Let’s get to it:
MATHEW MCKENNA FROM BROOK PARK, OH:
I read a story about how Ryan Shazier has taken on an unofficial coaching role and has been very well received by his teammates as such. Do you feel that when his contract as a player is up that the Steelers may sign him as an assistant coach? Also, if he is signed as a coach and one day does become physically able to play again, would he be allowed to rejoin the team as a player?
ANSWER: The Steelers view Ryan Shazier as part of the team, and he is treated as such. He comes to work each day at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, watches video, studies the upcoming opponent, attends meetings, everything the other linebackers do, except Shazier’s physical work each day involves his personal rehabilitation instead of football practice. I have no idea whether Shazier is interested in a career as a football coach, and if he is interested in coaching football whether he wants to pursue it at the NFL level. At this point, I would describe Shazier as more of a mentor than an assistant coach, because he tries to help guys with some of the off-the-field things associated with the profession. And there is nothing in the rules that would prevent Coach Shazier from rejoining the ranks of the players if/when he would be physically able and interested in doing so.
DARRELL SAUNDERS FROM MIAMI BEACH, FL: The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and I believe General Manager Kevin Colbert has a chance to endear himself to Steelers Nation if he can work out a deal to put Patrick Peterson in a Steelers uniform. Is it perceivable to you that the Steelers can make a move to better our secondary before the trade deadline?
ANSWER: What so many fans fail to understand, or choose to ignore, is that trades in professional sports take two teams to tango. I believe it’s worth noting that Cardinals Coach Steve Wilks called a report that his team was shopping cornerback Patrick Peterson in a possible trade “ludicrous,” and don’t forget this is a franchise that refused to trade Larry Fitzgerald in the midst of a rebuilding project that looks a lot like this one. But let’s just pretend the Cardinals are shopping Peterson, and if they are they likely would be able to choose from among several offers, with the most valuable currency for a rebuilding team being draft choices. The point being that a trade for Steelers draft choices most likely would be lower in rounds and therefore less valuable than the picks from some of the other teams rumored to be interested. One final note of caution: once upon a time the Minnesota Vikings believed they were a running back away from winning a Super Bowl, and so they traded a bunch of draft picks to the Dallas Cowboys for Herschel Walker. Sure enough, that trade led to multiple Lombardi trophies, but it was the Cowboys who won them by using those draft picks to build their roster, while the Vikings never got a sniff of a championship. The moral of the story is: whenever a team believes it’s one player away, it’s more than one player away.
TONY STAGNO FROM BUTLER, PA: I believe the Steelers travel by bus to Cleveland when they play the Browns. Do the Browns do the same when they travel here? Does this happen in other cities? Baltimore vs. Washington? Philadelphia vs. New York? Is this part of the CBA?
ANSWER: The Steelers travel by bus for games in Cleveland, but the Browns do not do the same for their games in Pittsburgh. The Eagles used to take the train for games against the Giants, but because the Ravens and Redskins are in different conferences, they only visit the other team once every eight seasons. The only rules mandating travel for NFL teams is that the visiting team must be on site the night before the game, unless special permission to do otherwise is granted by the NFL office.
JAY ALLEN FROM BUFFALO, NY: In this era of NFL football, is there anyone who’d prefer to be the team on defense defending a one-point lead with 1:15 on the clock and the other team having three timeouts left?
ANSWER: If Nate Peterman was the quarterback with the 75 seconds and three timeouts, I’d take my chances.
BRAD LOVELESS FROM ANGIER, NC: Why does Ramon Foster turn around and look at Ben Roethlisberger on all passing plays?
ANSWER: That’s part of the execution of the silent count with the quarterback in the shotgun formation. Ben Roethlisberger lifts his leg, which signals Ramon Foster to slap Maurkice Pouncey on the thigh. That starts the silent count, and then Pouncey snaps the ball in rhythm.
TERRY TORTORA FROM BOARDMAN, OH: During both two-point conversions in the game against the Bengals the game clock was at 10 seconds. At the completion of both two-point conversions the game clock was still at 10 seconds. Why didn't the clock run?
ANSWER: Conversions, either the one-point or two-point variety, are known as untimed downs, which means the clock does not run during those plays.