Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
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Ed Bouchette: Hello and welcome to the post-season, a little different this year. It starts a month early. Mike Tomlin had his press conference today and the only real news that came out of it is Ken Anderson's retirement as QB coach and the fact that Ben Roethlisberger's arm is fine. Let's begin.
Robertbugsy: Ed, do you think New England and Cincinnati lost on purpose to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs?
Ed Bouchette: No. I do not know what that was that Cincinnati did Sunday night but the Bengals already knew the Steelers were out of it. And I thought the Patriots played long and hard before doing what the Steelers have done much of the season, blowing a big fourth-quarter lead.
The_Truth: Is the Anderson retirement a reflection of his desire to actually retire, or due to unhappiness with Arians, Roethlisberger, Tomlin or the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Everything I've been able to gather is that Ken enjoyed it here, won his only Super Bowl here and is just ready to hang up the coaching reins.
1loss2many: Ed, how many assistant coaches do you think will be let go?
Ed Bouchette: If I told you none, would that shock you? I don't think he will fire anyone, and if he does it will be no more than one or two.
DJSWSP: I would like to see Fast Willie back in the Black and Gold as a complement to Rashard. Do you think there is a market for FWP as a starter in the NFL or do you see him back at a reduced salary?
Ed Bouchette: I believe Willie would like to come back but not under the circumstances he found himself in the second half of the season. He'd like to at least compete for a starting job but with the chance of sharing one, not getting two or three carries a game. So, I think he'll move on.
Amos_P_Swanson: Do you have any details as to what kind of injury Ben suffered late in the game on Sunday?
Ed Bouchette: Apparently, he did not have an injury. At least that is what Mike Tomlin said today, and he never left the game.
polamalu43: Ed, do you think Ryan Clark will be back next year?
Ed Bouchette: No because I do not think they will offer him a large enough contract before he becomes free and someone else will.
David: If the Steelers were to go O-line in the first round, would they draft a RT to replace Willie Colon?
Ed Bouchette: Do not be so fast there to replace Willie Colon. And one thing all must remember about the draft is you do not always draft positions because the talent may not be good enough when it's your turn to draft at that position.
Amos_P_Swanson: Do you personally look for many or little changes with Steelers this off-season?
Ed Bouchette: I do not believe you will see the kind of changes fans and James Harrison have talked about. They are in no position to make major changes.
steelkings: J. Peezy said he was still a Steeler at heart. Roethlisberger said they missed his big mouth in the locker room. Any chance we could see him again after the Fins cut him loose this off-season? It sure seemed like Porter was lobbying for a look. He would fit in with the other geezers, wouldn't he?
Ed Bouchette: It's rare when the Steelers bring a former player back, although it has happened on a few occasions. No, I do not expect to see JP back in a Steelers uniform.
polamalu43: Ed, the Steelers have the 18th pick, would you take a CB, S or ILB?
Ed Bouchette: Can you tell me which players are still available when it's my turn to pick?
Fahar: Ed, My dad wants to ask if Ben and the coaches walk by any point per minute of possession trophies at work ... Oh wait ... They didn't come close to that ... Never mind.
Ed Bouchette: No NFL team comes close to a point per minute. You are lucky if you get that in basketball these days.
Amos_P_Swanson: Ed ... What's Mike Tomlin's contract situation going into this off-season. Is it time for an extension?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, you can expect the Steelers to open negotiations to extend their coach's contract, probably in the spring. When it gets done is anyone's guess. He has a year and an option left on his first contract and the team traditionally negotiates an extension of at least two more years when he has two left.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Ed, should I blame myself for the Steelers not making the playoffs since I did not participate in as many chats as I did last year?
Ed Bouchette: You need an attitude adjustment is all.
JMF1177: How could Tomlin rectify firing Arians after a 4000+ yard passer, two 1000-yard receivers, and a 1000-yard rusher. They improved offensively from last year, even time of possession?
Ed Bouchette: I expect Bruce Arians to be back as OC next season. As for those stats, I will cite a Tomlin reference that when he walks by those 6 trophies every day, not one of them is a 4,000-yard passer trophy, nor two 1,000-yard receiver trophies, nor a 1,000-yard rusher trophy.
leeinbigd: Ed, if Clark leaves via FA, who takes his spot?
Ed Bouchette: That is a good question and one you need to keep in mind if you want to see this team make major changes. In order to do that, you must have someone in which to make the change, such as your question. If Clark leaves, I have no idea who replaces him. The most logical is Ryan Mundy, a free agent or draft pick. Go through each position and ask the same question.
redmanselect: Who do you see getting the franchise tag if anyone at all?
Ed Bouchette: My guess would be either Casey Hampton or Jeff Reed.
Daniel Ettinger: What's the deal with the Boston Red Sox hat?
Ed Bouchette: Sacred ground, although I have not worn it since training camp.
Praise be to Ben: Will this be the last chat for a while?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, we have no schedule after this. I will encourage my bosses to have one every other month, whether it's necessary or not.
NC92: What are the rumors about where Cowher will end up?
Ed Bouchette: I think perhaps the game of musical chairs is ending and there's not one open to Bill's liking. I've heard he interviewed in Buffalo, but that does not seem like a good fit for him. Maybe he will wait one more year.
PeteS: Ed, what do you think the Steelers will do with Big Snack, will he be back or cut loose?
Ed Bouchette: I believe that is one thing that will be debated internally over the next few weeks. They have no logical replacement for him.
Douglas Prawnhead: Can we expect to see some (or any) contributions from Tony Hills or Kraig Urbik next year? It's difficult to gauge O-line development as a fan ...
Ed Bouchette: Sooner or later, your young players have to contribute. It's one way of avoiding those big free agent contracts. Hills, Urbik, their two rookie corners from this season, Mundy, Ziggy Hood all have chances to step up and fill in the gaps.
SteelerFanin Baltimore: Do you think the coaching staff will require ALL Steeler defensive backs to take pass catching lessons, or at least have Hines and other receivers work with them to improve their catching abilities?
Ed Bouchette: You cannot teach old dogs new tricks.
JMF1177: How will Steelers adjust for no salary cap in 2010, use same increase from 2008-2009 as starting point.
Ed Bouchette: I believe they will operate as if there is a cap with a slight increase over last season. Of course, there are no dire consequences if they violate their self-imposed cap.
95lloyd: In a uncapped year, I thought the Steelers received 2 franchise tags?
Ed Bouchette: They have one franchise tag and one transition tag. The transition tag is a weaker form of the franchise. You only protect your right to match another contract and not get something in return if you do not match.
MARINO_KNOWS_BEST: Ed, the elephant in the room is that the NFL's playoff system is a disaster ... it's funny how nobody has mentioned this yet they rip to shreds a college system that is, in my opinion, far superior. Do you believe this cover-up is a right wing media conspiracy?
Ed Bouchette: Let's see. The NFL puts 12 teams into the playoffs and the college system puts two teams into a national "championship" game where the participants often are disputed.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Ed, looking at next year's schedule, whats the over/under for wins with the '10 Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Since I predicted they would go 12-4 this season, why would you want my predictions for the next one?
Tburg_Pete: Ed, do you think we see one or both teams in the Super Bowl that the Steelers defeated this season?
Ed Bouchette: One, San Diego
PeteS: Will you still be doing your blog on PG Plus in the off season?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, provided I can come up with material. It's one thing to blog during a season, quite another when nothing's going on. Maybe I can put some crossword puzzles up for you. Or brain teasers.
JMF1177: With all the new investors, any chance Steelers sign big-time free agent or make a trade?
Ed Bouchette: Do not misunderstand what happened with the Steelers franchise this season. The money from the new investors was used to buy out old partners. It was not an infusion of capital to sign free agents.
RDU: You mentioned in your blog that you didn't feel that MT wanted Hampton back but Colbert was more in favor. Care to elaborate on the reasons Coach Tomlin feels that Hampton isn't a fit with the team?
Ed Bouchette: I do not know his reasons, just that he has not been a big fan. For example, when he was publicly embarrassed for being "out of shape" when he reported to training camp.
Praise be to Ben: Will you miss us as much as we will miss you?
Ed Bouchette: Probably not. But maybe we could pick up the slack by joining Facebook and exchanging photos and family secrets over the next few months.
tfs: I hope we don't have any more "unleashing of Hell" next year ... I'd rather go back to the old way of getting into the playoffs and winning some games.
Ed Bouchette: Yeah, that was not one of Mike Tomlin's highlights for 2009.
janie: I'll try again ... any chance of Charlie Batch as QB coach?
Ed Bouchette: Sometimes when I do not answer your questions it is not because I do not like the question but because I do not know the answer because I have not looked into it yet. But here goes: I would think not because coaches do not like to hire players right off the roster to join their staff. they usually have too many alliances and they try to avoid that. However, if you could pick a player who I believe could make that transition if he wanted to it would be Charlie Batch.
Bill Belicheat: Do you expect to see Logan returning kicks for the Steelers again in '10?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I do. He improved in that area and there looks like no one else on the team now they would prefer do that. All that can change if they draft someone, etc.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks all, until we chat again.
First Published January 5, 2010 2:45 pm