Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
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Ed Bouchette: Hello, all. Sorry about last Tuesday's chat. The Larry Foote story broke just before the start and I had to pursue that. Let's start.
bg_steel: Ed, how would you rate the Steelers draft? (A-F)
Ed Bouchette: Did you see Gene Collier's column after the draft? It's so hard to judge until several years later. Even Art Rooney Jr. told Gene they did not know how they did after the '74 draft and that's become the best of all time with 4 HOFers. But that's copping out, for me, isn't it? OK, I love their third-round picks, all three. I love the choice of Frank The Tank because he seems to fit them. I like the fact they took Ziggy Hood but I have never seen him play, so I have no idea how good or not he is. I also like the choice of A.Q. Shipley
Chooch79: How soon before ESPN launches the never ending Brett Farve coming out of retirement scroll?
Ed Bouchette: I was waiting to read Sports Illustrated's second special edition on his retirement first.
Taz: Hi Ed. Is Deshea's roster spot vulnerable since he's 34 and the Steelers drafted two CBs, or does his experience with the system combined with the loss of McFadden make his presence more of a necessity?
Ed Bouchette: He will have to compete to keep his job. If both of those young kids are worthy, they'll have to decide between one and Deshea. However, Deshea also can play safety and I think he will be on the 09 roster.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Ed, sorry to see Foote leave. Will there be any more roster cuts between now and training camp?
Ed Bouchette: Oh, my, yes. You have to get down to 53 and they have almost 90 on their roster now. Will there be any prominent ones, like Foote? I'm sure there will be one or two surprises, as always. But Foote forced this, the Steelers had no plans to cut him.
bump_and_run: Can you predict stocks as well as first round draft choices? I am looking forward to seeing how well Frank Summers does in short yardage packages - the preseason games might be especially interesting this year. Does he also have any history of catching the ball so they can use him in other situations? Is David Johnson being considered as a potential power I FB?
Ed Bouchette: Summers did catch some passes at UNLV but I don't think that's a big deal. The Steelers want him as a short-yardage bulldog and if he can do that, he's in. Johnson is a long-shot who will vie for practice squad at this point.
Taz: Hi Ed. Thanks for taking the time to chat. Did any rookies look surprisingly good (or bad) at the recent minicamp?
Ed Bouchette: No, and it's difficult for them in many ways. There are no pads and they don't know what they're doing. Maxi-camp is where it happens.
DFWSteeler: What are the early reports on Stephen Logan - the CFL stud?
Ed Bouchette: He looks extremely fast and quick, and extremely small. He'll have to make it as a returner, and the Steelers drafted some of those too.
Surgical_Steel: How does the addition of Ziggy Hood affect a possible contract extension for Brett Kiesel? Does it make it more likely that they would go after Hampton instead and let Hood settle into Kiesel's RDE position in 2010?
Ed Bouchette: It all depends on what Brett is willing to take before he becomes a free agent, and how Ziggy does in the meantime. The Hampton situation will be interesting. I think they might wait until after the season to try to re-sign him.
irishreb: Hi Ed, do you think Sweed has improved over the off season to replace N Washington?
Ed Bouchette: I think all signs say yes but again until they get into training camp, we won't know. There have been a lot of Mr. Mays in the spring, and I'm not just talking about Lee.
Ratz: Why is everyone ignoring the obvious with Larry Foote? It's a money hunt. The Steelers weren't going to keep him after this year and a 30 year-old 2 down linebacker wasn't going to hit the free agent jackpot next year.
Ed Bouchette: Neither is Larry going to hit the jackpot this year. The Steelers were willing to keep him at his salary this year but when Larry pushed the issue, I believe they felt it might not be a bad idea after all to let him go and use the money/cap room to try to keep someone else. I admire Larry's belief in himself, but I think it's foolhardy on his part.
mdsteel: Ed, are you excited about Mike Wallace? I feel with him on kick off and punt returns and Sepulveda back punting, the Steelers should gain a bunch of yards in both areas.
Ed Bouchette: I do like the promise he brings. I also want to see Sepulveda punt again, something he did not do in minicamp because of recovering from ACL surgery.
Pickman: Seems there's two sides to the story about Foote...the Steelers say it was a cap decision...other reports say Foote wanted out since he fore saw that Timmons would take every down duty...Is it both reasons, or is one side or the other trying to save face?
Ed Bouchette: Sort of. As I just mentioned, the Steelers were going to keep him -- otherwise they would have released him in March ala Joey Porter. But the more Foote wanted out, the more they convinced themselves it wasn't a bad idea because of Lawrence Timmons and the cap. That was a luxury they had at that position they realized they did not want to afford when they could use that money elsewhere.
Surgical_Steel: How do you expect the Steelers to address Justin Hartwig's contract, heading into his final year? Is Shipley too much of a project for them to wait on offering Hartwig an extension?
Ed Bouchette: I believe they will wait on Hartwig, see how Shipley does and also have an alternative at C in Stapleton.
Ward4EverASteeler: Ed, are the Steelers still interested in signing Lelie?
Ed Bouchette: I don't believe they were ever interested. They bring guys in all the time for a look-see.
Mwarren18: Ed, have you seen anything from Bruce Davis in practice that would lead you to believe he will someday become a starter?
Ed Bouchette: No, but then I haven't seen anything that says he won't. He did not have a good rookie camp but he'll get that chance again this year and he WAS a DE at UCLA and has been converted to OLB, not an easy task.
praveen: Will Mewelde once again be relegated to 3rd down back only now that we have both Rashad and Willie healthy? He seemed to do very well whenever called on.
Ed Bouchette: There's nothing wrong with being "relegated" to third-down back. That's a vital spot and when you have guys like Parker and Mendenhall in front of you, you can't expect to do otherwise barring injuries.
Mwarren18: Ed, given Willie Parker being in the last year of his contract do you see this as his last year as a Steeler?
Ed Bouchette: No. I think Parker is way more valuable than what some believe. He had 3 straight years over 1200 yards and began last season with 2 over 100 before his injury in the third game. I would re-sign him.
Cope-asetic: What will be the most interesting position battles when camp starts this year?
Ed Bouchette: I believer right guard between Stapleton and rookie Urbik. Left corner between William Gay and a rookie or two. Third-down receiver among Sweed, Wallace and veteran McDonald, signed just before the draft.
mike_tomlins_barber: If the organization knew they would cut Foote, why was this not addressed during the draft? There isn't that much depth at ILB. Was there any thought with taking Rey Maualuga when he fell to the end of rd. 1?
Ed Bouchette: No, they wanted Ziggy. I was a little surprised they did not grab someone at ILB but maybe the value wasn't there and they believe they have a couple who can play the position already on the roster, like Fox or Woods.
Mwarren18: Ed, give us one guy who you think will have a standout year next year that may be flying under the radar?
Ed Bouchette: Lawrence Timmons, although not exactly under the radar. Sweed. Wm Gay. Not many because this is a SB team that lost just 2 starters.
Chooch79: Ed, is it too soon to start questioning Bruce Arian's 2010 play calling?
Ed Bouchette: Yes. Let's wait until the two weeks before the Super Bowl.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Hello Ed, any dialogue between Heath Miller & the Steelers on a contract extension or will they wait til all draft picks are signed?
Ed Bouchette: I checked over the weekend and there have been no talks. I would think they'll start talking with him soon, though.
James_Taipei: Should Steelers fans favorite part of the NFL draft be the fact that they have not had the number one overall pick since 1970?
Ed Bouchette: And they got that one right!
Matt_in_LA: Should we go after Plax?
Ed Bouchette: No, let the authorities handle that.
Mikey: When do the Steelers get their rings?
Ed Bouchette: I think you'll see them get their rings and visit the White House within days of each other, as happened in 2006. I'm told sometime around early June.
Terrible_Trousers: Do you see Urbik taking over at RG at some point during or prior to the start of the season?
Ed Bouchette: I think he will have the opportunity for it and the rest will be up to him and Stapleton.
Tom_M.: Do you think the Steelers considered taking Ray Maualuga in the first round, knowing Foote wanted to leave?
Ed Bouchette: no
ajt123: What happens first - The Steelers win another super bowl, or you begin to like these chats?
Ed Bouchette: I'm having a grand time, can't you tell? It beats watching the Pirates play Milwaukee.
Scurvy_BBLAAARRRGH: Hi Ed. I've been obsessing over why Tyrone Carter wasn't at voluntary workouts? Can you help a pirate out?
Ed Bouchette: Don't know, doesn't matter. He was there over the weekend for minicamp.
Mwarren18: Ed, for next season ... areas of strength and areas of weakness?
Ed Bouchette: Same as last season, I suppose -- offensive line needs to improve, running game needs to improve. Strengths? Besides James Harrison? The entire defense, QB and potential running game.
irishreb: Ed, do you think Dixon will be the number 2 quarterback this season?
Ed Bouchette: I think he'll have a chance to becoming No. 2 on gamedays because they can use him in many ways and if Ben gets hurt, they could still turn to Batch.
T22POST: Ed, Do you think William Gay will rise to the challenge playing opposite of Ike every play, is he ready to be a true starter?
Ed Bouchette: We'll have to wait to see if he's ready, but he has the kind of attitude that says he will be.
Mwarren18: Ed, everyone seems to be high on this AQ cat, is this purely a case of being in love with Pitt, WVU, and Penn St. guys who come to the Steelers or does he have a real chance to develop into a quality NFL player?
Ed Bouchette: I agree that many people want to see him succeed because he's a Pittsburgh kid who played at Penn State. But there's also something about him that smells like success even though he has so-called shortcomings like small hands and short arms.
schnifin: Hi Ed, any update on why Martin Nance did't practice this weekend? Do you think he has a shot to contribute to the team this year?
Ed Bouchette: We're still waiting from the word from the Steelers. Mike Tomlin said he'd know by Monday, but no one's spilling the beans yet. It's not exactly going to be the top news story of the day when we do find out, though.
praveen: Isn't it interesting that the one area where the Cardinals have not felt like raiding the Steelers free agent class was the Steelers OL? Does that indicate Russ Grimm doesn't think much of our group?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know who they would sign. They're all under contract.
Daquido_Bazzini: With Foote's money deleted from the cap, can we expect a Heath Miller signing soon?
Ed Bouchette: I think it gives them a running start, yes.
Sixburgh43: Ed, how do see our return game shaping up this year?
Ed Bouchette: At least they have some candidates other than 240-pound running backs.
Mikey: Was Steelers D-line coach J. Mitchell just trying to manage fans/media expectations when he said that Ziggy Hood was 'light years' away from playing?
Ed Bouchette: I think it was a psychological ploy on Mitch's part.
mdsteel: Ed, Out of all the draft picks who do you like the best?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Wallace
FoolBack: Ed, what do you think of the Shaun McDonald signing? Seems this guy is a classic Steeler insurance signing, who has some interesting skills. You thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I think he's insurance against Sweed and Wallace not fulfilling their promise.
Mwarren18: Ed, I find it troubling that everyone seems to always question the Steelers O line when given the chance. I agree that when I watch that they sometime look lost but should we not lose sight of the fact that this team did win a Super Bowl with this line and everyone will be back next year. Even with little improvement could the line be a strength for them next season?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know about a strength. Yes, they can improve, but then they have a lot of room for that.
FoolBack: Ed, are there any concerns over the Steelers depth at Safety? Do you see a low-cost veteran also coming in there?
Ed Bouchette: Depth could be a problem. Ryan Mundy could make the club and Townsend can play there and there's always Carter too.
mdsteel: Ed, could this be the best backfield we have had in years?
Ed Bouchette: I kind of liked the one with Bettis and Parker myself.
praveen: What kind of agent signs a two year contract for Leftwich where not even a single dollar is guaranteed? I see much worse QBs with better contracts.
Ed Bouchette: The agent did not sign that contract, Byron did.
T22POST: Ed, Nate Washington and McFadden easy replacements? Or will we feel the effects of losing both, on both sides of the ball?
Ed Bouchette: Both played well for the Steelers and they will be difficult to replace. However, players such as Sweed and Gay can answer that better than I can.
silverback: Would Gary Russell still be a Steeler if Foote had made up his mind sooner?
Ed Bouchette: No, there was no connection there. That was a smokescreen about needing cap room from Russell to sign Batch.
fargo_steelerfan: Ed, I am disgusted about the possibility of the SB being played in London. Your thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: That's a long drive for Pittsburgh fans. I don't think you'll ever see it. The more the NFL denies it, the more word out of London say it's true. I don't think the backlash would be worth it to the NFL.
BPiccolo: Ed, We signed McHugh to a 3 year deal and C Davis to a 1 year deal, then drafted Summers. Does Davis finally get cut now?
Ed Bouchette: Why would you want to cut Carey Davis? There's still room for both and McHugh is counted as a TE, even though he's their starting FB.
DFWSteeler: Is Dallas Baker gonna make the team this year?
Ed Bouchette: Boy, he looked great in practice the other day catching the football. He has a shot, but only if they keep 5 wide receivers or there is an injury.
mike_tomlins_barber: Ed, Pens in 6?
Ed Bouchette: How about Caps in 4?
Mwarren18: Ed, great chat as always ... when do we go back to once a week?
Ed Bouchette: Please, my headache was just starting to disappear. We'll do another in June, first Tuesday. I'm not sure of our camp schedule yet.
Mwarren18: Ed, what did you think of Tampa during the Super Bowl?
Ed Bouchette: The weather was great until about Wednesday, then it turned cold. I loved where I stayed, near the convention center. The work was better this year too.
Froylan: Do you think Ben is the best young quarterback all around.? Better than Cutler, Eli, Rivers, Romo?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, most certainly. In fact, I would only include Eli and Rivers in comparison. Romo, to borrow a phrase from a former Steelers receiver, what he done? Cutler was just traded. You don't trade a franchise QB for ANY reason.
jeparkernet: How do you like the fact your boss pays you for this chat and the rest of us are hiding from our bosses?
Ed Bouchette: Funny, I just discussed that with my boss. Do you know who I chat with? People at work. The only thing I will say is, they don't pay me enough for this.
Ed Bouchette: OK, that's it. I'm exhausted. That last comment was made in jest, of course. Perhaps that will prevent a few angry emails to the boss from some of you. Perhaps we can do this again soon. Like June.
First Published May 5, 2009 2:29 pm