Sat, 10 Jun 2023

Asked and Answered: Nov. 24

The Steelers
25 Nov 2022, 05:30 GMT+10

Bob Labriola

Let's get to it:

DUANE HYLAND FROM HERNDON, VA: Since one of the questions in the Nov. 22 installment of Asked and Answered dealt with Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson, I would like to know if Maurkice Pouncey's body of work will land him in Canton one day alongside those two stellar players.

ANSWER: I cannot give you a definitive answer to your question, and all I can do is provide you with some comparative highlights from the respective careers of Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson, and Maurkice Pouncey.

Webster was voted first-team All-Pro five times, was a member of four Super Bowl championship teams, was voted to the Hall of Fame All-1970s team (second team behind Miami's Jim Langer) and the Hall of Fame All-1980s team (second team behind Dwight Stephenson. Dawson was voted first-team All-Pro six times and was voted to the Hall of Fame All-1990s team (first team ahead of Mark Stepnoski). Pouncey was voted first-team All-Pro twice and was voted to the Hall of Fame All-2010s team (along with Alex Mack).

The other tidbit I can provide is that as of the Class of 2022, there are only 12 pure centers enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a total that doesn't include players such as Chuck Bednarik (who also played linebacker) or Bruce Matthews (who also played guard and tackle). Those 12 pure centers include Mel Hein, George Trafton, Clyde Turner, Alex Wojciechowicz, Dermontti Dawson, Frank Gatski, Jim Langer, Kevin Mawae, Jim Otto, Jim Ringo, Dwight Stephenson, and Mike Webster.

Download and listen to the Ask & Answered Podcast here:Apple Podcast| Spotify

CLIFF WILLIS FROM MEADVILLE, PA: How many times this season have the Steelers been in the red zone and not scored a touchdown?

ANSWER: According to the Week 11 statistics released by the NFL, the Steelers offense has had 31 possessions in the red zone and scored 15 touchdowns. That touchdown percentage of 48.4 has them tied-for-26th in the NFL.

SHANE STONE FROM OCEAN CITY, MD: With the Steelers being a picture of longevity when it comes to head coaches, I wonder about the other coaches. Does the team have a history of letting coaches go during the season, or do they typically do so at the end of the season?

ANSWER: Once Dan Rooney assumed primary control over football operations in the mid-1960s, his philosophy was that it always was a bad idea to fire coaches in the middle of the season. His reason was that after you fire a coach in the middle of the season, an interim replacement has to be hired/appointed. Then if the interim hire/appointee has some success, then maybe you are influenced/convinced to hire him full-time even though he might not be the choice if a complete search was conducted. So, Dan Rooney's belief was that if you're going to fire/replace a coach, you do it at the end of the season and then conduct a wide-ranging search for the best possible replacement.

KEN MAULDIN FROM CLYDE, OH: What is's association with the Pittsburgh Steelers? Does every team have a designated website that is its official site?

ANSWER: is the official website of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and all NFL teams have their own official websites.

CHAD BILLEC FROM TAYLORS, SC: I think Kenny Pickett will pan out and be OK. He hasn't turned the ball over like he was earlier this year, but is he holding onto the ball too long (when actually given time), because he's gun shy, or are the receivers struggling to create separation?

ANSWER: This is another of those questions that doesn't have a one-size-fits-all answer, but what fans sometimes find difficult to grasp is that Kenny Pickett is a rookie who's trying to adjust to the NFL game and the individuals who play it. There are no Dukes or Boston Colleges on the schedule anymore, and the teams on the schedule don't have Duke or Boston College caliber defensive backs. I'm sure there are times when Pickett is "gun-shy" to use your term because he's still adjusting to the speed of the NFL game and what qualifies as an open receiver at the professional level, just as there undoubtedly are times when the receivers aren't creating separation to give him an easy throwing lane. In many instances, the answers to questions about Pickett's play are simply: Kenny Pickett is a rookie. Then again, maybe that is the "one-size-fits-all" answer, which means the important issue is whether he grows out of those rookie mistakes.

BRIAN HENDERSON FROM MURRELLS INLET, SC: After the Cincinnati game, Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt said the Steelers offense was predictable and kept running the same plays the whole game with no adjustments, which made it easy to defend. As Steelers fans, this has got to be maddening. In your opinion, how long do you think this continues with no major personnel and coaching changes?

ANSWER: Want to know what I find maddening? People taking the word of a player on the opposing team that just defeated a rival it hates. That's right, there is no love lost between the Bengals and the Steelers, in case you haven't been paying attention for the last couple of decades. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson, then Vontaze Burfict and Pac-Man Jones, all of them had plenty to say about the Steelers, as did Tyler Boyd in 2021 when he said they "quit," and then after the Steelers won in Cincinnati in the 2022 opener, there was some loud celebrating in the visitor's locker room that I'm sure made its way back to the Bengals. Now Germaine Pratt performs some instant analysis after a comeback win in Pittsburgh, and I get asked questions about his assessment. Really? The Bengals won, and Pratt took some verbal shots, and that's the way it works. The winner gets to talk, and as Chuck Noll always said, "When you lose, whatever they say about you is true." The Bengals won, they deserved to win, they were the better team, and they had some fun with it in the locker room after the game. If you want to take postgame locker room talk as gospel, have at it, but please don't bother me with such drivel.

STEFAN PISOCKI FROM WILMINGTON, DE: Perhaps I am biased, but I certainly am of the belief that James Harrison belongs in Canton. Undrafted players may be a rarity in the Hall of Fame, but I have to think that most who win the Defensive Player of the Year Award wind up enshrined. Am I wrong?

ANSWER: I share your belief that James Harrison is a Hall of Fame-caliber player, but as I have written in this space before, I don't think it's going to end up being an easy or quick process for him to get there. Harrison retired with 84.5 sacks, and there are more than 25 players who recorded 100 or more sacks in their careers who are not enshrined in Canton. Also, here is a partial list of former Defensive Player of the Year Award winners who are not enshrined in the Hall of Fame: Bob Sanders, Dana Stubblefield, Bryce Paup, Pat Swilling, Keith Millard, Doug Betters, Lester Hayes, Randy Gradishar, Harvey Martin, and Dick Anderson. Harrison does have two Super Bowl rings and the greatest defensive play in Super Bowl history in his favor, and we're just going to have to wait and see how the voters view the entirety of his career.

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