thomas, is that because Allen is so good or because Shamarko hasn't lived up to what the Steelers thought he could do?

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Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 3 matchup against the St. Louis Rams.

Let's start with this: Troy Polamalu wasn't physically capable of "being typical Troy" last season, and especially so come the playoff game against the Ravens. His skills had eroded. He couldn't really run anymore to cover the ground necessary to "be typical Troy." The human body only can withstand so much, and as a 33-year-old who had played 12 NFL seasons, Polamalu couldn't do those kinds of things anymore.**

OK, now on to Will Allen vs. Shamarko Thomas. I have come to learn that coaches make decisions based on available options. The original plan – at least all through the offseason program and training camp – was that Shamarko Thomas and Mike Mitchell would be the starting safeties. But through the five-game preseason, Thomas showed an alarming tendency to make the kind of mental and physical mistakes that end up on the scoreboard. Based on that, Mike Tomlin made the decision to start Will Allen against the Patriots, and I would imagine as long as Allen continues to play well he will hold onto the job. But I'm not counting out Shamarko Thomas this season. I still believe there will come a time when the Steelers will turn to him.

PHILLIP REID FROM NEW LONDON, N.C.:
When is Maurkice Pouncey expected to return, or is he not expected to return at all this season?

Maurkice Pouncey is on the injured reserve/designated to return list. A player on IR-designated-to-return must sit out his team's first six weeks, and then he can return to practice, but he cannot play in a game until he has been on the list for at least eight weeks. That means the earliest Pouncey could return to action for the Steelers is Sunday, Nov. 8 when they host the Oakland Raiders.

NICK MITCHELL FROM GLEN-LYON, PA:
What happened to the three draft picks used to pick two cornerbacks and a safety? I don't see them on Sundays. Were they let go or are they on the bench? Or were they busts? I'm referring to Doran Grant, Senquez Golson, and Gerod Holliman.

Senquez Golson started training camp on the physically unable to perform list as a result of a shoulder injury he sustained during the offseason program. He never was healthy enough to practice and was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 31. Doran Grant initially made the 53-man roster, but he was waived the next day as part of a roster re-shaping that added cornerback Ross Cockrell, who had been waived by Buffalo. Grant was signed to the Steelers practice squad the next day, and he remains there today. Gerod Holliman was waived on Sept. 5, and he currently is not on an NFL roster or practice squad.

EMANUEL SZEDLAK FROM TIMISOARA, ROMANIA:
Does Ben Roethlisberger get credited with the win against the Rams? Does it depend on the number of minutes played or the score at the moment when a quarterback is taken out? I also want to thank you for doing Asked and Answered.

Ben Roethlisberger started against the Rams, and the Steelers won, and so the victory is added to his career record as a starting quarterback. There is no minimum number of minutes that must be played, and the score at the time of his removal doesn't matter.

RON SERAKOWSKI FROM NASHVILLE, TN:
Why do the Steelers have the emblem only on one side of the helmet?

In the 1950s, when helmet logos became popular, the Steelers added players' numbers to both sides of their gold helmets. Later that decade, the numbers were removed and in 1962, Cleveland's Republic Steel suggested to the Steelers that they use the Steelmark as a helmet logo.

When the Steelmark logo was created, U.S. Steel attached the following meaning to it: Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure and widens your world. The logo was used as part of a major marketing campaign to educate consumers about how important steel is in our daily lives. The Steelmark logo was used in print, radio and television ads as well as on labels for all steel products, from steel tanks to tricycles to filing cabinets.

In the 1960s, U.S. Steel turned over the Steelmark program to the AISI, where it came to represent the steel industry as a whole. During the 1970s, the logo's meaning was extended to include the three materials used to produce steel: yellow for coal, orange for ore and blue for steel scrap. In the late 1980s, when the AISI founded the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), the logo took on a new life reminiscent of its 1950s meaning. The Steelers had to petition the AISI in order to change the word "Steel" inside the Steelmark to "Steelers" before the logo was complete.

The Steelers are the only NFL team that sports their logo on only one side of the helmet. At first, this was a temporary measure because the Steelers weren't sure they would like the look of the logo on an all-gold helmet. They wanted to test them before going all-out. Equipment manager Jack Hart was instructed to put the logo only on one side of the helmet – the right side. The 1962 Steelers finished 9-5 and became the winningest team in franchise history to that point, by finishing finished second in the Eastern Conference and qualifying for a consolation game known at the time as the Playoff Bowl.

The Steelers wanted to do something special for this postseason game even though it wasn't part of the process that determined the annual NFL Champion, so they changed the color of their helmets from gold to black, which helped to highlight the new logo. Because of the interest generated by having the logo on only one side of their helmets and because of their team's new success, the Steelers decided to leave it that way permanently. Today's helmet reflects the way the logo originally was applied, and it has never been changed.

CHRIS BEZONI FROM INDIANAPOLIS, IN:
I just read the question asking about the probability of bringing in an arena league quarterback. I was wondering the probability of bringing in some arena league fans to replace the ones who ask questions like that.

I usually prefer it when I'm the witty one, but I have to admit that was a good one.

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