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Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon and welcome to the first offseason chat. Let's begin.
Jeff4972: Hi Ed...Todd Haley...Future in Pittsburgh?
Ed Bouchette: I believe he'll be their offensive coordinator in 2013. Things have a way of changing as we have discovered through the years, but I believe that's the plan.
Ken: Any information on Sean Spence and his rehab?
Ed Bouchette: I hear he has a long way to go. There was a lot of damage done to that knee.
Dude_From_Cali: with the vast injuries, Steelers would've been one and done or two the most into post season, agree?
Ed Bouchette: Probably, but you never know and they were getting some of their players back in top health near the end.
dave: Do you think they'll look for a TE in the draft given Heath's age and injury?
Ed Bouchette: Heath is 30, not 40, and this is his first serious injury since they drafted him. They will not know if he can start the season, but they're not going to use a high pick in the draft on a tight end.
Sam: Ed, do you think the Steelers are in the playoffs this year with Bruce Arians as the offensive coordinator?
Ed Bouchette: No (again, that's very speculative) unless he could heal the injured. The offense looked pretty good when the team was 6-3.
Sam: Good Afternoon Ed, any Steeler coaches rumored to have any interview elsewhere such as Keith Butler?
Ed Bouchette: None yet. I believe Butler is under contract for 2013 after signing a new deal last year
dave: Is Wallace still a good fit for this offense? They don't throw deep routes as much as they used to.
Ed Bouchette: He's still a good fit, but I still think he will sign elsewhere.
Steeltyke: Ed, with Ta'amu & Fangupo now on the roster do you see the Steelers signing Hamp to a 1 year contract and using McClendon's size & speed at DE given that Keisel is getting up there in age & there is not much quality DE depth.
Ed Bouchette: First off, Keisel is their best and most productive defensive end, so don't be in a hurry to push him out the door. They can go either way with Hampton. Also, don't be counting on Fangupo, a practice squader all season who was cut by 2 teams.
Mikey: The Steelers have had an unusual amount of injuries the past two years. Do you think they need to make changes to their strength and conditioning program?
Ed Bouchette: The NFL has cut way back on what the coaches can do in the offseason training these guys, not just in limiting football activities. It's on the players to get in shape. More should follow the examples of Ike Taylor and James Farrior in the offseason.
Jim in VT: In a draft that seems ,weak on QBs, do you see the Steelers investing a mid to low pick on a youngster to slot in at #3 to develop?
Ed Bouchette: I could see them using a seventh-rounder, nothing more.
Will: Reports that Marcus Gilbert isn't what they hoped are disappointing. This was a second round pick and imagine the OL with him (or istead someone else) as a near pro bowler. Is he a possible bust or is this overblown?
Ed Bouchette: He started all last season and was hurt for much of this one, which ended with ankle surgery. He needs to come back in good shape and ready to go because there will be at least three tackles for two jobs and, if they keep Max Starks, three tackles for one job.
Froggy: There have been a lot of draft picks in recent years spent on the OL, and still there was no running game this year to speak of. Is the main problem personnel, player health, coaching, lack of experience, or something else?
Ed Bouchette: I'd say health. They started three different right tackles, including two rookies, and their top draft pick was hurt in the preseason. Then they lost Willie Colon. I think this has the makings of a good line.
Mikey: If they don't offer Mendenhall a new deal, will it be because of his on-field performance or because of the off the field issues?
Ed Bouchette: When players decide not to show up for a home game because they're ticked off, that does not bode well for that player's future with said team.
Bill L: Ed, I think Dwyer is a player you'd see on a 6 and 10, 8 and 8 non-playoff team. Any chance that the team cuts ties?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think they will cut ties. He's a restricted free agent, as will be Isaac Redman. They will look for another running back if Rashard Mendenhall leaves.
Mike: Bobby April to return as special teams coach?
Ed Bouchette: They should try, he's one of the best. April has been with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jack Splat: I agree Wallace leaves. Who are the first 4 receivers for 2013?
Ed Bouchette: Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and someone else.
LarryG: Happy New Year, Ed. Assuming Mendy and Wallace depart, who do you like for our first draft pick? Manti Te'o from ND (move up since he's likely not available at 17)?
Ed Bouchette: Let's wait at least until, oh, February?
Guest: Who do you see starting at LT Gilbert or Adams? Assuming Starks is gone.
Ed Bouchette: Right now I would say Adams.
Tim - Imperial: I'd bring Plex back, Plex was doubled numerous times last week, Your thoughts???
Ed Bouchette: I would too. But for some reason, they seem reluctant when it comes to him.
dave: Do you think Colon will be on the roster next season?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, and starting at left guard.
Kordells Revenge: Ed, why don't you do these chats daily during the offseason?
Ed Bouchette: Gee, I'm trying to negotiate monthly.
Sixdeuces: Hi Ed, There was some talk on the blogs this week about the Steeler offensive linemen being too big and their bodies can't take the punishment of a long season. The feeling was that smaller, quicker linemen might suffer fewer injuries and suit the Steeler's way of playing better. Any validity in this?
Ed Bouchette: Sure, the best NFL scouts and offensive line coaches are now blogging instead of scouting and coaching. I have no idea. Tunch Ilkin always thought you did not need to be 6-8, 350 pounds to play tackle, that you could use leverage and your hands and feet as an advantage. Most of the NFL does not agree, but that doesn't make most of the NFL correct. Sometimes, it's a sheep mentality driving all of it.
Jack Splat: Plex,Plex,Plex!
Ed Bouchette: His name is Plaxico, so it would be Plax, Plax, Plax!
DormontyDawson: Ed, I say we draft a monster OLB who can rush the passer from Day -- and if it puts harrison or woodley on the bench, so be it. Opposing QBs had too much time. Your thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I do believe they need to get another OLB because Harrison will be 35 and there has not been enough production over the past 1 1/2 seasons.
Doyle37: Should the Steelers keep Plex if the price is right and Wallace leaves ?
Ed Bouchette: Oh, the price would be right, the veteran minimum. The problem is that they don't use the fourth wide receiver often and if he dresses they need him to play on special teams. Plaxico was signed when two of their four wide receivers were hurt.
Mike: Was it ill-advised to not put the team in a position to lose against Cleveland, since the only thing gained was a worse position in the draft?
Ed Bouchette: How does one put a team in position to lose and if that's the case, it's not worth the price. It's five spots in the draft.
Steeltyke: If Colon stays on the roster (which I am not against) what chance do you think they have of re-signing Ramon Foster?
Ed Bouchette: Ramon Foster has started enough games that I believe he would want to go somewhere he can start. They like him, but if Colon is back, Foster will open the season as a backup barring injuries.
Doyle37: Any shot Steelers try Tebow as a backup/TE/ slash type?
Ed Bouchette: And with that, I will think you for another wonderful chat. We'll try to keep it on Tuesday at 1:30 but check for updates that might occur depending on assignments, days off, vacation, etc.
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