Ed Bouchette: Greetings everyone. Sorry about yesterday. Had trouble getting on the web at Saint Vincent College. It was not their fault, although trying to make and take cell phone calls up there is difficult. Let's start the chat.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Welcome back Ed! Let's start from the top, how is Ben doing so far in training camp? Does he appear distracted at all because of the lawsuit? Do you think the lawsuit will affect him mentally this season?
Ed Bouchette: I wish I could tell you one way or the other, but I don't think anyone knows how or if it might affect him. He does seem unusually quiet and withdrawn to me, but that's as an observer.
James_Taiwan: Do you think Shaun McDonald can make a decent contribution as the Steelers 3rd or 4th receiver?
Ed Bouchette: I think it's possible, but I think he's fighting to become the No. 5 receiver right now because Limas Sweed and Mike Wallace have the team made. However, if he does make it as No. 5 and the other two do not perform as expected, then he could ultimately be the No. 3 receiver. Having said that, I still think Sweed will be No. 3.
Homey: If you were in Hines Ward's position, would you have come back for another season? After watching him hobble around after the Super Bowl, I got to thinking he should retire on a high note and not worry about walking around with a cane when he's 40.
Ed Bouchette: He's not hobbling much now. Why would you retire when you just had your most productive season in the past four and you have another crack at a Super Bowl? I think Hines is still playing well.
polamalu43: Do you think Keenan Lewis makes the team??
Ed Bouchette: Yes, he's looked very good in training camp. I don't see how he doesn't make it.
Rob_in_Bethel: Have you noticed a difference in preparation post Super Bowl season w/ how Tomlin's handling training camp this far versus Cowher in '06?
Ed Bouchette: They handle training camp different because they are different coaches. I don't think the camp in '06 had anything to do with them going 8-8.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Ed, how has Rashard Mendenhall looked? Have you seen him run tentatively not trying to re-injure his shoulder? The offense & Willie could sure use his services.
Ed Bouchette: No, I have not seen him favoring his shoulder. If he weren't a No. 1 pick, you might not notice him. However, they were saying the same thing about Franco in the summer of '72.
FL_Steeler_Fan: Good afternoon Ed. Two questions for ya. Do you think if Mike Wallace keeps producing, does he have a shot as the 3rd Rec? Or is he going to be used as a "Slash" role?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think you'll see him in any Slash role. He has a shot at No. 3, but as I said I believe Sweed will win that. Wallace, though, has also looked very good. This looks like it could be a good rookie class.
polamalu43: Does Ryan Mundy make the team??
Ed Bouchette: He has to pick it up.
Free_Tank_Carter: Ed - Can you give us a time frame for Ben's civil suit? Is this something that will be wrapped up soon, or will it be a year before anything is resolved? Or somewhere in between?
Ed Bouchette: If anymore witnesses step forward like the most recent one, I could see the suit being dropped. If not, I have no idea how long these things can drag out but I would bet into next year if everyone remains in it.
rbird: Hello Ed, I haven't heard much out of Tony Hills or Bruce Davis. How have they been playing at training camp? Are they in trouble of being cut?
Ed Bouchette: I think Tony Hills makes it and I believe Davis better start doing something, although he still could make it because they are not strong at backup OLB.
Angry_Eddie_B: How many RBs do you think will make the final roster?
Ed Bouchette: Let's see. FWP, Mendenhall, Moore, Carey Davis and one other. That would be 5.
Angry_Eddie_B: Do you think Burnett makes the team?
Ed Bouchette: Oh my yes.
cincykid11: Ed, What is your opinion on Ziggy and how he is competing?
Ed Bouchette: Ziggy is doing well.
Free_Tank_Carter: EVERYONE PLEASE STOP WITH THE MICHAEL VICK NONSENSE! ... I'm just saying ...
Ed Bouchette: Thank you.
rbird: Ed, the Steelers are looking tough to handle this year. If not an undefeated season do you think this team can be as dominant as some of the Patriot teams in years past?
Ed Bouchette: No. Let's not forget that they barely beat Baltimore in three games last season, right down to the end. The Steelers are good, very good, but I would not start talking about unbeaten seasons.
Tprod: Ed, is Tony Hills' roster position endangered by the play of Ramon Foster?
Ed Bouchette: They're using Foster at guard, although he was a tackle in college, so no.
cincykid11: Ed, When the Steelers go "5 wide" -- as Arians at some point will do -- who in your opinion will be those five receivers?
Ed Bouchette: They did not use much 5 wide last season, so I would not assume they're going to this year. When they go to 4, I can see Sweed and Wallace on the field. Remember, Mewelde Moore proved to be a good third-down back, and they might not want to use a lot of empty backfields this season.
koonjs01: Who are the surprises (good and bad) of camp so far?
Ed Bouchette: I would say Ramon Foster is right up there. Most of the rookies look pretty good. Charlie Batch has been throwing a good deep ball a year after breaking his collarbone. Disappointments, not many. As I said, they're still looking for Bruce Davis to do something.
SouthSideSal: Ed, what are you looking for in tomorrow's game?
Ed Bouchette: I want to see Rashard Mendenhall run. I want to see Ziggy play. I'm not looking for two much from the first teams because I pretty much know what they can do. I want to see Limas Sweed and Mike Wallace and the returners, Wallace and Joe Burnett. I'm also interested in watching Dennis Dixon play a lot. Oh, and Frank The Tank -- he needs a game to show what he can do because I don't think camp is the place for his style.
Amos_P_Swanson: Any talk of any more contract extensions?
Ed Bouchette: No, I wrote about Brett Keisel, who may be the next one they go after, but they're pausing for the cause right now.
wolfgang_von_colt: You mentioned in one of your q&a's that Kraig Urbick needs to get stronger. Does that mean to suggest that he has been a disappointment thus far?
Ed Bouchette: I do not remember ever writing that.
Tprod: Ed, if a tackle goes down and Essex moves over to tackle, who moves into guard as long as Stapelton is sidelined?
Ed Bouchette: I thought I just wrote that it would depend on Foster/Urbik or maybe even the backup veteran center they just signed, Stepanovich.
Steeler_s_Mket_7: Has Sweed or Wallace looked good at stretching the defense? IE: deep routes?
Ed Bouchette: yes
what_a_sports_nut: The way James Harrison ran the ball in the SB, why don't the Steelers use him in goal line situations?
Ed Bouchette: Hey, he ran 100 yards, one or two should be easy, right?
Burgh2burg: Ed, love the chat! Could this be the year that we'll ACTUALLY see a speedster return kicks on a regular basis?
Ed Bouchette: You will see one thursday night and I would bet you will see him thursday of the regular-season opener too, Mike Wallace.
rbird: Ed, the report that surfaced today about some Steelers at a police shooting range ... is this something to be concerned about? Thanks.
Ed Bouchette: In what sense? What, they're not allowed to go to a police shooting range?
Bob_in_CA: Hi Ed, Who will make the final cut at RB, Summers or Redman or both?
Ed Bouchette: I can't see both of them making it and the next few weeks will determine which one does.
polamalu43: I believe this is a good rookie class, but what drafted rookie doesn't make it?
Ed Bouchette: You might see A.Q. and Sonny Harris on the practice squad, perhaps Tank too. It depends, they still have time.
Angry_Eddie_B: Haven't heard much about Stefan Logan ... how is he doing and does he have any chance of making the team?
Ed Bouchette: yes, he has a chance. No, I don't think he ultimately makes it.
polamalu43: Ed, since they're using Foster at Guard, does Urbik make the team?
Ed Bouchette: It's hard to cut a third-round pick in the first year. I've seen it done here once in my 25 years covering them.
cincykid11: Ed, who wins in a race, Ike or Wallace?
Ed Bouchette: Bike or auto?
Tprod: Ed, any chance the late DC Johnson from the Eagles or our own Coach LeBeau get into the Hall of Fame in the near future?
Ed Bouchette: I believe Dick LeBeau might be nominated by the seniors committee this year. They nominate two.
what_a_sports_nut: Is Issac Redman looking better than "The Tank"?
Ed Bouchette: Different runners. Let's see what they do in games.
joey_buttafuco: Better user of irony, you or Collier?
Ed Bouchette: I do not iron collars.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Should Steeler Nation be at all worried about Sean Mahan's toe injury? All Mahan needs is some 340 pound DL step on him and he'll be favoring that foot all year.
Ed Bouchette: I wouldn't worry about Sean Mahan, but you might be more concerned about Justin Hartwig's toe. Justin stood before us, by the way, on the first day of camp and said over and over there was nothing wrong with his toe and he was ready to practice.
joey_buttafuco: Now that Dan's son is officially calling the shots, any chance the Steelers get cheerleaders again?
Ed Bouchette: No. Art says no cheerleaders. There are enough of them on this weekly chat.
polamalu43: Which 5 CBs make the 53-man roster?
Ed Bouchette: or 6 -- 2 starters, Townsend, Burnett, Lewis and perhaps Madison.
wolfgang_von_colt: How has Sonny Harris looked? Worthy of the practice squad?
Ed Bouchette: He just started practicing after having a groin injury from the start of camp.
ajt123_: Do you think R. Mendenhall with be productive this year if not injured?
Ed Bouchette: that is the great unanswered question. Look for my story on him in Thursday's PG
cincykid11: Ed, Is Dixon having problems reading defenses? Is that hs main flaw or is it physical mechanics?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know about flaws or reading defenses. I do know they like him very much and he is on track perhaps to some day assume Charlie Batch's role.
steelfool: As I understand it, FWP is on his last contract year. Is this his last year as a Steeler? Are there no negotiations because the Steelers want a better read on how much is left in the tank?
Ed Bouchette: I think they want to look at both him and Mendenhall. Remember, just because they do not do an extension before the start of the season does not mean they cannot do one after the season. It has happened many times.
Steeler_s_Mket_7: Ed, so glad the chats are back, I love them ...
Ed Bouchette: Thanks, you have a question, bub?
rbird: Ed, the report suggested that it was illegal for anyone other than police to be at the range?
Ed Bouchette: Maybe they deputized them beforehand, the way Marshall Dillon used to do it.
Burgh2burg: Ed, will Ben still be doing his Michael Jackson impression and wearing one glove?
Ed Bouchette: I prefer his moonwalk.
Rob_T.: Hey Ed, I read that the screen has been practiced a lot in camp. Can you see us utilizing it this year as we have gotten away from it the past 2 years?
Ed Bouchette: They keep trying and it keeps looking like something out of Laurel & Hardy.
ajt123_: Whats the biggest difference between Coach Tomlin and Coach Cowher's camps?
Ed Bouchette: Cowher does not have one any more. No, I've never been to a Coughlin Camp but I know people who have and they say he's tough with the rules and everything and likes to run the guys in pads more. Cowher wasn't tough on his players in camp. He ran a good camp, from what I saw, good balance between preparing and not over-doing things.
Tprod: Ed, last year's draft class greatly underachieved in camp and during the season. Apparently, only Sweed has performed well with Mendenhall still leaving everyone waiting for him to step up. Its still early to grade a class, but does it look like a miss by Colbert?
Ed Bouchette: You said it, it's early. Let's give the boys a little longer than 10 days in camp. I know they got little out of them last season but that was to be expected for Sweed and Mendenhall was hurt. Now, the rest aren't exactly bowling anyone over.
wolfgang_von_colt: Is it true that the 7th round pick has been the best blocking tight end in camp (outside of 83, of course)?
Ed Bouchette: I like how Sean McHugh blocks, so I'm not going to put him above him. He looks good both as a TE and in the backfield, blocking, though.
steelblood14: Who's the biggest name not likely to make the cut this year?
Ed Bouchette: You might not see any "big" names.
Weegie: Ed, do you see the Ravens progressing this year, or regressing after losing Bart Scott?
Ed Bouchette: I think they will improve for no other reason than the rookie QB is no longer a rookie and he had one good season.
ajt123_: With all of your wise answers today, it seems you must have taken a ride in J. Harrison'ss "Smart" car ...
Ed Bouchette: I don't just step into any vehicle.
koonjs01: What do the player's think of the cafeteria food? Any tweeters out there?
Ed Bouchette: Does anyone really want to know the answer to that?
wendal_s_blues: Of the three starters (Hampton, Keisel, and Smith), who does Hood take over for? Is it too early to tell? My money is on Keisel. He's always underwhelmed me...
Ed Bouchette: Ziggy has practiced almost exclusively at left end, where Aaron Smith plays. That is likely because they want to keep him at one spot rather than move him around right now. ultimately, he will have to learn both sides ... And he's not a nose tackle.
tmatta: Ed, you have way too much fun with this!
Ed Bouchette: What? Who? Fun? You call this fun? I stick bamboo under my fingernails for fun, compared to this.
burg2burgh: Will Ben remain undefeated in Ohio after this season?
Ed Bouchette: There is no reason to believe he will not, since the Buckeyes are not on the sked.
burg2burgh: Ed, will the Steelers hop on the band wagon and work some wildcat into their offense?
Ed Bouchette: They could because Dennis Dixon is the perfect candidate. However, I think that wildcat stuff is a little overblown.
Steeler_s_Mket_7: Ed, is there still talk of adding more games to the regular season?
Ed Bouchette: Unfortunately, it seems they ultimately will add one or two games. These guys will be used up more quickly when they do.
Ed Bouchette: Oh, my, 5 minutes overtime and I don't get paid any extra for it. By the way, we have some extra stuff planned for this fall that I'm excited about, as are my bosses, and I'm sure you'll love it. Keep looking for info on it. See you next Tuesday.