Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: September 15

Let's get to it:

Should they give defenders who make clutch solo tackles on fourth downs a turnover statistic? I think it would more accurately represent a player's actual contribution in a game if you could know who made those fourth-down stops.


ANSWER: Why only on fourth downs? What about on third downs that precede a punt? I understand your point in trying to acknowledge significant contributions, but good luck lobbying for a change in the way the NFL accumulates its statistics. What I can tell you is that in the Steelers' opener, the Redskins were 0-for-2 on fourth downs. On the first one – fourth-and-6 from the Pittsburgh 38-yard line with 6:27 remaining in the second quarter – Kirk Cousins completed a pass to running back Chris Thompson, but he was tackled after a 5-yard gain by Robert Golden. On the other – fourth-and-10 from the Redskins 37-yard line with 4:26 remaining in the fourth quarter – Cousins scrambled out of the pocket and was chased out of bounds by Arthur Moats after a gain of 8 yards.**

If a player receives an injury settlement, does that amount count against the salary cap for that year?

ANSWER: Yes, and that's why the Steelers like to keep a bit of a cushion with their salary cap each year. In fact, late this summer the Steelers actually re-did a couple of contracts – converting base salary into a signing/roster bonus to create cap room – because of all of the settlements.

Who has the most 100-plus yard receiving games in Steelers history?

ANSWER: That would be Hines Ward, with 29. Antonio Brown, after his eight catches for 126 yards against the Redskins last Monday night, is second on the list with 26. John Stallworth is third with 25.

I live in Justin Gilbert's hometown, and we are all excited that he was acquired by the Steelers. Can you tell me how this trade came about? Did the Browns contact Kevin Colbert? Was Justin's agent involved in getting the parties together? How did the Steelers learn Justin was available?

ANSWER: The whole thing stemmed from the Steelers doing their typical due diligence during the training camp/preseason period. Brandon Hunt is the Steelers Pro Scouting Coordinator, and he routinely keeps up with the rosters of all of the other NFL teams, and he also has a sense of where the Steelers might be on the lookout for reinforcements. The Steelers were aware of Justin Gilbert coming out of Oklahoma State – Coach Mike Tomlin said he went to Stillwater a day before Oklahoma State's Pro Day back in 2014 to take Gilbert out for dinner, and then he spent some time with him talking football in a classroom setting after the Pro Day workout was over – and the Steelers considered him a first-round talent. The Steelers also were aware that things weren't going all that well for Gilbert in Cleveland, and that the Browns had hired a new coaching staff in addition to making some changes in their front office. That's how the process began, with a phone call from Hunt to the Browns, and then things developed from there.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, as all locker rooms are not the same in size (typically being smaller for the visiting team), how is it decided which team gets which locker room? Not sure if there is a distinct advantage to having a larger/smaller room, but one would think having a bit more elbow room in a room of 53 players plus personnel would be a desire.


ANSWER: The home and road teams for the Super Bowl are designated on a rotating basis by the NFL. For example, in 2005, the AFC representative Steelers were the designated home team, which means that in 2008 they were the designated road team. The designated home team for the Super Bowl gets to choose which color jerseys it will wear for the game, as well as getting to pick which of the two designated interview times it prefers for the players/coaches to meet the media. That designation also determines which team gets which locker room. At Ford Field for Super Bowl XL, the Steelers got the home team locker room, and at Raymond James Stadium they got the visiting team locker room. As for the potential disparity in the size of the locker rooms, I would suspect that any city/team bidding for a Super Bowl better have locker rooms of respectable size in the stadium, or that city/team won't be awarded the game.**

What are your thoughts on Bill Hillgrove? I love listening to him announce a game on the radio. Have you ever met or spoken to him personally? What's he like?

ANSWER: I am honored to be able to call Bill Hillgrove a friend. I've known him for more years than either one of us likely would care to admit – makes us sound old – and he travels to road games on the team charter when his schedule permits. Bill Hillgrove is a true professional, a gentleman, and a generous, fun guy to be around. Great storyteller. Great teller of jokes. He knows a lot and has seen a lot, too. One of my all-time favorite people in this crazy business.

Is Paul Lang still on the team?

ANSWER: Paul Lang, the tight end from Michigan State who was signed on June 7, was waived/injured on Sept. 3.

After Le'Veon Bell' massive Week 1 against the Redskins defense, and if he keeps it up, can you see any situation where there are question marks over Le'Veon Bell returning to the starting lineup immediately after he's reinstated from his suspension?

ANSWER: There may be question marks, but not in the minds of anyone who matters in making the decision.

Will Le'Veon Bell be able to regain his position as the starting running back since DeAngelo Williams is looking good in the eyes of the fans?

ANSWER: And this is why I answered the above question the way I did. The fans' opinion on this doesn't matter.

Should the lack of pressure on the quarterback be a concern? The defense held the fort against the Redskins, but a better team is going to take advantage of that.

ANSWER: It's obviously a concern to you, and after the game Cam Heyward mentioned it as an area in need of improvement. If it's necessary for you to have something to be "concerned" about following a 38-16 win on the road, I guess the pass rush could serve that purpose.

When is the Chuck Noll bio supposed to go on sale?

ANSWER: "Chuck Noll: His Life's Work," by Michael MacCambridge, is available now in pre-order. The book is set for release on Oct. 28.

Can we write you in for President?

ANSWER: I'm not nearly smart enough for that job, and unlike one guy running, I'm at least smart enough to realize that.

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