Ed Bouchette: Welcome back for today's chat. Steelers finished up their practice about 90 minutes ago, their first with Ben Roethlisberger back at quarterback. Fire away.
ProfessorFlush: Thoughts on the number of kickers in camp this year? Is this the year of IMPROVED special teams?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think the number of kickers (2) and punters (2) and long-snappers (2) on the 90-man spring roster has anything to do with improving special teams. they'd like to improve that kickoff coverage, for sure.
screenwriter: Ed, Any progress with contracts for this rookie class?
Ed Bouchette: None that I've heard, but that's rarely been a problem here. Almost always they have all rookies under contract entering training camp.
Polamalu43: Ed, Did Ben address the team yet?
Ed Bouchette: Not today. He did so back on April 19. According to a number of players, today was a normal day, nothing unusual. Ben ran the first team; Byron Leftwich was not here because of a previous commitment. Ben did not talk and Mike Tomlin had to leave practice early to attend to something on the outside and he did not talk either. Requests to talk to coordinator and QB coach were turned down.
Steelman: Hi Ed if we get to the end of Bens suspension with 4 healthy QB's can Dennis Dixon go back on the developmental squad without clearing waivers?
Ed Bouchette: No. It's called the practice squad now and a player must be waived first. Plus, once he's on that squad, any other team can sign him to a 53-man contract if the player is willing to sign.
Amos_P_Swanson: Though he didn't speak to the media....How did Ben seem today?
Ed Bouchette: One of his teammates said he had butterflies before practice. He seemed relaxed and was smiling during the stretching, warmup stuff. I saw him afterward and he also seemed pleasant, almost at ease. I do know he wants to change, not just his image, but he wants to change how he acts and how he treats people. This is going to be a long, ongoing story that took one more step today.
Troy43: Ed, where was Pouncey positioned today at center or Guard? In your opinion could he possibly be the center when the season starts? I know they had a plan, but is it changting?
Ed Bouchette: Pouncey seemed fine, no limps and he played RG.
screenwriter: Ed, What was the QB rotation today?
Ed Bouchette: Ben ran with the first team, Dennis Dixon went next and then Charlie Batch. Byron Leftwich had off.
SteelerFanInVegas: Will the Team be allowed to go to Canton, for LeBeau to be put into the HOF?
Ed Bouchette: I have not asked but I would bet the Steelers will be well represented.
BG in Chi: How did Ben look in his first practice?
Ed Bouchette: He did not look much different to me than in the past. He completed a nice deep one over the middle to Mike Wallace.
merlin86: Does Ben look in good shape?
Ed Bouchette: I thought he looked in better shape than he usually does this time of year. Looks like he lost a little weight.
SteelerWSP: Is Daniel Sepulveda in danger of not making the 53 man roster?
Ed Bouchette: Not from what I saw today. Sepulveda boomed them and Adam Graessle had mostly clunkers.
merlin86: Was Troy there?
Ed Bouchette: No. The next time I expect to see Troy Polamalu is July 30 in Latrobe.
merlin86: How is Hines Hammy?
Ed Bouchette: He is still not practicing but I would not worry too much about it.
Brb39: Ed, do you think it is a bit coincidental that Tomlin and Leftwich have commitments to attend to to avoid the press as well as a don't ask Ben policy for today?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think so because both men are more than capable at handling questions from the press. The interesting part for me is who runs the first team in practice Wednesday when BL returns.
OldSchoolPatriotFan: Is it weird to promote a WR coach to a QB coach like the Steelers did.
Ed Bouchette: Not at all. Randy Fichtner has ample background as a QB coach. Bruce Arians was WR coach before he became offensive coordinator, as was Chan Gailey back in the mid-1990s. Mike Mularkey and Ken Whisenhunt were tight ends coaches before moving to offensive coordinator.
Copanut: Hi Ed - aside from Dwyer, which rookies have seemed to demonstrate some meaningful splash thus far in OTAs?
Ed Bouchette: WR Antonio Brown, a sixth-round draft choice from Central Michigan, has a chance. He has spunk; today he got into a pretty good punching-match with CB Keenan Lewis. Each rained fists off the other's facemask. Brown also can return.
merlin86: I know it is early, but do you see Essex having a tough time making this team?
Ed Bouchette: No, I think he'll make it.
BlackJackBill: Hey Nanook of the North. Being a northeasterner, what are your thoughts on a Super Bowl in New York? Personally, I am all for a cold, wet snowy championship, like it used to be.
Ed Bouchette: I don't like it, and if I were buying tickets regularly to Super Bowls as a fan, this is one I would skip.
Bubby2Lipps: Do you think there will be a Real 2 man rotation at RB this year, or will Mendenhall get most of the carries?
Ed Bouchette: Rashard Mendenhall is the horse and he will have the brunt of the work, not counting something unforseen such as an injury.
ProfessorFlush: Any other no shows besides Troy who is working out with Dr. Nutjob out west?
Ed Bouchette: Not on a regular basis, although on an irregular basis, James Harrison sometimes is not here and was not today.
Brb39: Hi Ed? What do you think of the NHL having that out door game at Heinz field on new years day? Don't we have enough issues with our field turf, now they want to put an ice rink on it?
Ed Bouchette: I'm sure the precious grass will survive, and if it does not, so be it. They can always have Mud Bowl II.
Bubby2Lipps: Which WR has been used as the #3 receiver, after Hines & Wallace?
Ed Bouchette: With Hines Ward down, it's been Wallace and Antwaan Randle El with Arnaz Battle taking the field when they go to three. Today, when they went to four, it was Tyler Grisham joining the other three.
Dave66: How do you know Ben wants to change? Has he told you that?
Ed Bouchette: As a matter of fact, he has.
BlackJackBill: What are the players plans after this round of minicamps are over? Take time off and see you in Latrobe in six weeks?
Ed Bouchette: Most go home and continue their workouts. Some continue to work out at the Steelers facility.
dimondankooman: You think the guys look ready to hit Strasburg?
Bouchette: Hitting is not permitted in the spring, and it seems to be practiced by both pro sports teams still working.
Tim Tomczak: Ed, you are very patient and gracious in your responses. I personally could not sit back and respond to all the ridiculous punter questions in June. Thanks for what you do. Any early thoughts on Dwyer?
Ed Bouchette: I really hate taking the ridiculous rookie questions in June. Kidding. Dwyer, as I've said before, looks as though he knows how to cut, has a good burst and decent speed but it's way too early to judge many of these guys who are not getting hit and not delivering any (except for Brown and Lewis today).
JohnnyG: Ed, do you think Ben has the mental toughness to be able to come back to top form with all the negative publicity and pressure from the fans and media etc. I do.....
Ed Bouchette: Among his most impressive talents is his ability to block out other things and focus on his job. yes, I think he will be able to do that.
Ed Bouchette: That's all for today. See you for our final chat before training camp next Tuesday.