Let’s get to it:
TA ERLENBUSCH FROM COLORADO SPRINGS, CO: Do you believe more attempts in the run game would have improved the offense at New England? It seems that only giving James Conner 10 attempts over the whole game will never result in a significant running game.
ANSWER: It seemed to me that the Steelers began the game with the idea of establishing their running game. In the first quarter, the Steelers ran the ball six times and passed it four times, and then in the second quarter they ran it four times and passed it twice before the game circumstances intervened. With 3:49 remaining in the second quarter, the Steelers had run the ball 10 times and passed it six times, but they were trailing, 17-0. Because the offense wasn’t scoring and also was unable to convert a couple of third-and-1 situations and a fourth-and-1 situation in the game’s first 26 minutes, the Steelers found themselves down by 17 points on the way to being down by 20 and already in catch-up mode. I agree with your contention that it’s important for the Steelers to run the football and stick to it, but when the offense doesn’t score any points and the defense gives up 20 in the first half, which is how it ended up last Sunday night, the running game is going to take a backseat for the rest of that game.
NEIL GLASSER FROM MANALAPAN, NJ: Could the Steelers re-sign Landry Jones to be their No. 3 quarterback, or is he not eligible since he has signed a contract with the XFL?
ANSWER: Because the XFL contract he signed is a legally binding document, Landry Jones is off the market.
ZACHARY RYBCHIN FROM WESTPORT, CT: Why did we release Tuzar Skipper? And after we released him, why didn't we sign him to the practice squad?
ANSWER: The Steelers waived Tuzar Skipper to create a spot so that wide receiver Johnny Holton could be activated from the practice squad for the opener in New England. The Steelers planned on signing Skipper to the practice squad, and that’s what they wanted to do, but Skipper was claimed by the New York Giants.
SAM WILEY FROM MIDDLETOWN, RI: I was wondering what the protocol during the week is for players on the practice squad. Do they go to meetings in their position room? Do they run drills with the regulars guys? Do they get reps in practice? Watch film? Eat lunch?
ANSWER: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. In short, players on the practice squad do everything players on the 53-man roster do except play in games.
RICHARD REYNOLDS FROM BELLEVUE, PA: Why wouldn't the Steelers look to hire Troy Polamalu or Ike Taylor as the defensive backs coach or even as a scout? We can't seem to upgrade the secondary through the draft and develop players.
ANSWER: What makes you think either Troy Polamalu or Ike Taylor has any interest in a career in coaching or as a scout? And what makes you think that because someone was a good NFL player he would automatically make a good NFL coach, or scout? What position did Bill Belichick play in the NFL? Or Bill Nunn?
CHRIS BAKER FROM ST. LOUIS, MO: Not a single player looked to be prepared for that game vs. the Patriots, and Ravens are looking good right now. With such a terrible showing for the New England game, where do the Steelers start to try to pull this team out of the nosedive that is looking to be this season, and have a chance at a playoff spot, much less win the division?
ANSWER: Step back from the bridge railing and move your hand away from the panic button. Yes, the Steelers looked awful in their opener, and everyone from Coach Mike Tomlin to the players in the locker room have acknowledged that. But it’s a long season, and it’s really way too early to panic. Yes, they have a lot of work to do, but there is a lot of season left to get things going in the right direction. And please, the Ravens beat a Miami team that its own players are claiming is tanking on the season to improve its position in the 2020 NFL Draft. And the almighty Browns lost by 30 at home to Tennessee. To quote the late Dennis Green, “If you want to crown them, go ahead and crown their (butts).”
GREG RIDNER FROM MONROE, MI: Just out of curiosity have the Steelers ever started 0-1 and then won the Super Bowl? Or if not, how many times have they started 0-1 and gone on to win the division? Trying to prove to these people that it is not the time to panic.
ANSWER: The Steelers never have started a season 0-1 and then won a Super Bowl. The Dallas Cowboys once started 0-2 and won a Super Bowl in the 1990s. The Steelers have started 0-1 eight times where they went on to win a division title, and five of those seasons came with Bill Cowher as the coach. Four other times the Steelers have started a season 0-1 and made the playoffs as a Wild Card. But here’s another statistic for your people: 25 times the Steelers have started a season 1-0 and then done squat.
JIM WOLFE FROM ARLINGTON, TN: What happens to guaranteed money if a player is suspended by the NFL?
ANSWER: The guarantees would be voided. Any guarantees to be paid during the suspension would be forfeited as would any other money the player was due to earn during the time of the suspension.
ROBERT LONG FROM CLEARFIELD, PA: It's my understanding that the Steelers had to eat a significant amount of dead cap money in order to trade Antonio Brown to the Raiders. If true does the release of Brown by the Raiders release the Steelers from that obligation?
ANSWER: It does not.
CHRIS VILLALPANDO FROM AUSTIN, TX: Do you think the Steelers would consider signing Dez Bryant? He has been working hard, and he would help the wide receiver depth tremendously. Are there any talks going on about that yet? His Instagram is blowing up with people telling him go to the Steelers.
ANSWER: Hahahahahahahahaha. No. That’s just what this team needs: a thirtysomething diva receiver with a big social media presence.