Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
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Ed Bouchette: Sorry I'm a little late. Sometimes getting into this chat room is my mos difficult task of the day. You heard the news, i suppose, by now that Aaron Smith has a "potentially significant" shoulder injury. Not good news at all. Let's go.
Hines_in_the_Hall: What's the biggest thing Troy's return does to improve the D?
Ed Bouchette: It gives them a Pro Bowl safety with much more talent, speed and quickness than those who replaced him. He can cover the field and his ability to go from point a to b so quickly helps them disguise what they are doing on defense.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Good Afternoon Ed! I won't criticize Arians second-half play calling because it was aggressive BUT isn't Coach Tomlin's job to oversee all play calling? I was quite surprised that Mendenhall had so little carries in the 2nd half considering how well he ran in the first half. Your thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: My thoughts are that those people who now say they should have run might be the same people who said they should have been more aggressive in Cincinnati rather than trying to run to protect the lead.
ZACKB: Is it true that we have Sweed on the trading block? Also, I heard a rumor of us talking to Oakland about trading for their corner, Asoumgha. Any info on these two rumors?
Ed Bouchette: The Steelers rarely make trades. I cannot remember them making one at the trade deadline. I would never rule anything out, but I've heard no rumors.
286williams: Do you think we have seen the "changing of the guard" at the running back position?
Ed Bouchette: It's looking like that, yes.
286williams: Hi Ed! The defensive 4th quarter woes are somewhat disturbing! Is it possible that the defense is showing signs of age, or is it the lack of productivity from the running game that places them on the field more? Maybe both?
Ed Bouchette: I think it has nothing to do with age, or else they would not have cranked it up there at the end in Detroit when they sacked Culpepper 4 times, 3 straight.
artieNYC: Why was Limas active instead of McDonald? Better practice?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Tomlin said it's because Sweed gives them more on special teams. He also said that decision will go week to week throughout the decision, whether to go with Sweed or little Mac.
artieNYC: In your opinion who is the most improved offensive lineman this year?
Ed Bouchette: Left tackle.
Jacque_Strap: Assuming FWP and Rashard are relatively healthy, how do you feel the carries should be distributed? Or, with the way they're throwing more often, does it even matter?
Ed Bouchette: I think you will see it almost reversed, 2-1 Mendenhall.
Pedro_G._Zbasnik: Good afternoon from Madrid (Spain). Thanks for the wonderful insight you give us about the Steelers. My question: To rejuvenate the D-line, it seems that the Steelers where very interested in keeping Sonny Harris in the practice squad. Wouldn't have been better to keep him on the 53-man roster instead Nick Eason? Eason has been inactive for every game this season, and probably could have got him back a la Carey Davis if needed. Also, did the coaches underestimated McBean? He is starting and doing a good job in Denver. Thanks.
Ed Bouchette: Hello, Madrid. I'm not sure Harris -- he says now, by the way, that it's spelled Sunny -- was the next Reggie White and deserved to be kept ahead of Nick Eason. Maybe with Aaron Smith out for awhile, keeping Eason, a veteran, might turn out to be the smart move. However, Ryan McBean, cut by the Steelers, is starting at DE for the unbeaten Broncos.
CT_Steelers_Fan: What is wrong with LaMarr Woodley? Through first 5 games, he appears to be a shadow of himself in '08/'09.
Ed Bouchette: I agree that he has not played up to the level he did last season, or even in the playoffs as a rookie. He's not gotten to the QB, although he did get his first 1.5 sacks in Detroit. I can't tell you why, he just isn't.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Ed, the Steelers have beat the Browns 11 times in a row. Aren't the Browns due? Could they upset the Steelers this Sunday?
Ed Bouchette: Anything can happen on -- are you ready -- Any Given Sunday. I've seen it happen (Houston vs. Steelers, 2002, look it up). But saying the Browns are due is like saying the Pirates are due. Just because they've lost for 17 straight seasons does not mean No. 18 will do the trick. Same with the Browns.
DallasBlackNGold: Hi Ed. The Steelers O-line is doing MUCH better than last year, Ben is in top form, and RM seems to be solving our running game woes. The D has dropped from #1 to #4 but is starting to show they can make critical stops in the 4Q. At 3-2 we're tied w/the Ravens and one game behind the Bungles. Seems we have the season right where we want it. Can I remain a member in good standing of Steeler Nation with these scandalous views?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, a unique one.
Lamberts-two-teeth: In the 70s, did fans clamor about starting Rocky over Franco or vice-versa, they way they do today about Mendenhall-Parker? Isn't there enough room in the Steelers backfield for both runners, and is it possible that we could have two 1,000 yard rushers?
Ed Bouchette: No, no and no. Offenses have changed and you will not find both in the same backfield. Bruce Arians last year put in a Pony backfield in his playbook using both at the same time. He scrapped it this year as unworkable. The way I saw Mendenhall block, though, i think he could do it.
Chooch79: Was the Culpepper INT a result of the defensive hit he took, it was it just an awful decision to try to avoid the sack?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, it was the result of the hit that forced the poor pass that wound up in a diving Ryan Clark's hands for the first interception since the opener.
Steeler59: Ed, James Farrior has not made any big plays and had only 3 tackles against the Lions. Is it the defensive schemes or has James lost a step?
Ed Bouchette: I will cite the official Steelers stats that were delivered today: Farrior leads them with 37 tackles, has one of their two fumble recoveries and has a sack. He should lead them in tackles because he's an inside linebacker who never leaves the field. I'm just reciting the facts.
Steeler_in_the_Bayou: If Smith is out for a long time will they make a roster move?
Ed Bouchette: They will make one, surely, if he goes on IR. I would be surprised not at all if they do not make another pass at Sunny Harris.
The_Terrible_Owl: Another web site is reporting Sweed is on the trading block. Could it be?
Ed Bouchette: Is it the same one that had Casey Hampton on the trading block?
HO_WAI_MAN_STEELER_FAN: Ed: why is the wildcat so hard to defend?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think it should be. I think it's a gimmick and we hear about it when it's successful and don't when it fails.
4thqtr_defense: Hi Ed, When do you think we'll know the extent of Aaron Smith's injury? And who will replace him besides Hood?
Ed Bouchette: I think the Steelers know and just aren't saying. If I read Mike Tomlin right, it appears he'll be out for awhile.
Steeler_in_the_Bayou: Holmes was really quiet most of the day -- was he double covered or was he not the primary target in the routes?
Ed Bouchette: The more they spread the ball around, the less some guys will see of it. He threw the ball to Holmes 6 times Sunday, one fewer than Hines Ward and the same as Heath Miller. Holmes caught four for 50 yards.
NHSteel: A drop here and there is expected, but the WRs are taking points off the board this year with so many flubs. Are the coaches concerned or focusing on this problem in practice? Big Ben already phenomanal completion percentage would be even better with some more routine catches being made. Agree?
Ed Bouchette: All receivers drop passes on all teams. I think what's made this a bigger deal are the three TD passes dropped by Holmes, Sweed and Wallace.
DJSWSP: I saw Ziggy Hood on the field in the Lions game. How has he looked so far?
Ed Bouchette: Not good enough, apparently, to replace the injured Aaron Smith as the starter this week. That should be troubling for a first-round draft pick.
woodym112_in_NC: How long do you think the Bengals will stay on top of the AFC North?
Ed Bouchette: One more week at least. They play Houston at home this week, Chicago the following week.
mikeflores16: Just heard the news about Smith. Do you agree with Tomlin about Hood not being ready? For our sake, I sure hope he is serviceable. This is a huge blow.
Ed Bouchette: That's called a double-whammy, your great defensive end going down and your first-round draft pick not up to replacing him.
ajt123: Ziggy seemed to impress in camp, yet Tomlin says he will not replace A.Smith instead he will go with a committee... Who would make up this committee?
Ed Bouchette: Ziggy will be part of it, joining Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke, if he gets over his current back problems.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Ed, do the Steelers go out and sign Sonny Harris to the 53, sign a veteran DE, or make someone step up from their roster?
Ed Bouchette: I'd go for Harris for the depth and hope the "committee of 3" can handle the job.
black_gold: Ed, I see in today's paper that Ben is being compared to Elway. Do you agree or disagree?
Ed Bouchette: That's not exactly the first time he's been compared to the guy he idolized as a youth and wears his number. One big difference: Elway had 0 Super Bowl wins at Ben's age.
Frenchy: Are YOU ready to give up on Limas Sweed like the rest of us?
Ed Bouchette: No, I'm not. The kid has talent, tries hard and gets open. OK, he's having a little trouble with his hands right now. That does not have to be a permanent thing.
RaiderHater: Any information on whether Ryan Clark is planning to play in Denver or not? That game is becoming more ominous by the week.
Ed Bouchette: He's not yet sure, at least the last time I talked to him about it. Ominous, by the way, would not be the Steelers losing but Clark playing and getting sick again because of it.
Skinley: Ed, whats your best guess on the A. Smith injury? Does that mean the defense will be leaking like it did in 2007 without Aaron?
Ed Bouchette: No Aaron and I think you'll see a lot more success by offenses on the ground.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Ed, John Harbaugh here... if the Steelers made some plays they could be 5-0, no?
Ed Bouchette: Hey, if the Kansas City Chiefs made enough of them, THEY could be 5-0.
BringBackLeeFlowers41: Ed, how's Stan Savran doing? I hope all is well.
Ed Bouchette: Stan is due to leave the hospital this afternoon. Yes, all is well.
Playa: Are the Steelers in a better position this year to deal with the potential loss of Aaron Smith than they were a couple of years ago when he was out for an extended period of time and they seemingly couldn't stop the run?
Ed Bouchette: No, I don't think they are, not after what Mike Tomlin said today about Ziggy Hood.
steel_rsd: I went to a small bar in Livingston, MT (pop. 7,000) last weekend to catch the Steelers on TV. Even here the Steeler Nation was represented well. As a Montana native, I was pleased to meet several Pittsburgh area transplants. Steeler Nation is alive and well even out here in the most remote areas!
Ed Bouchette: Are there any BIG bars in Livinston, MT.?
Mwarren18: Do you think the comparisons between Ben and John Elway are fair?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, this is sports. It's all fair.
bmoreb_g: I haven't seen a bad punt from Sepulveda thus far, have you?
Ed Bouchette: No. He's having a nice season, much better than he did as a rookie. He looks like a keeper.
SoldierInBouchette_sBattalion_: Ed, the Steelers seem to have the best d in the NFL during the 1st quarter of games, why do they also look like they have the worst D during the 4th quarter?
Ed Bouchette: Perhaps they are seeking what the offense is seeking, balance. When teams are behind in the fourth quarter, they throw to try to catch up. The Steelers have been good at stopping the long ball, not so good at the shorter routes and they've given up long TD drives because of it. That ended in Detroit when they smothered the QB, something that's been missing. Also, they have not been able to come up with turnovers.
Dobre_Shunka: Yeah, yeah, it's early, but looking at the current standings and remaining scheules, and there's a pretty good chance that BOTH AFC Wildcards come from the North this year, dontcha think?
Ed Bouchette: Somehow, I don't think that will happen. I do not believe the Bengals will keep it up and I think someone from the AFC East will have a wildcard.
SoldierInBouchette_sBattalion_: Will the Steelers ever run the wildcat?
Ed Bouchette: Bruce Arians says he's taken it out of his playbook. Of course, it would not take that much to put it in. They had it in last year, though, and did not use it until the Super Bowl --- 0 yards on one play. I don't like it, and I'm happy to say I don't think you'll see them use it.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another chat go-around. Remember if you want more, go to PG Plus, where I will today discuss the Aaron Smith situation and how the Steelers have blown it.
First Published October 13, 2009 2:27 pm