Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
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Ed Bouchette: It's a little early, but let's get started. Think of it as my Thanksgiving bonus to you.
Ed Bouchette: By the way, Mike Tomlin today at his press conference confirmed what we had yesterday, that Ben Roethlisberger should be ok and showed no symptoms Monday of a concussion, and Charlie Batch will have surgery Wednesday. He will hold the roster spot open for Batch, who may miss just 2-4 weeks after having a metal plate inserted. He said they will sign a young QB to the practice squad. That's expected to be Tyler Palko after he clears CFL waivers.
Ed Bouchette: And, one more pitch for PG Plus. I've been blogging like crazy since the Steelers loss in KC. Plus gives me more freedom to express myself there and I do. I even suggested they hold an open tryout for special teams players the way Dick Vermeil came up with Vince Papale with the Eagles in 1976.
Ed Bouchette: This seems like a miniblog here as I await the official bell for 1:30 and can get your questions. That's OK. Mike Tomlin was in great form today, unlike some other past boring press conferences, so there should be plenty to talk about. He even ripped his players who said they did not get the play call on that 61-yard pass against them in OT. He said Dick LeBeau gave them that third-down call before the series and they knew what it was. I love the conflict.
hinestheman: Ed, What is the latest on Ben? and will be play on Sunday night? No disrespect to Dixon, but without Ben, we can kiss the playoffs goodbye.
Ed Bouchette: As I just wrote, Ben will play, is OK.
Michael__Jacksonville_: Is Charlie Batch secretly made of glass?
Ed Bouchette: Injuries have been his bugaboo throughout and they've been different things from knees to collarbones to this wrist.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: I ran home Sunday afternoon just in time to see another kickoff return for a TD!! What the heck is the matter Ed? Holy cow!!
Ed Bouchette: Holy Cow, indeed. A herd of them might be needed to stop the next return.
tawg: Ed, how has Ramon Foster looked in practice this year?
Ed Bouchette: I do not watch how Ramon Foster looks in practice, with all due respect. They do not practice live. You cannot tell from practice how an offensive guard looks. However, Mike Tomlin went on and on about the kid today, how he's progressed, etc., and seems confident he can go in and get the job done.
SteelSmooth: Run the football!! Two questions: In the Mike Tomlin era, have you ever seen the Steelers so unprepared to play? And, What is Ben's record when he throws more than 30 times a game?
Ed Bouchette: I don't have that 30 times a game stat handy as I do this chat, but I promise to look it up. Prepared? I'm thinking. Maybe that loss to Jacksonville in the regular season at home in 2007. But at least that was a playoff team.
Katmandu: Ed, I saw in your blog on PG Plus that you think this will be Casey Hampton's final season. I don't agree. 3-4 nose tackles don't grow on trees. I think the Steelers try to sign him or franchise or transition tag him. Could you elaborate on your thoughts on this topic?
Ed Bouchette: Just a guess, no real knowledge, and the fact they made no play to extend his contract this year.
Katmandu: I think this team still goes 11-5. 10-6 at the worst, and makes the playoffs, either as the division winner or wildcard. Steeler fans need to chill out. I saw you feel that the wheels could be coming off. This team is too resilient for that. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: My thoughts are a wildcard is not enough for this team. It is too talented to lose the division to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bill_S: Ed, how about you, me, Gerry and those other guys you mentioned on PG+ approach Tomlin letting us recover kick-offs. Can't be much worse. Ask Steelmann58, Katmandu, and the others here because we need 11.
Ed Bouchette: I'd much rather see them kick it out of bounds.
Steelkings: Is Ben part Drama Queen? The QB who cried "Wolf!"? I remember the stretcher incident last year. Now this one. Is he hurt or not?
Ed Bouchette: OK, Big Fella. I want to see you go onto the field and get hit by a flying linebacker's knee and then continue to walk upright. It's easy to be tough in these chats.
Steelkings: Do you suppose that sending 5 receivers into the secondary leads to too much traffic, causing Roethlisberger to hold the ball longer to find an open guy?
Ed Bouchette: I think it's more there's no one back there to pick up a pass rusher who breaks through.
MdSteel43: Ed, Mendenhall had those 2 monster games against the Vikings and Broncos but since had hardly been a factor. Why do you think B.A. doesn't try to make him more of a factor?
Ed Bouchette: Because Bruce Arians believes more in the passing game than he does the running game. Simple fact.
Citizen_Kane: Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but is Jeff Reed meeting NFL benchmarks for hang time on his kickoffs? Can't imagine this simple measure being overlooked, but I have not read anything in print or elsewhere on the subject.
Ed Bouchette: I do not think Jeff would rank in the top half of kickers for hang time or distance.
Steelkings: If Dixon is forced to play this week, will we see the Steelers run the wildcat?
Ed Bouchette: I do not think you'd see the wildcat as much as you'd see the running game and a different style of passing game, more movement, etc.
hinestheman: Ed, I still think this is a championship caliber team that can go toe to toe with anytime in the NFL, any day of the week and twice on Sunday (and Monday night when they play). They haven't been outplayed by anyone this year, they have beaten themselves. I know it's kind of the same thing but my point is that their issue isn't something that can't be corrected in a week's time ... Agree?
Ed Bouchette: Week to week, things change quickly in the NFL. Just ask the Bengals. Yes, the Steelers can still win a Super Bowl. they were 7-5 once and one eight in a row to be crowned champs. It's just that with the Colts and Patriots headed toward the top 2 seeds, getting there will be tough and if they continue to play the way they have lately, they will not get the opportunity.
WyoBowhunter: Hi Ed, What are the Steelers doing on kickoff returns? How can they consistently be that bad? Are they overplaying their lanes, has it gotten into their heads?
Ed Bouchette: Missed tackles, leaving lanes, etc. It's amazing when you see another team play, like last night, and you go, oh, so that's how it's done.
Jacque_Strap: Do you think Ben should alter the snap count more often, in order to slow down the D-line? "Black 20, Black 20, Set Go" is almost the guaranteed cadence. Plus, in the shotgun, the ball is always snapped at the same time, right as the play clock is about to expire.
Ed Bouchette: I never thought much about the snap count but you might be onto something. Or not.
steelergal: Supposedly Ike Taylor was a wide receiver in college - did anyone actually SEE him catch a ball?
Ed Bouchette: As Norman Chad says, pay the man.
steelergal: Not much left to be said after this weeks loss and potential longer term injury losses - so lets go another direction. On TV Mike Tomlin looks like he is putting on some weight. Do you notice anything in person?
Ed Bouchette: Now that's a question I did not expect on this chat. You do not cease to surprise me. Tomlin fat? Again, I just am not paying attention to the details enough, I suppose.
Otto_Orange: Hi Ed, Is D. Dixon ready (prepared/experienced) to take over for Big Ben if necessary on Sunday against Baltimore? Seems like it would be sending a lamb into the wolves den?
Ed Bouchette: He's in his second season and played at a big-time college. Sooner or later, you have to play to find out. It would not be like having Ben R. back there but that's not to say they could not win a game or two.
STLRFAN_Stuck_Near_Cincy: Ed, with all the problems and strife we're seeing, do you feel the Steelers will make the post season field?
Ed Bouchette: Yes.
KS_Steeler: Hi Ed; I had waited 6 years for the Steelers to avenge the last game here in KC - what an embarrassment it was for me and all the other Steeler faithful. Do you see the Steelers trying to work in some faster developing plays (slants, etc) to keep the defenses back? Seems like it is too easy to get a run at Ben.
Ed Bouchette: I assume the next 6 years will be longing as well. I'm not sure they plan to change their offense. They have one of the most productive offenses in the league when it comes to yards produced.
Seven: Hines mentioned that coaches are partly to blame. Did he expand on this? He has never been shy to offer his opinion. Do you know what exactly he was unhappy with?
Ed Bouchette: I think that was frustration on the part of Ward and a lot of other players in the minutes after that loss in KC.
BB_in_VB: Does Tomlin not trust Mendenhall in the Red Zone and 4th quarter? It seems he was having a great game. Did he do something wrong after he scored a TD?
Ed Bouchette: I think he carried in the red zone once for a loss of 2 yards sunday and once at the five for a loss of 3 yards vs Cincy, both on first down.
SteelerFanDave: We all know the Steelers are capable of better football. In your opinion, do you think they will make the playoffs this season?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I think they will make it, maybe even catch the Bengals.
stillersguy: Ed, since I don't even know where to start and you like to be contrarian, give us a couple reasons for optimism!
Ed Bouchette: I did not say I was optimistic but this AFC North, no one seems to want to win it and the Steelers' schedule after Sunday night is not exactly taxing.
Amos_P_Swanson: What are the percentages that Bob Ligasheshky will have his job with the Steelers at years end?
Ed Bouchette: This is a popular question. Everyone wants to fire someone. I would not place the full blame of what's going on at Lig's feet. He was the ST coach last season too when they had the No. 1 kickoff team. Plus, he's only as good as the players the coach gives him for kickoff coverage.
ch3: Ed, it seems to me this team is lacking some fire or will. On that INT return, how Holmes didn't catch the LB is beyond me. Mendenhall had to pick himself off the ground and run that guy down. I know Holmes is much faster than that.
Ed Bouchette: I thought there was a lack of effort on that and on the 61-yard pass.
Billy_Berue: As Bill Parcells says, you are what your record says you are. And right now, we are realistically 2 games behind Cincy. The team may be too talented, but if you can't tackle a freaking kickoff, then you lose games you shouldn't. What do you suggest they do about the special teams?
Ed Bouchette: I have no answers. It's incredulous.
Fire_Arians: About that 3rd and 2 call in OT, you know the one where they for some reason decided on a slow developing pitch out to Moore, the slowest RB on the roster. Worst play call in Steeler history?
Ed Bouchette: Oh, far from it. Not even in the MIke Tomlin era was that the worst call. It did not even compare with going for a 2-point conversion from the 12 yard-line against Jacksonville.
miller_83: Ed, have the Steelers thought about pooch kicking it and going from there instead of giving these kick returners a full head of steam to take it back?
Ed Bouchette: They've done that at times. As it turns out, not enough times.
bg_steel: Ed, Is it too late to win the division? The Steelers blew a chance to make up some ground on the Bengals.
Ed Bouchette: Not with the Bengals "leading" the way it's not.
Jack_da_hydroplane: Is this Hines' best year? A Pro-Bowl year? A Canton-clinching year?
Ed Bouchette: Perhaps all three.
steelkings: Was there any truth that the Steelers WERE looking at Jeff Garcia?
Ed Bouchette: I called Jeff Garcia's agent, whom I've known for years (he was Neil O'donnell's agent at one point). He said the Steelers never called them.
polamalu43: Ed, If Cowher coaches again next year, do you think the Steelers lose Kevin Colbert??
Ed Bouchette: No, I think Kevin will stay here.
tx_panther: Any truth to the rumour that Tyler Palko may be signed to the practice squad?
Ed Bouchette: That's not a rumor.
Mwarren18: Ed, any chance we will see Tyler Palko throw a pass for the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Only if you can make it to practice this week.
SB_HungOver: What happened to the counter that was so successful against Denver?
Ed Bouchette: Apparently, it was counted out.
Jack_da_hydroplane: Don't the Steelers hold the tie breakers over San Diego and Denver, because they beat them head-to-head?
Ed Bouchette: It depends on who is tied. If, for example, Denver and the Steelers are tied, the Steelers get it based on their win. However, if more than two are tied, you cannot apply the head to head unless there is a sweep. So, you go to best record against AFC teams.
SB_HungOver: Can the Steelers win without Troy?
Ed Bouchette: Well, they've done it twice this years so my guess would be yes.
kyRx: EB, Steeler MVP so far? I'd vote for Mendy. His tackle of Rolls-Royce, I mean Studebaker showed me an additional something to this kid. BTW, on the same play, I saw Santonio let up.
Ed Bouchette: I'm going with Ben.
BSidwar78: Hi Ed, if Succup missed the kick at the end of the game, who would've gone in at quarterback for the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: They were still trying to determine if Ben could have gone back into the game, so I cannot say for sure if it would have been him or Dennis Dixon.
Mike_Kruczek: Mike Tomlin mentioned at the press conference they were looking at some new people to help them out on special teams - it sounded as though they are looking outside the current roster. Is that what he meant, and do you have any idea who they had in for tryouts?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know the names but they were linebackers.
draframe: Ziggy Hood ran a 4.9 at the Combine. How about putting him on kickoffs?
Ed Bouchette: I kind of like that idea, Orpheus Roye-like.
SQB: Hi Ed. Love the chats. Do you think the rule change this year with respect to wedges on special teams has played a roll in the return coverage struggles? Other teams seem to have adjusted fine.
Ed Bouchette: I think you just answered your own question. If other teams can adjust, the Steelers must too. Plus, the wedges were eliminated, which should make it tougher to return kicks the distance.
Mwarren18: Ed, is Arnold Harrison laughing after the opening kick return on Sunday?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think Arnold is laughing much these days. The Cleveland Browns signed him.
JMF1177: Any more players heads gonna roll this week from Special Teams?
Ed Bouchette: I would look for one or two by tomorrow, yes.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for all your time and passion again this week. We'll convene back here next Tuesday.
First Published November 24, 2009 2:51 pm