woodym112: Ed, Whats the updated injury status on Willie Parker?
Ed Bouchette: He has swelling. Mike Tomlin called him "questionable" today.
James_Taipei: How do you think the Steelers offense will attack the Patriots this week?
Ed Bouchette: They'll always try to run, but I don't think they can run against them. They're vulnerable to the pass, and I'm not confident the Steelers can do it, especially up there.
Terrible_Trousers: Easy Ed, I haven't watched the Pats this year; Belichick makes me want to puke every time I see his sour face on the sidelines. What's your take? I know Cassell lit up the Dolphins last week, but I think we have a better D and it does not seem difficult to make them 1 dimensional. Also, it looks like they are giving up a ton of passing yards, what might we expect?
Ed Bouchette: I would expect a lower-scoring game because, yes, the Steelers defense is much, much better than Miami's.
M.Goldberg: Why didn't the Steelers bring in a bunch of punters for a try out after Thursday's game, like they did for kickers when they found Jeff Reed?
Ed Bouchette: We don't know that they did not, but I would assume they merely went back to Berger. Mike Tomlin said today it was for his "continuity" as Jeff Reed's holder. As if holding requires an advanced degree.
James_Taipei: Do you think the game with Baltimore will decide the division? You predicted that the Steelers would finish 10-6 but if the Ravens finish 10-6 they are likely to have a better record against common opponents. Currently the Steelers win over Baltimore is basically the only difference between the Steelers and Ravens records. Anyways, I predict that the Steelers will beat Tennessee and finish 11-5.
Ed Bouchette: If the Steelers go 11-5, they'll win the division. If they go to 10-6 and lose to Baltimore, I think Baltimore will win.
themesh: Ed, In your opinion is this a big game for the Steelers, not only for the playoff implications, but just knowing they can beat the Patriots?
Ed Bouchette: I think it's big for a seed and if the want to have a cushion against the Ravens. I think they can lose and still win the division. But if they lose, they're likely to be tied with Baltimore at the end of the weekend because the Ravens play the Bengals.
woodym112: Ed, Do you think the Steelers will let Ike Taylor follow/shadow Randy Moss during the whole game?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure because Welker's a pretty good receiver too. I would guess he would because Ike is their tallest CB.
Google_Truth_Rising: Ed, Why have the Steelers never given Polamalu a try at returns?
Ed Bouchette: I would guess because he's too valuable playing defense and he has a past issue with concussions. You saw what happened last year, they would not even let Santonio Holmes return punts because he became a starting WR.
chooch79: The next Cleveland Brown's head coach? A.) Billl Cowher, B.) JoePa, C.) Jim Brown, D.) Bernie Kosar, E.) None of the above
Ed Bouchette: E
chooch79: With the previous years lack of success against the Pats offense, might we see some different defensive schemes like the bump and run, or Troy shadowing the slot receiver?
Ed Bouchette: I think you will see some new stuff, especially blitzes. They have to take a page from the Giants and get after NE's QB.
beerman0303: After two very good games by Ben, will the people in the seats behind and the bar stools next to me finally stop calling for Leftwich?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think so. I'm also disagreeing with Ben's last game. If it weren't the Bengals, he would have 2 interceptions in that game, both dropped.
beerman0303: Fan voting aside, how many Steelers should be starting/playing in the Pro Bowl? (Redskins players need not apply)
Ed Bouchette: Polamalu, Harrison, A. Smith, Woodley, at the least.
hinestheman: Good Morning Ed, will Gary Russell play a bigger role on offense, whether or not FWP will be ready to play. Is he officially our third down / short yardage back?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know that anything's official, but he's the short-yardage guy. If Parker does not play, you'll see more of him and/or Carey Davis on third downs.
hinestheman: Ed, the defense looked a little lethargic the first series against the Bengals ... Should that concern us? I did notice that it takes them about 1 or 2 series to get going and be the force they can be. Falling behind early against a team like the Bengals is no big thing, but you don't want to do that against a Patriots team. Should we be concerned?
Ed Bouchette: If you're worrying about the Steelers defense, that's a good thing because it's the last thing you should worry about.
chooch79: Who do you have on this year's HOF ballot?
Ed Bouchette: I'm still waiting to see who's on it. Woodson for sure.
chooch79: Should the Steelers take a hint from the Pirates and consider outsourcing their kickoff return team to India?
Ed Bouchette: I think India would be a good place to start.
RussellDavis: Is Cassell that good or is he a product of a good "system"?
Ed Bouchette: You can't be a product of a good system unless you also play well. From the looks of it, he's for real, but remember the Derek Anderson experience.
rbird: Ed, what's your opinion on the Donovan McNabb benching? Was Andy Reid a little too quick to pull the trigger?
Ed Bouchette: I would have kept Garcia.
RussellDavis: How much pressure will be on the Steeler LBs this week to do more than just blitz?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know if that means you think all they do is blitz. Remember, LBs are supposed to rush in a 3-4.
rbird: Ed, you've been pretty accurate so far with your predictions. What's your outlook after this difficult 4 game stretch?
Ed Bouchette: It's getting tougher. If they go 2-2, they win the division with a cleanup win vs. Cleveland at home.
rbird: The NFL Network coverage was terrible. At one point a remark was made that Tomlin had made the right decision by benching Willie. (It was obvious that he was hurt) Why no sideline reporting for that game? Any ideas?
Ed Bouchette: Give me news that the Network did a good job, that would be different. Plus, did anyone in the CBS studio turn to Bill Cowher this week and ask him about the Cleveland rumors? Or, is that too much to ask of them.
rbird: Ed, There has been a Limas Sweed sighting. I know he made a bonehead play but I'm willing to forgive him. He made a great catch on the 3rd down play and it says alot that Ben was willing to deliver him the ball. Have the coaches spoke about his improvement?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know there's been much improvement. One play does not a career make.
Bill_Drunkgrove: No guarantees this week from backup safeties?
Ed Bouchette: I wouldn't say that. There's rumblings he made some kind of reference again after the game the other night.
StillaYinzer: Ed, I see this week as the litmus test for the Steelers. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know about litmus tests. You need to win x number of games to make the playoffs. They don't give you a bigger X if you beat the Patriots and then lose to the Cleveland Browns at home. This, to me, is a bonus game. Win up there and you have one you did not figure on at the start of the season. Then, beat Dallas and Cleveland and you're 11-5.
Godfather: Hi Ed, Canadian Steelers fan over here. The Steelers seem to want to force the run even when it is hopelessly futile. Will they try to use Russell more or incorporate more pases into the offense?
Ed Bouchette: I'm afraid they'll have to pass more to beat the Pats and I don't like the sound of that.
chooch79: Do you agree with Joey Porter's comment this past week that the Patriots stole two of his Super Bowls?
Ed Bouchette: The Patriots cheated, that's cold-hard facts, but the Steelers lost that 2001 game when they had a FG and punt blocked.
OldSchoolPatriotFan: If the Steelers lose this game are they effectively out of the playoffs? They would still need two wins to get to 10 so assuming a win against the Browns can they beat the Cowboys at home or the Titans or Ravens on the road?
Ed Bouchette: Wow, that's taking defeatist attitude to another level.
HKSteelersfan: Posting long distance from Hong Kong Ed. I have watched the Steelers' running game closely this season, and I don't state this lightly or to spark controversy. I believe Mewelde Moore does more for the Steelers as a starting halfback than Willie Parker, both as a runner and as a receiver. Views?
Ed Bouchette: What are our rates from Hong Kong? I'm not sure about better, but I believe Moore brings different. Parker can hit the 70-yard TD run at any minute, although that's in doubt this year because of his knee. Moore I believe sees the field better and can make a few yards when things are stuffed.
M.Goldberg: If/when a team signs Cowher, will they owe the Steelers compensation?
Ed Bouchette: No. He had a year left on his contract, and he retired, and the year is up.
FoolBack: Has Josh Miller hung up his cleats? I was surprised he wasn't considered at punter? He seems as good an option as Berger.
Ed Bouchette: See my question of the day today. Or, at least, my answer.
LGarcia: Ed, cheers from abroad. Is Ben calling the offensive plays? Thanks for your work
Ed Bouchette: Ben can audible. Bruce Arians calls the plays.
Bill_Drunkgrove: I keep hearing about Brees and Warner for MVP, but what about Polamalu? No defensive player is having a better year and the defense is statistically #1 because he is healthy.
Ed Bouchette: It's rare a defensive player wins league MVP.
Daquido_Bazzini: McFadden status?
Ed Bouchette: Questionable, but I believe he'll play.
bg_steel: Ed, Are the Steelers getting the wild card or the division?
Ed Bouchette: I guess you want a prediction: Division champ.
StillerGuy: Ed, as much as the OL gets criticized, they are missing the starting LT and RG. Although I also think the OL should have been addressed more during last offseason, do you think it can hold up for a deep playoff run with the 5 current starters?
Ed Bouchette: No.
SoCalSteelerFan: You alluded to a different opinion of Belichick now versus a year ago in your post press conference comments. Can you expand on that? How has your opinion changed?
Ed Bouchette: I thought the Patriots would collapse with the loss of Tom Brady. They are 7-4 and can tie the Steelers record Sunday. Plenty of people felt the genius behind Belichick was Brady and without him the facade would show. It's not over yet but I think he's done a decent job.
OldSchoolPatriotFan: Will Big Ben show up Big or Small against the Pats? He is usually a turnover machine in big games against good teams.
Ed Bouchette: You mean like Denver in the AFC championship game? I don't care if you want to rip Ben, be my guest, but let's not forget what he's done here.
DeepCreekStiller: Ed, why would the Steelers continue to keep Marvel Smith on the active roster versus sending him to IR and adding someone who could help -- at least in practice?
Ed Bouchette: They have to believe there's a chance his back will improve, otherwise you are right. One other thing: It's not like the have linemen to add to the roster to replace him.
DallasBlackNGold: Ed, how well do you think Casey Hampton is playing right now. Are you seeing any lingering effects from the rough start to the season for Big Snack?
Ed Bouchette: I think he's playing OK, not up to his own standards of his younger days but an OK Hampton is still pretty good.
Mike-E: Ed; What is the status for Holmes and Kiesel this week in NE?
Ed Bouchette: Keisel is out, looks like Holmes is in.
DeepCreekStiller: Do you think Woodson goes in as a Steeler or due to free agency of the 90's are we beyond a player choosing a team as they're established into the HOF?
Ed Bouchette: They do not go in as a member of a team in football.
mike__boca_raton_: If you do not vote for Dermontti Dawson for the Hall of Fame you should be tarred and feathered and put in a deep fryer.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for that, just in time for Thanksgiving. I always vote for Dawson. Unfortunately, he has yet to appear on the ballot among the final 15 modern day candidates, therefore I cannot vote for him on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. Tar, by the way, has come down in price with gasoline.
weinberg17: Do you really believe they could run the ball on us with Sammy Morris?
Ed Bouchette: No, I don't think the Patriots could run the ball on the Steelers consistently.
StillerGuy: Do you really hate the age of multimedia (videos, chats, etc.) as much as you appear to? Do you wish you could go back to the age of "old-school" journalism?
Ed Bouchette: Give me a stone and a chisel and I'm Red Smith.
Ernster-Burger: Ed, is my mind failing, or isn't it true that James Harrison had trouble getting on the field pre-Tomlin because of personal issues with Bill Cowher?
Ed Bouchette: Not true. His name was Joey Porter.
rbird: Ed, is it possible that Matt Cassell puts up 400 yards passing against the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL?
Ed Bouchette: That would surprise me.
rbird: Hey Ed, I really enjoyed the tribute to Dick LeBeau before the game. He's all class. How much longer do you see him coaching?
Ed Bouchette: It's neck and neck between him and Joe Paterno. I hope he does not plan to retire anytime soon because he's a good man to have around, not to mention as a coach.
woodym112: Ed, Whats the feeling around the locker room for this game? We have only beaten these guys once over the last few years, and need to win this game.
Ed Bouchette: We don't get access to the locker room until tomorrow.
chooch79: Is there any correlation to the fact that Ben was not sacked this week and Hartwig was not shotgun snapping the ball into the upper deck of Heinz field?
Ed Bouchette: I think the correlation was they played the Bengals, who also did not sack Ben Oct. 19.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks all for participating, and have a great Thanksgiving Day.