Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin.
Go Steelers!: Ed, what is going on with the defense? Too old, too young, lack of talent, or all of the above?
Ed Bouchette: I do believe, in part, age has caught up with some of them. However, Brett Keisel is the oldest player on defense and playing well enough that Mike Tomlin will start Cameron Heyward over Ziggy Hood, not Keisel. And then again, one of the youngest on their defense, Jarvis Jones, is still looking for his first sack.
Guest: Ed, What do you think is the problem with the Steelers? Do you think LeBeau retires after this year?
Ed Bouchette: I've gotten that question every year for at least the past four. I have no idea what his plans are and I don't think he's at the root of their problems.
Sweet Suzie: If you where head coach of Steelers. What changes would you make in starting line up?
Ed Bouchette: I wrote on my blog last week that there aren't many changes Mike Tomlin can make in his starting lineup. Left tackle was an obvious one. I also suggested they start Cam Heyward ahead of Ziggy Hood.
Big Steeler Fan: Ed, What do you think is the Steelers main problem? I think the defense needs a lot of improvement. Ben seems shell shocked to me and that is why he keeps throwing interceptions... Do you see LeBeau retiring after this year?
Ed Bouchette: I would disagree that Ben Roethlisberger seems shell-shocked. Go look what Bill Polian had to say about him after the last game. I also don't think they have one main problem but a lot of others. It started with their offensive line and now to a defense that seems to have fallen off a cliff. They can't stop the run, can't pressure the QB, can't force turnovers and can't tackle. Other than that, nothing's changed.
Go Steelers!: Ed, will Levi upgrade the play at tackle? I would hate to think it can get worse.
Ed Bouchette: It truly cannot get worse. The question now is, how much can it improve. I also would not assume that Levi Brown will start at LT ahead of Kelvin Beachum.
John in Ohio: What is your opinion as to why the Cardinals traded Levi Brown for almost nothing??
Ed Bouchette: They wanted to start anew at that position and be done with his contract. By restructuring his deal, they took a big cap hit this year but got him off the books for any dead money in the future.
Len: Besides AB and Heath, which receiver is Ben most comfortable with?
Ed Bouchette: Jerricho Cotchery. That's who he seems to look for most when he gets into trouble.
Bad, Bad, Levi Brown, Baddest Tackle...: Lack of pass rush more the fault of of D-Line or linebackers?
Ed Bouchette: The Steelers 3-4 defense has always set up the outside linebackers as the primary pass rushers. Right now, LaMarr Woodley is doing a decent job with three sacks. No one else is other than Brett Keisel, who has the only other sack and leads the team by a far measure with 13 quarterback pressures.
FAKE_JAMESH_ABENNIHANA_SANEMAN_MALSOR: Ed: Cortez Allen looked weak coming back from injury. Perhaps he's not used to REAL GAME SPEED and blew coverage leading to big plays? Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I will agree that Cortez Allen has not played up to their expectations. I have no idea why other than, as you mention, his ankle injury.
FAKE_JAMESH_ABENNIHANA_SANEMAN_MALSOR: Ed: any chance 6'7" Adams might play OG in the future?
Ed Bouchette: Some have suggested that. I don't think that is in their plans at the moment.
Bad, Bad, Levi Brown, Baddest Tackle...: Is McClendon living up to the expectations? Is he or Hood the biggest culprit in poor run defense?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Tomlin today said he likes how Steven McLendon is coming along at nose tackle. He said the arrow points up on him. I don't think he has been Casey Hampton-esque against the run.
Norm: Ed, The Jets looked pretty resillient last night. Do you think the Steelers can right the ship against them in NY? If so, what is the key to doing that?
Ed Bouchette: They can, and they are 2 1/2-point favorites to do so. I wouldn't pick them to win anything at this point, however. They key to doing so would include more than one area: They must force a turnover or two, hold onto the ball and get their ground game going against what looks like a good defense
FAKE_JAMESH_ABENNIHANA_SANEMAN_MALSOR: Ed: your prediction: Will Sean Spence play the last 4-6 games of the season? Get his feet wet?
Ed Bouchette: He remains optimistic. I would be surprised if he plays this year.
7istheFOCUS: Ed,can they make a serious run for the playoffs this year?
Ed Bouchette: "Playoffs? Playoffs?"
Big Steeler Fan: Do you think the Steelers pull out a win this coming week?
Ed Bouchette: No. Until they win, I don't think they can win.
Steeler fan: Ed, assuuming the steelers have a high to mid first round pick in the draft, what position do you think they will look to upgrade?
Ed Bouchette: The Steelers are setting all kinds of records this year. This may be the fastest question about the draft ever. Seriously, I have no idea what is available. I can tell you what they need, but I don't know how that relates to the talent that will be in the next draft. Somewhere, they have to draft another offensive tackle, you would think, no?
Guest: Did Max Starks run over the Rooneys dog or something? Why was there no effort to sign him rather than trade for Levi?
Ed Bouchette: Apparently not. Max has been cut by two teams since the Steelers declined to re-sign him. That's not a good sign. Of course, neither was what we've been seeing from them at left tackle through the first month of the season.
Brent: The team just seemes to have lost its swagger and they look dazed and confused out there. Is that something that veteran leadership can shake up in some way?
Ed Bouchette: You mean by not letting the young guys play ping-pong? They've replaced their swagger with a stagger.
Guest: Is Markus Wheaton another Colbert bust?
Ed Bouchette: Young receivers often take time to make their mark and now he's out with a broken right pinky. Look at what Plaxico Burress did as a rookie.
jmcc2424: No question Steelers have been bad this year, but what would their record be the rest of the way if they are +/- zero (OR on the PLUS side) in turnovers the rest of the way?
Ed Bouchette: That would be a start toward improvement.
Bad, Bad, Levi Brown, Baddest Tackle...: Is the writing on the wall for Hood? Or do you think they will extend his contract. Seems like a 4-3 end to me and not a great one.
Ed Bouchette: He's more like a 4-3 defensive tackle. I would think they might try to re-sign him, but not at any kind of high price.
Brent: Ed: Do you think an 0-5 start will mean coaching changes of some kind next year?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think 0-5 would set that in motion. I believe the whole picture has to be absorbed before they change anything. As I've said before, anyone looking for them to change head coaches doesn't know their history. Assistant jobs are another matter. By the way, what happened to that report that they would fire Todd Haley during the bye week?
JamesinNYC: Levi Brown not exactly enamored with coach Haley...sign of bad things to come?
Ed Bouchette: For Brown or Haley?
mikeflores16: Is Vince Williams simply out of position, or is it something physical? He looks great out on the field, very athletic, hope he can learn the D quickly..
Ed Bouchette: He's another player MIke Tomlin said has an arrow pointing up.
Atlanta Dan: Appears you had an advance look on the Pomerantz book on the 70s Steelers. Any particular reason(s) it is the best you have read on that team?
Ed Bouchette: The writing, the research, the intelligence, the interviews, the plan, the execution. It is a wonderful book, it comes out this month and I highly recommend it.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for another great chat. See you next Tuesday.
First Published October 8, 2013 10:21 AM