Ed Bouchette: Welcome to the kickoff chat. Just got off the practice field, and I am ready to roll.
I want to place a plug for our new PG Plus, first. For an average of 3 bucks a month, you will get more Steelers stuff there, plus a variety of other material from throughout our newspaper. I write a blog Sunday through Thursday, and Gerry Dulac takes over on Friday. Gerry also will be doing a chat there every Wednesday. 3 bucks? The cost of a decent cup of coffee and it lasts all month long.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Hello Ed! Sepulveda & Stefan Logan, what was once a weakness (punts & kick/punt returns) has the potential of being a strength this year. Are you as enthusiastic about the special teams as many of us in Steeler Nation?
Ed Bouchette: You know I cannot be nearly as enthused as you guys. No one tops you. But I do believe they are soooo much better in those two areas than last season.
sinmusic: Ed, Perhaps I've been reading too many conspiracy theories, but do you think the signing of K. Simmons to the Pats is an effort by Belechick to get some inside info on the Steelers for a possible playoff matchup? Also, can the same be said of the Steelers signing a former Titan?
Ed Bouchette: Is this Oliver Stone? No, I do not believe that Bill Belichick would make a roster spot to pick a player's brain, especially if he does not have that team on the schedule. I raised the question today about Tuff Harris, the former Titan the Steelers signed to their practice squad. Kevin Colbert tells me that's not the case, that they wanted to sign Roy Lewis back but he signed with Seattle instead.
286williams: Ed, I did not see if Bruce Davis got picked up on another 53 man roster. If not, were they that down on him that they did not even bring him back to the practice squad?
Ed Bouchette: You got it.
286williams: Ed, Coach Tomlin had expressed interest in bringing in a veteran OL for depth? Any news?
Ed Bouchette: None, so it looks as though, right now, no one out there intrigues them enough to sign.
polamalu43: Ed, was Madison your biggest surprise cut?
Ed Bouchette: If that's your biggest surprise cut, then you have one good football team.
James_Taiwan: Do you think Stefan Logan will get any touches on offense this week?
Ed Bouchette: no
James_Taiwan: Is Shaun McDonald the number 4 receiver? Do you think he might get the start over Sweed if Hines Ward gets injured this year?
Ed Bouchette: Shaun mcdonald is No. 5 and probably will not dress Thursday.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: We haven't seen much of Santonio Holmes this preseason, have you seen him? Do you think he'll be ready for Thursday night?
Ed Bouchette: yes, I think he will be ready to play Thursday night. He has struggled since getting a helmet to the back vs. Redskins.
bg_steel: Do you think the Steelers would sign David Tyree to replace Nate Washington?
Ed Bouchette: C'mon, people. What, you think he has one more miracle catch on his helmet in him.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: What player cuts surprised you over the weekend?
Ed Bouchette: None, really. I thought they might keep Sonny Harris.
ajt123: Is it true Nate the Great Washington will not play on Thursday?
Ed Bouchette: It looks as if he might not. He has a rib injury.
CL_in_Rockville_MD: Hey Ed, I am not sure why Frank Summers is on the 53-man roster or why, for that matter, Justin Vincent is taking up a spot on the practice squad. Do you have insight as to this?
Ed Bouchette: Summers can play FB and RB, and it looks as if he can be a good blocker. I've noticed Vincent a lot; he ran hard in training camp and I would not hesitate to have him on my team.
Scranton_Steelers_Fan_: Good afternoon Ed: What's Timmons' injury status? Do you think that because Keyaron Fox had such a good pre-season, it's an easier decision to hold out Timmons for this game (even if he could conceivably play), just to be sure he will heal well? Would they be more apt to play Timmons if they had less confidence in his back-up.
Ed Bouchette: Timmons will not play. yes, I think Fox's performance makes the decision easier.
steeler_Dan: Ed, will Stefan be used purely as a return man or will he see some offensive snaps on Thursday?
Ed Bouchette: Purely return man. He could be used on end around, something like that, but I would not look for it.
Jacque_Strap: Sounds a little crazy (maybe), but is Keyaron Fox BETTER than Timmons at this point? Fox has been a beast out there. Granted Timmons has better long-term potential.
Ed Bouchette: I loved Timmons in the nickel last season. I have not seen enough of him in the regular defense yet to have an opinion.
steeler_Dan: Type here Ed, are you concerned that Madison, Woods and Davis are gone, all special team stalwarts, can they be replaced without a significant drop off?
Ed Bouchette: Good, young players with special teams ability come along all the time, players such as Keenan Lewis and even veteran Keiwan Ratliff. Look at Patrick Bailey last season, for example. Plus, Donovan Woods did not play much last season, when he spent most of the time on the practice squad.
Ed: Hello Ed, I enjoy your Steelers report on the internet after the games. There is always a lot of talk about the great catch by Homles to win the Super Bowl, but not much about the guy who threw it. Seems to me Big Ben is shunned some by the media for some reason. Why is that?
Ed Bouchette: perhaps it is the other way around.
Katmandu: Ed, I was not surprised with the cuts made from Saturday, but one did surprise me. I thought keeping Sonny Harris as a DE instead of Nick Eason made better sense. Harris is bigger, younger, and clearly has more upside than Eason. On gameday, they could roll with Hood and Kirschke, and leave Harris on the inactive list until he was clearly ready. Eason is what he is, a back-up. What are your thoughts on this? I think the Steelers dropped the ball here.
Ed Bouchette: Especially since it appears they will not dress Eason for games.
Monrovia_CA_Rick: Ed, I found the Steelers approach to the "short yardage" back this season somewhat confusing. Drafted the Tank, gave Isaac Red Zone a ton of work (which he succeeded at), FWP barely saw any work, and now FWP is "our runner". I love FWP but what was all this other noise, especially about Red Zone, about during camp?
Ed Bouchette: If the line blocks well enough, I don't know if it matters all that much which one is back there.
bostonburgher: Ed, Heath Miller has shown himself to be a real receiving weapon. Do you expect him to have increased catch numbers this year?
Ed Bouchette: No, I think he will be in that 45-50 range again.
Katmandu: Ed, who is the 'fourth' inside ILB now that Woods is on the practice squad? Whoever it is needs to be ready with Timmons out this week.
Ed Bouchette: Arnold Harrison made the team, in part, because he can play both inside and outside linebacker.
Jon_Barker: Everyone is saying that it is impossible to repeat without changing something. Is having Daniel Sepulveda and Stefan Logan to help special teams enough of a change to thwart these comments?
Ed Bouchette: I suppose, but I would not put too much credence in those comments.
Keyaron_Fox_worthy_: Thanks Ed for the Chats. Important question here... when is the appropriate time to put out the Steelers flag on the front of the house before a season?
Ed Bouchette: You mean it's not out there yet? Turn in your membership badge, please.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Does Ziggy Hood see any playing time on Thursday night, or is he still in a sit and watch mode?
Ed Bouchette: He will dress; I discovered that today. I hope he does not play much because that would mean Aaron Smith is on the bench and I don't want to see Aaron Smith on the bench if I'm the Steelers.
Amos_P_Swanson: Will the offer to Jeff Reed be the last one this week/season?
Ed Bouchette: It appears so, although you never say never. Well, let me say it, then. No more contract offers this year.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Does Frank Summers or David Johnson start at fullback?
Ed Bouchette: I think they will open with Frank, because he's also a threat to run.
Keyaron_Fox_worthy_: What did you see in practice today worth noting?
Ed Bouchette: Already told you: No Timmons. I did chat with Chris Collinsworth, though, and with Tiki Barber and with Andrea Kramer. Also said hello to one of the new minority owners, Hollywood producer Thomas Tull (a fan of these chats, by the way).
Amos_P_Swanson: Do you think Timmons will be back by Week 2?
Ed Bouchette: I think that is the goal, yes.
OldSchoolPatriotFan: Are Steeler fans in for a HUGE disappointment on Thursday night?
Ed Bouchette: You mean, might the Steelers actually lose? OMG, can that really happen?
Homey: What's your prediction about the NFL labor situation? You think there will be a lockout after an uncapped year, or that cooler heads will prevail first?
Ed Bouchette: I think 2010 will be uncapped, after that, it's anyone's guess.
Free_Tank_Carter: Ed - I'm curious how the cutting/picking up a player works. Take Sonny Harris for example. If the Steelers wanted to keep him, could Harris have gone to them and said "Carolina wants to sign me to their roster." Could the Steelers then decide to add him to their 53 and cut someone else instead?
Ed Bouchette: No, when they put him on waivers, any of the other 31 teams can claim him and he has no choice if someone does but to go to that team.
Keyaron_Fox_worthy_: Is Jeff Reed a team guy, or do you think he's a little PO'd at the lowball offer?
Ed Bouchette: Certainly he is a team guy but certainly he can be forgiven if he's a little ticked off that they made him an offer he could easily refuse. Doesn't mean his performance will suffer, though.
kiski_cougar4life: Alright Ed, let's roll! Do you think we'll still see the shotgun/4 wide on 3rd and short this season, or will Arians finally pound the ball for the first down?
Ed Bouchette: I think a leopard does not change his spots. Bruce's offense may evolve and there will be some runs on third-and-short, but there also will be some spread in that situation.
ajt123: Any special ceremonies planned for opening day in regards to celebrating the Super Bowl win one last time?
Ed Bouchette: One last time? You think they have no Super Bowl wins in the future?
steelfaninohio: Good afternoon. Must say I was agonizing over Redman being cut. Glad he made it to the practice squad. How does that work can he be taken by any team anytime?
Ed Bouchette: He can be signed by any team at any time. Now, when that happens to a practice squad player, he has the ability to refuse the offer from the other team (nuts, in my opinion) or go to the Steelers and tell them about it and give them an opportunity to sign him to their 53-man roster.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Ed, do you feel the same as I do when I say, if healthy, the Steelers offense can be explosive?
Ed Bouchette: I say that to myself every Tuesday: if healthy, this chat can be explosive.
Steeler_in_Bayou: Ed, IF the running game struggles early in the year will Tomlin change the FB thinking? Or is BA the Idealogy King?
Ed Bouchette: I think Mike gives Bruce Arians a lot of freedom to run the offense how he sees fit. Plus, there is game-planning involved in which the head coach has input.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: With Nate Washington now on the Titans, does that give the Titans and inside advantage?
Ed Bouchette: Maybe a little, knowledge-wise. But with free agency, this kind of stuff happens all the time. Imagine the insight the Steelers will get from Shaun McDonald when the Steelers play the Lions!
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Is Holmes 100% or is his body or back still aching?
Ed Bouchette: you mean the back is not part of his body? He seems fine.
OldSchoolPatriotFan: Is Dennis Dixon back to 100% healthy?
Ed Bouchette: Are any of us? He's been throwing in practice and told me his shoulder feels good.
rbird: Ed, what's the blueprint for beating the Titans? They really kicked our tail last season.
Ed Bouchette: You got that right. How about stopping Chris Johnson, who gouged them last year, and not give up the big plays they did in Nashville.
WoodleyIsagod: Hey Ed, do you think that LaMarr Woodley makes it to the Pro Bowl this year, or is he snubbed again?
Ed Bouchette: It's hard for a team to place 2 players at the same position on the Pro Bowl, so part of the answer might be up to James Harrison's performance too.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Ed, I've heard fans criticise Willie Parker, they say Willie plays well only vs. bad defenses, your thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I heard criticism of the great Franco in the 70's too.
Steeler_Rage: Its early, but can you give us your top 5 AFC contenders in order?
Ed Bouchette: New England, Steelers, Titans, San Diego, Baltimore. I put NE ahead of the Steelers because they play in a much weaker division and likely will reap home field advantage from it.
rbird: Ed, are the Steelers doing anything special before or during halftime for their Super Bowl victory?
Ed Bouchette: No, Super Bowl was last year. Mike Tomlin made that perfectly clear, it's a new season.
FoolBack: Ed is the practice squad always about development, or are certain players retained to provide match-ups to help in game plans?
Ed Bouchette: A little of both. They do, indeed, help out in practice and allow players such as Hines Ward to have days off. But there also is development, obviously, and many practice squaders have gone on to make the team.
Steeler_in_Bayou: Horrible short yardage team last year, will it be better this year and why?
Ed Bouchette: It depends on the line.
Steelersfaninaustin: Hey Ed, glad we are finally going for real. We fans can find lots to worry about, from you view, what is the biggest concern heading into the season?
Ed Bouchette: How are you going to pay for another Super Bowl trip?
Ed Bouchette: Thanks, all. Don't forget to check out our new PG Plus. See you next Tuesday.