Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon from rainy Pittsburgh, let's begin
Alan: Hi Ed. My first chat with you. What do you think the offensive battle plan be for the upcoming season?
Ed Bouchette: I think they need to capture Little Round Top. We've written stuff where they want to keep Ben out of harm's way as much as possible, throw to the backs more, run more effectively. Don't know much beyond that.
Ed Bouchette: Storm bad enough here in Pgh eastern suburbs that I'm on the lookout for Dorothy to come flying by.
Bruce: Any of draftees or free agents stood out to you thus far at OTA's?
Ed Bouchette: Chris Rainey has looked good to me.
Tommy Maddox: How would you evaluate Ben's progress so far in the new offense?
Ed Bouchette: It is so difficult for me to judge that. He'll do fine; he always does.
Jack Lambert: Will James Farrior retire as a Steeler with a presser to follow like you wrote about today?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think I wrote about that today, unless we're having a senior moment here.
Clint: Do you the Steelers using Heyward more often this year, as a way to keep Keisel more fresh?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I can see him spotting both sides -- provided he does not win a starting job himself.
Frency Fuqua: Ed, I think the Steelers have a pretty good stable of backs and the competition will be fierce. Clay, Batch, Dwyer, etc may be hard pressed to make the team. What do you think?
Ed Bouchette: Well, someone has to make the team at that position. I don't think you'll see all three of those players you mention out. Mendenhall should start on PUP so he doesn't count. If they keep four, they have five: Redman, Clay, Dwyer, Batch and Rainey. One would have to go.
Ed Bouchette: And it won't be Redman
Tship: Hi Ed, Hope you had a great weekend. Do you get the feeling that Ben and Haley are starting to get on the same page?
Ed Bouchette: Yes I do.
Okiesteeler fan: Ed I read that McClendon is listed at 280 lbs but is more like 325, any light you can shed? Does he start the season at NT?
Ed Bouchette: He may, if Hampton's not ready and Ta'amu doesn't blow him away.
D Smith: Any of the Steeler players or coaches saying anything about the potential lawsuit the players filed asking for billions of dollars because of cap issues and collusion? Weren't we supposed to have harmony for ten years?
Ed Bouchette: Not that I know of, but then I did not ask any of them about it either.
Hombre De Acero: Thanks for the update on Tom Donahoe. Back in the 1990's Donahoe was a hot commodity. Any insights into why he could not reproduce the success he had in Pittsburgh up in Buffalo?
Ed Bouchette: too many hands in the pot up there in Buffalo with a 90-something owner who knows little about patience anymore.
Steel Curtain Rising: How surprised are you that the Steelers are opting to keep Marcus Gilbert at right tackle?
Ed Bouchette: My sources tell me he was at left tackle today. They have to keep those options open.
Hombre De Acero: While it is a question of "when" and not "if" why is it that the Steelers signed their first 8 draft picks so quickly, yet Spence and DeCastro remain unsigned?
Ed Bouchette: They have run into problems with guaranteed contracts around his spot in the first round. The third-round has also become one spot where there is some question about salaries.
DK: Hey Ed, Love your work and chat's of course. Since we-the-fan never attend OTA's, could give us some insight into what actually goes on? How long practice lasts? Are the players onsite all day (practice, lifting, studying)?
Ed Bouchette: They arrive in the morning and while I don't know in what order they do this, they have meetings, lift on their days to lift and then go to practice. I believe they are finished when practice ends, unless they have to go to the trainers room for treatment or lift, etc. It's not a full day. they practice for 90 minutes.
Steel Curtain Rising: With David Johnson offically a fullback, how many backs do the Steelers keep, and who is on the bubble?
Ed Bouchette: I think they'll keep four plus the fullback.
Clint: Are you surprised Dennis Dixon has not been given a shot somewhere else?
Ed Bouchette: Yes I am but then I'm also surprised that Troy Smith has been cut by two teams and is fighting for a backup QB spot with the Steelers.
Steel Curtain Rising: With Donahoe's return to Philly is it a safe bet that should Andy Reid depart that would be one vacency that Bill Cowher's name not be connected with?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think you'll find those two working together again, if that's what you mean.
Okiesteeler fan: Ed with the move to FB for Johnson who is in line for TE #3?
Ed Bouchette: You mean, if they keep three now that they have a fullback? Weslye Saunders, although he has to serve that 4-game suspension, would be one. Jamie McCoy. I assume Leonard Pope is ticketed for No. 2.
Steel Curtain Rising: Last week when OTA's started some of your competitors seemed to be insinuating that many of a long-term deal with Wallace might be in the offing. What is your take as we close May?
Ed Bouchette: I must be missing something because I did not see that. I've heard nothing about them being anywhere close to agreeing to a long-term deal.
Tom: Ed, do you remember an offseason in recent years where so much change has taken place and so many vital positions seem to be up for grabs?
Ed Bouchette: There have been a few, yes.
Clint: Thur Night games are here to stay in this day's NFL.. how do the Steelers feel about them internally, or is it a non issue
Ed Bouchette: It's not much of an issue. The schedule comes out, they play it.
Bill the Thrill: Speaking of Batch, how close is he to being all the way back and has he been able to do much thus far in otas?
Ed Bouchette: He seems to be going through everything in practices, and I have noticed no dropoff.
teddyballgame14: Ed, with a number of unsigned veteran free agents on the market currently... Do you see any that might realistically add anything to the current roster? Will they consider signing any of them between now and training camp?
Ed Bouchette: No, not really.
Art Rooney Jr.: Do you think the naming of Tom Modrak to head BLESTO impacts the Steelers in any way?
Ed Bouchette: Not in the least. The man who holds that job is serving too many teams.
Guest: Ed, a little while ago you wrote that the nose tacke might become somewhat of an obesete position with it becoming a passing league. My question is how do you see that affecting the Steelers defensive philosophy which is based around stopping the run first and then putting teams in difficult situations and forcing mistakes?
Ed Bouchette: That's a general philosophy. They can tailor their defense to different styles of play, as they did vs. Tom Brady and the Patriots last season.
Sam Nover: Ed, did you ever think when you started on the beat that you would see people make so much of what are now called otas? Somewhere Chuck Noll has to be laughing his you know what off.
Ed Bouchette: It also shows you how far the NFL has come in its popularity and the interest the fans have in details from these things.
Dave: Hi Ed, Are you forced to do these chats?
Ed Bouchette: With a gun to my head, you mean? No. They asked me to do them, suggested rather strongly, and usually when bosses do that, you say yes. Plus, what better way to spend a rainy spring afternoon in Pittsburgh? And napping is not an option.
Dude_From_Cali: assuming Max Starks is healthy come training camp, is there room or salary space or a NEED for Max Starks on the crowded roster?
Ed Bouchette: If they want him, they'll find room. And if the rookie doesn't show quickly that he can handle it, they may want him.
Guest: Am I mistaken or has Leftwich not signed yet?
Ed Bouchette: He has been signed since the draft and has been through all spring practices.
shawn91: I read that tony theWR. local boy has been a stand out so far. what are your thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: Let's see what he does in training camp and preseason games.
Steeler fan: A little off topic, but you never hear of any of the younger Rooneys coming up in the family business. Not that Art II is old, but does he have any kids who are being groomed to carry on the legacy?
Ed Bouchette: I would not call it being "groomed,'' no, but his eldest son Dan is graduating from Dartmouth, where he was a quarterback, and will intern at the NFL offices in N.Y. this summer.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another fine chat. We'll have one more of these next Tuesday, and then I'm off on a long vacation.
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