Best of Asked and Answered: Friday, October 2

Let's get to it:

MARTIN STERN FROM SAN DIEGO, CA: Greg Lloyd was one of the Steelers best all-time linebackers who truly was feared by our opponents during his days as a player. He made numerous Pro Bowls and was voted All-Pro numerous times. Why in your opinion is he never considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
ANSWER: Statistics. Greg Lloyd's statistics come up short of getting him serious consideration from the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors. In 147 career NFL games, Lloyd finished with 54.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, 35 forced fumbles, and 16 fumble recoveries, and I just don't believe those numbers – for the era in which he played – are sufficient to attract a lot of support for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also isn't helped by the Steelers teams he played on never winning a Super Bowl. Lloyd's place in Steelers history is another matter, and that's why Art Rooney II created the Hall of Honor, which Lloyd will join as a member of the Class of 2020.

DAVE BURKE FROM ERIE, PA: In the Denver game, Ben Roethlisberger drew a defender offsides and was clearly frustrated (yet again) that the officials blew the play dead instead of giving his offense a "free play." It was fairly clear the defender wasn't unabated to the quarterback when the ball was snapped, so I'm wondering if there has been an update to the rule that gives officials the ability to blow the play dead at their discretion?
ANSWER: There are some judgment factors involved, such as whether the movement of the defensive player into the neutral zone caused an offensive player to move, and sometimes an offensive player will move on purpose once a defender crosses into the neutral zone to draw attention and make sure a penalty is called. Or the zebra in question could've blown the call, which we all know is not an uncommon outcome.

CORNELIUS KEMP FROM JACKSON, MS: I know its early in the season, but do you think our secondary will improve as the season progresses?
ANSWER: It better improve as the season progresses, but that same point can be made about every other unit and/or aspect of the team's play so far. Bill Cowher always believed it took six weeks of a regular season to identify the things that needed to be fixed, and that was at a time when teams went through a full offseason program and played preseason games.

MIKE McGREGOR FROM BEND, OR: It appears Ben Roethlisberger is off to a very good start – his touchdown passes are up and his interceptions are down. What is a realistic touchdown-to-interception ratio for a top-tier (let's say top 10) NFL quarterback?
ANSWER: My opinion on this is that an accurate assessment of Ben Roethlisberger's season has more to do with whether he's providing the team with what it needs to win games than it does how he compares to other quarterbacks around the league. Right now, after three weeks of the season, I would be willing to take between 25-30 touchdown passes and fewer than 10 interceptions. Then how that would compare with other quarterbacks around the league wouldn't concern me at all.

JAMES CHURCHWELL FROM RICHMOND, VA: I had to let you know I loved your answer to the guy who wanted to know if you've given any thought to having a "stupidest question column?" Your response: "Too much content for that." (LMBO). That's what I love about Asked and Answered, the brutal, bareboned honest and sometimes sarcastic answers you give, whether it's liked or not. Thanks for keeping it real, as I knew you would.
ANSWER: Happy to provide you with some information and entertainment. That's the purpose of Asked and Answered.

PATRICK ABBOTT FROM FREDERICK, MD: With 24 seconds left in the first half, down 21-17 and having two timeouts, why did the Steelers kneel on the ball instead of trying to score?
ANSWER: You're joking, right? It was first-and-10 at their own 25-yard line. They would have needed to gain 42 yards just to have a chance to attempt a 50-yard field goal and probably would have to save one of those timeouts to get the field goal unit on the field. C'mon. There are things to criticize about the Steelers performance against the Texans, and I even could help you with a few legitimate ones, but your particular complaint is absurd.

BRAD SMITH FROM ASHLAND, MA: I am curious to know your assessment of how Devin Bush is doing in his second year. I do not hear his name called as much by the announcers, but I know there is more to playing a position than making the tackle or getting the sack.
ANSWER: This is what I know: Going into the game against the Texans, Devin Bush was leading the team in tackles with 14, and he also had a pass defensed. Then against the Texans, he had four tackles, shared a sack with Bud Dupree, and broke up a pass in the end zone. Also, through three weeks of the season, the Steelers defense is ranked in the top five in the NFL in eight different statistical categories, including points allowed per game. And in achieving those rankings, Devin Bush has played every defensive snap of every game so far.

TODD TRUFFIN FROM FUQUAY-VARINA, NC: I've been following the Steelers and NFL football since the late 1970s. As a kid I loved seeing the NFL Films shows that would pop up on TV, and, growing up in Ohio, made a fair-share of trips to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the internet age, I've read loads of Steelers coverage and of course, have been a very regular reader of Asked and Answered. With all of that said, when in the sam hill did we start talking about "bell cows?" Please tell me this is a somewhat recent thing.
ANSWER: Ever watch any college football? Remember the days when ABC's main broadcast crew for its marquee college football games was Keith Jackson and Frank Broyles, who was the former coach and athletic director at the University of Arkansas? A "bell cow" is the lead cow of a herd and has a bell attached to a collar around the neck so that the herd can be located easily. In Broyles' folksy style, he referred the lead running back, as the "bell cow."

KEITH MILLER FROM WAYNESVILLE, NC: I have always thought there should be some compensation for losing a player off the practice squad, such as a late-round draft choice. What do you think?
ANSWER: The NFLPA never would go for it, because doing that would restrict players having an opportunity to secure a job on an active roster because teams wouldn't be inclined to give up a draft pick for a guy on another team's practice squad when they could just sign somebody off the street for no compensation. And I don't perceive it as an issue the owners want to go to war over.

JOHN MAIR FROM RIDGE, NY: The Steelers usually announce when they will wear their throwback and color rush uniforms before the season starts. I haven't heard anything yet. Did I miss something? Is the team still going to wear alternate uniforms this season?
ANSWER: The Steelers haven't been able to announce whether there will be fans at any home games this season.

KENNY BINGLE FROM ORLANDO, FL: Although it ended up not having an impact on the outcome of the game, could you comment on the play against the Texans where Ben Roethlisberger ran for what appeared to be a first down when he reached the ball out on the sideline? After a spot challenge by Coach Mike Tomlin, which I felt was a good challenge, the call on the field was upheld and resulted in a fourth-and-1 situation. This was a critical time in the game with the Steelers trying to come from behind.
ANSWER: My comment is to keep this play in mind when people start ripping Mike Tomlin for not winning challenges. Sometimes the zebras just aren't going to give you the call, even when replay indicates the call on the field should be overturned. For whatever reason, sometimes officials just won't give you the call. I said in the press box at Heinz Field as soon as the play happened that the Steelers weren't going to get that call changed, and they didn't. Officiating in the NFL is like Stonehenge – trying to make sense of it is impossible.

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