Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 3

Let's get to it:

MARK BANCALE FROM MISSOULA, MT: In a recent Asked and Answered you recounted how Jack Lambert once introduced himself on network broadcasts by giving his hometown as Buzzard's Breath, Wyoming. I was surprised to learn that the tradition of having the players in the starting lineups introduce themselves in this way dated back that far. My favorite Steelers intro has always been Ike Taylor from "Swaggin U." Do you know if Joey Porter Jr. choosing to wear No. 24 has anything to do with Ike having worn it?
ANSWER: Not too long after Joey Porter Jr. was drafted, Ike Taylor appeared with Dave Dameshek on the Minus Three Podcast and told him that Joey Porter Sr. said to him that his son was going to wear No. 24 with the Steelers. Taylor told Dameshek, "Joey Porter Sr., was like, 'He's going to wear that 2-4 in honor of Uncle Ike,'. I was like, 'Oh, hell yeah,'" Taylor said. "When I saw that this morning in the group text, I was like, that's pretty damn cool … I knew Joey Porter Jr. when he was small, like when he was born."

ERIC SCHIER FROM DOWN, PA: After the humiliating loss to the Texans, Coach Mike Tomlin vowed big changes. But realistically, what sort of meaningful changes are possible one-quarter of the way into the season?
ANSWER: Just for clarification, what Coach Mike Tomlin said was, "Yeah, we have to make some changes, man. That was an ugly product we put out there today. So, we're not going to do the same things and hope for a different outcome. What those changes are, we'll put together a plan in preparation this week." I don't know specifically what he meant, and so I'm going to be waiting to hear what he says at his news conference and then see how things progress over the course of the week leading up to Sunday's game against the Ravens at Acrisure Stadium.

JOSHUA KARPER FROM DELAWARE, OH: With Najee Harris averaging over 5 yards a carry and with the quarterback sneak available as well, why did Matt Canada call a pass play from shotgun formation on fourth-and-1?
ANSWER: I don't have an answer for you on that. I honestly do not know.

DALE MUTZ FROM ALEXANDRIA, VA: With Pressley Harvin III out and Brad Wing being elevated to the active roster in advance of the game in Houston, who will hold the ball for field goals and PATs? Is there a backup holder normally designated on special teams if the normal holder is injured in the game and how often do they actually practice holding?
ANSWER: The typical procedure in the NFL nowadays is for the punter to serve as the holder on field goals and PATs, and so the holder was always going to be Brad Wing if he was taking Pressley Harvin III's place, which is how things worked out. Wing is an experienced holder, because he did that job during his one previous season with the Steelers (2014) when Shaun Suisham made 90 percent of his field goals.

EV STEEL FROM THE DMV: I am so confused about this: the AFC Player of the Month (as announced on Sept. 23) was Micah Parsons. His stats are: 12 tackles, four sacks, five for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Comparing that to T.J. Watt has me believing I am missing something on how this award is determined. Watt's stats - 11 tackles, six sacks (NFL leader), five for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a touchdown. Should I just look at awards as if they don't matter, or should I really be concerned about how the NFL is working with the Steelers. The reason I say this is because this is a Hall of Fame election thing.
ANSWER: Let me calm your fears. First of all, Micah Parsons was NFC Defensive Player of the Month, which I know because he plays for the Dallas Cowboys, a team in the NFC. T.J. Watt was the AFC Defensive Player of the Month because the Steelers are in the AFC. One other thing: while there are awards and honors that would be considered seriously by the Hall of Fame's Board of Selectors, Player of the Week and Player of the Month are not among those. First-Team All-Pro, Teams of the Decade, Defensive Player of the Year – all of those are way more significant.

DAVE DIMAURO FROM ANSONIA, CT: I read a recent Asked and Answered where the question was about players' pay when they get injured. My question is do they get paid if they get injured outside of work. Say a car accident? A fall?
ANSWER: This is from "The Non-Football Injury or Illness list (NFI) is used for players who suffered injuries or ailments outside of NFL activities. This can range from a player injuring his wrist when he fell off a bike on vacation to players who sustained ACL injuries in college. Players who begin the season on NFI (as of cutdowns to 53-man rosters) can be activated after the team has played its first four regular season games. However, a player on this list is not entitled to receive his salary, and his contract will continue to run while in such status. That said, the team and player can negotiate a rate of payment for the player while on this list."

RONALD WINTERS FROM LEARY, TX: In your tenure with the Steelers have you ever seen a midseason change of offensive or defensive coordinator be successful?
ANSWER: No, because that never has happened. The Steelers have not made those kinds of changes during a season.

CARTER NIELSEN FROM SCHLESWIG, IA: When was the last time the Steelers played outside the US? And what was the final score?
ANSWER: On Sept. 29, 2013, the Steelers played the Minnesota Vikings in Wembley Stadium in London. It was the fourth game of the 2013 regular season, and the Vikings won, 34-27.

NICHOLAS PELCHAR FROM PURCELLVILLE, VA: Wouldn't playing a 4-3 defense on running downs help stop the run, you know like the Steel Curtain defenses of old?
ANSWER: Do they get to do it with that same personnel? Nah, Joe Greene and Jack Lambert are too old.

OLEN WINNINGHAM FROM NASHVILLE, TN: When Dan Rooney acquired the authority to approve all trades back in the 1960s, that sparked the resignation of Buddy Parker; ultimately, after 3 seasons with Bill Austin as head coach, Chuck Noll was hired, and the rest is history. However, I've never heard much about the 1965 season under Mike Nixon, who as far as I can tell is the only Steelers head coach in the post-World War II era to last only one year. What was his story, and why did he last for just a single season?
ANSWER: With player shortages beginning in 1942 due to World War II, Mike Nixon briefly resumed his football playing career but then served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for three years. He returned in 1946 as a Steelers assistant under head coach Jock Sutherland. After six seasons in that job, Nixon left on June 3, 1952, to work on the staff of Joe Kuharich, who had been named head coach with the Chicago Cardinals. Nixon then followed Kuharich to Washington after the 1953 season. Nixon got his first chance as a head coach when Redskins Owner George Preston Marshall hired him for the 1959 season, but when the next two seasons resulted in a combined 4-18-2 record Nixon was fired. Out of football until February 1961, Nixon took a job as Buddy Parker's assistant in Pittsburgh. Two weeks before the start of the 1965 season, Parker quit after losing control over all football matters, including trades. And the Steelers turned to Nixon – Parker's top assistant – to be the fill-in. It was too close to the start of the season for the Steelers to conduct a coaching search, and the top candidates would've been under contract to other teams anyway, so the Steelers didn't have much of a choice but to go with Nixon. The 1965 Steelers finished 2-12 and Nixon was fired. He would re-join Kuharich to work on his staff until Leonard Tose bought the franchise.

WILLIAM YOUNG FROM BADEN, PA: On the play that Kenny Pickett was hurt, should a penalty have been called on the player who sacked him for laying his full weight on his legs?
ANSWER: The play in question came on a fourth-and-1 from the Houston 33-yard line with 1:16 left in the third quarter and the Texans holding a 16-6 lead. At the time, I didn't see the sack by Jonathan Greenard as being worthy of a penalty, but I'm often incorrect when I make such an assessment. We'll have to wait and see if the NFL office in New York decides to get involved before a definitive conclusion is reached.

DAVID HUNDERT FROM LANCASTER, PA: In the past, when the offense doesn't seem to be on the same page, they have fallen back on the up-tempo, no-huddle offense. Why does it seem that the team is reluctant to go there this season?
ANSWER: Up-tempo, no-huddle was a much more feasible as an alternative when Ben Roethlisberger was running it. It can be necessary to utilize tempo in a two-minute situation at the end of a half, but using it for more than those brief opportunities can be much too risky with a young quarterback. Roethlisberger could do it and make it a weapon through the experience he had gained over years of an NFL career, but Kenny Pickett wouldn't be able to call on that and has enough to learn and practice with regular offense.

CELESTE GONZALEZ FROM BAKERSFIELD, CA: Fan from birth. What was it that Coach Noll would say? "When you're losing….."
ANSWER: Chuck Noll's quote, which I have "borrowed" many times during my career, is, "When you lose, whatever they say about you is true."