Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, and welcome to the Monday version of our Steelers chat. Let's begin
Ryan W: If Mike Wallace doesnt show to start the season, couldn't Rainey basically take the role of a "stretch the field" type player with his speed?
Ed Bouchette: Rainey will have enough roles for a rookie as it is. He has the speed but I don't think they are going to send him on too many deep routes.
Guest: which position depth should we be more concerned with, WR or OLB...do you think we'll bring in another vet at either before the season starts?
Ed Bouchette: When all is said and done, they should be OK at outside linebacker. James Harrison will be ready to go. Chris Carter has done a nice job in the early part of camp taking his place. Jason Worilds should be ready in 1-3 weeks. I'd say wide receiver.
SteelersfanSLC: Any reason to be concerned about DeCastro yet?
Ed Bouchette: No. What everyone saw in him at Stanford doesn't just disappear. He'll be ok.
War18: Ed with Mike Adams recently promoted to the first unit, do you think that is more of an accolade for him or the fact that there is little confidence in anyone else?
Ed Bouchette: It sounds as if you read my slog this morning. I believe it's a combination of the two.
T22POST: Ed, why did Ben let the world know he had the shoulder injury. He hates being asked health questions so why share an injury issue with the press?
Ed Bouchette: I've never found him to hate being asked health questions. I cannot tell you his motivation for doing so.
Shef: Who wins the second starting CB position?
Ed Bouchette: It's really too early to call but is Cortez Allen.
Ed Bouchette: That should read it's really too early to call but the name I hear most often is Cortez Allen.
Tim - Imperial: Hello Ed, Do you see Sean Spence replacing Larry Foote at ILB when teams go 3 wide against the Steelers? & YES I'm tired of hearing of Ben's injuries!!!
Ed Bouchette: No, I think both Foote and Timmons will stay on the field in their nickel defense.
ThirdDahnBrahn: Ed, are you more excited about the rave reviews some of the veteran offensive linemen have been getting or more worried about the early lack of progress from DeCastro?
Ed Bouchette: First off, I don't worry about such things. I believe the Steelers are putting together a good line that should be here for a long time.
War18: Ed, been a long time. How do you see this defense stacking up in terms of slowing down the ever expanding passing games of the new NFL?
Ed Bouchette: The way they always have, by putting pressure on the quarterback. They did not do that as much last year because of the injuries to Woodley and Harrison but they still gave up the fewest passing yards of any team in the NFL.
T22POST: Ed, doesn't Wallace know he won't win this holdout, just ask Hines Ward
Ed Bouchette: Wallace is in a bit different situation that benefits him more than holding out did for Ward. Ward had a signed contract and the Steelers could fine him for every day he missed at camp. Wallace does not have a signed contract. He will lose 1/17th of his $4.7 million for every game he misses but nothing until then. He also can sign that tender with 6 games left and still be a UFA next year.
Shef: I feel strongly that the Steelers should refuse to trade Wallace and make him earn his contract this year. If he refuses to play until week 11 then we can franchise him next year and get the most out of him in his prime. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I do not see the Steelers franchising Wallace next year under any circumstances.
Freddy: Like the swallows return to capistrano, Big Ben has an injury that he feels he must disclose to everyone. Has Steelers management had any talks with him about keeping things quite?
Ed Bouchette: Let's see. Ben has talked about his injuries since his "broken toes" his rookie year of 2004. What has it hurt? Talking about injuries has really held back his career and kept the Steelers out of Super Bowls hasn't it?
Tprod: Ed, any realistic chance that the Steelers will bring back Jonathan Scott at a reduced rate? The Steelers lack quality depth at Offensive Tackle—Starks is recovering from an ACL surgery, Adams is a rookie and Essex is better in a very short dosages.
Ed Bouchette: No, I think they made their choice when they signed Starks and released Scott.
Shef: Will Weysle Saunders or Leonard Pope make the team?
Ed Bouchette: If Saunders suspension holds up, they won't have to make that choice until a month into the regular season. Saunders is having a nice camp, by the way.
War18: Ed, any comments on the Plaxico Burress rumors on coming back to the Steelers in light of the Mike Wallace situation?
Ed Bouchette: Those aren't rumors, those are suggestions being made by a lot of people, including me. I think it would be a great signing.
Shef: Who will be the Steeler's punter this season?
Ed Bouchette: Jeremy Kapinos has back problems and missed all but the first few days of camp. Drew Butler has been doing well in his absence. Can't say right now until Kapinos gets back punting.
ThirdDahnBrahn: Do you think Timmons will bounce back this season after what appeared to be a disappointing post-contract season? Do you think he has the skill set to be the play caller of the future from the buck position?
Ed Bouchette: The Steelers do not believe he had a disappointing season and, in fact, praise him for moving outside when they needed someone because of the injury plus suspension to James Harrison.
Chooch: I heard from some camp visitors that Pope was looking a bit slow. What's your opinion?
Ed Bouchette: When you're 6-8, you look slower. If he were faster, he would not have been available.
War18: Ed, is this O-line poised to be one of the best in years for the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: It has potential to be, but let's see how they do in actual games first.
T22POST: Ed, are you happy to see the fullback back in the offense, and who is winning the battle for the job right now
Ed Bouchette: David Johnson has the job. Will Johnson could make it on the practice squad.
Jeff: Has there been any progress on expanding Heinz Field? Is that still the plan for next year and any word on how tickets will be distributed for the expansion?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, they will add seats as soon as the 2012 season is over. They will go straight to the people at the top of a long waiting list.
Mud: It was great to see Dirt Dawson get into the HOF on Saturday. Will Bettis get in next year? and do you think Hines Ward will ever be elected?
Ed Bouchette: I thought Dawson would get in sooner, as I did Jerome Bettis. He will ultimately make it and 2013 could be his year but when it comes to voting, it's often unpredictable. I also think Hines Ward deserves it, but I'm only one vote of 44.
Shef: Usually preseason games mean nothing as far as the regular season is concerned. What should we look for in this upcoming game against Philly that could foreshadow the upcoming season?
Ed Bouchette: No. 1, what the offense looks like. After that, I'm most interested in some of the young players such as Rainey, Spence, Adams and DeCastro. The first team, you understand, will be in and out before many fans get to their seats.
Shef: How many sacks do you think Ben will take this year?
Ed Bouchette: It better be south of 45
JAMESHINPARAGUAY: If Cortez Allen beats out Keenan Lewis for the starting CB position, how do you see them handling the nickelback situation? Lewis comes in at CB and Allen slides, or Lewis or Brown simply comes in at NB?
Ed Bouchette: Keenan moved up to nickel last year so they might just keep him there. It's all going to depend on how they do over the next three, four weeks.
Shef: I keep hearing Barron Batch might win the 3rd down HB role, but what about Rainey? Will Rainey be a WR/RB?
Ed Bouchette: In order to be the third-down back, you have to be able to block on the pass rush. That's always been the No. 1 priority. The fact Mike Tomlin has held Rainey out of the backs-on-backers blocking drill should tell us he doesn't want him or doesnt think he can block. That doesn't mean they cannot have 2 backs in there standing on either side of Ben in the shotgun -- one to block, one to run a pass route.
T22POST: Ed, will Silverback ever be 100% this year?
Ed Bouchette: James Harrison says he feels pretty good. I believe they are just resting him early in training camp.
Hey Now: Who do you expect will be handling punt and kickoff returns? Sanders and/or Rainey?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, and Maze if he makes it.
Chooch: What did you think of Curtis Martin's HOF speech?
Ed Bouchette: I didn't listen. Martin did not even have the decency to talk to one of our writers on the phone -- his hometown -- for a story about him going into the hall of fame.
War18: Ed, Do you think the Steeler's need to address the QB situation with Ben having so many nagging injuries? I could see one year where he has a real big falloff aka what you see with running backs
Ed Bouchette: I think they have addressed it Their names are Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.
Shef: I have heard good things from McClendon. Do you think he can play Hamptonesque NT while we groom Ta'Amu
Ed Bouchette: Don't assume Ta'amu is going to be the next Casey Hampton. They were disappointed in the shape he was in for a rookie. McLendon has been lights out in camp, including a behind-the-line tackle he made in goalline the other day.
Tprod: Ed, Kevin Colbert has been praised for an outstanding job in finding talent, but it seems the Steelers suffer a shortage of quality backups striving to earn a starting job. Safety, outside linebacker and wide receive—with Wallace out. Salary
Ed Bouchette: So, you're saying young players such as Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, in just their third seasons, along with Wallace and veteran Jerricho Cotchery is a shortage? They need someone because of Wallace's holdout, not because Colbert didn't supply enough. Let's see what happens in a month there. Also, you have two Pro Bow safeties and two veterans behind them. What's the rush? Outside linebacker? How about Jason Worilds and Chris Carter, both youngsters. You can't see the forest through the trees. Go find other teams loaded with depth and young players just waiting in the wings to start
Ed Bouchette: Ok, I've gone overtime. Thanks for switching days. We'll try to get the next one in on time a week from Tuesday.
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