Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 17

Let's get to it:

CLAIRE DORRELL FROM BIG STONE GAP, VA: Both players are in their prime. If you had to submit one or the other, but can't submit both on a roster the night before the Super Bowl – which player would you start: Dick Butkus or Jack Lambert? Why?
ANSWER: Both were great players, but I also believe Dick Butkus and Jack Lambert were able to bring some unique things to their teams that made them extra special. Lambert was a perfect fit for the design of the Steelers defense during his career, which was built with a physical and active defensive line that allowed the linebackers to flow to the football and make tackles vs. the run and then also do things in coverage that were unique to that era because the defensive line also provided all the pass rush the team needed. Because I know less about how the Bears built and designed their defense during Butkus' career, I would go with Lambert based on the style of defense the Steelers used during his career.

WILL McINTOSH FROM BELLEVIEW, FL: If the Steelers don't feel anyone is worthy of the practice squad, are teams required to carry the maximum number of players allowed on that squad by the NFL? And what is the total number that is allowed?
ANSWER: The maximum number of players allowed on a team's practice squad is 16. There is no minimum, which means the number on a team's practice squad can be zero.

STAN REMANCUS FROM HOOSICK FALLS, NY: I was at the game vs. the Ravens on Sunday and Mason Rudolph was in uniform and on the field during warmups even though he was listed as inactive for the game. What is the rule on that for inactive players? Was he allowed to warm up due to being the emergency quarterback?
ANSWER: According to the NFL, "A designated Emergency Third Quarterback may participate with the club's active players during the official team warm-up period."

RON GRABOWSKI FROM CHESWICK, PA: I've noticed that although a kickoff is clearly out of the receiving team's end zone, that most of the kicking team continues to run down through the end zone. Is there a purpose or rule for this?
ANSWER: There is no rule. The purpose? Maybe just getting some exercise.

GLEN WHITTEN FROM AGUADILLA, PUERTO RICO: Any chance the CBA contains a clause mandating that the hard-working writers be given a bye week to recover? Studies have shown that fielding fan questions can cause deep mental bruising.
ANSWER: No chance. And I imagine any "deep mental bruising" might result from the ongoing sense of beating the head against a brick wall.

PAT FLYNN FROM OAKDALE, PA: Does it matter to the players if the offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator is sitting in the press box or standing on the sidelines? Is there an advantage to the coordinator of being in the press box or sidelines for game management?
ANSWER: I never have heard of a single player ever voicing an opinion on whether the offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator performed his job from the sideline vs. in the coaches' box. That decision on location is usually a matter of personal preference, and of course it would have to be sanctioned by the head coach.

DOUGLAS HILL FROM LITTLETON, CO: I am perpetually frustrated when I look at the "Power Ratings" by the football networks. Prior to the games last weekend, ESPN ranked Cleveland and Baltimore ahead of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have beaten both teams while having a better or equal record. Is there any science behind those ratings or should I just stop reading them?
ANSWER: The only science would be enticing people to click on that meaningless drivel, and my opinion is you never should have started reading them. That's the great thing about the NFL – after the Super Bowl, the definitive Power Ratings are released, and that's also known as the draft order, with the best team picking last.

EDWARD CHARNEY FROM FORTY FORT, PA: I have noticed this year in the NFL that an increasing number of penalty flags are being waved off after consultation among multiple officials. Have you noticed this trend, and if so, is this a directive from the NFL to eliminate penalties that can change the scope and tenor of a game?
ANSWER: There are many things I find that are frustrating about NFL officiating, but I cannot think of anything more annoying than a sequence that begins with the throwing of a penalty flag, followed by what Chuck Noll always referred to as "an administrative session" on the field among the officials, and then the referee getting on his microphone and telling everyone that there was no penalty on the play. My opinion is that if an official isn't CERTAIN that he saw a penalty, then don't throw the flag. Don't guess. Don't assume. Either know or leave it alone. I have no idea whether this increasing trend results as a directive from the league office, but I have to admit that it makes me crazy.

LUIS GABRIEL SOSA FROM EL PASO, TX: During the game against the Ravens, Alex Highsmith hit Lamar Jackson´s arm and stripped him of the ball and then grabbed him by the arm. I have seen the replays and the title says: "Highsmith´s strip/sack." Did it count as both a stripped ball and a sack?
ANSWER: In the example you cite, Alex Highsmith was credited with both a sack and a forced fumble.

EDWARD BONTRAGER FROM MCKEE, KY: Do our edge rushers participate primarily in the linebackers or defensive line room?
ANSWER: Aaron Curry is the inside linebackers coach, and Denzel Martin is outside linebackers coach. When it comes time for position meetings, the linebackers are divided up based on those two categories.

PHIL ABRAHAM FROM ERIE, PA: In your opinion will the Steelers ever turn to Mitch Trubisky to hopefully get a spark if the offense continues to struggle?
ANSWER: How the Steelers handled the situation when Kenny Pickett injured a knee vs. Houston and then came back to start an important early-season matchup with the Ravens should have taught you that as long as Pickett is healthy enough to play, he will be the quarterback.

AUSTIN HACKETT FROM DENVER, CO: Do you know when the decision on which day the Steelers-Colts game in Indianapolis will be announced? It's currently listed as Dec. 16 or Dec. 17. I'm hoping to travel to Indianapolis for the game and don't know what day to book a flight home.
ANSWER: The decision will be made no later than after Week 13 (2 weeks out) for the Week 15 games.

OWEN O'CEALLAIGH FROM CORK, KILKENNY, IRELAND: I refer to a question in the Oct. 12 Asked and Answered about an issue about listening to Steelers games. What worked a few times for me was to get the Radio Garden app for my phone and then look for WDVE PA and launch it about 1 hour before the game (and don't disconnect it), and it should stay for the duration of the game.
ANSWER: I hope your solution can work for other Steelers fans as well.

JIM MILLER FROM BROKEN ARROW, OK: I just read Chris Lippert's submission in the Oct. 12 Asked and Answered about accessing game broadcasts on SNR. I read recently that if you are on a VPN (virtual private network) your location is invisible. I've got a sample size of one, but it worked flawlessly. If you work from home you probably already use one. Hope this helps.
ANSWER: I hope so as well.