Let's get to it:
RAYMOND L. JOURNIGAN FROM CROWLEY, TX:
Is it legal to switch players after each play, meaning if we have five wide receivers on the field and run a play, and then after that play switch out players while going to the spot of the ball, is it legal to do that? Like a quick offense to keep the opponent's defense off balance.
ANSWER: Offenses are permitted to keep the opposing defense off balance but only to a degree. If an offense substitutes multiple players – to expand on your example, from a personnel group that includes five wide receivers to a group that includes two tight ends and a fullback – the officials will delay the snap of the ball to allow the defense an opportunity to make substitutions to counter what the offense did. In other words, if one team substitutes, the officials are instructed to hold up play to allow the other team to substitute as well.
BRANDON SALES FROM ASHEVILLE, NC:
I noticed that we are getting the Bengals off their bye week this coming Sunday, and then next Sunday we are getting Detroit coming off its bye week. Is that normal for one team to get two teams in a row coming off bye weeks? Do you think that puts us at a disadvantage in either game?
ANSWER: Inequities in the schedule are a fact of life in the NFL, and all teams have to live with them in some form. I'm sure that if you combed over the details of each team's schedule each season, you would be able to unearth the very kinds of things you described, plus things like playing on Christmas Day two years in a row, or having to play on the road the weekend after playing a Monday night game on the road, or having to play on the road four days before playing a Thursday night game, etc.
CARL MEROLA FROM HANCOCK, WI:
I see references to the "scout team" a lot. Could you please define/describe the term.
ANSWER: In professional football, the scout team, also known in some circles as the "look team," is the group that runs the upcoming opponent's plays during practice for the first-team offense and defense. The scout team will work off cards to do this, and the cards are essentially diagrams of offensive and defensive plays the upcoming opponent uses, based on a scouting report. The players on the scout team will look at the cards and determine their particular assignment based on the diagram, and then those plays are run in the way diagrammed on the card so that the first-team offense and defense can get a look at what might be expected in the upcoming game. All NFL teams do it this way.
JARRETT WIGGONTON FROM CALLAWAY, VA:
Did Martavis Bryant really ask for a trade? Adam Schefter is usually a reliable source, and I can't remember the last time he was wrong. Not saying he wasn't, but why would he say he confirmed it if it wasn't true?
ANSWER: Let me pose a scenario to you: Let's pretend Martavis Bryant's agent is unhappy with the number of targets/catches/touchdowns his client is amassing to this point in the season, and let's even assume that Bryant himself would like the ball more. Maybe Bryant visits with a coach or coaches and asks what he could do to increase his number of targets/catches/touchdowns. The agent contacts someone with the team and asks/proposes the possibility that maybe a trade would be beneficial to all parties, whereupon that question/proposition is met with uncontrollable and derisive laughter. The agent then leaks the request to one twit who tweets it out, and then when another twit gets in touch with him to confirm whether the first leak happened, the agent confirms. Did Bryant actually request a trade? Does any of this mean Bryant is disgruntled? Does this mean the second twit was right about the "report?" And why does what someone tweets carry more weight than what Bryant said himself to the media on Monday? Let's end this with a statement of fact: if you cannot remember the last time Adam Schefter was wrong, you're not paying close enough attention, because there's no such thing as "always right."
JOE KILBURG FROM CLARK, NJ:
Way back in the offseason, I thought that I read somewhere that due to his season-long suspension, Martavis Bryant is under contract with the Steelers through the 2018 season. Now I hear that he will be a free agent when the 2017 season ends. Can you clarify which one is true?
ANSWER: What you read is correct. What you heard is wrong.
LEVI SIMMONS FROM PITTSBURGH, PA:
You said in the last Asked and Answered that teams don't have different helmets with their alternate uniforms, but the Steelers throwbacks before the bumblebees had yellow helmets with a black stripe.
ANSWER: That was almost 10 years ago. The rules/guidelines for helmets began to change once the player-safety initiative kicked into high gear six games into the 2010 season.
JIM MILLER FROM TULSA, OK:
On the free kick after the safety in the game at Kansas City, could Antonio Brown have called for a fair catch?