Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Ed Bouchette: Sorry I'm a little late. I was trying to find out a little more on Ben's status before I came here. Let's go and I'll tell you what I know as we go along.
Israel: Bad snap on the missed XP? Bad hold? Or just the law of averages catching up with Jeff Reed?
Ed Bouchette: It looked to me like a slightly off snap because Mitch Berger moved the ball just before Reed kicked it. Haven't had time to inspect further and didn't think it important enough to ask Tomlin about it today.
Katmandu: Ed, what is the status of the walking wounded (Ben, Heath, Ryan Clark, Marvel Smith, Fox) for Sunday?
Ed Bouchette: Clark and Fox will return to play. Smith, who knows? He was walking into the building as Mike Tomlin was preparing to open his press conference, so they did not yet have an opinion. Back's are nuts. Here's what I know about Ben: Mike said he had an MRI today and would have updates later, but he won't provide any updates later publicly, you can count on that. Ben was at lunch and looked OK, from what I was told, no sling, etc. I believe they'll go through the week and see how he is, just as they would any week. I'd be surprised if he practiced Wednesday. The shoulder was "re-injured,'' according to Tomlin from that hit in the opener. I think if it's a problem at all, they go with Leftwich. If Ben's OK, he'll go.
Terrible_Trousers: Easy Ed, You had a better view of this from the box, so tell us, did the receivers just start getting open after halftime vs. the blitz, or is it time to start pointing some blame at Ben? I'm growing tired of the excuse that "he holds onto the ball in an effort to make plays." I'm not sure that works against a sell-out blitz too well. Leftwitch did not hold the ball, for the most part he found a guy, got rid of it and DID make plays. What's your take?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Tomlin said today that Leftwich does get rid of the ball quicker. However, that's not the only thing that makes a QB. Tomlin said you take the good with the bad when Ben holds onto it -- remember the plays that won the game in Jacksonville?
James_Taipei: SInce it is the mid-point of the season, do you see the Steelers being able to get the number two seed in the AFC behind Tennessee?
Ed Bouchette: Sure I can see it. They're No. 2 right now and I believe they have the best defense in the league.
woodym112: What is the status on Heath Miller? He looked ok on the sidelines. They probably could have put him back in there if he was needed.
Ed Bouchette: He's doubtful for Sunday with a sprained ankle, and I don't think he was going back in there in the second half Monday night.
James_Taipei: Do you think that any other defensive players other than James Harrison, Woodley, and Troy Polamalu can make the Pro Bowl team?
Ed Bouchette: James Farrior, for sure, the way he's playing, can make it. Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith would be shoo-ins if they played in a 4-3.
BillyBaroo: Was it a major coaching mistake to start an injured Berger last night? 30 yard punts -- could have really hurt us -- we got lucky in that respect.
Ed Bouchette: No, a major coaching mistake is opening the game with an onside kick. I think they need to find another punter, myself.
SteelerfaninDE: Ed, granted my football experience ends with being a high school player, but it seems to me that the Steelers playing call was aimed to get Big Ben on track, even though Willie Parker was averaging 4+ yds a carry. Do you think they should have established the run more? Is it something you think they will do against Indy this week?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure anymore what they'll do. I thought, for example, they would even the load between Parker and Mewelde Moore but they ran Parker exclusively in the first half.
hinestheman: Ed, is this the best defense you've seen since Baltimore's year 2000 defense?
Ed Bouchette: I just noted to someone that Baltimore won the Super Bowl that year without a dynamic offense by not making mistakes and letting its defense win games. I think the same could happen to the Steelers.
Steeler_Fan_Stuck_In_Ohio: Tunch Ilkin commented on Byron's tendency to throw on 3- and 5-step drops vs. Bens' 7-step and keeping the Redskins from pressuring Leftwich. Would you agree that mixing in more short drops would help keep the pressure off of Ben?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, that is what they used in Jacksonville and I thought it worked well.
hinestheman: Steelers linebacker corps the best in football right now?
Ed Bouchette: I'd like to see someone better. I cannot think of any that is better.
yzguy431: Ed, is Byron Leftwich a better fit for this club right now?
Ed Bouchette: You people sure have short memories.
LEFTY: Hi Ed! Considering the offense looked much better under Leftwich, is it possible Ben's injury is worse than we're being told?
Ed Bouchette: No, I don't think so. He had an MRI today, so we'll see what they say about it -- if they say anything.
Nevada_steelerfan: Will we see a new offensive line coach and a ne OC next season?
Ed Bouchette: If they were 2-6 I'd say anything is possible, but, gee, they're 6-2 and have the second-best record in the AFC. And that's not exactly the 5 blocks of granite out there blocking on offense.
Steelerfan_in_Cen_CA: Ed, what was the most exciting event of the 2nd half: a.) The goalline stand b.) Deshea snapping Cambell's streak c.) the Heidi Klum commercial?
Ed Bouchette: Missed Heidi, but I did see the Redskins cheerleaders and can see why Ben thinks they might be a distraction. Plus, they have more of them than they do players. ah, what was your other question? (there I go, distracted again).
michsteelrfan: Ed: After watching BL's performance, (i.e. dump passes to Moore), do you think Ben tries to be the hero all the time trying to make the big play?
Ed Bouchette: No.
yzguy431: Ed, is Willie Parker 100% now?
Ed Bouchette: Are any of us?
P5UK7: Were Berger's short punts due to his injury or the intent on longer hang times to prevent Randle-El returns?
Ed Bouchette: I have to believe they were due to injury because they were so short, but I did not ask anyone yet.
mwoodym112: What do you think the defense will focus on more this weekend. The running game with Addai, or the passing game?
Ed Bouchette: Their priority always is to stop the run first. That does not mean you cannot harass the QB at the same time.
Chooch79: Speaking rather bluntly, didn't Santonio seem to be running his routes a bit high in the 1st half?
Ed Bouchette: When are you playing the Improv?
steelercam: Ed, What percentage of Steeler Fans would you say were at the game last night?
Ed Bouchette: It's hard to tell because I don't see the whole stadium, especially the upper deck. From what I saw, I'd guess 25-30 percent. It was amazing to see that many in a place such as Washington, one of the more passionate and loyal fandoms in the NFL. But then, I saw it in Dallas a few years back, too.
Will_from_Freehold__NJ: Considering that huge wind-up that Leftwich has prior to releasing the ball, do you think we'll be seeing even more 2-tight end formations to the left of the left tackle? He lowers his arm pretty low, that's a recipe for a fumble.
Ed Bouchette: That windup maybe the one thing that has held Byron Leftwich back in his career, but you're not going to change it now.
Chooch79: Your assessment of Anthony Smith's play last night?
Ed Bouchette: Smith had a nice game, did not make many mistakes, backpedaled into the safety zone nicely and came across the field once to make a big tackle.
ajt123: 8 games left, think we go at least 4-4?
Ed Bouchette: Way to be optimistic.
sinmusic: Ed, Do you think Tomlin should just let Ben rest this week and allow Leftwich to play? This situation reminds me of when Ben got knocked out in Atlanta and came back to play a horrible game against Oakland a few years ago.
Ed Bouchette: I think it's entirely possible that even if Ben is cleared to play, Tomlin could have him sit out a game to allow the shoulder to calm down.
Baltimore_Steelers: Ed, what compensation (draft pick/round) will the Steelers receive for losing Faneca via Free Agency?...Thanks
Ed Bouchette: The NFL uses a complicated formula that takes into account all the players lost vs. those you've signed in free agency, and how they perform. So we'll have to wait until after the season to see how Faneca, Clark Haggans, Dan Kreider, etc., perform vs. those the Steelers landed such as Justin Hartwig.
sinmusic: How happy do you think Dan Rooney will be that not only his team won but could become one of political superstitions that indicates Obama will win tongiht?
Ed Bouchette: Happy?
MAdesso: Hi Ed, Is there any team that travels better than the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Doesn't Seattle have a chartered jet?
mwoodym112: Ed, do you think Rod Woodson will get selected to the HOF this year?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, in a landslide.
praveen: I liked the gambles Cowher and Wisenhunt used to go with. What I did not like about the onside kick was this - we have a defense that was likely going to get the Redskins to punt early giving Steelers offense good field position after a couple of minutes anyway. The chances of that happening were better than recovering a surprise onside kick.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for that question.
Jacque_Strap: Do you think the offense can continue to do enough to make the defense's efforts stand up?
Ed Bouchette: Yes.
mwoodym112: Ed, what is you overall grade for the special teams play last night?
Ed Bouchette: B -- Yes, they missed a PAT, yes the onside kick failed, yes the punting was not good, but they blocked a punt to help them score the go-ahead TD just before the half and that made up for plenty.
sinmusic: Ed, Who gets your vote for team MVP at the midpoint of the season?
Ed Bouchette: They don't give me a vote. However, I'd say James Harrison again.
Farrirorwarrior: Hey Ed, Love the chats. Can we beat Indy with Byron?
Ed Bouchette: Of course. I do believe Byron Leftwich beat Indy when he played for a team in jacksonville that's not as good as this one.
HappyValleyChris: Ed, can you ever remember seeing the defense play this well on such a consistent basis? They seem to be playing at an incredibly high level right now.
Ed Bouchette: Yes, they are playing as consistently on a high level as I can remember -- although my memory goes way back and 1976 certainly was on another level altogether.
Atlanta_dan: Was Coach Tomlin still outraged today about the helmet to helmet penalty against Farrior?
Ed Bouchette: Not like he was last night. He said, diplomatically, that he will always defend his players. I thought it was another chicken scratch call by the inconsistent officials.
SteelersNation84: Do you tab Woodley and Harrison as Pro Bowlers? Who else on defense are locks?
Ed Bouchette: yes, I tab them. I can't say about the others, but Polamalu, A. Smith, Casey Hampton and Farrior are all good candidates.
CO_Steelerfan: Did Parker's knee make it through last night OK - no swelling, etc.?
Ed Bouchette: As far as I know, everything's OK.
CO_Steelerfan: When will we learn about possible game time changes for the upcoming Charger or Patriot games?
Ed Bouchette: Week to week, I believe, but I don't think you'll see changes. They can move just one game to the night but I think many of their remaining games are "protected.'' More likely: at Tennessee, now scheduled for 1.
mwoodym112: Why does Tomlin release some much information about the teams injuries when Bill Belicheat doesnt say anything about the Patriots injuries?
Ed Bouchette: Different coaching styles.
Charlie_Leftwich: Any chance Ben will ever have a real QB coach again? It seems he is making more and more mental mistakes, a good QB coach could help that.
Ed Bouchette: You mean this year's QB coach is not as good as last year's, when Ben had his best statistical season? I'll have to mention that to his QB coach from last year, who is Ken Anderson, and he can pass it along to the QB coach from this year, who is coincidentally is Ken Anderson.
CO_Steelerfan: Do you expect Taylor to continue his recent trend of matching up with the top opponent receiver? Would that now be Wayne Sunday vs. the Colts?
Ed Bouchette: that's 2-for-2 in the past two games. As Mike Tomlin said today, "we'll see.''
sinmusic: Ed, have you voted for a presidential candidate yet?
Ed Bouchette: On my way after work. Not only that, I'm going to vote in the local elections too.
kaliix: If there are no takers for Leftwich after the season, would Tomlin consider keeping him over Batch?
Ed Bouchette: I think that would be possible, but I also think Leftwich wants to be somewhere he can compete to become No. 1.
Alexandria_VA: The sports blog on the Washington Post web site just printed an article on the players reactions to the Steeler crowd, and from on the field most seem to think it felt like anywhere from 40 to 60 percent were Steeler fans. The 'Skins had to use a silent count more than once in their own house last night...
Ed Bouchette: I'm more conservative in my estimates because I think the Steelers fans are louder than most. That's just my experience, it has nothing to do with spending time with y'all here.
Lon_in_KC: Hi Ed. Looks like what was the "toughest" schedule before the season is now tilting in the Steelers favor. Do you agree?
Ed Bouchette: It does not look quite as difficult, but then the Titans look more difficult today, don't they?
mwoodym112: Peyton Manning has never won in Pittsburgh. What do you think happens this weekend?
Ed Bouchette: Johnny U. never won here either. I think the record will stay clean.
leftoverwitch: Do Steeler beat writers have groupies like the players do?
Ed Bouchette: Yes. Unfortunately, I spend 30 minutes with them every Tuesday answering questions like these.
mwoodym112: Ed, how many years left do you think Dick Lebeau will coach?
Ed Bouchette: He's vowed to outdo JoePa. Just kidding. I think Dick will coach as long as he has the itch.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for all your effort in crafting your questions this week. I have to get going because I need to vote and I had 3 hours of sleep last night before I drove back from Baltimore just so I could spend this half-hour with you. It's been my pleasure, again.
First published on November 4, 2008 at 2:44 pm