Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript: 8.6.13


Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin

DormontyDawson: Ed, I'm as happy as any Steeler fan that they are re-emphasizing the run and implementing the zone blocking scheme. But isn't it naive to think the O-Line and the backs can get NFL-proficient at a new running scheme after only one training camp? I predict significant growing pains in the form of defenders penetrating a sometimes apprehensive O-Line resulting in many tackles for loss.

Ed Bouchette: Zone blocking should not be a difficult thing to pick up for the linemen, and the back just has to read the hole, something backs do for the most part anyway. Le'Veon Bell, whom they believe will be their horse, ran behind that kind of blocking at Michigan. The Steelers also have not abandoned their power, double-team blocking stuff.

Dude_From_Cali: How does running style differ between Redman and Dwyer?

Ed Bouchette: Redman runs more with a purpose, more precise. He's more of an inside runner. Dwyer is more fluid, can get around the corner more readily. Both styles have their place.

Tprod: Can Curtis Brown keep a roster spot as a special teams player if he falls too far behind in the cornerback depth chart?

Ed Bouchette: He's an excellent special teams player and seems to have gotten better playing cornerback. I believe his spot is secure, but we'll have to see how this ankle injury turns out.

rd: Ed, with the new directive for the DE's to start attacking the QB, is this a change in strategy due to doubts about the OLB's ability to pressure the QB?

Ed Bouchette: It's them seeing the reality that the outside linebackers have NOT been able to pressure the quarterback over the past two seasons.

Chooch: Who will line up in the Steeler secondary this Saturday against the Giants?

Ed Bouchette: William Gay and Ike Taylor at CB, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark at safety. Don't blink or arrive a little late, though, you might miss them.

Dude_From_Cali: Most Steelers fans disliked Landry Jones pick. What does Ed B. think?

Ed Bouchette: I thought they could have used that pick on another position.

Tprod: Ed, why don't the coaches allow Cameron Heyward to compete against Ziggy Hood for a starting DE position particularly if there are emphasizing DE rushing the passer more than collapsing the pocket?

Ed Bouchette: They say they are. I haven't seen it. For the most part, Heyward has stayed on the right side, behind Brett Keisel.

Tprod: Ed, Marcus Gilbert was supposed to be the "natural left tackle" and while Mike Adams according to scouts lacked the foot speed for left tackle, he demonstrated the run-blocking prowess suited to the right tackle position. What happened and is Gilbert in danger of losing the right tackle position to Kelvin Beachum?

Ed Bouchette: I don't think they liked what they saw with Gilbert on the left side and want to try Adams there. Adams played LT throughout his college career at Ohio State. Gilbert played both sides at Florida. If Beachum looks better than Gilbert, they would play him. They love Beachum. He can play anywhere.

Dude_From_Cali: It's early still, what does Swami Ed think will be the top 3 positions of 2014 steelers draft?

Ed Bouchette: It's still early.

Spanky: Where does the OLB defend if the DE is rushing the passer?

Ed Bouchette: They can both rush him. They drop their OLBs into pass coverage about half the time anyway.

DormontyDawson: Ed, Amateur camp observers (aka some guys I know) tell me Landry Jones is not just mediocre, but that he flat out stinks. Please tell me they're wrong?

Ed Bouchette: He has not done well. But one thing about rookie quarterbacks, they often are overwhelmed, especially early in camp. Jones comes from a completely different system Oklahoma used, so there is that culture shock too. I don't know if he'll eventually get it, but he deserves more than one week of camp to show.

Tom: Do you see the Steelers as having the offensive weapons to compete against the power houses this year?

Ed Bouchette: Yes, I do. And who would those "powerhouses" be?

Hank: Lots of noise about the new WR Wheaton. Could he be the 3rd WR by the start of the season?

Ed Bouchette: They love him, and he has picked up the offense pretty well for a player who was not allowed to practice with them in the spring. Jerricho Cotchery, their slot receiver right now, has taken him under his wing. I would look for more 4-receiver sets once Markus Wheaton is deemed ready, especially if Heath Miller stays out for a stretch.

Tom: Is any third string QB in the NFL really better than mediocore? Why is everyone so against Landry Jones? He's just a backup and may pan out in a few years, right?

Ed Bouchette: I don't know that everyone is against him. The Steelers obviously saw something in him to make him their highest pick at QB since Ben in 2004.

Tprod: Ed, Jason Worilds can't seem to stay healthy in a full time role. Will the Steelers go with Jones even if they have to pare down the defensive scheme to accommodate the rookie?

Ed Bouchette: Let's see how Worild's toe goes first. If it lingers, they will go with Jones and probably have him drop back into coverage less often than they would their normal OLB.

Joy: Has Tomlin made any significant camp changes this year after an 8-8 season?

Ed Bouchette: Joy, if you've been reading you know there's been more tackling seen at Saint Vincent College since the days of Chuck Noll.

FoolBack: Ed, does anyone backup Will Johnson, now that David Johnson is out?

Ed Bouchette: David Johnson was out all last season too. They won't keep more than one fullback. Jamie McCoy, who has played the H-back position, has been lining up back there.

Guest: Why oh why are they going to wear those horrible jerseys again this year?? Even if only for 1 game, that is 1 too many.

Ed Bouchette: Different strokes for different folks.

Turk: Any vets that are struggling to make the squad this preseason?

Ed Bouchette: It could come down in the backfield between Jonathan Dwyer vs. Baron Batch. Plaxico Burress is not guaranteed a roster spot, even if they keep five wide receivers, especially if Justin Brown can do some things on special teams, like return punts.

Tom: Sorry, powerhouses such as Denver (Manning, Welker, Thomas, Decker) or Atlanta (R.White, J. Jones, S. Jackson, Matty Ice) Do you feel the team system can compensate for maybe a lack of true playmakers? I look forward to year two of Haley's system.

Ed Bouchette: They won't have to worry about Denver unless they make the playoffs. They won't have to worry about Atlanta unless they reach the Super Bowl. I don't believe either of those two teams made the Super Bowl last year either. I don't think there is a powerhouse in the NFL and I think the Steelers will surprise some people.

dotsmiller: How does Troy look this training camp?

Ed Bouchette: Is he the guy with the long hair dangling out of his helmet? Brett Keisel predicted he will return to being Troy this year, said to bet on it.

Red: Wasn't 8-8 much more of a reflection on the offensive struggles? If so, why more tackling?

Ed Bouchette: I think 8-8 was a shared experience, if you go back and look at some of those games, such as their loss to Oakland. Mike Tomlin and others explained why they are tackling more, because they have a bunch of young players, particularly in their two lines, and new backs and they want to find out what they have.

dotsmiller: Who will back up Pouncey at center?

Ed Bouchette: I think that job will go to Kelvin Beachum.

mikeflores16: Does Paulson appear to have the potential to be a future starter in this league?

Ed Bouchette: Yes, and probably for the Steelers against Tennessee Sept. 8. His blocking is superb and he can catch too. he's a mini-heath.

Tprod: Ed, who among the young wide receivers outside of Marcus Wheaton have separated themselves from the rest of the horde?

Ed Bouchette: That's what they're waiting for. They're hoping rookie Justin Brown does it.

Guest: How many RB's will the Steelers keep on the roster? And who do you predict they will be?

Ed Bouchette: Probably 4 and one fullback. Le'Veon Bell, Isaac Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling are 3. It looks like it's down to Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch for the fourth with Will Johnson the FB.

Tom: Is Antonio Brown Ben's go to receiver this year? If he is doubled anyone else you see Ben turning to?

Ed Bouchette: I think Emmanuel Sanders will play a big role and Markus Wheaton is the wildcard.

LJ: Does Derek Moye have a shot at making the team?

Ed Bouchette: He has a shot, a long one.

Ed Bouchette: Thanks all for another great chat. See you next Tuesday.