Let’s get to it:
CHRISTIAN MIELNIK FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: With Ben Roethlisberger having been placed on injured reserve and now out for the season, and with Mason Rudolph taking over the reigns this season, is Roethlisberger still eligible to participate in practices/games to provide veteran guidance to our new starting quarterback?
ANSWER: You use the word “participate,” and once Ben Roethlisberger is on the injured reserve list he cannot physically participate in any practices or games. But if what you mean by “participate” is attend and serve as an extra set of eyes and as a sounding board for Mason Rudolph, then the answer is yes.
GUSTAVO ZAPIAIN FROM GATINEAU, CANADA: Is Landry Jones a free agent and would the Steelers consider bringing him back to be Mason Rudolph's backup now that Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season?
ANSWER: No, Landry Jones is not a free agent. On Aug. 15, Landry Jones became the first player to join the XFL. “We're excited to welcome Landry to the XFL as our first player and first quarterback," XFL Commissioner and CEO, Oliver Luck said in a statement released by the league. “He's an accomplished athlete with outstanding college credentials and pro experience, and his heart and desire to play football epitomizes the type of individual we want in the XFL.” Seven more quarterbacks will be signed prior to the XFL's inaugural draft in October. Those eight quarterbacks, including Jones, will be selected by each team's head coach before the draft begins.
LEE JOHNSON FROM MIDLAND, VA: I was just wondering about the similarities of when Ben Roethlisberger took over for Tommy Maddox, now with Mason Rudolph taking over for Roethlisberger. Both things happened in the second game of season? Was it the second quarter, too? Were the stats close to the same?
ANSWER: Tommy Maddox was injured in the second game of the 2004 season, which happened to be against the Ravens in Baltimore, and the injury happened on the fifth play of the third quarter when he was sacked by Gary Baxter on a cornerback blitz. In his first NFL game, Roethlisberger completed 12-of-20 (60 percent) for 171 yards, with two touchdowns, two interceptions, and a rating of 82.5. Mason Rudolph started the second half against Seattle, and he completed 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) for 112 yards, with two touchdowns, one interception, and a rating of 92.4.
BOBBY DINICOLA FROM VALLEY VIEW, OH: Now that Ben Roethlisberger is out for the rest of the year and we traded Josh Dobbs, do the Steelers look at someone to fill the backup role to Mason Rudolph?
ANSWER: I’m sure the Steelers will be looking at who’s available at quarterback, and I also believe that Devlin Hodges will be added to the active roster from the practice squad, because unlike anyone the team might sign off the street, Hodges has a working understanding of the team’s offense. For the immediate future, maybe longer into this season, Hodges will be the team’s backup quarterback because he spent OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the preseason working within this offensive scheme and with many of the players currently on the 53-man roster. That level of familiarity is invaluable in emergency cases such as this.
JP BERG FROM GARWOOD, NJ: I just read that Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season. I feel comfortable with what I saw from Mason Rudolph. Do you think he has enough to lead the Steelers to the playoffs?
ANSWER: For Steelers fans, the bad news today is the Ben Roethlisberger will have elbow surgery and will be lost for the rest of the season. For me, the bad news yesterday was that even though Roethlisberger only was able to play the first half vs. Seattle, that game was not lost because of quarterback play. Which means the Steelers playoff hopes do not rest solely on the shoulders of Mason Rudolph, because if the rest of the team didn’t start playing better and playing better quickly the Steelers were going to have a difficult time making the playoffs with a healthy Roethlisberger at quarterback.
ROBERT ANAVIAN FROM REDONDO BEACH, CA: Do you think that Mason Rudolph has the potential to be a good starting quarterback for the Steelers and will the Steelers allow him to develop over the year without looking for another quarterback?
ANSWER: Whether Mason Rudolph becomes a quality NFL starter will be revealed over time, but I feel confident that Mason Rudolph will be the Steelers starting quarterback for the remainder of this season, barring injury. I don’t see the team going outside to bring in someone to take that job from him in 2019.
DENNIS SLEEGER FROM YORK, PA: I don't understand. We just lost our offensive line coach less then nine months ago. How, with three Pro Bowl players on the line, can we not run the ball?
ANSWER: I don’t understand that, either. But what I do believe is that it wasn’t the offensive line coach who was the reason why the Steelers were able to run the football, and the offensive line coach isn’t the reason the team has been unable to do it so far this season.
DAVE AGOSTA FROM LITTLETON, CO: Seattle challenged the no-call pass interference and won. This was a key to their win. Do the rules permit Mike Tomlin to challenge in much the same way, the block in the back call on the Steelers fumble return? I felt the Seahawks player was barely touched, it had no impact on the play, and should not have been called. Could Tomlin have challenged?
ANSWER: No. A penalty for an illegal block in the back is not reviewable.
MIKE PALOMBO FROM MCMURRAY, PA: When a guy like Tuzar Skipper makes the 53-man roster, then gets waived before the first game, does he get anything for making the roster?
ANSWER: At any point during an NFL regular season, if a player is on an active roster through Tuesday before being waived/released, he is paid a game check for that week’s game. Since Tuzar Skipper was waived as one-half of a roster move made on a Saturday, he received a game check even though he was not on the Steelers roster for the game. Assuming Skipper’s contract called for him to earn the rookie minimum salary in 2019, which is $480,000, one game check would amount to $28,235.29.