James_Taipei: Is the AFC North race over if the Steelers beat the Browns this week?
Ed Bouchette: Yes. Who's going to catch them if they beat the Browns? They would have a 3-game lead, in essence, over the Browns and 2 over the Ravens.
Terrible_Trousers: Ed, looking ahead, Has Cleveland really turned the corner, or is their surge more a reflection on the competition they've played the past few weeks? What do you expect from them?
Ed Bouchette: It looks as though they have a quarterback, something they did not have when the Steelers played them in the opener. They have weapons on offense, too. So, they are an average NFL team right now.
DaTruth4Life: Ed, what should we make of K. Simmons getting a seat next to Tomlin in the third quarter and having Chris K in their at right guard? Could this be Simmons getting a message that he needs to pick up his play and stop being the weak link on this offensive line?
Ed Bouchette: I asked Mike Tomlin about that today and he said he just wanted to give Chris K. some playing time.
Terrible_Trousers: Ed, After the game that linebacker from Baltimore said that "no team has a chance when you're starting on the 30, 30, 30, 30 every play." True, but I did not see him cause any turnovers to help his offenses field position, eh? He went on to say that it would be a different game in Baltimore, because "when you hold the leading rusher to 25 yards and hold them to 3 points in the second half, you see what can happen." So, did they hold us to 3, or did we hold ourselves to three, after Ben left we weren't calling plays as aggressively, right? your thoughts on the former Pro Bowl linebacker, currently washed up linebacker's comments?
Ed Bouchette: Wow, I don't know where to begin or end with that term paper you just delivered to me. "That" linebacker, of course, is the once-great Ray Lewis. He was right, all those touchdown passes came against Baltimore's offense. Their defense was never on the field and Ray did not get stuffed on a blitz pickup by Fast Willie Parker.
ABSS: Why no Captain "C" on any of the Steeler jerseys ... are the Steelers just cool like that or what?
Ed Bouchette: They have too much going already with the 75th season patch, I believe is the reason.
Jerome_s_waistline: Seriously Ed, the Bus looked like Ted Washington's twin brother... Dude, hook him up with Marino's number so he can get him on his amazing weight loss plan ...
Ed Bouchette: He's become a true Pittsburgher.
Terrible_Trousers: Nice to see a few guys emerge on a national stage, don't you think, Santonio and Harrison taking the next step for all to see? And do you think Ben took a step away from the second tier of really good QB's and took one step toward the big two?
Ed Bouchette: One game does not do that, unless it's a Super Bowl, but I think Ben did take a big leap by throwing 5 TD passes, no interceptions and having a statistically perfect game against a good defense.
Art_Vandelay: I do not have any problem whatsoever with Jack Lambert staying away from all of the anniversary type celebrations and the like. He is his own man and can live his life however he wants. But why do you think he stays away? Does he just not want the attention? I think out of all the Steeler greats, if Dracula in Cleats was there last night, he would have brought the house down when he was introduced (partially because he is so scarcely in the public eye).
Ed Bouchette: I think Lambert stayed away because he wants more. What that more is, I'm not sure, but it's not more adoration by the fans, that's for sure.
Terrible_Trousers: Big Ed, I've heard Lambert described as a very private individual before, would you guess that was the reason he was not in attendance last night, that he really just doesn't want to be in the spotlight anymore?
Ed Bouchette: No.
Mex-steeler: Willie Parker kept slamming his head into a wall of Ravens. Any ideas why didn't they try to get him to the outside ?
Ed Bouchette: The slippery turf may have had something to do with it.
DaTruth4Life: Ed, how can you let Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun beat you with the best line of the night? He said Hines had more knockouts in the game than Muhammad Ali. Here's your shot to one up that. Go for it!
Ed Bouchette: You call that a good line?
DumpTruck: Mike Tomlin is 6-0-0 when leading by 11 points or more. I'm just sayin ...
Ed Bouchette: I love stats.
Jerome_s_waistline: Ed, There were at least 2 crushing Hines Ward blocks last night, on Scott and the Reed hit, there were probably more that weren't highlighted, but I also noticed Santonio really picking up the physical nature of Hines with his blocking and aggressiveness, can you talk about the influence Hines has had on his developement?
Ed Bouchette: Ward has influenced other receivers as well, including one Plaxico Burress, who tried to block when he was here. If you see Ward block and you watch it on video in the room with the other receivers during the week, you better well try to block too.
3820_divisadero: Ed, been watching the Browns on the Ticket ... looks like Anderson has a lot of time to throw, you expect more blitzing this week?
Ed Bouchette: Dick LeBeau hasn't given me his gameplan this week, but I would think they'll go after him, yes.
Mex-steeler: With yesterday's performance by James Harrison, do you think that the Steelers may be thinking of placing L. Timmons in the middle for upcoming years ?
Ed Bouchette: They've been thinking that way anyway.
DaTruth4Life: Ed, what do you think about Tomlin's declaration that the most violent team would be the winner of this game and that the steelers would be that team? Do you see this team taking on the personality of its coach on the field?
Ed Bouchette: They often do, over the long haul. After all, it was a physical team under Bill Cowher and a physical team under Chuck Noll. They tell me they were a physical team under Walt Kiesling too, they just didn't win many ballgames.
DaTruth4Life: Ed, what will Kiesel have to do to get his first sack this year? Convince you to wear a tie for the videos?
Ed Bouchette: He has a better chance at 16 sacks than I do of wearing a tie for the video. I think he's in negotiations to buy that first sack. Actually, Kiesel is playing well and leads the team in QB hurries, which Dick LeBeau told me is as important as sacks because it forces errors -- interceptions, etc.
DaTruth4Life: Ed, if you are Tomlin, what do you do about the team's kickoff coverage? Unless they fix it, it will cost them sooner (like with the Browns KR Joshua Cribbs coming to town this week) or later.
Ed Bouchette: The kickoff coverage stinks.
Doug_Sekelik: Is all the scrambling of Ben necessarily a good thing or is this a sign of a weak offense line - especially since the running game was weaker last night.
Ed Bouchette: I tried to get an answer from Mike Tomlin today on that and he wasn't biting. So, in my opinion, they're not protecting very well.
ToddInSyracuse: Any word on Ben's hip?
Ed Bouchette: When he wears his baseball cap on backwards, he's hip. Oh, that's not what you meant? He has a hip contusion and when a TV reporter asked him to 'splain what that means, Mike told him it was a bruised him. (hint: contusion equals bruise, abrasion means scratches or cuts).
AF66: Hi Ed, Do you get the feeling that the Steelers are loving being able to fly under the radar with all the hype being heaped on the Colts and Pats?
Ed Bouchette: They just flew a little higher.
Matt_in_Los_Angeles: When Harrison was interviewed last night - he acted like his performance was no big deal, does he feel this way or was this just for the cameras?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know if he feels that way, but he's not one to get overly emotional or outgoing about anything.
uncle_frankie: I'm bought in Ed, you are right the Rossum trade was unnecessary, again why not Ced if Holmes is a full timer?
Ed Bouchette: I agree.
Steel_in_CO: Do you know if Cowher and Tomlin talked before the game last night? Did you speak with Cowher?
Ed Bouchette: They talked briefly, shook hands on the field. Bill was in the booth next to the press box and we waived hello to each other through the glass.
7: What is Haggans' status?
Ed Bouchette: He's ok. minor knee that Mike Tomlin said is not serious or even worth mentioning.
mg: Did the field seem to hold up okay, or are you now bracing yourself for the annual onslaught of e-mails about replacing it?
Ed Bouchette: It seemed all right, but it's November and the field is about to become an issue.
mg: Who do you think got the loudest ovation when the 75th anniversary team was introduced?
Ed Bouchette: Terry Bradshaw, followed by Jerome Bettis.
7: How does that Skip Bayliss have a job on ESPN? He said the Steelers are still overrated and the only reason the won last night was because McNair couldn't grip the ball.
Ed Bouchette: He's from Dallas and still has the Cryboy syndrome, no doubt.
Tinkerbell: Do you think that Billick as lost this team for the final time? Is he on his way out?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know if he's lost the team, but he certainly does not have Ray Lewis under control.
Taz: Was Troy wringing his wrist after that hit he delivered during the game? Is he OK?
Ed Bouchette: There was no mention of any injury to Troy by Mike Tomlin today.
cjf22389: Which third down D are we going to see the rest of the year, the swiss cheese against Denver or the dominance against Baltimore?
Ed Bouchette: Gee, I don't know.
mikey_boy: Ed: do you think Clark Haggans will be with Steelers next season?
Ed Bouchette: He's on the final year of his contract, and I'd bet they make a run at an extension after the season.
Vegas_Steeler_Fan: James Harrison Defencive Player of the Week?
Ed Bouchette: Get the vote out, you fans usually do.
Pola-Gonna-Maul-U: Do you think the Browns will activate Colclough or just use him for defensive info?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think he has retained that much knowledge of the Steelers defense in order to be a help to the Browns.
towelwaver35: Is Davis on his way out as a fullback? Thunder Dan is a better blocker all around.
Ed Bouchette: He always was the better blocker, but they wanted Carey for his versatility. Then, they did not use him. He had a nice, determined run Monday night of 8 yards.
cjf22389: Ed, how surprised are you that the defense hasn't missed a beat despite not having Aaron Smith?
Ed Bouchette: Not at all. Over the long haul, you want your best players, but the Steelers have shown often when they miss a starter, they can compensate for that or the player filling in plays well. That happened most notably in 2004 when Chris Hoke replaced NT Casey Hampton for half a season.
BrunoDC: Ed, how long can the Steelers offensive line let Ben run for his life? Eventually, it has to catch up to them. Is it one lineman in particular?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know if it's one or if it's even the same things, I do know he's getting hit too much.
cgolden: McNair looked like a beat up 34 year old QB last night, any chance this is his last year?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, it could be, especially if things keep going the way they are for him this year.
Mex-steeler: Any chance on bringing back Chidi Iwoma to help those Special Teams ?
Ed Bouchette: Does the Chidi Iwuoma fan club have nothing better to do?
Tinkerbell: Tony Kornhieser and ESPN characterized the Steeler's dynasty as the greatest in the SB era. If the Patriots pull it off this year, do you think that would still hold true?
Ed Bouchette: No. They will have won as many in as many years, but the Steelers of the '70s would have squashed them with one foot.
Number_One: Ed, any great story from the 75th gala that you have not shared in PG print or online?
Ed Bouchette: The wine was excellent.
cgolden: Ed are you coming around on 'Robo Punter' yet? He's great at sticking the ball inside the 20 and he's never had a punt blocked.
Ed Bouchette: I never had a problem with Daniel Sepulveda, I think he's an outstanding punter -- although he did shank one Monday night. I just don't believe in giving up so many draft picks for a punter when you already have a decent one.
uncle_frankie: If they cut Rossum would we still owe Atlanta a draft pick? I live in Atlanta and hate to see them gain something for nothing!!!
Ed Bouchette: I think they're in to them for a 7th rounder, no matter what happens from here.
DumpTruck: What is Aaron Smith's status?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Tomlin said he'll practice Wednesday in a limited way and is hopeful he can play Sunday.
cgolden: How many more times will the throw backs be pulled out this year? And will they be used in years to come?
Ed Bouchette: I believe you've seen the last of them, thank goodness.
mikey_boy: Ed: If Haggins is signed with extension and Harrison is playing out of his mind. where would Woodley and Timmons play next season or beyond???
Ed Bouchette: Timmons may be groomed inside and let the chips fall where they may between Woodley and Haggans.
Ed Bouchette: OK, thanks. Don't forget to check out my video report today, and see Gerry Dulac and me in our Steelers Report video on Thursday. See you next Tuesday.