Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript: 2.9.2010
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Ed Bouchette: Welcome back, let's begin.
Gary from Boston, MA: Ed, The Super Bowl highlighted the effectiveness of precision passing. A big difference between Pitt. and N.O./Ind (and even NE) is the crispness of the passing plays. I don't recall seeing many ad-lib plays or long developing plays that seem so much a part of the Steelers passing attack. With similar WR/TE talent do you think we can expect to see an emphasis on quicker throws and what is the major hurdle to achieving a more precise passing game?
Ed Bouchette: That's a mouthful. First, you have to have the quarterback who can and wants to do that. Ben R. has been successful at what he does. I do not believe the passing game or lack of it is what kept the Steelers out of the playoffs last year. That passing game looked pretty good and Ben also has one of the best completion percentages in the league as well as yards per attempt. What you describe is what many demeaned as the "dink and dunk" offense.
ajt123: Do you believe that Casey Hampton aka Big Snack would REALLY hold out or worse yet come to camp with a bad attitude if the Steelers franchised him?
Ed Bouchette: No, I believe neither. It would not be in his best interests. Holdouts never win anymore in the NFL because they are forced to come back by a certain time or they cannot play. And with a lockout looming, do you think Hampton would give up a $7 million salary this season vs. nothing the next 2? It does not mean he would be happy with the arrangement, but if they franchise him, he would want to showcase himself again for 2011 and play well.
ajt123: Out of our free agents, who do you believe has a realistic chance to be signed?
Ed Bouchette: Jeff Reed. And I think they will wind up putting franchise tag on Hampton.
MPM: What did you think of the Colt's decision to try a 51 yard field goal with a 42 year old kicker with just less than eleven minutes to go in the game and up by a point?
Ed Bouchette: Here is what I wrote in my blog on PG Plus today about that: The most crucial kick of all? The one the New Orleans Saints made on the successful onside attempt? Maybe. But what could Jim Caldwell have been thinking when he had 42-year-old Matt Stover try a 51-yard field goal? I raised the question before he did it. That called for a punt. The miss gave the Saints great field position and they used it to score a touchdown. If they needed to try one from that distance, they should have used rookie Pat McAfee, a Pittsburgh native with a stronger leg than Stover's. It almost ranked up there with Mike Tomlin's onside kick against Green Bay and his 2-point conversion try from the 12 against Jacksonville in his first playoff game.
Momo from Germany: Is there a real chance that an OT falls to the Steelers in the 1st round of the draft? If not, is CB their next biggest need?
Ed Bouchette: You do not normally get a great OT where the Steelers pick, but you never know. I think a CB is a greater need for them.
Brent: WIth all the talk about how hard it is to kick in Heinz Field, have the Steelers ever looked at drafting the kicker from Pitt. I honestly dont know if he is any good but at least he would have experience kicking there.
Ed Bouchette: They have the best kicker for Heinz Field right now in Jeff Reed.
Brent: I have seen a few mock drafts that have us taking Bryan Bulaga from Iowa. Do you think we are going to go that way and address the line or secondary first.
Ed Bouchette: It will depend on who is available when the Steelers draft -- 2 1/2 months from now.
JB: Ed, is there any news on Limas Sweed - how he's doing or details on what caused him to be put on IR?
Ed Bouchette: I do not know the diagnosis, but I do know it was not physical.
NJ Steel: Ed, you mentioned that Dawson was one of your all time favorite Steelers. Who are some of the others, based on their on-field play and off-field personalities/?
Ed Bouchette: There are and have been too many to list.
GjSteel: Hi Ed, Welcome back. Why the change of heart in regards to Ray Horton? Why did Mike Tomlin change his mind? Did he forget his famous words -- the film doesn't lie -- the secondary was the worst it has been in years, with or without Troy?
Ed Bouchette: I do not know the specifics, but you might suspect it was not the first time Mike Tomlin changed his mind on a coach.
Brent: With the looming possibility of a lockout after this coming season, could this be the last year we see Hines Ward playing football?
Ed Bouchette: When you get to Ward's age, any year could be his last. Dermontti Dawson was going strong when he suddenly developed hamstring problems and could not overcome them. injuries can bring down an older player faster than anything. I have noticed no slippage in the play of Ward, however.
JB: Both James Harrison and Lamar Woodley caught INTs in the Pro Bowl in coverage. I thought Woodley held his own in coverage all game. Do you think we might see more of this in the Steelers defense next year (perhaps rush Farrior and drop Woodley on occasion to confuse the offense?)?
Ed Bouchette: They do drop Harrison and Woodley on occasion in their zone blitzes. However, I want my best pass rushers rushing the passer and not covering receivers.
Guest: What sense do you have regarding whether the Steelers and their competition in the North will be active spenders this year, without the salary cap or floor?
Ed Bouchette: I think you will see Baltimore, Cincinnati and the Steelers all playing it normally. I have no idea what the Browns will do.
JMF1177: Any word on new contracts for any of the Steelers free agents?
Ed Bouchette: Nothing yet. They have until March 5.
JMF1177: How many additional picks will Steelers get for the draft?
Ed Bouchette: They should get a couple of compensatory picks for losing Nate Washington and Bryant McFadden. Larry Foote does not count because they released him.
JMF1177: Whether or not the Steelers sign or franchise Hampton, do you see them drafting a NT in 1st round?
Ed Bouchette: No.
JMF1177: Are Steelers keeping Horton as DB coach?
Ed Bouchette: Yes.
Brent: I liked what I saw from Tyler Grisham at the end of the year, could he be our Wes Welker eventually or am I getting ahead of myself?
Ed Bouchette: Grisham caught one pass and dropped one. What did you see that you liked?
Brent: Can Sepulveda kickoff? It is so frustrating watching Reed kickoff and never make it to the end zone.
Ed Bouchette: I asked Daniel that question late in the season. He told me he is not as good at it as Jeff Reed.
JoeLo: Do you think Timmons played well enough this season that he's an automatic starter going into next season?
Ed Bouchette: Yes.
JMF1177: Will Steelers let Townsend and Carter go or re-sign?
Ed Bouchette: I believe they will not sign them before they become free agents March 5, but there is some interest in re-signing Townsend if he does not get a strong offer elsewhere.
Brent: Will Logan be back next year?
Ed Bouchette: Stefan Logan will be in training camp and the process will start from there.
ajt123: Should we read anything into the P and WR signings of today other than more camp competition?
Ed Bouchette: Everyone has a chance. Maybe they are looking a the Pitt punter as a kickoff man.
Brent: Are we looking to resign Clark, I have heard that Kerry Rhodes maybe available this year. Seems like he would be an upgrade from Clark
Ed Bouchette: they want to sign Ryan Clark. It, of course, will come down to whether they offer him enough to stay.
BigJim: Did you find the Super Bowl somewhat boring? When you take into account the two teams playing, I expected a few more big plays and some better offense in general.
Ed Bouchette: It depends on what your definition of boring is. No, I found it interesting, especially with some of the gutsy moves made by Sean Payton vs. a couple of strange ones by Jim Caldwell.
JoeLo: Why don't we hear much about Urbik or Hills providing OL help? Could they both bust?
Ed Bouchette: You don't hear much about them because neither has done anything. Hills has been on the roster for two years and hardly dresses for games. Urbik was bypassed by undrafted rookie Ramon Foster. They will get another shot this year to see if they make their moves but there's little they've shown to have anyone count on them to provide help.
Baggage Handler: Ed, did you fear for your bags when you heard that truck was on fire?
Ed Bouchette: No, there was nothing in there worth worrying about.
Doc Holliday: I played with Doug W. (Dub) at Pitt and he was always a stand-up individual and a native Pittsburgher. How much given the time of all the changes impacts the Steelers for the draft and beyond?
Ed Bouchette: I addressed that too in PG Plus when Doug Whaley made the move to Buffalo. Any time you lose good people like him, it does not help.
Johnny: Any chance we see LT land in Pittsburgh to run with Mendenhall?
Ed Bouchette: None.
Brent: Hey Ed what was your favorite commercial?
Ed Bouchette: I saw no commercials. And when The Who came on, I left in the middle of their first set to get a cup of coffee and missed the rest, although now I can at least tell my grandkids some day that I did see The Who in concert.
Guest: If anyone ever asks a question about Tyler Grisham again, can you ban them from future chats?
Ed Bouchette: Consider yourself banned.
JMF1177: Will Troy wear a brace this season to protect his knee?
Ed Bouchette: He did not wear it this year after hurting his knee the first time, so I doubt it.
JMF1177: What player do you think will improve the most this season from last season?
Ed Bouchette: Naturally, it would have to be a young player and one with the largest area to improve. I think Rashard Mendenhall could take another big step, as can Mike Wallace and Ramon Foster. On defense, I look for Keenan Lewis to improve a lot; he had back issues early-on that held him down.
Brent: Hey I thought I had some other pretty good questions I am just trying to pick your brain a little here.
Ed Bouchette: There's not much to pick from there but if you thought asking me why Sapp was benched by the NFL Network and not Michael Irvin, I have no opinion and no answer to it.
nwTroy: Ed, love the PG+ materials. I subscribe just for the Steelers material, so while there are times when nothing is going on for you and Gerry to write about, convince me you'll make something up so I'll keep subscribing.
Ed Bouchette: Why don't you just take the discount and sign up for the whole year. As you may have seen, we've kept it going for a solid month pretty good there and the Steelers' season has been over for more than one month. Plus, you can chat tomorrow with Gerry on PG Plus and every Wednesday.
Doc Holliday: Any prospect out there no one is looking at that will go undrafted that you like for the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Way, way, way too early for that one.
bubs: Re: Polamalu -- do you think the Steelers will require him to train with them this offseason, rather than with Marinovich?
Ed Bouchette: No. For one, they cannot require him except for their one three-day minicamp. For another, why would they? He had a great 2008 season after training in California. Those knee injuries did not come about because Troy did not practice with his teammates in the spring. If that were the case, others who do practice with their teammates would not get hurt.
dub: What calls made by Caldwell in the Super Bowl did you find strange?
Ed Bouchette: I mentioned one, the 51-yard field goal.
JHaugfjr: Was the coffee as vile as Peter King described it?
Ed Bouchette: Peter can get away with writing about lousy coffee. Peter and I once went to a Starbucks together and all I will say is he has exotic tastes in coffee. I like mine regular, fresh and with a shot of cream; they do not have to spend 10 minutes making it through a special machine.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you all. We will have these chats periodically in the offseason, so keep checking.
First Published February 9, 2010 2:29 pm