Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin
Dude_From_Cali: Did Cam Heyward regress from last season to the point, he's rarely into the rotation, Ed?
Ed Bouchette: No, I don't think he was in the rotation much last year either. He plays behind Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood, but mostly behind Keisel.
Dude_From_Cali: Our running game a paltry average of 2.7 yd per attempt, Mendenhall is not the full answer, or is it the O-Line?
Ed Bouchette: 2.6 but who's counting? Don't know if Mendenhall is the "answer." He did average 4.1 yards per carry last season, off for him but that would look peachy to them now. Their line, yes, needs to run-block better.
Taz: Anything new on Harrison?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Tomlin said a bit ago that he is optimistic he will play.
BIG FAN OF ED: The NFL is a funny place. After last season, Bruce Arians retired and now he is the head coach of the Colts. What gives?
Ed Bouchette: If you buy that "retirement" story, I have one involving an invisible rabbit I'd like to try on you.
Guest: With James Harrison apparently at the end of the line, any chance that the current Steelers LB's can ever grow into his shoes? Or, do we need to wait until they draft a new face?
Ed Bouchette: Who knew it would take Harrison so long to develop, or to at least find a spot on the roster and then in the lineup? I don't see anyone as dynamic as he or LaMarr Woodley though.
War18: Is this this 1-2 start kinda of expected seeing that our 2 best guys on D are hurt, a new offensive system,number 1 draft pick from the o-line is hurt and the starting RB has been hurt. Not many teams can overcome that correct?
Ed Bouchette: No, but they knew their starting RB was hurt on Jan. 1 and did little about it. They changed the offensive system because, I can only presume, they thought it would help them not hurt. Everyone has injuries and maybe their age is now helping cause some of them, which is something they also were aware of before the season began.
John B.: Do you think Saunders will play vs. Titans on a short week or do they play him vs Cinn?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know about "play" but I believe they have to add him back on the 53-man roster.
War18: Ed, do you think a loss in this game kills an chance of the playoff with Baltimore and Cinci are 3-1?
Ed Bouchette: Too early to say "kill." "Wound" would be a better way to put it.
NJ Stiller Fan: Ed, have the Steelers considered playing a 4-3 given the talent pool/depth at DL vs. LB? If Harrison can't stay healthy, I'd think Heyward/McLendon would be a better answer than Carter/Worilds
Ed Bouchette: You still have to have someone play outside linebacker in a 4-3. Would you put Lawrence Timmons there? Just asking.
CHIPPER J: Couldn't watch the presser - did Tomlin make Vick out to be a new Montana and McCoy out to be Barry Sanders and the 2012 Eagles out to be Super Bowl locks? Tomlin loves other teams?
Ed Bouchette: A dynasty just at its beginning.
War18: Ed, is there a lack of playmakers on this defense in 2012?
Ed Bouchette: Don't know about lack of playmakers but there sure has been a lack of plays, including all of 2011.
Taz: What is the health of the O-line heading into the Eagles game?
Ed Bouchette: Marcus Gilbert has a groin injury, didn't practice Monday, expected to on Wednesday. All others healthy except, of course, David DeCastro.
FoolBack: Lost in all the injuries is Stevenson Sylvester, will he return soon?
Ed Bouchette: Practiced Monday, not listed as injured by MT today.
JamesinNYC: DeCastro looking as good as recent reports out there?
Ed Bouchette: He had a knee injury in the preseason and has been on injured reserve since. Did you wander in here from another chat room?
yep yep yep: So Mendenhall is GOOD TO GO for Sunday?
Ed Bouchette: Looks like it. He practiced on turf last week and they were encouraged by his response, as they have the past 3 weeks. He will undergo a strength test on his knee for the final test but they expect him to pass that and play.
LEON: Ed, do you watch much football of Pittsburgh BYE WEEK Sunday or do you pursue other interests?
Ed Bouchette: Other interests, mostly.
Tim Dawg: Are you aware of the rumor that you play in a local bar rock band?
Ed Bouchette: Dang, now you'll alert the groupies.
War18: Ed, Saw the stats today #6 overall defense, Number 3 as pass defense. Its safe to say that stats do lie correct? This defense simply is not an elite unit
Ed Bouchette: Stats don't necessarily lie, you have to include all the stats and when you toss in their five sacks in three games, one interception, one forced fumble by the defense, it tells a better story.
Tprod: Ed, the Steelers finished last year first overall in Total Defense via Yards Allowed/Game, especially in Pass Defense; did the fact that the Steelers faced a lineup of generally mediocre to putrid quarterbacks: Kerry Collins, Curtis Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, Kellen Clemens, Kevin Kolb, Tyler Palko, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, provide a false sense that the defense was performing well?
Ed Bouchette: You forgot to add Tom Brady to that list or two times Joe Flacco, or Alex Smith. All teams play against mediocre QBs because there are so many of them in the league.
Joey D: Has Mike Adams been improving?
Ed Bouchette: His back seems better, if that's what you mean.
sweet suzie: Is it just me or does Shawn S. look like a different kicker this year? He kicking the h out of the ball!!
Ed Bouchette: He's 5 for 5 on field goals, his longest 45 yards. His kickoffs seem to be about the same, except for the opener in the high altitude in Denver.
trinisteel: Typical early season funk or should we worry???
Ed Bouchette: You would not call yourself a Steelers fan if you did not worry. One more loss and you can eye up the local bridges for a good spot.
Steeltyke: Ed, one of the Steeler-related websites stated that Marcus Gilbert is 'beginning to reflect his pre-draft reputation as a non-mauling, non-physical OT'. This is the first criticism I have heard of Gilbert. Are the Steelers happy with his play?
Ed Bouchette: I talked to someone today who thinks he has, as MT might put it, played below the line.
Chief Powhatan: Saw a stat where 23% of NFL teams make playoffs after 1-2 start. Looking up at Cincy and Baltimore in the division, should I consider the Eagles game the make-or-break game?
Ed Bouchette: It won't be a "make" game but it certainly could, as I said earlier, wound them.
mike: Is Dwyer in the doghouse because of his fumble vs Oakland?
Ed Bouchette: No, I don't think he's in any doghouse. If that were the case, Antonio Brown might be there too because he also lost a fumble.
Ted in Charlotte: Seems the Steelers are deflecting on the "predictability" accusations cast at their defense. With Palmer (and Flacco before him) having success as a result of playing them so often, has there been any speculation about what the Steelers can or plan to try to do differently?
Ed Bouchette: They are going to try to add two former NFL defensive players of the year to that defense this week to see if that helps. Of course, they also need them to play up to their past too.
Jack Splat: How is that new special teams coach making out?
Ed Bouchette: He's not new.
Jack Splat: While he is a serviceable starter, Ziggy Hood has not contributed like a first round talent. Any indications that he will step up and contribute at a higher level than he has to date?
Ed Bouchette: I think it's pretty much steady as ye goes.
Fumblin Sydney Thorton: How early tomorrow will you know if Harrison had swelling again?
Ed Bouchette: Practice starts at 1:15, that should about do it.
Nashville Phil: Ed, you mentioned in an earlier chat that you are most looking forward to your trip to Nashville this season. Two things - 1. Did you know Jim Varney lived outside of Nashville? Were you a fan? 2. What are you planning on doing in the Music City?
Ed Bouchette: Two things:
1. Who is Jim Varney?
2. It'll have nothing to do with music
mike: Do you think those weekly press conferences are worth while?
Ed Bouchette: Of course they are. Without them, I might be forced to take Tuesdays off instead of Fridays.
JamesinNYC: Sorry Mr. Bouchette, I meant there have been reports that DeCastro has been walking around without a noticeable limp. Which prompted my question about recent reports having him looking good, relatively speaking?
Ed Bouchette: Sorry, misunderstood. You may have seen that report right here because he's been walking around without a brace on his knee or a limp for several days now.
craigchuke: Do you think Rainey will get a chance in the return game this week being at home?
Ed Bouchette: They need to try a little more with him.
Chief Powhatan: Ed, is your preference 'Touch of Gray' or 'Just for Men' when you appear on camera?
Ed Bouchette: au natural
260: Ed you used the word "freaking" in your slog today. Please, my children read that!
Ed Bouchette: Stop, you're freaking me out.
Jack Splat: Has anyone on the O-line played above the line this year?
Ed Bouchette: Pouncey, for the most part, and Max Starks is holding his own.
yes yes yes: Ed, do you have a favorite author?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, the one who signs his name to my checks.
War18: Ed, Did you notice any increased urgency in practice this week or are they just going through like another normal week?
Ed Bouchette: I wouldn't notice an increased urgency in a practice if it were on my front lawn.
Ken: Who was better--Dawson or Webster?
Ed Bouchette: My opinion, Dermontti Dawson.
Charlie: You mean you don't have direct deposit?
Ed Bouchette: I do. But anyone else who writes me a check are my favorites.
War18: Ed, prediction for Sunday?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I will make a prediction on Sunday, as usual.
War18: Ed, looking back is this offense once of the most explosive the team has ever had?
Ed Bouchette: No, I wouldn't say that. They've had more explosive offenses in the past. They are looking for more consistency in 2012.
Sixdeuces: Ed. The early season injuries have been telling. It looks like the backups don't perform on the level of those they were brought in to replace and of Tomlin's number one picks (can't speak to De Castro yet), with the exception of Pouncey, none seem to be the impact player that number one picks should be. Is the drafting really not what it needs to be?
Ed Bouchette: Who drafted Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown? Maurkice Pouncey? All three are Pro Bowlers. Rashard Mendenhall is hurt but he had some good seasons. jury out on Cam Heyward. LT decent, not great player. Ziggy looks average. Enough draft analysis for now.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks all for another good chat. We'll probably do this next Monday rather than Tuesday because of the short week.
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