Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript

Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ed Bouchette: Welcome to the post-minicamp chat. Let's begin

RavenHater: Hi Ed. There were some very interesting points you made on the PG+ side about the impact of the CBA on free agents. If there is no CBA in place could this be an attempt by management to break the union? Are two sides even talking?

Ed Bouchette: If they're talking, they're doing it very quietly and very secretively. Management does not WANT to break the union. It's in its best interests to have a union. Without one, there would be no draft, for one thing. The courts would strike that down quickly, along with many other anti-trust issues team sports would face without unions. Art Rooney Sr. once told me he encouraged the players to start their union. No, this is merely a disagreement over the percentage the players receive -- which the owners agreed to under the previous CBA extension and quickly concluded they gave away too much. Now they want some back and the union is not about to give in to that without a fight.

Amos_P_Swanson: Ed...Still no rumblings of a Colbert and/or Tomlin extension?

Ed Bouchette: As I wrote on PG Plus this morning, I've heard nothing and I'm not sure they will even do an extension with Mike Tomlin this year.

Amos_P_Swanson: Besides the QB situation....What would be your main area of concern with the Steelers after glancing at them in mini-camp?

Ed Bouchette: Believe me, you get nothing out of watching minicamp to conclude anything about the coming season. I would say the concerns are the same, the offensive line, the cornerbacks, mainly. They did address both in the draft and trade.

Mark - 72 Steeler Fan: do you feel the steelers are comfortable at wideout, no tall wideout (except heath)

Ed Bouchette: I do not think they are bad off at wide receiver. They have young, fast receivers and a good mix of veterans. Mike Wallace is Pro Bowl material, but he has to build on his good rookie season. Plus, it may make they turn to the run a little more.

screenwriter: Ed, Will the Steelers get a roster spot exemption for the games that Ben Roethlisberger misses?

Ed Bouchette: Yes

screenwriter: Ed, Mr. Art Rooney basically stated that younger players need to develop quicker. Will we see more snaps in summer camp and pre-season for younger players or will they just have more study time in the film room?

Ed Bouchette: I think that was a message to the coaching staff to do a better job of developing them. How they do that is up to them. Often -- and this is not peculiar to just the current Steelers staff -- coaches tend to lean on the veterans who "know the system" rather than put a young player with more talent on the field who might make assignment mistakes. That is human.

Roger G: Is there an extra effort to groom backup safety people give no high draft picks were used on this position? This seems like a glaring weakness of the team.

Ed Bouchette: I would not think a team that starts Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark would be considered weak at safety. They signed veteran Will Allen as a free agent and they have young Ryan Mundy. Tuff Harris also might fit in there.

polamalu43: Ed, if rookie Full-Back Taylor makes the team, does Frank "the Tank" get cut OR do they Frank as the 4th RB?

Ed Bouchette: If they keep one true fullback, there is plenty of room for three running backs

Ed Bouchette: Let me amend that, four running backs.

jaxman: Ed: Having covered Ben since he was drafted did you feel he always got special treatment that other star players did not get? Any difference between Cower and Tomlin?

Ed Bouchette: That would involve more time than I have here, but all quarterbacks receive special treatments, particularly the real good ones. Yes, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin are different, just as Cowher was different from Chuck Noll.

screenwriter: Ed, other than a battle for RG between Essex and Pouncey and of course QB, where might we see some other position competition?

Ed Bouchette: I would include Ramon Foster in the RG competition too. I would say left corner with Bryant McFadden and Keenan Lewis (who was running No. 2 there in minicamp, Joe Burnett was on the right side with the third team). You also might look at inside linebacker now that Larry Foote has been added to the mix.

Pedro G. Zbasnik: Hi Ed. Greetings from Spain. Regarding our TE, and knowing Heath is a fixture, do you feel,given their theorical commitment to running the football that they could go with their two best run blockers, Sean McHugh and David Johnson and cut/trade Matt Spaeth? If so, what would his value possibly be?

Ed Bouchette: They tendered Spaeth as a restricted free agent and they like him. I think there is room for one of those h-back type tight ends, McHugh or Johnson, but not both.

walter abercrombie: Hi Ed do you know the severity of Sweed's injury

Ed Bouchette: They're not saying, but it sounds as if it were ruptured and I would expect he will miss the 2010 season after having surgery Monday.

Mike: Do you think we pulled the trigger on Holmes to soon and made a mistake not signing Parker?

Ed Bouchette: No to both. They would to get rid of Santonio Holmes, who compounded his off-field stuff by being a pain-in-the-neck to the coaching staff -- remember that interception in Cincy when he ran the wrong way? FWP and the Steelers were not a good fit after they drafted Rashard Mendenhall and he needed to go somewhere else and they needed a pile-driver to replace him, which they may have gotten in the sixth round with Jonathan Dwyer.

walter abercrombie: Ed is there any chance the Steelers are even considering signing TO

Ed Bouchette: That would be a big NO to TO, good buddy.

Mike: Do you think we may regret not taking a Taylor Mays or Earl Thomas in the draft this year?

Ed Bouchette: Instead of Maurkice Pouncey? No, I don't think so but we might know in three years. Remember Revis.

Guest: I know it's super early, but how is Gay responding to McF returning. Any chance he beats him out to start at corner?

Ed Bouchette: I think that ship sailed. They now are looking at William Gay as a nickel corner.

john: why can i no longer access the pg+?

Ed Bouchette: They switched to a new system on Monday and are working out the bugs -- even I am having some trouble. Have a little patience because they will fix it.

SteelCIty Stud: Ed, we seem to have an abundance of mediocre linemen. Who are the oddmen out? Hills, Urbik & Essex?

Ed Bouchette: Take the starting five, including Pouncey. Add Ramon Foster. That equals six. You need at least nine, so there are three or four seats left, including Jonathan Scott, signed as a veteran free agent

chicago_steeler_fan: why did the steelers continually pass on Dorin Dickerson? seemed like the type of player who could help us out.....

Ed Bouchette: They believe those they drafted can help them out as well. You cannot draft everyone.

steeley: How does Leftwich look in shorts?

Ed Bouchette: Byron is much slimmer these days (i'll bet his old Marshall teammates wish that were true when they were carrying him because of that leg injury between plays) and he has a good, strong arm, which he displayed over the weekend again. He's smart and after spending just the 2008 season with him, his teammates love him.


Ed Bouchette: I am kind of amazed at the intense interest in a player who has done absolutely nothing in his first two years in the league. He was going to have a hard time making the roster this year.

Chooch79: Have you had a chance to interview new O-line coach Kugler yet?

Ed Bouchette: I've said hello to him. For some reason or other, the Steelers were keeping him off limits the first month after he was hired.


Ed Bouchette: Pittsburgh, 2005?

Huggie Hall: Any truth to the rumors that the Steelers will try to sign LeBron James this offseason? He was an excellent WR in high school and we have no depth at the position. Plus he stays out of trouble

Ed Bouchette: And, he will make a gazillion more as an NBA free agent.

schmedly: do you think the new r.b from ga tech has a chance to be a steal??

Ed Bouchette: Yes, and I wrote that. He looks like someone who can become their No. 2 and take over if something happens to Rashard Mendenhall. However, we'll have updates as we watch him in training camp.

lOSE_WEIGHT_: ED: Ben talked about looking into a better concussion helmet last season. any news? or his lawsuits have proved too distracting

Ed Bouchette: Actually, I did find out he will wear a new helmet this season. it's called the Speed by Ridell. Last year, he wore the more traditional USR4. He wore the new helmet during his two OTA practices Sept 19-20.

RavenHater: Ed, in one of your daily slogs(his term not mine folks) you said that Tomlin became irritated with the fullback question and the fact that Arians said he has never used a fullback his offense. Do you have a reason for why he became irritated?

Ed Bouchette: No, other than he said we take Bruce Arians' comments too "literally.'' But then, sometimes I have a real hard time reading between lines and trying to figure out what someone REALLY means when they say it.

Bob: Ed, does the greatest center of all time--Dirt Dawson-- get into Canton next February?

Ed Bouchette: Dermontti Dawson was the best center of them all, and that's the opinion of many good football people. He reached the final 10 this past year and deserves to go in. However, the process of getting into the hall for offensive lineman is different than for other positions that have gaudy stats. We'll see.

Asa Guy: Does Faneca hate the Steelers that much or did the Steelers not persue him in any way?

Ed Bouchette: Steelers did not pursue him.

Taz: If the Steelers get a roster exemption for Ben while he's absent, that should allow them to carry Batch, Leftwich, and Dixon through the bye week. Then somebody has to get cut. Contracts say Dixon (both BL and CB signed multiyear agreements this offseason), but upside says Batch. What's your take?

Ed Bouchette: I actually think there's a chance they might carry 4 for the first time in my memory. If Batch and Leftwich are on the roster for the first game, they have to pay their entire 2010 salaries to them.

polamalu43: Ed, if William Gay is being looked at nickel corner, are Lewis, Burnett , Butler and Madison fighting for the 4th and 5th CB? or is Lewis fighting for the nickel against Gay?

Ed Bouchette: It's way too early to tell that. Anthony Madison is fighting for a roster spot mainly as a special teamer.

Asa Guy: Is your new favorite sandwich a peanut butter and jelly Leftwich?

Ed Bouchette: You might be on to something. Maybe a local restaurant could come up with a Fish Leftwich. Remember those signs that said, "Ben is God?'' They could change them to "Byron is Cod."

B&G_Fan_Stuck_In_Ohio: Did I remember correctly that Arians was not allowed to talk to the you all in the news media all or just a specific subject? Is that unusual?

Ed Bouchette: I asked to talk to him about the new fullback, Demetrius Taylor, and I was presented with Mike Tomlin instead. I do not know anyone who interviewed Bruce over the weekend.

JoeNJ: Ed do the rookies have to do "rookie stuff" at minicamp (carry equipment, make food runs, etc.) or doesn't that start till training camp?

Ed Bouchette: Training camp because there are no pads to carry in minicamp.

SteelerGuyWSP: Any chance of picking up a free agent WR with Limas Sweed being injured?

Ed Bouchette: I don't know if they will because they drafted two and they already are about 10 over the camp roster limit (draft picks do not count until they are signed)

draframe: Hi Ed, Is it possible that Pouncey remains at RG for the long-term?

Ed Bouchette: I believe they want him to eventually become their center.

Mike: Limas getting an injury settlement release?

Ed Bouchette: That is always possible, but I don't think it would happen any time soon.

Ed Bouchette: Thank you for all your questions.

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