Let’s get to it:
PRESTON WOLFE FROM ELIZABETHVILLE, PA: I noticed during Monday night’s game against the Bengals, Cam Heyward was not wearing a captain’s “C” patch. As far as I know he is still the defensive captain so any idea as to why he would not have the patch on his jersey?
ANSWER: None of the Steelers ever have worn the captain’s “C” patch on the front of the jersey. Because the Steelers already have a patch on the front of the jersey – the Steelers logo – the team is allowed to opt out of the “C” patch, which they have decided to do because it would clutter the appearance of the front of the jersey.
ROBERT EVANS FROM CLIFFWOOD, NJ: I know that they are trying to do away with kickoffs, but since when does the receiving team not have to down the ball in the end zone? It doesn’t happen all the time, but there are several times a game where the ball will land in the end zone just sitting there and the referee blows the ball dead.
ANSWER: That’s part of the new approach to making kickoffs safer. It’s no longer necessary for the receiving team to down the ball in the end zone. If the kickoff crosses the plane of the goal line and the receiving team does not touch the ball, the referee will blow the play dead and the receiving team will get the ball on the 25-yard line as a touchback.
BRAYDEN MILLER FROM EDINBORO, PA: Do you think the Steelers eventually will cut Donte Moncrief for that third-round compensatory draft pick, or will they try to see if he can turn it around late in the season?
ANSWER: I believe any decision made about Donte Moncrief will be based on what General Manager Kevin Colbert and Coach Mike Tomlin think will help the 2019 Steelers win games in 2019. They never have made roster decisions based on a possible compensatory draft pick the following year, and I don’t expect them to start now.
MICHAEL PALMER FROM GROVE CITY, PA: We lost a third-round compensatory draft pick in 2020 when the Eagles released L.J. Forte. But then the Ravens picked him up. Do we get the third-round pick back?
ANSWER: Once L.J. Forte was cut by the team that signed him as an unrestricted free agent, which was the Philadelphia Eagles, he is removed from the compensatory draft pick formula. And allow me to make this point again: reports that the Steelers were going to get a third-round compensatory pick were speculation, as are the reports that they lost that pick because/after the Eagles released Forte. That may end up happening, but right now that is speculation.
BRIAN HENDERSON FROM MURRELLS INLET, SC: Reports are that the Steelers released tight end Xavier Grimble with an injury settlement. Can you clarify what is the possible amount of the settlement compared to his 2019 salary and any possible impacts on the cap?
ANSWER: As to the exact amount of the injury settlement, that is not made public, but typically the injury settlement would be something less than the player’s salary for the rest of the season. Based on that assumption, the net result would be some savings on the Steelers salary cap for 2019.
TAG WILSON FROM MCDONOUGH, NY: Does the same grounds crew prepare Heinz Field for both Steelers and Pitt games? Does the NFL inspect the field before a game?
ANSWER: Yes. Not unless there has been a recurring issue with the condition of the field.
GLAUCIO CAFALCHIO FROM TAUBATÉ, BRAZIL: The three teams that have defeated the Steelers in 2019 have a 12-1 combined record heading into today’s games. Were there seasons in which the Steelers had bad results in September and ended winning in January (or February)?
ANSWER: By the wording of the question, I’m assuming you’re asking whether the Steelers ever have had a poor record in September and then went on to play in, or win, the Super Bowl. In 1974, the Steelers were 1-1-1, including a 17-0 loss to Oakland at Three Rivers Stadium, and they ended that season winning their first Super Bowl.
FELICIA BELLARD FROM LAKE CHARLES, LA: Leading up to the 2019 draft, the hype was about which of the two Devins (Devin White and Devin Bush) would have a better NFL career. How are the two Devins stacking up against each other in stats so far?
ANSWER: Devin White sprained an MCL early in the second game of this season and hasn’t played since, which means it hasn’t been much of a competition thus far into their respective careers.
JOHN NOH FROM SAN JOSE, CA: Can you enlighten us on the current rule for the injured reserve list? I thought the teams could designate up to two players to return from the injured reserve list, but I saw no such designations for Sean Davis or Xavier Grimble. I know Ben Roethlisberger will not return this season. Has the designated to return rule gone away?
ANSWER: The designated-to-return option remains a part of the injured reserve list rule, but for the last few years teams have not been required to list which players it wants to designate-to-return until the player shows himself healthy enough to come off the injured reserve list. So in the case of Sean Davis, once he has been on the injured reserve list for the required eight weeks, the Steelers then can assess his health and make a determination whether to designate him to return or not.
JARED FRYE FROM CADILLAC, MI: What's the plan for Donte Moncrief as of right now? How is he coming along in practice? And when do you think we'll see him again if at all during the season?
ANSWER: The following is that question as it was posed to Coach Mike Tomlin during his most recent weekly news conference, along with his answer:
Q: Is Donte Moncrief doing anything to get back in the mix offensively?
TOMLIN: “He is. He’s working extremely hard at practice. He had an opportunity to have a helmet on again in the last game. He only got three plays, but I just like his attitude and his work. And we’ll keep working to see if an opportunity presents itself. More importantly than that, if it presents itself, is his level of readiness when it presents itself because you don’t have to be in this thing a long time to realize that the boomerang comes back around. He needs to be ready for it when it does.”
My opinion is that Donte Moncrief’s next opportunity will come either when one of the players currently ahead of him on the depth chart is injured or has to be replaced because of sub-par play.