Le'Veon Bell runs in the Steelers final preseason game on Thursday.
Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin
Abbie Normal: James Harrison: greatest Steeler OLB since the team went to the 3-4?
Ed Bouchette: Greg Lloyd and Joey Porter were right there with him.
Dude_From_Cali: Ed: would you care for a predicted score home opener?
Ed Bouchette: Sure, give us one.
Spirit Sniper: If the NFL is so intent on opening up the passing game by placing more restrictions on the defenders, why doesn't the league consider ruling it a completion if the receiver lands with just one foot in bounds like in college?
Ed Bouchette: I have maintained that for years. It would be a simple rule without officials having to throw flags to help the offense. I know not why they do not have it, but then this is a league that forever resisted allowing a 2-point PAT
Fred: Ed, the roster looks awful thin at OLB. Do you expect a move?
Ed Bouchette: They are thin, but I do not expect a move. Terence Garvin can play inside or out and they have Howard Jones on the practice squad.
Taz: Hi Ed! Coach Tomlin's first four years each opened with a win. His past three seasons have opened with a loss. What has he been doing differently?
Ed Bouchette: His teams have gotten worse, although they rebounded nicely from that 35-7 whipping at Baltimore to open 2011. I think injuries had a lot to do with their loss to Tennesse last year -- no Heath Miller, no Bell, lost Pouncey on the first series, lost Foote, lost Stephens-Howling
dave: Would the team know if either Bell or Blount has had positive drug tests in the past?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, they would know.
Guest: If Ike Taylor poor play continues, will he benched?
Ed Bouchette: I think you could say that about most players, provided those behind them are competent and they believe they would improve by making a switch.
sluggo13: Ed, I understand why a skill player can excel in college but struggle in the pros (bigger, faster opponents, etc) , but why would a punter who averaged 44 yards in college struggle as a pro>
Ed Bouchette: He hasn't struggled yet. Brad Wing was experimenting with several different punting schemes in the preseason and that may have been a reason. I think he's inconsistent after watching him in practice, but they seem to be OK with him.
JamesinNYC: Hubbard was probably the biggest surprise on the 53 man roster, who surprised you being left off?
Ed Bouchette: Hubbard always was the second guard in so I thought he had a chance, but I also thought they would keep Whimper. Shaq Richardson getting cut was one surprise for me.
John B.: Do you think the expansion of the Practice Squad effected the OLB situation?
Ed Bouchette: Not really. It should not have had any effect on their 53-man roster.
Taz: Ben ran the no-huddle almost exclusively in the preseason. Was that a nod to "situational football" as Coach Tomlin calls it, or should we expect the no-huddle to be the standard offense this season?
Ed Bouchette: He only ran it exclusively in that second preseason game. They did not run it as much as we were led to expect in Phila. I think you will see more of it but I also think they want a mix, and the game situation also will dictate.
Subspace Interference: Have you been following Lamarr Woodley since he went to Oakland?
Ed Bouchette: No, I have not.
Dude_From_Cali: Ed: would you say Steeler beat Browns by around 7 pts or lose home opener?
Ed Bouchette: Huh? You're close on what the bookies have it, 6.5 points. I don't understand what you are trying to say, though. Do you mean if they win by six, they lose?
John B.: Locker room games still banned?
Ed Bouchette: Don't know if they are banned but I have yet to see anyone playing. They ALWAYS played before they went 0-4 last season.
dave: How will they decide whether Brown or Archer will return a punt?
Ed Bouchette: It may be by where the ball is when the opponent punts. You will remember that even when Antonio Brown was young, he only returned punts when they were not deep in their own end. This time, he might be the one who returns those ones near the goalline and they'll give Archer the shot when it's closer to midfield.
Ed Bouchette: My guess is he will not dress.
Keith: Are the coaches satisfied with Cam Thomas's play? If so, why did they bring back Brett and push Tuitt ahead of him on the Depth Chart?
Ed Bouchette: The depth chart the Steelers produced today in their press release has Cam Thomas starting at right defensive end and Cameron Heyward starting at left defensive end. Of course, that is just the opposite of where they played in the preseason. Tuitt is listed as the backup to Heyward at left end and Keisel the backup to Thomas at right end. It is also different from the depth chart they had online, in which Tuitt indeed was the starter. I do not think you will see Thomas start for long at DE.
Guest: what d-linemen do you think will be on the field in their nickle package?
Ed Bouchette: Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward.
Guest: OK, followup to Ike Taylor. His skills have been diminishing for the last 3 seasons and Tomlin/Colbert have not addressed the position. What's the issue?
Ed Bouchette: The issue is they let one good cornerback go in Keenan Lewis and have not invested any high picks in the position.
Keith: And re the CB situation, was there no one on Waivers that could have helped them?
Ed Bouchette: Well, they did claim one off waivers last week from the Dallas Cowboys, B.W. Webb, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013.
chaz: Great chat as always, Ed! Question about Harrison; we all know he was a backup/journeyman for years until he got a chance in 2007 - what do you think happened for him that it clicked? Why wasn't that noticed previously?
Ed Bouchette: I believe it was Harrison himself who once told me he needed to mature. He also found himself playing behind Joey Porter.
TJ: Ed, could you do a large piece on each of the practice squad players? Like bios, college stats, etc? Thanks in advance!
Ed Bouchette: That's not happening.
Leon: Ed, any word on how Chris Carter took the news he was cut? Who tells the player that news? How long does the player have to get the heck out of Dodge, so to speak?
Ed Bouchette: I haven't talked to him. Usually, for a veteran, the head coach will tell him. Otherwise, it's often his position coach.
Cosmic Charlie: Nine offensive linemen rather than eight, six WRs rather than five on the 53. Which positions lost personnel?
Ed Bouchette: Tight end, halfback.
Chris: Any update on M. Bryant?
Ed Bouchette: He has an AC right shoulder sprain. He likely won't play for a few weeks and may not dress anyway when he's healthy.
#1 Fan: Ed, what went wrong (besides the obvious injuries) with Woodley and the Steelers? I read in several places that he was no longer well liked by the staff or his team mates...
Ed Bouchette: Ron Cook wrote a column about that early last year, quoting a teammate. That will tell you a lot.
JamesinNYC: Jones has looked good versus the run but just not gotten to the QB, how many sacks does he need to ring up to be "successful" this year?
Ed Bouchette: It's not so much the number of sacks but how well he puts pressure on the QB. He needs more than the one he had last season, though.
CD: This is a 6-10 team, right?
Ed Bouchette: I will offer my prediction for the 2014 season on Sunday.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for another great chat. See you next Tuesday.
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