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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 25

Let's get to it:

SCOTT RENN FROM HERNDON, PA: My son and I recently finished a hunting trip to Wyoming and stopped at Mount Rushmore on the way home. While standing there looking at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, I asked my son if we could put four Steeler faces on Mt. Washington looking down at Heinz Field, who would they be? We came up with Art Rooney Sr., Chuck Noll, Joe Greene, and we couldn't settle on a fourth. Who would you put up on Mt. Washington if you had to pick four?
ANSWER: Art Rooney Sr., because he founded the team, resisted all temptation to sell or move the franchise during the decades when professional football was not a glamorous business, and kept it financially viable.

Dan Rooney is the most deserving of this recognition, because he convinced his father to stop hiring coaches who were friends or friends of friends; he found and hired Chuck Noll; he stopped the trading away of draft picks and decreed that the team would be built through the draft; he got Bill Nunn interested in working for the Steelers and then encouraged the scouting and drafting of players from HBCUs; he was responsible for every meaningful football decision in franchise history; he was instrumental in crafting the CBA that tied free agency to a salary cap to ensure small-market franchises like the one in Pittsburgh would remain on an even playing field with New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, New England, Dallas, etc.; he got Heinz Field built; during the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft he steered the conversation toward Ben Roethlisberger when Bill Cowher was intent on picking Shawn Andrews; and on and on and on.

Chuck Noll, for obvious reasons.

Joe Greene for just as obvious reasons.

In my opinion it is proper for Greene to be the only player among this quartet because he is universally recognized as the greatest and most significant player in franchise history, and trying to include a second player could be interpreted as disrespectful to the others in the group of great players in Steelers history. Why I bring that up is this: After Greene, there is a group of players that includes Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, and Jack Lambert, who are largely equal in level of their contributions to the dynasty of the 1970s. All own four rings. All were first-ballot Hall of Fame selections. Each deserves to be considered No. 2 to Greene among the great players of the 1970s, and each has a case that can be made against him being No. 2 to Greene among the great players of the 1970s.

That's why I only would select one player for Mt. Washington, and that's why I wouldn't retire any more jerseys numbers, because if you cannot honor them all, the best and fairest course is to honor none.

DAVID RUDIN FROM COLORADO SPRINGS, CO: In the Oct. 22 Asked and Answered, someone asked about planning ahead for teams coming up on later on the schedule. Your answer was clear that for several reasons that's not possible. However, do Steelers scouts evaluate teams on the Steelers schedule in advance to provide info for game planning, or do scouts strictly evaluate college players?
ANSWER: Within the Personnel Department, there are scouts who concentrate on college talent and others who concentrate on NFL players and teams on the Steelers schedule. The information gathered on the college players goes into draft preparation, while the pro scouts' work is used for advance scouting, and for free agency, potential trades, and waiver wire pickups.

SALVADOR CEDILLO FROM MEXICO CITY, MÉXICO: Do you consider the Steelers a truly legitimate competitor for the AFC championship?

JEFF BARBER FROM HUMBLE, TX: In the last 10 years not including 2020, how many of the Steelers' first-round draft picks are still with the team?
ANSWER: Since we're not including 2020, the last 10 No. 1 picks for the Steelers were Devin Bush, Terrell Edmunds, T.J. Watt, Artie Burns, Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones, David DeCastro, Cam Heyward, and Maurkice Pouncey. The only two no longer with the Steelers are Jarvis Jones, who is out of football, and Artie Burns, who is on the Chicago Bears' injured reserve list after tearing his ACL.

ED MONK FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: I recently acquired some magic powers and decided to grant you three wishes to improve NFL officiating. How will you use those wishes?
ANSWER: Abolish instant replay as an officiating tool. Train officials specifically to work NFL games. Treat officials like players in that too old, too slow, unable to keep up (to a reasonable degree) with the athletes they're adjudicating, not knowing the rules, too many mistakes, and they get replaced.

ERIC SMITH FROM WOODBRIDGE, CT: What do you think about trading for Avery Williamson? He's a free agent after this year and has about $2 million left on his contract for this year. He's a solid veteran at 28 with a few prime years left and he would probably be a great addition in the absence of Devin Bush. Even if the inside linebackers on the roster play well, he would provide high quality depth. If he plays well and/or if Bush isn't going to be ready by the start of next season, we could try to re-sign him. The question, and it's a very important question, is what would we have to do to get him and stay under the cap?
ANSWER: Not in favor, because I'm not at all confident that Avery Williamson would be able to join the Steelers at this stage of the regular season and be able to contribute quickly at the position Devin Bush played. Then because he can be an unrestricted free agent next March and the Steelers would have many more important uses for their cap dollars than for a guy who probably wouldn't be a starter in 2021, the move isn't worth it.

BOB POKLEMBA FROM NAPLES, FL: I think that I am an avid Steelers, fan but a question in the last segment of Asked and Answered has me baffled. Who is Danny Smith?
ANSWER: I think that someone who describes himself as "an avid Steelers fan" would know the name of the guy who has been the team's special teams coordinator since 2013.

JOHN MAIR FROM RIDGE, NY: Do you believe the Steelers will explore the free agent market to help cope with the massive loss of Devin Bush?
ANSWER: There is no free agent market to explore in late October.

GREG PEROTTO FROM DOUGLASTON, NY: Is there a reason the Steelers haven't called up Antoine Brooks? My buddy Jason Barto says he's a breakout star waiting to happen.
ANSWER: I'm relatively certain the reason Antoine Brooks remains on the practice squad is because he's not ready to play in an NFL regular season game, regardless of what breakout NFL super-scout-in-waiting Jason Barto might think.

DENNIS NEVINSKY FROM ERIE, PA: I haven't seen an NFL transaction of Devin Bush being placed on the injured reserve list. Is there a reason why he is being kept on the active roster?
ANSWER: What's the hurry? During the week between games, all of the players on the 53-man roster plus the expanded practice squads are eligible and available for practice. Until the Steelers need the roster spot to add a player who isn't currently under contract to them, there is no advantage to hustling Devin Bush onto the injured reserve list, nor is there a downside to delaying that inevitable administrative procedure.

EOIN KENNY FROM FLORENCE, KY: Do you think Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack would be a good replacement for Devin Bush? Jack would bring more speed to the defense, which would help T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree.
ANSWER: You do understand that this is the NFL in the real world and not a video game or a relay race, right? Myles Jack just signed a huge contract with Jacksonville that will pay him $12.75 million for the 2020 regular season and then another $31 million over the next three seasons. In addition to that amount of money added to their salary cap, the Steelers also would have to compensate the Jaguars with draft picks to convince them to part with Jack.

ROB MCMILLIN FROM KATY, TX: You're killing me. Keep it up. Hilarious.
ANSWER: Sometimes it's too easy.

RICH BACH FROM WICHITA, KS: I have watched the Santonio Holmes catch in Super Bowl XLIII against the Cardinals, and every replay I have watched shows that he did not have both feet down before he went out of bounds. I know that this could be construed as a conspiracy. I have been a Steelers fan for more years than I want to admit. Can you explain or give me your take on this?
ANSWER: My take is you should find yourself a hobby. I'm guessing solving the JFK assassination would be right up your alley.

ZACHARY MIRANDA FROM POCONO SUMMIT, PA: Why do you think the Steelers are not incorporating Jaylen Samuels into more run plays and the offense in general?
ANSWER: Because there are better players ahead of him. There's no conspiracy.