Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, Let's begin
War18: Ed, are injuries a good excuse for the way this team is playing right now?
Ed Bouchette: Yes and no. Yes, they are a better team with their top players healthy like Troy Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, etc., etc. No, because injuries are truly a part of the game. Ask the Baltimore Ravens. If you did a study, I'd bet that the Super Bowl winner often is among those teams who made it through a season relatively healthy.
kjacksonpgh: Ed, despite the indications that the Steelers have not addressed the O-line it is unfortunate the Steelers have no continuity with the O-line enough to develop a running game.
Ed Bouchette: Not sure that's a question but they surely have addressed their line the past several years with two first-round draft picks and two second-round draft picks.
War18: Ed, did the Steelers catch a huge break with Ray Lewis and Webb going down for Balitmore, also with the Bengals losing to the Dolphins last week.
Ed Bouchette: The Steelers will catch a break if they can start winning games, holding fourth-quarter leads and not treating the Titans and Raiders of the world like Super Bowl contenders.
JamesinNYC: Why did they wait to release Saunders? Was Pope better or they just didn't want to eat a larger salary...total cost is the same so no matter who they released the price was the same no?
Ed Bouchette: You answered your own question, that they had to pay Pope no matter what. They waited for Saunders probably because they could. If one of the other tight ends was hurt in the meantime, they could have kept Saunders.
Jack Splat: Playoff game Sunday? Lose and start planning who to draft in 2013?
Ed Bouchette: Oh, I can assure you there are plenty of Steelers fans out there who already are planning for the draft.
War18: Ed, We have not seen much from Ta'amu at all this year. Combine this with the DUI stuff and he has to be walking on thin ice with the organization correct?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, he is walking on thin ice and for a man who weighs what he does, that is extra dangerous.
dabus: have you noticed any pre snap confusioun on our defense? A few times guys have been standing around at the time of the snap
Ed Bouchette: Yes, they were confused on that 25-yard pass play in the fourth quarter the other night, among others
Guest: Ed, any talk from the coaches/players about changing our defensive scheme? Not sure that we have the talent/personnel to execute our once dominant exotic fronts/coverages.
Ed Bouchette: Don't know what kind of change you mean. They're not going to make a drastic one like suddenly switching to the 4-3. They do change their schemes weekly, i.e., whether to blitz a lot or a little, whether to go cover 2, man to man, etc.
Scott: With the amount of injuries on the offensive line there has been much talk about conditioning and technique being a factor in those injuries which would theoretically come down to the coaching and training staff. Do you think conditioning/training is a valid theory for the cause of this?
Ed Bouchette: Not one bit when it comes to the line. Someone told me, however, that Troy Polamalu is questioning his own training, which as you probably know has been quite different from the other Steelers with his own trainer on the West Coast.
trinisteel: I do not pretend to be a football coach (even though I slept in a Holiday Inn last night) by why doesn't Steve McLendon get more snaps at NT. He certainly seems to be playing above the line. What about Hayward? It also seems that we haven't drafted an impact player on defense since Woodley -- what gives?? PS the sky is falling.
Ed Bouchette: You may be correct, although it's too early to judge Cam Heyward. They have not drafted many impact players on defense. McLendon is rotating with Casey Hampton and if McLendon shows he deserves more time, you'd have to think they'll give it to him.
chuck: Do you think there will be further repercussions from the league re the latest DUI incident?
Ed Bouchette: Let's get one thing straight: The DUI is the least of Ta'amu's problems and not why the Steelers suspended him. He nearly ran some people over and did injure one woman.
Ed Bouchette: And I have to believe they had discussions with the NFL office before they suspended him for 2 games.
Tship: Ed two questions on injuries. First, any news on how DeCastro is progressing and second is it true that Gilbert rolled up on himself?
Ed Bouchette: Ha, ha to the second one. On the first, MT said today that David DeCastro ran in a straight line yesterday and called it a positive. He seems to be making good, steady progress
War18: Ed, I think we can all admit that this team has some issue but also if you have looked at past Super Bowl champs they have tended to muck through the early part of the season and come on late, couldn't you see that happening with this team?
Ed Bouchette: I picked this team to go 11-5 before the first game, so that's what I thought. They still have the capability, but they better hurry up. Their 1995 Super Bowl team started 3-4.
Dude_From_Cali(SD): ED: Does ta'amu's or typical NFL contract contain criminal clause that'd diminish its stated value?
Ed Bouchette: No, but the Steelers just diminished it by two weeks pay. They also had the option of diminishing it by cutting him.
JAMESH: Today coach Tomlin said the OLine players for Sunday are already in the building. Does that mean Malecki or Ryan or both come off the PS?
Ed Bouchette: It could mean it, although neither plays tackle. It also could mean that they are working a few guys out here today.
Chooch: Ike has taken some heat recently, but isn't a defensive holding penalty always better than giving up a TD?
Ed Bouchette: Anything's better than giving up a TD I suppose, such as letting that ball go through his hands in the end zone for a Kenny Britt TD.
teddyballgame14: Seems like some very difficult decisions will have to be made at the end of the season... Harrison, Polamalu, Wallace and Mendenhall all involve significant chunks of the salary cap... Two are dependent upon health, and two are dependent upon productivity. But, don't the Steelers have to keep all four, since there's no worthwhile depth to replace any one of them?
Ed Bouchette: Well, no, they don't have to. They do have depth at wide receiver and can always add to it, as they can at running back, safety and outside linebacker. There's also a thing called free agency, although they've been reluctant to use that tool much over the past 10 years.
Draftnik: Do Steelers go for CB,LB, S or DL 1ST pick in the upcoming draft?
Ed Bouchette: There's a draft upcoming?
Dude_From_Cali(SD): I love the new NFL. many teams are 3-3 yet, they're potent. Parity and close race keeps it interesting. It's all Roger the commish's genius plan.
Ed Bouchette: It goes back a long, long way before Roger. A guy named Pete started it all.
dabus: Who calls the plays on Defense?
Ed Bouchette: The defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau. On the field, Larry Foote relays the calls and sets the front.
War18: Ed, Why does Rashard Mendenhall continue to take to twitter and say things that can only be described as stupid? Does he say things to fire up the nation similar to what sometimes happen in this vary chat room?
Ed Bouchette: I didn't think what he said was particularly stupid. That's just me.
War18: Ed, buzz around the league seems to be that Ryan Clark is getting more and more heat from the way he hits. Do you think he is a clean player?
Ed Bouchette: I think he and others are in an adjustment period as the league cracks down on certain hits. Clark has not been fined for a lot of his hits that others seem to think he should be fined for.
Guest: Ed, will David DeCastro play this year? Or, for lack of a better comparison, is this an Aaron Smith situation?
Ed Bouchette: No, I think he will play. And if he doesn't, it's not as though they kept a roster spot open for him thanks to the new IR rule.
dabus: What is your thoughts on Foote's comments about MT's speech?
Ed Bouchette: I thought they were funny. He wasn't pointing any fingers, it did not sound to me, as he was just noting the coincidence of it.
Sheff: Can you realistically see the Steelers making large improvements before the year is done, or should we expect to see this team remain consistently inconsistent?
Ed Bouchette: By improvements, I can assume you mean in their play. I can see it happening, I can also see it not happening. One thing can lead to another. They've lost some close games. Had they won, everyone would be thinking differently about them. That does not mean they won't continue to lose close games.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another great chat, see you next Tuesday.
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