steelcitystud: Ed, most of the mock drafts have us taking Earl Thomas at safety. Do you think safety should be our priority or elsewhere on defense?
Ed Bouchette: I'd like to wait a little to talk about the draft, which is nearly 3 1/2 months away. However, depending on the talent, I would rather see them grab a cornerback than a safety. I believe you can always turn a cornerback into a safety but not the other way around.
Brent: This is a while ago but do you remember if there was talk of trading up to get Revis in the 07 draft? I remember hearing we were looking at him and he went one spot ahead of us. We sure could use him now.
Ed Bouchette: Yes, that is one who got away. But I have news for you, MIke Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were going to draft Lawrence Timmons even if Revis had not been drafted by then.
steelcitystud: Ed, with Tomlin's background as DB coach, should he be more involved with & responsible for that aspect of our team's shortcomings?
Ed Bouchette: You could bring the greatest DB coach whoever lived in here -- and I have no idea who that might be -- and I do not think it would make a difference. you need more talent at corner and you need Troy P. back.
steelcitystud: If we don't re-sign Hampton, do we take Terrence Cody with our first pick? I personally hope we get a big tackle and kick Colon down to guard.
Ed Bouchette: Again, it's way too early to talk about the draft, at least it is for me. I have no idea which juniors are coming out and the combine has not even been held yet. I think it's important for them to keep Hampton at least one more year. I would franchise him if I could not get a contract agreement.
Brent: How significant would if be if Omar Khan left? He sounds like he is a pretty important part of our front office that you dont hear a lot about.
Ed Bouchette: Omar came here as a 23-year-old and has done a good job for nine years. It's always important to keep good people and he is one of them. They actually have the man who used to do that job on their staff. Dan Ferens holds a different job for them now but I would think if Omar Khan left, Art Rooney might ask Dan if he'd like to take his old job.
Steelers Fan in MD: Everyone seems to be saying Farrior is finally showing his age. Would Larry Foote have been next in line to take Farrior's position had he stayed (and if there is any truth to the rumor that Farrior ages)?
Ed Bouchette: No, I think Larry was more suited to the other inside linebacker position, the mack.
GjSteel: Hi Ed ... well ... what's your view of the games this week ... don't you believe if it wasn't for porous pass coverage we had a chance to repeat this year?
Ed Bouchette: And if an elephant had ears, it could fly?
Brent: I understand we had a first in our history with the offensive stats, but does that really justify Arians horrible play calling in critical situations. ex. Empty backfield on 3rd and 1 ...
Ed Bouchette: Yes, that was one bad call. He probably had a few more. I'm waiting for the coach on any staff who can say he had none.
jbird1015: Hey Ed, any snowball's chance that the Steelers work a deal to get Joshua Cribbs?
Ed Bouchette: That is not their style, so I would give it a snowball's chance in ...
Brent: could we trade our first round pick for a no.1 corner, do you think there would be any takers?
Ed Bouchette: You do not get a good corner for a first-round draft pick. It would take two. Better to draft someone at No. 18 who you think will help you.
jbird1015: Assuming that he's gone, do you see a team that Fast Willie is the starter?
Ed Bouchette: I have not thought much about where FWP could go and I do not know if someone would commit to him being their starter. However, I see him as what the Steelers say they wanted him to become, sharing the duties with another back.
TBurg_Pete: Ed do you think the EIGHT (yes, I counted them--8) returns the Steelers gave up for touchdowns this year had something to do with them not making the playoffs?
Ed Bouchette: Oh, my, yes.
BigJim: Any early talks about resigning pending FA's?
Ed Bouchette: It's too early for that. They cannot become free until March 1. They will not make offers to all of them. I would think February would be more realistic.
Coach77: Is there any indication that a FB will be on this roster next season?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I wrote about the CFL fullback they wanted before he signed with the Dolphins. Names escapes me at the moment. Frank The Tank also could play that position.
Coach77: Ed, between these three players who do you retain next year- J Reed, W Colon, or C Hampton?
Ed Bouchette: All of them. Colon will be restricted, the other two unrestricted. if you wanted, you could use franchise tag on one and transition tag on the other. But I think if you really want Jeff Reed you could easily negotiate a new contract with him.
Pittsburgh_Marino_Live: Ed, we're seeing the "tournament tough" teams that run the football have lots of success so far in the late season and playoffs... will this have an impact on what direction the Steelers' offense is going to take next season?
Ed Bouchette: It certainly would emphasize the point, but I think Mike Tomlin wants to go in that direction anyway.
TBurg_Pete: If Parker leaves, who do you see becoming the #2 halfback?
Ed Bouchette: I think they need to find someone. They have guys on the roster and practice squad such as Mewelde Moore, Frank Summers, Carey Davis, Isaac Redman, but I do not think any can fill that role.
Steel Curtain Rising: Hi Ed. Cudos to you, Gerry, and some others for holding back, sticking to the facts, and ultimately getting the story right on Arians. Along those lines, how valid are the rumors that Roethlisberger "threw the Hail Mary" and saved Arians' job?
Ed Bouchette: We did not hold back, we never got an indication he was going to be fired. I do think Ben R. spoke up for Arians, although I would hardly label it a Hail Mary pass. I believed all along that Mike Tomlin wanted to keep his OC and resisted suggestions from the front office to dump him.
Pittsburgh_Marino_Live: Ed, looking at the success the Jets are having ... do you think it was a mistake to let Faneca go in that ugly contract dispute, especially considering the disastrous offensive line play by the Steelers ...
Ed Bouchette: No, they had to move on. If they signed Faneca, they would have had to maybe not sign Heath Miller or someone else. Faneca was a great guard here and it's too bad he could not finish it out here but that's the business sometimes. They made him an offer, Alan declined and moved on. By the way, I will hold off on all that success the Jets have had until this weekend. I thought the Bengals laid one big egg last weekend.
NJ_Steeler: Has there been any talk of BA as a potential suitor for other teams? He seems to be a scapegoat in Pitt and honestly, his winning percentage, player production, and relationship with Ben tell a different story. Might he consider going somewhere where he's more deserved? And, if there weren't so many great coaches available now would his name be mentioned more?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Tomlin wanted to keep him and since Bruce is under contract, he had no choice even if he wanted to leave, and I have never heard that he does or did. If someone wanted him as their head coach, that would be a different matter.
nysteel: Will Holmes and Woodley get contract extensions? Who else?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I believe both will get them unless either the Steelers or the player comes in with unreasonable offers/demands.
Coach77: Ed, do you think the team would actually try to sign C Hampton to a multi-year deal and is Coach more in favor of him now than before?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I believe they will try and yes, I believe Tomlin knows what he has in Hampton and what he does not have if he leaves.
joed: Parity aside, say it ain't so, suddenly the Steelers look vulnerable, and given the holes in the lineup, are we looking at a downward spiral?
Ed Bouchette: Could be, if they do not shore up some areas. However, with the QB, receivers and RB they have, I see no dramatic downward spiral.
Jon: Are there any contract talks in the works right now? Even looking ahead, I think Woodley only has one year left on his contract now.
Ed Bouchette: Nothing in the works right now. Woodley's 4-year contract is up after 2010.
Steel Curtain Rising: Ed, you reported in PG Plus that Bobby April interviewed with Mike Tomlin. Any word on other candidates, and is there a timetable for filling this position?
Ed Bouchette: Not only did I report it in Plus, I reported it in the PG. April may have other options that would pay him more (Redskins, Giants and maybe even Detroit). I know of no timetable and have heard of no other candidates.
reston steelers fan: Ed, you said we need more talent at corner. Are you saying that the two kids we drafted last year don't have talent or are they just not ready yet?
Ed Bouchette: They were drafted in the 3rd and 5th rounds. You normally do not find great cornerbacks there. Keenan Lewis, a third-rounder, had back problems this year and maybe he can make his move next year. Joe Burnett and he will both have a chance, but if I had the chance and there was one I thought could be great or even good, I'd snap him up in the draft.
goldfinch: What are your thoughts on resigning Willie Parker? The AFC wild card games last weekend certainly were convincing re: the need for a strong running game with more than one strong runner. I think Willie still has some productive years.
Ed Bouchette: I would like to see him come back. I think Willie wants to start fresh somewhere where they will give him a chance to play a little more than he did once he was healthy this season.
NJ_Steeler: Do you think Larry Z was the problem on the O-line? It does seem to me that made progress this year compare to last year... and that's with the loss of Stapleton.
Ed Bouchette: I think Larry Zierlein was a convenient scapegoat that teams feel they need when their season ends before the playoffs begin.
MARINO_KNOWS_BEST: Ed, McFadden sure stunk it up in that playoff game ... that should quiet some of the criticism for letting him go, correct?
Ed Bouchette: It may, but it does not change the problem the Steelers have at corner.
NJ_Steeler: Bigger tragedy: Heath Miller not in the ProBowl or LaMarr Woodley not in the ProBowl?
Ed Bouchette: I would not put either in the context as a "tragedy.''
Bubs: Do you think the Steelers would've laid it on the Patsies in the same fashion that Baltimore did?
Ed Bouchette: No. They were not a good road team this year, their secondary was not good enough and they would not have run the ball as well as the Ravens. They did not make the playoffs for a good reason, or do I need to remind anyone about that game in Cleveland?
MARINO_KNOWS_BEST: Ed, have Jeff Reed's personal misconduct issues affected their negotiations that you know of?
Ed Bouchette: I think it has, but they should re-think that. All they need to do is look at Neil Rackers' 34-yard field goal yank
Brent: Sure brought back memories watching Kreider block on Sunday for Wells ...
Ed Bouchette: Yes it did.
Nick Fondriest mount wolf: Ed thanks for your work I love your sarcasm, my question is about the uncapped year and if you see the Steelers acting more like the Pirates for a year or more like the Yankees or of course somewhere in the middle
Ed Bouchette: I think they will operate the way they have been. No, you will not seen Art Rooney turn into a Steinbrenner or Daniel Snyder. They always have been right near the cap and I see them following the same path even without a cap.
Mike: Do you think the FS position needs to be addressed and if so who do think would fit and will come from the draft or free agency?
Ed Bouchette: Indeed, it needs to be addressed if, as expected, Ryan Clark leaves. Ryan Mundy will be a candidate, I think Keenan Lewis could play there if they wanted him to. But there are not a lot of candidates, so they will need to add some.
snowedinsteelersfan: Ed, I'm probably committing heresy here, but 9-7 is not a losing season. We had a mediocre season--with a 5 game plunge. That happens. Is there any reason for any fan to push the panic buttons in the off season?
Ed Bouchette: Oh, I love fans to push the panic buttons. What fun would there be if they did not? Those fans have to hope, however, the Steelers do not push any. And defending Super Bowl champions are not supposed to go out the way the Steelers did this season.
lambertlunatic: Ed, do you have an idea of what your chat schedule will be this off-season ... or Gerry on PG+?
Ed Bouchette: No, keep your eyes peeled here for our schedule. Maybe we'll do another next Tuesday. See you for now.