Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's start a little early because I have to leave a little early. Program note: There will be no chat here on Christmas Eve.
Sam: Good Afternoon Ed, Where did LB Terence Garvin come from? Did he play because of merit or another player's injury?
Ed Bouchette: He came from West Virginia, an undrafted rookie and then unsigned after the draft, the Steelers invited him to a tryout at their rookie orientation after the draft and he did well enough they offered him a contract. He then made the practice squad when they cut to their 53-man roster originally and then was signed two days later to the 53-man roster before their first game. He's really a success story
Jim: Did Cortez overtake Gay for the other starting cornerback job?
Ed Bouchette: He started over Gay the past two games although the depth chart still lists them both as sharing the starting job.
Sam: Hi Ed, what are the salary cap implications if a player retires before the deal is up? Let's say Polamalu is extended four years but ony plays two more seasons.
Ed Bouchette: The same as if he were released. Same pre-June and post-June release rules apply
Tom: Do you think people focused too much on the negative with the Steelers this year, especially the defense?
Ed Bouchette: No, that's what happens in Pittsburgh when you lose more than you win and when your defense falls off so far
Bill: With Beachum's play and adams playing ok in relief are the steelers satisfied enought with their left tackles that they won't draft one next year?
Ed Bouchette: I suppose, but that's not in any plans I ever heard of, not how he earned his big contract and he's always played on the outside, even in college.
Tom: For as bad as our Defense has been at times can't it be said they were at times dominant as well? Do you feel they have something to build on for next year to get back to being more consistent?
Ed Bouchette: It's like trying to convert from outside linebacker to inside linebacker.
Sam: Hi Ed, In what scenario might the Steelers ever try Ike Taylor at safety?
Ed Bouchette: When they have a wealth of good corners and not enough safeties, perhaps. They have talked to him about it in the past, as a possibility, but have never tried him there.
Abbie Normal: Do you agree with many who believe that pass interference calls should be challengeable? Some of these calls (and non-calls) can change the outcome of games.
Ed Bouchette: You are asking the wrong person because I've always felt there should be NO instant replay. The refs miss calls anyway and they have turned good on-field calls into wrong ones using replay. Somehow, the NFL thrived without replay and I'm sure it would go on without it again, even if some fans, coaches, media would scream bloody murder over a few bad calls. So what? Let them complain. Everyone will still watch.
Frank: Bigger need nose tackle or tall receiver?
Ed Bouchette: I think they have a few guys who can play nose tackle. If Emmanuel Sanders leaves, that will leave a hole they must fill.
Jim: What's the chances of Polamalu staying here next year?
Ed Bouchette: I would think they are decent.
Tom: Does the Worilds/Woodley situation seem to be a replay of the Keenan Lewis/Ike Taylor situation of last year? Did the Steelers used to be known for cutting the old guy a year to soon to keep the young stud?
Ed Bouchette: It would seem to be playing out in somewhat of a similar vein except that Ike was an iron man until he broke his arm last year. Like Lewis, the Steelers made no attempt to extend Worilds before this season. Unlike Lewis, I expect them to at least try to sign him after this season.
Subspace Interference: Heyward is a keeper, do you think Hood is?
Ed Bouchette: They need defensive ends for 2013. I don't think Ziggy is going to make big money but it would not surprise me to see if they try to sign him.
Frank: Who do you think makes the pro bowl for the steelers this year? Ben, Antonio and I think Polamalu are my guesses
Ed Bouchette: Those are 3 good guesses. I'd say David DeCastro played at that level but his name recognition isn't there yet. Jason Worilds might get a few votes.
Atlanta Dan: Gerry Dulac posted today that he thinks Lamar Woodley is gone after this season. Given today's injury report do you think Woodley has played his last game as a Steeler?
Ed Bouchette: I think that's possible, and I also think that's all GD wrote, that it is possible, not that he thinks he is gone.
T: Last two days people keep saying the Steelers are NOT mathematically elimanated from the playoffs... Miami can do no worse than 8-8 and Pittsburgh no better and Pittsburgh lost to Miami so even if the other 2 teams lose their last two how could Pittsburgh go over Miami??
Ed Bouchette: You really need to read our blogs online because I explained it there. They break ties involving more than 2 teams differently than they do just between 2 and those multiple-ties at 8-8 would favor the Steelers.
Ed Bouchette: Not that I think it will even come close to that.
Hubers Wired Jaw: Steelers would appear to be in bigger trouble next year if they plan to release Woodley (as Gerry suggests in separate post today is in process) and they are unable to secure Worilds. OLB used to be the team strength yet could quickly be a serious vulnerability. Any idea what is likely to occur?
Ed Bouchette: They would need to sign Worilds before they would make any move with Woodley. If Worilds leaves, Woodley stays
Subspace Interference: What is the best way to get those $49 tickets to the Steelers/Browns game? Sounds like a good way to spend the afternoon during my trip back to the 'burgh.
Ed Bouchette: You might check on their website, where tickets are legally resold, or your other favorite ticket-selling corners, including the ones around the stadium where you will be offered all kinds of seats at different discounts for that Battle of the Basement vs. Cleveland.
Steelers: Why do you think Big Ben has been relatively healthy and been able to take all of the snaps this year compared with previous years?
Ed Bouchette: Hmmmm, luck?
Jim: Given the circumstances it looks like Wallace has played ok at center. Do the steelers try to resign him as well?
Ed Bouchette: I'm sure they will try.
Angry Steeler Fan: Is Kevin Colbert still on the hot seat?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think he ever was.
Big City: I see a lot of praise for Bell, but I don't think he's been doing anything special out there. Considering all the needs on defense, I don't think he's been great value for a 2nd rounder. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: He's not lit things up but he does look promising and when you start out the season on the sideline with a sprained foot as a runner and then watch your Pro Bowl center go down on the first season, promising is better than what might have been.
Frank: What Steeler whose contract isn't up next year gets a long term deal next year? My guesses would be Pouncey and Heyward and maybe cortez allen.
Ed Bouchette: Those would be good choices. Add Ben too.
T: If the Steelers could go over Miami, now in any scenario it's a bogus system
Ed Bouchette: Are you saying the NFL could be unfair? Noooooo
dave: Why did it take them this long to realize that Worilds would be better on the left side instead of the right?
Ed Bouchette: He played on the left, subbing for Woodley in the past when he was injured. However, Worilds had that wrist injury that hampered him last year. He's healthy now.
Dr. Doom: I know everyone wants a big wr, but if a potential shutdown corner is sitting there don't they have to take him?
Ed Bouchette: They certainly could use one.
Ken: Ed, Woodley kind of reminds me of Levon Kirkland. A "top 50" player in the league at one time who has hit a wall for whatever reason. Is that fair?
Ed Bouchette: They all hit walls at one time or another unless they retire before they do.
Subspace Interference: Are tie-breakers for the draft the same as the tie-breakers for making the playoffs?
Ed Bouchette: No, they go by strength of schedule.
Bill: Any word about Steelers losing a draft pick? I haven't heard anything in about a week just curious.
Ed Bouchette: No, and I haven't heard much from all those reports that stated a slew of offensive coaches would be fired either. Nor that Ben Roethlisberger will demand a trade after the season.
Jack Flash: Is plax back?
Ed Bouchette: He was here recently, and I've seen him on occasion. He is not under contract for next year. My guess is they will move on.
Chris: Why was Tomlin so defensive about who returns kicks?
Ed Bouchette: He probably could not help himself. He's held back from that much this season.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another great chat. See you in two weeks, when the season is over.