Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Oct. 4

Let's get to it:

MAUREEN  COLLETT FROM WINCHESTER, NH:
In regards to the question from Al Hawkins, back in 2004, what did Alan Faneca say when asked if he was "excited" to see what rookie Ben Roethlisberger could do?

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ANSWER: Just to make sure everyone understands the reference, in the previous installment of Asked and Answered, there was a question about more playing time for "for some young guys like L.J. Fort, or Tyler Matakevich" because their enthusiasm and energy offsets "their inexperience to a certain degree." I then made the point that professionals don't really care about enthusiasm and energy at the expense of experience and knowing what to do, because professional football is, after all, a profession. A job.**

And on Sept. 20, 2004, the day after Tommy Maddox sustained a serious injury to his right arm, Alan Faneca was brought up to the media room to talk about the Steelers' situation at quarterback. When Faneca, a veteran All-Pro guard was asked whether he was "excited" to see what rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could do, Faneca said, "It's not exciting. Do you want to go work with some little young kid who's just out of college? Everybody's got to do a little more. Everybody's got to help out, got to do a little more, do a little extra, take that extra step, put the extra work in this week and rally around him and help out. It's a learning process for him. He's a No. 1 pick, he's fresh out of college and that's the big thing. He's throwing in a new offense. He's not in that Miami, Ohio, offense that he sat in for three years, four years. He has to learn that, too, so there's a lot to soak in. It's like every play you get better, you see things, you start to realize things, how a play works, how defenses react to it. It's just a process."

In short order, the rookie quarterback proved himself to his teammates and the rest of the NFL, and in 2005 Faneca was part of a Steelers team that won Super Bowl XL with the youngest starting quarterback in that game's history. I'm sure Faneca was excited about that, but I was just referred to that situation to try to explain the difference between the way fans view these kinds of situations and the way the players view these kinds of situations.

SKIP PICKETT FROM PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA:
With Vince Williams having a good showing against the Chiefs, do you maybe see a shared role in games with Ryan Shazier to possibly help keep Shazier healthy?

ANSWER: Who's going to be responsible for knowing which plays are going to be the ones where Shazier sustains an injury so that Williams can be on the field for those?

RUSSELL WALKER FROM CATONSVILLE, MD:
I understand that Ryan Shazier is probably the fastest linebacker in the league and speed is a great asset to have on defense. However, I think tackling is an even greater asset. I think Vince Williams provides that. What do you think about benching Shazier for Williams?

ANSWER: What do I think of that? Not much. I'm not going to pretend to be a scout (hint, hint), but this is what I can tell you that I know. As a rookie in 2013 Vince Williams started 11 games at inside linebacker, and on the first round of the very next draft the Steelers picked Shazier. Obviously, if the Steelers saw Williams as a permanent partner for Ryan Shazier, they never would've picked Shazier in the first round. That the Steelers signed Williams to a contract extension is proof that they value him and his contributions to the team, but I just don't believe they see him as the same caliber of player as Shazier.

MIKE CLAPPER FROM BEDFORD, PA:
Where does the fine money go that Antonio Brown and other players waste with their touchdown celebrations?

ANSWER: All fine money is garnished from a player's check by the NFL office, and it goes into a pot that's then divided up among a host of charities.

MALCOLM  CHRISTOPHER FROM ATLANTA, GA:
With Eli Rogers currently unavailable and given that a toe injury can linger for weeks, why haven't the Steelers added/signed a wide receiver? Things are very shaky beyond Antonio Brown. Perhaps they can find a temporary role for Demarcus Ayers or someone on the practice squad.

ANSWER: The Steelers did add a receiver to their roster in the days leading up to the game against the Chiefs. His name is Le'Veon Bell. He's better than Demarcus Ayers, very likely better than Eli Rogers, too.


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