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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 31

Let's get to it:

WAYNE TUCKER FROM CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA: Why didn't T.J. Watt get credit for 1.5 sacks, or at least two half-sacks in the Jacksonville game? The announcers seemed to say he had it.
ANSWER: Credit for sacks is something that is assigned during the game by the home team stats crew, and it usually comes down to what those people see live and then on the replays provided on the stadium scoreboard and the televisions in the press box. And it's based on the guidelines set forth by the league to govern such situations. Because sacks are an official NFL statistic, any in-game determinations for which player or players get credit for a sack can be reviewed by Elias Sports Bureau, which has served as the official statisticians for the NFL since 1961. In the vast majority of cases, the ruling by Elias becomes official.

DENNIS SLEEGER FROM YORK, PA: With Kenny Pickett getting hurt during Sunday's game vs. Jacksonville, it brings me to this question. The Steelers brought in Mitch Trubisky to replace Pickett. If the Steelers wanted to bring in Mason Rudolph, what could they do? I know Mitch would have to get hurt to bring in the third quarterback, but in theory could he fake an injury?
ANSWER: All three Steelers quarterbacks – Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph – are on the 53-man roster, and so the matter of getting Rudolph on the field for a particular game involves nothing more than designating someone else as the emergency quarterback and putting Rudolph in the game. When he, or either of the other two, is designated as the emergency quarterback, then he only can enter the game if the other two quarterbacks are injured and cannot continue. And there is no faking an injury to get an emergency quarterback on the field, because the punishment for that would be severe and so not worth the risk of getting caught.

PAUL DiMARTINO FROM FT LAUDERDALE, FL: The Steelers focused on upgrading the offensive line this offseason, and on paper it was considered a success. But watching the games this season, it seems like the offensive line play has been subpar at best. Are the offseason signings not living up to expectations?
ANSWER: You mentioned that the free agent acquisitions along the offensive line appeared to be a success on paper, and I will admit to being one of those who fell into that trap even though I should know better than to form an opinion about a football matter based on how it looks "on paper." Based on the play so far of the offensive line, I believe it's fair to question the offseason additions of those players, but making any definitive snap judgments less than halfway through a season would be foolish.

ERIK BELK FROM BALTIMORE, MD: Do you think the steelers will make any moves before the trade deadline?
ANSWER: At his weekly news conference on Monday, when Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the possibility of making moves before the 4 p.m. deadline on Oct. 31, he said, "We're always open for business." My view is that while there may be some activity on that front, the Steelers will not be involved in trading away high draft picks, and certainly not No. 1 draft picks, in return for a veteran player.

TOM MIHALIC FROM SUFFOLK, VA: Why in the world did they draft Darnell Washington, or are the coaches too stupid to know how to use him?
ANSWER: Maybe it's some fans who aren't smart enough to understand exactly what Darnell Washington was when he came out of the University of Georgia. Washington was known and valued for his blocking by Coach Kirby Smart. In 36 college games, Washington had 45 catches (1.25 catches per game) and 3 touchdowns. Not exactly Kyle Pitts-type receiving numbers are they? Washington very well could develop into a quality receiver at the NFL level, but right now he's not that, and just because you want it to be so doesn't mean it is.

JORGE MORALES FROM LAREDO, TX: Why was the Jacksonville player (defensive end Adam Gotsis) not flagged for driving Kenny Pickett into the ground at the end of the first half? Not only did he drive him into the ground, he clearly held Picket's arm to his body keeping him from protecting his himself.
ANSWER: I have no explanation for what looked like inconsistent and arbitrary officiating in the Steelers-Jaguars game, and I'm certainly not going to defend it.

STEVE SHUSSETT FROM READING, PA: Can you explain what was called and not called in the last minute of the first half on Sunday?
ANSWER: I cannot explain it, and after reading the pool report that served as a transcript for the officials' answers for "what was called and not called in the last minute of the first half," the officials can't explain it either.

TIMOTHY A. HERD FROM CHARLEROI, PA: Should the NFL drop its afflation with the sports betting sites? The questionable calls and bad officiating may call into question the integrity of the game. Bad calls happen, but they seem to be happening at an alarming rate, making some bettors very unhappy. I just enjoy watching football so I just moan about the bad calls.
ANSWER: The issue of the NFL's "affiliation with the sports betting sites" is way over my pay grade and for people much smarter than me, but I do believe the league has to be cognizant of appearances related to the issue you present in your submission. My personal opinion on NFL officiating is that while it often is arbitrary and inconsistent, it never is sinister in terms of an agenda.

JOSHUA LEWIS FROM WINCHESTER, IN: Having seen multiple people online discussing trades and whatnot to fill the void left by the injury to Cam Heyward, I've been looking at the salary cap situation for the Steelers. It shows Stephon Tuitt with dead money assigned to the team's salary cap after his retirement. If he, or anyone else with time left on his contract, were to return how would that impact the salary cap?
ANSWER: Using your example of the dead money from Stephon Tuitt's past contract, that charge to the salary cap is for a past contract. If Tuitt would want to return to play for the Steelers or another NFL team, any charges to the salary cap related to that would be based on whatever contract he negotiated with the new team and those would only apply to that team's cap.

GAVIN WHITESIDE FROM HAGERSTOWN, MD: Do you think that the Steelers should try and trade for cornerback Patrick Surtain? If so who should they trade?
ANSWER: The Denver Broncos recently said publicly that they will not trade cornerback Patrick Surtain II, so just put that thought out of your head. It's not real.