Steelers coach Mike Tomlin speaks to the media during his weekly press conference at the Steelers South Side training facility this afternoon.
Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin.
Mad Chatter: I can't recall the Steeler fury amongst the fans ever being so strong. How will ownership respond to disgruntled fans?
Ed Bouchette: By ignoring them. What, you think the fans deserve a pound of flesh? This ain't the French Revolution.
SeeYouEnTee: I saw you mention that Tomlin could lose some pull on draft pick. He doesn't coach the offense or the defense. If he doesn't pick the players what exactly does he do? His only stamp on the team has been bad player evaluation.
Ed Bouchette: He's the head coach. He makes all the decisions, including hiring his assistants. If he has enough faith in those assistants to let them coach and delegate authority, that can be a good point. Of course, when you are 2-6, near everything you do is wrong.
Dude _ From _ Cali: Ed: do you think Cortez Allen's drop off is temporary due to injury, confidence or permanent?
Ed Bouchette: There seems to be little permanent here this year. I mean, look, even DeMarcus Van Dyke was re-signed today. Allen had an ankle injury and was replaced by William Gay, who has kept that job. They like Allen, who continues to play in the nickel defense, which is a lot.
Charles Demarr: How does Dan Rooney feel about the job that Art II has done since taking over? Nobody ever covers that angle. Is Art's failure the reason Dan came back from Ireland?
Ed Bouchette: I have never talked to Dan about that topic. Remember that Art became president of the team in 2003. So under his leadership, they've won 2 Super Bowls, had one losing season and won 3 AFC title games. I would hardly call that a failure. No, Dan came back from Ireland when his appointment ended with the second term of Pres. Obama.
Spirit Sniper: I was a bit surprised when you responded in a previous chat that Mike Tomlin has just as much say in who the Steelers draft as Kevin Colbert. I would have thought there would be a division of labor with the FO primarily handling personnel and cap strategy and the HC being responsible for player development and game day strategy. Given that I am wrong, would it be fair to say that the FO has the upper hand in determining the positional needs to be targeted in any given draft but that the HC has input on which available player best satisfies that need?
Ed Bouchette: They work together on all of that stuff. I would doubt their duties are that divided as you suggest.
SteelPerch: Is it too early to talk draft yet?
Ed Bouchette: It's getting to be that kind of season where the draft talk will start a lot sooner. Just not today, at least not here.
iRon: Guys here at the barber shop are debating whether Tomlin hired Haley or Rooney has to coheres him into it. Any insight for us?
Ed Bouchette: Art Rooney forced Bruce Arians out. Mike Tomlin hired Todd Haley to replace him.
Dude _ From _ Cali: Ed: In the same season where both SS Troy & FS Clark drop off in production due to aging, will Shamarko take over now or soon?
Ed Bouchette: This is just conjecture on my part, but I would bet you will see no change in the starting lineup at either safety position, barring injury, the rest of the season.
SignPlax: Why are the Steelers still having cap issues? Are they being charged daily compounded interest or something?
Ed Bouchette: They have no problems with the cap.
RiddleOfSteel: Can you tell us currently Who is Ban from playing games in the Steelers locker room? Everyone still, even coaches too?
Ed Bouchette: Coaches never have played and have their own locker room. Nobody is playing those games now.
Donnie Brasco: Emmanuel Sanders drops a lot of ball. It seems like he is hearing footsteps and wimping out. Can we still get that 3rd rounder from New England for him?
Ed Bouchette: No, you can't get a third-rounder from New England or anything else since the trade deadline passed. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and free to sign anywhere who wants him. If you are talking about that one pass along the sideline, it was a good play by the defensive back to tip it away. On first view, it might have looked like a drop.
Sam: Good Afternoon Ed, after your You/Me column this morning, I feel like this chat is a bonus today! Anyway, you're right. The Steelers have much to restore. Based on the NFL calendar, it'll be coaches, free agents, and then the draft. What do you expect regarding the assistant coaches and extending Ben's contract?
Ed Bouchette: I really do not know what is going to come of either. Almost always after a poor season, some poor assistant coach or two or three loses his/their jobs. The Roethlisberger contract talks will be quite interesting and I do not know how they will go. Just don't look for Ben to take less than what he is worth, and why should he?
StillerinCT: Todd Haley said "I feel we're on the cusp of being pretty good." What is pretty good, and is that the standard of which Tomlin speaks?
Ed Bouchette: Scoring 31 points in New England maybe?
Teton Steel: Ed, thanks for the chat. Last year, the Bears O line was as atrocious as ours, they rebuilt theirs in the offseason and now they're performing above the line. In your opinion, what's missing in the Steelers organization that they've unable to do something similar over the past 4-5 seasons? Coaching? Drafting? Conditioning?
Ed Bouchette: They won't say it because it sounds too much like an excuses, but injuries have decimated their lines and their plan for their lines. They need to get a left tackle. I think if they can find a competent left tackle, the rest will take care of itself.
CaptainFantastik: I was robbed last week and I'm now offended by the name "Steelers". Should I petition the NFL to get it changed?
Ed Bouchette: Yeah. Try the Browns. They seem to have a nice history. Or, Jaguars. You want to talk to some suffering fans, go talk to some of those.
Petes Pro Shop: Will missing the playoffs give the Steelers staff more time to scout players and result in better picks?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure, but they'll get an early chance to actually draft those picks.
Guest: The steelers quit in 2nd half...after watching tape no they didn't. I didn't see the tape,but yes they did. What do they do now? There is nothing behind the players they have on the field.
Ed Bouchette: They just re-signed DeMarcus Van Dyke. I mean, what more could you want?
955876: Mike Tomlin said the word "obviously" 30 times in his press conference. If everything is so obvious, why can't he fix it?
Ed Bouchette: It's obvious he can't this season.
StillThrillSeeker: Last time I got divorced, we won the Super Bowl. Greatest year of my life! I'm willing to sacrifice my 3rd marriage for another Super Bowl win. Think it'll work out as well for me this time?
Ed Bouchette: Third time is the charm. You have any money left?
stillthere: How badly does the Steelers defense miss their silverback? Without the James Harrison intimidation factor they are a middle of the pack unit.
Ed Bouchette: I would bet that James Harrison no longer misses them, although he's being paid a lot less in Cincinnati and playing a lot less there too.
OJ: Did any players admit to "giving up" at the end of the Pats game?
Ed Bouchette: In all my years of covering sports, whether it's the Steelers or high school football, I never encountered anyone who would admit he or she gave up.
Atlanta Dan: Would you recommend I bet more or less than 10,000 empty seats at Heinz for the Bills game?
Ed Bouchette: Let's just say if you've never been to Heinz Field and do not want to pay a large amount to see a NFL game there, this game is for you.
Phil: This team needs a safety, a CB, an ILB, an OLB, a NT, a big WR, a TE, an LT--7 or 8 draft picks isn't going to cut it, assuming three or 4 of those t least won't cut it. Rebuilding hasn't even begun yet and it's going to take awhile, right Ed?
Ed Bouchette: If you want to put it that way, yes.
StillLanger: I am in the market for a used ping pong table. Any word on what happened to the one from the Steelers locker room? I think it'd be a great memoribilia piece!
Ed Bouchette: I saw the people from Steelers TV using it as a resting spot for their camera equipment last week.
dave: What did you think of Tomlin's answer about LeBeau - "Because he's Dick Lebeau"?
Ed Bouchette: I thought it was appropriate without having to get into a whole dissertation about his coaching staff.
Joe S.: Not a question, just a comment: Been a Steelers fan my whole life, and I've never seen so much whining. My goodness, we're in a downswing--it happens. You don't fire everyone because you've turned lousy after more than a decade of contention. It's cyclical. Suck it up, look to the future.
Ed Bouchette: Gee, a fan with some common sense while all around him are losing theirs.
John in Ohio: Why do Steelers keep resigning players from last years 8-8 team? Why not acutally go out and find something different - maybe a diamond in the rough.
Ed Bouchette: Because they cannot find any still capable of playing from their 2005 Super Bowl team.
Lukey: Can we blame the duck?
Ed Bouchette: No, because they won their only two games while he was paddling outside Heinz Field.
JackSplat58: What is the biggest reason the Steelers are 31st in run defense? Hampton gone? Foote injury? Other?
Ed Bouchette: Hampton, Foote, age, since last season.
Mike Tomlin: Ed, Tomlin didn't hire Dick LeBeau. I am not sure what you are talking about him making the decision on assistants.
Ed Bouchette: Tomlin had to sign off on all the assistants when he came here and that was an easy one. Others who have remained are John Mitchell, James Danniel and Keith Butler.
John in Ohio: Cut Woodley, resign Worlids to 3 year cheap deal and let Jones play other side. It would help the cap and Worlids plays better on Woodley's side anyway.
Ed Bouchette: And you think that will help the defense improve? ... Thanks all for another great chat. See you next Tuesday.
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