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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 28

Let's get to it:

MATT SIMMONS FROM SHIREMANSTOWN, PA: Any truth that the Steelers are more than just listening to trade offers on Melvin Ingram III? He has provided much needed depth at outside linebacker already this season due to injuries. Please tell me I fell for some clickbait.
ANSWER: I don't believe the Steelers see themselves as being out of the playoff race at this point of the season, and that leads me to believe there would be little interest in trading their No. 3 outside linebacker, especially since both T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith missed games already due to injuries. I have little doubt there would be interest in Ingram, but I don't believe the interest would translate into the kind of offer that would pique the Steelers' interest.

MICHAEL L. BODEWIN FROM RIVERSIDE, PA: Why do the Steelers not offer No. 1 to their players anymore? Is it because Gary Anderson?
ANSWER: Whatever the reason the Steelers haven't issued No. 1 since backup quarterback Anthony Wright wore it in 1999, it's not because of Gary Anderson. He never attained that kind of status as a player with the Steelers.

KEN WALDROP FROM ONTONAGON, MI: Do you know the Steelers' record coming off a bye week in the Mike Tomlin era?
ANSWER: The Steelers are 10-4 the week following a bye since Mike Tomlin was hired in 2007. They have won their last four, and they are 2-0 vs. Cleveland the week following their bye under Tomlin.

JEFFREY MASON FROM WALDORF, MD: Next year will be the 20th anniversary of an unbelievable Steelers game. Pittsburgh amassed over 400 yards of offense and gave up fewer than 100 yards, but in 2002 they lost to the expansion Houston Texans by double digits. How could this have happened? Please elaborate?
ANSWER: This happened because quarterback Tommy Maddox was a disaster, an absolute turnover machine, and despite repeated evidence of this, Coach Bill Cowher became convinced he gave the Steelers the best chance to win. To put statistics to my contention that the decision to make Maddox the starter "was a disaster:" As the team's full-time starter in 2002-03, Maddox made 27 starts, during which the Steelers were 13-13-1, and during those seasons he completed 532-of-896 (59.4 percent), with 38 touchdowns, 33 interceptions, and a rating of 79.4. He also lost four fumbles. During the game against the expansion Texans on Dec. 8, 2002, the Steelers held significant edges in first downs: 24-3; total yards: 422-47; and time of possession: 39:41-20:19, but they lost, 24-6, because the Texans returned a Maddox fumble 40 yards for one touchdown, and then cornerback Aaron Glenn returned two Maddox interceptions 70 yards and 65 yards for touchdowns.

AARON WALKER FROM NEWPORT NEWS, VA: Steelers Nation wants, needs, an update on Anthony McFarland Jr. to help take the load off Najee Harris. What can you tell us?
ANSWER: Coach Mike Tomlin was asked for an update on Anthony McFarland during his weekly news conference on Tuesday. His answer: "I'm anticipating us activating him (this week). I think the week's (practices) will determine if there's a role and, if there is, what that role is." Then on Wednesday, the Steelers did add McFarland to the 53-man roster while also making these corresponding moves: To create a spot for McFarland on the 53-man roster, the team placed defensive lineman Carlos Davis on injured reserve, which means he will have to miss at least the next three games. The Steelers also signed defensive lineman Chris Slayton to the practice squad and released running back Jaylen Samuels from the practice squad.

JOHN PUHALA FROM FRANCONIA, VA: Not many remember the Steelers prior to the 1970s' glory days. The famed "Steel Curtain" was formed in the early 1970s, but in 1969 Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood joined two other players on the defensive line. I believe they were Lloyd Voss and Ben McGee. Am I correct on that?
ANSWER: In 1968, the Steelers starting defensive line had Ben McGee and Lloyd Voss as the ends, with Ken Kortas and Chuck Hinton as the tackles. Joe Greene replaced Kortas in 1969, and Greenwood and Dwight White became full-time starting defensive ends in 1971 when they replaced Voss and McGee. Then in 1972, McGee moved inside and was a starting defensive tackle alongside Greene.

DAVID BEGGS FROM MASON, OH: In the Oct. 19 Asked and Answered, someone asked about the Steelers home opener in 2022. The Pirates are in town on Sunday, Sept. 11, so it looks like the home opener will be on Sept. 18. That's two years in a row the Steelers have had to open on the road. Hopefully in 2023, we can open at home.
ANSWER: Actually, the Steelers haven't opened at home since 2014.

BROOKS LAVER FROM HARRISONBURG, VA: Do you think the Pittsburgh Steelers will be making a move before the trade deadline?
ANSWER: I do not.

COREY BEAVERS FROM LOUISVILLE, KY: What are the odds we make a big-time trade before the deadline?
ANSWER: A big-time trade? Your odds of winning the Powerball are better.

ROD KEEFER FROM EDMOND, OK: How much actual down-time do players get during the bye week? It seems like they spent a fair amount of time doing light practices at least.
ANSWER: The Collective Bargaining Agreement mandates that players be given four consecutive days off during the bye week.

MICHAEL POLECHKO FROM MOUNT PLEASANT, PA: It seems puzzling that so many tackled players jump up and wander around trying to locate an official to hand the ball to. I could swear that not so many years ago players simply let the ball remain on the ground and permitted the officials to do their job. Any thoughts on the matter?
ANSWER: Handing the ball to an official hastens the process of the ball being spotted and made ready for play. I would guess that's the main reason for handling it that way.

KEN WILSON FROM MILTON, PA: Kickers are the most maligned position on the field, but they consistently determine whether a team wins a game or not. The NFL moved the starting point following touchbacks to the 25-yard line, I believe to encourage touchbacks, which makes kickoffs boring. What do you think about rewarding kickers by giving the kicking team 1 point if they kick the ball through the uprights on the kickoff?
ANSWER: A few years ago, the Ravens had a proposal for that exact rule change put before the owners during the NFL's annual meeting in the spring. Since it was the Ravens' idea, I hated it immediately, and the owners apparently did as well, because it never even made it as far as being put up for a vote. Because of that, I don't believe that kind of a rules change has any chance. One last point: In the Steelers' 23-20 overtime victory over the Seahawks, was it T.J. Watt or Chris Boswell who determined the outcome of that game? And don't misunderstand: I love Boswell and believe he's the best placekicker in franchise history, but Watt made the game-winning play.

GIO CALABRO FROM EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NJ: Can a team attempt a field goal on third down, miss, and retain the ball to try again on fourth down?
ANSWER: If the kicker gets his foot into the ball and simply misses putting it through the uprights, then possession goes to the other team. If the snap is fumbled and recovered by the kicking team, as an example, then the kicking team could attempt another field goal on fourth down, provided it recovered the fumble.

KEN BINDER FROM LAKESIDE, AZ: I'm not a fan of the coin flip in overtime and think there are better ways of determining who gets the advantage besides the luck of a coin flip. Why don't they get creative and have each team field a player to race the length of the football field, 100 yards, or something similar to that. This would remove the luck factor, but it would be entertaining for the fans. What are your thoughts?
ANSWER: Add the hungry lions chasing them, and I'm on board.

SCOTT MINNICH FROM HAGERSTOWN, MD: Releasing lions onto the field to add excitement – brilliant! I think the players would be fine, because the lions would be satisfied and full after eating all those dumb "zebras" on the field.
ANSWER: I wish I had thought of that. Good one.