Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 18

Let's get to it:

BOB SACAMANO FROM CLAYSBURG, PA: When Terry Bradshaw called his own plays, did the Steelers coaches know what plays he was calling? It's hard to believe Coach Chuck Noll was standing on the sidelines without knowledge of the next play.
ANSWER: If Terry Bradshaw was calling the plays in the huddle out on the field, how was Chuck Noll supposed to know what play was called? There was no electronic communication from the sideline to the huddle, or vice versa in that "primitive" era in NFL history, so there was no way for the sideline to know what was going on in the huddle until there was a timeout or some other stoppage of play. I remember a clip from Super Bowl XIV against the Los Angeles Rams, where NFL Films microphones eavesdropped on a conversation between Noll and Bradshaw that occurred late in the game. Noll could be heard telling Bradshaw that on third down situations, it was better to "go for the big play" because of the way the Rams played their defense to defend the sticks rather than the whole field. Based on those instructions, early in the fourth quarter on a third-and-8, Bradshaw went deep to John Stallworth for a 73-yard touchdown; then two series later on a third-and-7, Bradshaw again went deep to Stallworth for a 45-yard gain that set up Franco Harris' 1-yard touchdown run that iced the 31-19 final score.

TIMOTHY PREGANA FROM KAPOLEI, HI: Please explain your opinion on why Joe Haden wasn't brought back to the Steelers for a veteran minimum contract. Not to be rude, but do you think that the recent signing of a new corner from someone else's practice squad is better than Joe? I understand that as we age, we are not as quick as in our prime. Your thoughts?
ANSWER: Please explain your opinion on why Joe Haden should be required to accept a contract paying him the veteran minimum to come back to the Steelers. Not to be rude, but since it's free agency and Haden was an unrestricted free agent, do you think he should be making career decisions based on what a fan thinks is what's best for his favorite football team? Joe Haden played five seasons for the Steelers, and he was an asset to the team both on the field and in the locker room throughout his time here. At the age of 33, after playing 12 NFL seasons and having a 158-game toll on his body, Joe Haden earned the right to retire, which is what he decided to do, instead of being "brought back to the Steelers for a veteran minimum contract." Your thoughts?

PATRICK FLYNN FROM OAKDALE, PA: James Daniels reportedly was fined $10,609 by the NFL after defending Kenny Pickett in the Buffalo game. Does that money come as a straight deduction from a future game check? Or does the player mail in a check like a parking fine? If the other players were so inclined, could they offer to "defray" the cost for Daniels by giving a small donation for his fine behind closed doors?
ANSWER: Fine money assessed by the NFL is deducted directly from the individual's check, in the same way the IRS can garnish wages. If the fined individual's teammates want to slip him a few bucks, that's between those people.

DENNIS SLEEGER FROM YORK, PA: With two players being elevated to the team from the practice squad I have questions. What is their salary difference from practice squad versus team. Does the practice squad practice with the full team every week?
ANSWER: While the numbers are based on how many accrued seasons the players have, practice squad pay is in the neighborhood of $11,500 per week, while the NFL minimum salary for a player with the same experience level would be $705,000 a year, which would come to $39,166.67 per game check. And that money counts on the salary cap, which is why the Steelers always want to carry a rather significant cushion into the regular season. And the players on the practice squad are a part of the daily work in meetings and on the field to prepare for the upcoming opponent.

TIM GOLDSMITH FROM ORANGE, NSW, AUSTRALIA: What a fantastic team win against the Bucs, with many of the "next men up" rising to the occasion. Do you think it's likely that a winning team will start next week, or is there generally an expectation that if the first-string players are healthy, they'll drop back into the starting lineup?
ANSWER: All due respect to the "next men up," but if players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick and Cam Sutton are available for Sunday's game in Miami, they'll be right back in the lineup.

MATT VARGO FROM LAS VEGAS, NV: My question is just for some clarity as many fans have it confused. For this game vs the Buccaneers, Kenny Pickett was the starting quarterback of record for the game, so the win officially goes to Kenny? And if the team lost the loss would have gone to Kenny as well.
ANSWER: You are correct.

RICK DRUMMOND FROM BAYFIELD, ONTARIO, CANADA: I see that Kendrick Green was once again inactive for the game against Tampa Bay. He was also inactive against the Bills. Since I haven't seen him listed on any injury reports and he's not on injured reserve, is his being inactive a "coach's decision?"
ANSWER: That's one way of looking at it, yes, but I would guess the majority of players who end up on the inactive list could be classified as "coach's decisions." And sometimes it's not so much the performance of the inactive player that's the cause but that other players at the same position are better.

EDWARD BONTRAGER FROM CORBIN, KY: During the Steelers Radio Network's Pregame Show for the game against Tampa Bay, you said that the last time you were so pessimistic about the Steelers' chances before a regular season game was the 1992 opener vs. the Oilers in the Astrodome. How did the Steelers fare during the rest of that season after we won that game?
ANSWER: The 1992 season was the first of Bill Cowher's tenure as coach, and after upsetting the defending AFC Central Division champion Oilers in the opener, the Steelers won their next two games to get to 3-0. After back-to-back losses – in Green Bay and in Cleveland – the Steelers won seven of their next eight to run their record to 10-3. In the last of those victories – against Seattle at Three Rivers Stadium – Neil O'Donnell injured an ankle and missed the rest of the regular season. But the Steelers won the regular season finale, against Cleveland at Three Rivers Stadium, to finish 11-5 and clinch the division title with a record that also earned them the top seed in the AFC Playoffs. After a bye through the Wild Card Round, the Steelers hosted the defending AFC Champion Buffalo Bills in a game where a visibly rusty Neil O'Donnell completed 15-of-29 for 163 yards, with no touchdowns, 2 interceptions, a rating of 39.9, and was sacked 7 times in a 24-3 defeat.

DICK VOCHEK FROM PORTAGE, PA: In your opinion, who is the greatest Steelers player to never win a Super Bowl in the Super Bowl era?
ANSWER: Off the top of my head, I would go with Greg Lloyd.