View Full Version : Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript

04-08-2009, 12:09 AM
Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Ed Bouchette: Welcome back all. It's good to talk to you again. I need my chat fix. Remember, no question is too dumb, and I hope you keep that in mind with my answers as well. Let's begin . . . .

bg_steel: Ed, Other than OL what would the Steelers draft?

Ed Bouchette: They better find a cornerback somewhere because they are real thin there. Also, they need to find an apprentice or two for the defensive line, which is going to get old quickly one of these days.

bg_steel: Ed, What your opinion about a 18-game season? (Mike Tomlin doesn't like it)

Ed Bouchette: You'll find it in the piece I wrote on Sunday, which is too long to answer here.

Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Hi Ed, how much room do the Steelers have left with the salary cap? Will there be any cuts prior to the draft?

Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure at the moment, and it's calculated differently in the offseason. Yes, they'll have room for the draft and James Harrison. They'd love to reduce the salary cap hit from Max Starks but that $8.5 million guaranteed in 2009 is going to make it hard again to do a long term deal with him.

hinestheman: Ed, please tell me Hines Ward will retire as a Steelers!! I understand why they are not addressing his contract, but I don't like it... I couldn't stand seeing him in an other uniform....

Ed Bouchette: Hines has another year left on his contract. I cannot tell you what will happen next year. It's not like their brimming with wide receivers either.

hinestheman: Good Morning Ed, Why are the Steelers not committing to either Byron or Charlie? It would make sense to make at least one of them an offer, before they're gone ...

Ed Bouchette: It is a little strange, but the Steelers follow a different path and it's worked for them. It could be they want Byron to see what's out there first because they're not going to bowl him over with a lot of money. It will be interesting to see if they sign both and which one signs first if they do.

phoenixfred: From reading Colbert's statements, it almost sounds like the OL isn't a big priority. What do you think they'll do in the first couple of rounds?

Ed Bouchette: I cannot tell you because they cannot tell you. First, they draft last in the first round unless they trade and move up, which they have done in the past. Who knows what will be available to them? They're not going to draft a cornerback, let's say, just because he's a cornerback if there's better value elsewhere.

bump_and__run: Some one in this forum should acknowledge your insight last year. You noted a few times that a traditional power I running attack might not be the only way to win a championship. Myself and others routinely carped about the lack of a power run game, and Coach Arians proved us wrong. That said, I think it is a sad day when the fan base pushes the game to favor timing routes, choreography, and limited defense instead of grit, determination, and the strategy of field position. At least James Harrison gave us an old school moment.

Ed Bouchette: I don't know what fan base you are talking about. And, limited defense? Maybe you can explain what you mean.

Saratow: With all the attention focused on James Harrison, not much is being said about other critical one year players: Miller, Ward, Clark, Hampton, Keisel, etc. Must they all take a backseat? What do you hear?

Ed Bouchette: The Steelers will start addressing the one-year guys perhaps in May. They'd like to get Harrison done first. They have a lot of big names with one year left on contracts.

sinmusic: Ed, I fear the '09 season may be the last big run to the Super Bowl with 12 pending starters becoming free agents after the season. Will the Steelers get some contracts done this summer or are they waiting to see what a new labor agreement might bring?

Ed Bouchette: I don't know that the labor agreement has much to do with it. And the Steelers have a history of making Super Bowl runs, at least playoff runs which can lead to Super Bowls, so I would not worry that they are suddenly going to turn into the Pirates a year from now. Their goal is not to shoot for one great season but to remain consistently competitive and they have done that.

Tim: Do you think Bruce Davis will make any progress this year or is he Mike Tomlin's Alonzo Jackson?

Ed Bouchette: Well, he won't be Alonzo because he was drafted in the third round not the second. They are putting some heat on him to step it up, something he did not do in the summer last year and was beaten out by a couple of undrafted rookies for special teams play. It was not a good sign for him but he'll get another chance this year.

Tim: Any chance the Steelers draft a real fullback?

Ed Bouchette: Drafting fullbacks is a tough thing to do. Sean McHugh is not a bad fullback, by the way. I don't see the real need there, especially since the position has been de-emphasized by the Steelers the past 2 seasons.

daquido_bazzini: Any ideas why no rumblings of a Heath Miller extension? It's a no brainer that this would be a keeper....right?

Ed Bouchette: Yes, a no brainer. They are not talking to anyone yet who has 1 year left other than James Harrison and Max

RUCR8V: Hi Ed, The draft is almost upon us, and the Steelers have tons of picks. Do you see them using all of those for very few open roster spots, or do you see them packaging some of them for better talent earlier in the draft? And if so, what do you think their moves might be?

Ed Bouchette: So many questions, so little time. I cannot tell you what they're going to do in the draft; I don't think they know. Yes, they might package some but of their nine picks, two are in the fifth round and two in the seventh. It's not like anyone's dying to get those picks off their hands in a trade.

daquido_bazzini: Would you want to throw a couple names around as a possible 1st pick in your opinion yet?

Ed Bouchette: No

Silverback: True or False, the Steelers will draft a Tackle (Britton, Beatty or Loadholt) with their first pick?

Ed Bouchette: I don't think Loadholt is a first-rounder. He's big, for sure, built like Max Starks and he's a little slow-footed for me to take in the first round.

daquido_bazzini: Hi Ed....The loss of Nate Washington concerns me regarding WR depth. We know about Sweed. Do you see anything on the horizon FA wise, or an earlier than expected draft pick?

Ed Bouchette: They'll have to draft a WR somewhere again because there are no real prospects after the top 3 and we don't know how Sweed is going to be.

Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Hello Ed, I'm heading to Heinz Field for the first time for the 2009 Fan Blitz on April 25th. Will you be there? Will the Gazette be represented that day? I hope so.

Ed Bouchette: No, I will be at the Steelers south side headquarters where all the draft stuff takes place. That's where all the coaches and scouts are, and where we do our interviews after the picks. Have fun at Heinz, though, because I hear the Steelers do a good job at that.

tom: Ed, do you think that Tony Hills will make an impact next year? Colbert said this was like a redshirt year, your thoughts?

Ed Bouchette: Again, until I see him do something, I won't know, and I don't think the coaches know yet either. I will say that he did nothing in training camp last summer to convince anyone that he will make an impact. However, like Bruce Davis, he'll get another opportunity this year to show someone he deserves a roster spot again.

sinmusic: Ed, I know the 5th Super Bowl ring had some input by the players. How about the 6th ring?

Ed Bouchette: Yes, I think Mr. Roethlisberger, for one, is giving his input.

sinmusic: Ed, what is your guess on the probability of a new labor agreement which includes a salary cap?

Ed Bouchette: I don't think we'll see one anytime soon, is my guess.

sinmusic: Ed, have you done any personal scouting of college players or do you soak in the written information and interviews with scouts to form your mock draft?

Ed Bouchette: After hours and hours of preparation, I select my mock draft. The only personal scouting I've done is to watch some games in the fall on TV, if you want to call that scouting. I'm usually as good at my mock draft as I am picking the NCAA bracket.

tom: All things being equal from a player's value, what position would you think will be filled by round 1 and 2?

Ed Bouchette: If you mean what do they need most, I would say defensive line and cornerback. It does not mean they will draft both or either in the first two rounds.

steelman: Ed, in your opinion, what will the percentage of carries between Rashard Mendenhall and Willie be this season?

Ed Bouchette: 75-25?

sinmusic: Ed, re-signing 10 of our own free agents seems like a significantly successful offseason. Do you agree?

Ed Bouchette: Hmmmmmm. Successful? No, I would not agree. They were forced to give away the farm to Max Starks because they did not seem to have a plan for him last year. Willie Colon was a RFA who had not choice. some of those guys aren't even starters. I would not call this offseason a failure, but I can't say it's been a whopping success either. I would have like to see them re-sign Bryant McFadden.

supHolmes: Ed, what do you think about Gay stepping up opposite Ike Taylor?

Ed Bouchette: He did a nice job when he alternated every third series with McFadden last year. I think he'll only improve this year.

Will_from_Freehold__NJ: What does Coach Tomlin do to keep his team focused after winning the Super Bowl?

Ed Bouchette: He gives them a schedule and they follow it and he puts 2008 behind and focuses on 2009. Many of these guys are aware what happened in 2006.

Silverback: If/when Harrison signs a huge contract, do you think he'll still be playing on special teams?

Ed Bouchette: I think he enjoys it. The money isn't the issue whether you play on special teams or not. However, I would take him off because he's too valuable and he is over 30.

SteelrTime: Is Supevelda participating in OTAs, and does it appear he's fully recovered from last year's injury?

Ed Bouchette: They have not started OTAs yet -- they will have 2 coming up in a few weeks. Sepulveda is healed and ready to punt.

steelersPR: Ed: do you remember when was the last year the league operated without a salary cap?

Ed Bouchette: 1992.

bg_steel: Ed, What's James Harrison's contract right now?

Ed Bouchette: He'll make $1.4 million in salary.

daquido_bazzini: Is Troy going to be training out in California again? Seemed to work!

Ed Bouchette: I haven't seen Troy since the Super Bowl, but I will assume that he will be in California again. If it ain't broke ...

pirasteelguins: Why let McFadden go in the hopes of drafting somebody who hopefully will be close to as good as him in few years?

Ed Bouchette: He did not want to sign a long-term contract with them and they felt they could not take on the cap hit of a 2-year, $10 million deal that he signed with Arizona.

steel1: Ed, do you see Colon playing guard this year? I was reading he is best suited for guard than tackle.

Ed Bouchette: I've read that too. But Mike Tomlin and his staff believe he's a tackle so I think he'll stay at tackle.

Tim: Can you confirm the story that Roethlisberger and Merril Hoge were in the same private booth at the Pitt-UConn game and didn't even speak to each other?

Ed Bouchette: Wow, is that what the Steelers Nation is coming to, whether those two are talking or not? No, I can neither confirm nor deny, nor will I ever want to know.

ajt123: Who is the most improved AFC team to date in your opinion?

Ed Bouchette: It's way too early for that. I will say it's not the Denver Broncos.

mg: Do you think Plaxico Burress is done in the NFL, and are you surprised by all of the trouble he's gotten into over the last year?

Ed Bouchette: Plax never got into any big trouble, it always seemed to be little knucklehead stuff. Then he took a gun with him into a nightclub. I'm not surprised, because he did not go in there to hurt anyone and while it was an accident, it was unthinking on his part.

pirasteelguins: When will the team realize that Willie can only be a change-of-pace back? He's good against terrible defenses but he is completely ineffective against competent defenses.

Ed Bouchette: You better look more closely at his production. One of those defenses came in the Super Bowl when he ran a record 75 yards for a TD that had a lot to do with them winning it. He's been productive too many years to say he's a change of pace back.

daquido_bazzini: Does the money that was sunk into the OL a month or so ago tell you they won't go OL that heavy in this draft?

Ed Bouchette: No, because Starks and Colon are on one-year contracts and the center has 1 year left. Look for them to draft a center.

Tim: Given the issues over the compensatory system, do you think the Steelers have refrained from signing any free agents just to pick up more compensatory selections in return next year?

Ed Bouchette: I don't think they even think about those picks when they're trying to sign anyone.

sinmusic: Did the Ravens not want to play in Pittsburgh at all during prime time or just the season opener?

Ed Bouchette: They wanted nothing to do with a night game in Pittsburgh at any time and told the NFL that.

Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Ed, if Leftwich signs elsewhere and the Steelers resign Batch, does Dixon remain #3 on the QB depth chart?

Ed Bouchette: I think Dixon will have a chance to move up into No. 2, but of course it depends on him.

Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: With an uncapped year looming, free spenders like Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder waiting to throw money at any big name player. The Rooneys have always been thrifty. How will the Steelers fare in the future?

Ed Bouchette: I believe the Steelers will proceed as they always have. And I take issue with using the term "thrifty" because they usually spend right up to the cap. they just don't mortgage future cap years for current ones. They also don't spend wildly on other teams' free agents but that is not play money they are giving Ben. Also, don't count Jerry Jones among the big spenders yet because he's in it deep with that new stadium of his. There also will be no salary floor, which means teams do not have to spend more than they want to spend. I think the players might be in for a surprise when they see how little money the owners spend in an uncapped year.

Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Ed, It's been nice NOT seeing many current Steelers out there writing books, getting involved in motorcycle accidents, etc. Has this team matured since the 2005 championship?

Ed Bouchette: I don't remember a lot of books by Steelers after the Super Bowl other than Jerome's. And it's my understanding you might see a few books by the end of the year.

Tim: What did the Steelers think of Alex Mack after they brought him in yesterday?

Ed Bouchette: They like him. I, however, would not draft a center in the first round this year.

Bubs: Is round one too high to take a center like Mack, when Eric Wood & Shipley from Penn State will be around in rounds 2 & 3?

Ed Bouchette: Yes, to follow up that last answer. And the kid in Louisville isn't bad either. There are good centers to be had on the second day of the draft.

Tim: How happy is Ken Whisenhunt to travel across the country for a preseason game? Do you think this will become a tradition (i.e., Super Bowl loser visits Super Bowl winner to start off preseason)?

Ed Bouchette: About as happy as the Steelers were to play a preseason game in Arizona when the Cardinals opened their new stadium a few years ago. No, I don't think it will be a tradition. It's not like it's stirring more interest in Pittsburgh because the Cardinals are coming here for the first exhibition season.

ajt123: Any news of Leftwich? Guess he didn't sign with the Redskins?

Ed Bouchette: No, he did not sign with the Redskins. Check out today's steelers notebook for more info on that.

Jacque_Strap: Should they have gone harder after Galloway?

Ed Bouchette: I would have. He still had speed, which is what they wanted for that position and why they were not interested in Holt, who doesn't still have speed.

steelersPR: Ed: The steelers threw a lot of money in resigning their OL who has allowed 47 sacks in each of last 2 years. Do you really expect them to get better?

Ed Bouchette: Maybe by playing together another year, but it's not like they committed a ton of money to them for long.

steelersPR: Talking about Denver, while it is true that Cutler did not react as a professional how would you react if you are a Pro Bowler and a new coach wants to trade you?

Ed Bouchette: First, I would have checked my bank account. Second, I would have talked to him about the situation and gone from there. It's a business, although I think the coach in Denver has a lot to learn about it.

daquido_bazzini: What do you do with all your time now?

Ed Bouchette: You mean, besides all the time I took preparing for this chat over the past few weeks. I took a week off, I spent a week at the NFL meetings, I keep writing and I'm keeping abreast of the news, or trying to, even though there's not been much. Also, all that great draft knowledge that pours out at the end of the month does not come by lack of homework. And, there also are naps.

sinmusic: Ed, do you favor a change in the overtime rules to include at least a chance for both teams to have one possession?

Ed Bouchette: I do. I think it's the fairest system. I hate how the colleges do it.

SteelerD_in_AZ: Cutler is a cry baby, the rest of us who have real jobs don't usually get to tell the boss what to do.

Ed Bouchette: Yes, but he does not have a real job.

SteelerD_in_AZ: Hey Ed, I thought Galloway would've been a good veteran 'insurance policy', any hope that we talk to Holt?

Ed Bouchette: See my previous answer on Holt.

ajt123: Do you get some down time in the offseason and if so, what do you do with it?

Ed Bouchette: Did I mention naps?

bg_steel: Ed, What teams do you think will make an improvement in the AFC North?

Ed Bouchette: I don't think anyone is going to improve much. Baltimore should be OK again because of the QB but they lost a good linebacker. I don't see Cincy or Cleveland doing much this year.

daquido_bazzini: Where is Ben these days? (Not that he doesn't deserve a long vacation)

Ed Bouchette: I know he was golfing with Bruce Arians in Ga. for a little bit, then went out west. I'm sure he took in a few of his sister's games. He was in Pittsburgh working out for awhile too.

steelman: Ed, should Steeler Nation have real concerns for another post-Super Bowl downer like '06?

Ed Bouchette: If I know Steelers Nation, you always have concerns, so why not this one? There's always that chance.

Ed Bouchette: We went a little longer today because I was having so much fun and missed it. Actually, it's because I had a little more time today. I believe we'll do one of these again before the draft. Watch for the day and time.
First published on April 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm

04-08-2009, 08:04 AM
No condescending comments!!

What an Ed Bouchette chat without any of those?