Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin
acero: Hi Ed, long time reader first time poster here from Baja California Mexico, I truly enjoy your work, now to the question, with the improvement of the OL as a whole and Adams and Colon making progress, also the potential return of DeCastro, do you see Marcus Gilbert being benched as he returns to healthy condition? How do you see the OL shaping out?
Ed Bouchette: I think they will stay with what they have right now barring two things -- injury or poor play. Not many have mentioned him, but right guard Ramon Foster is playing very well. I know DeCastro is their future, but the way Foster is playing, I'd keep him there for the rest of the season.
Skot: Tomlin bite on questions about officiating (ha-ha)?
Ed Bouchette: None was asked
kjacksonpgh: Hi Ed, I know most media members in the Burgh downplay the conspiracy theory, but it this last game was a fictional movie wouldn't you have to say that the script was written to have the NY Giants win? Had to be the worse referee called games in a long time.
Ed Bouchette: Yes, it was poorly officiated, and yes I do not buy the conspiracy theories, unless you're talking about who shot JFK.
Jason: If I'm not mistaken Keenan Lewis is an UFA after this season. If he continues to improve at this rate may he be playing himself out of Pittsburgh
Ed Bouchette: Or maybe the Steelers will recognize the good cornerback play and pay him.
Shef: I saw that Polamalu may return to practice this week with an eye for returning for the Baltimore game on the 16th. Is this realistic to expect? Also do you think he will simply reinjure it right away like last time?
Ed Bouchette: I can only go by what MT said and that's what he said. And I have no idea what will happen once he returns.
kjacksonpgh: Ed, is the tuck rule just for Tom Brady and other perceived elite quarterbacks? I believe Ben is elite however he does not seem to get the benefit of the doubt calls that others do. Why doesn't he?
Ed Bouchette: I thought it was a forward pass, but the ball was knocked from his grasp before his arm went forward so there is a debate there.
election: Who did you vote for?
Ed Bouchette: C'mon, you know it's not nice to ask me to reveal my Pro Bowl ballot.
Shef: What's the latest on Brown's injury? Is it a high ankle sprain and if so can he return for the Ravens game?
Ed Bouchette: It went from "mild high ankle sprain" from MT Sunday to ankle sprain, so I'm not quite sure, but it looks as though he won't play vs. the Chiefs. Check back with me about the Ravens next week.
Tprod: Ed, a lot of people smirked with Keenan Lewis's boast about a pro-bowl caliber year. If he continues to improve, is that a real possibility?
Ed Bouchette: He told that to me and he did not use the word "caliber.'' I see it as a possibility, especially with the kinds of national games the Steelers play. However, many of those guys make it based on interceptions and he doesn't have one.
hello: Do you think there will ever be a female NFL player?
Ed Bouchette: Not in my lifetime. We'll see a ref or a coach before we see a player. Oh, we have seen a ref, even though it was a scab one.
Shef: How can you explain the complete transformation that this team has underwent? Is it the Offensive line? Is it the emergence of Keenan Lewis? Are the Steelers getting used to playing without Polamalu?
Ed Bouchette: Improved play on the line, in the secondary and at running back. Having Harrison and Woodley both back.
Jason: Ed, I feel that Haley's playcalling is the biggest reason Ben has been sacked so little compared to past years, though the o-line has improved. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I agree with both, and that BR has bought into Haley's philosophy of getting rid of the ball to a check-down rather than taking the sack to while trying to extend the play.
missing86: Ed, do you think it's time to consider making pass interference penalties 15 yards, unless the ref thinks its intentional in which case it would be a spot foul? These 30 or 40 yard fluky penalties are brutal! or do you think thats too much for the refs to handle?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I do. If they're going to call ticky-tack pass interference, it should not be good for 41 or 46 yards. However, you have to have intentional in there or else teams at the end of a game would be mugging receivers on long passes in desperation mode.
Scott: Any injury updates on Rainey, Brown?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, both look as though they will not play this week. Both should have a chance to play after that.
missing86: Worried the KC is a let-down game?
Ed Bouchette: I know one guy who won't let it be, offensive coordinator Todd Haley. It's also on Monday night at Heinz Field. The Steelers rarely play down on Monday night at home.
mike: Why do they continue to commit so many penalties on special teams?
Ed Bouchette: Without researching, did they have one the other day. Yes, I think one.
John B.: Do you think McClendons limited snaps is in part to keep his contract low?
Ed Bouchette: This ain't baseball. No.
Dude_From_Cali: ED: if Steelers continue to peak the right time, we'll be 2005 revisited road warrior to the Superbowl with 14 pt margin wins on the road. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: If they continue playing like this, they'll be at least the No. 2 seed, have a bye and play at least one game at home. But that is getting wayyyy ahead of ourselves.
Shef: Do you think this game against Kansas City is a "trap" game, or do you think we will dominate at home against a terrible team?
Ed Bouchette: I don't use the phrase "trap game," and in fact I hate it. But if YOU were to use it, you might consider that game at Cleveland between their two against Baltimore.
JAMESH: Sounds like Coach Tomlin implied Rashard Mendenhall would start if good to go. Did you infer that from his comments?
Ed Bouchette: No, I did not have to infer much because he said he'd go with the hot hand and right now that would not be Mendenhall but 1. Redman and 2. Dwyer.
Dale Klima: Other than a couple of questionable calls, thought the officials were pretty good. Why so much fuss around when the Steelets won anyway?
Ed Bouchette: Because some of the calls were so blatantly bad.
The Blob: Now, with 1/2 of the season over and the Steelers coming on strong and the Ravens hurting, do you think the Steelers can pull out in front if them in the second half?
Ed Bouchette: I think they need to sweep the Ravens to do so.
missing86: Ed, do you agree with the following assessment: Mike Wallace is unbelievably fast, but he's not as good a football player as Heath Miller and Antonio Brown - he is not good in traffic, he goes down easily, he does not have good hands, etc?
Ed Bouchette: Mike's talents are different than those other two. He looked pretty good in traffic the other day when he turned a 3-yard pass into a 51-yard touchdown.
Tprod: Ed. do the Steelers play more a dual safety vs the strong and free safety designations? It seems Ryan Clark is playing closer to the line of scrimmage that Will Allen and is that working toward their strengths?
Ed Bouchette: They have done that at times when Troy Polamalu plays too, with Clark playing almost like a strong safety and TP as a free safety. It's all part of keeping the offense guessing.
70cougar: If A. Brown is out, who do you think they will bring off the practice squad to replace him?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure they'll bring anyone because they'd have to cut someone. But if they wanted to add someone to replace Brown as a WR/return man it would be David Gilreath probably.
acero: How is J. Dwyer doing ? i mean about his injury, is he going to play this week?
Ed Bouchette: MT sounded optimistic he would.
DSF: Ed, Gerry intimated that the pass defense has been performing well without Troy. Do you think there is a correlation because Troy tends to gamble a bit or is it just coincidence that they have been good in pass defense while he is out?
Ed Bouchette: When Troy Polamalu is healthy, he is an All-Pro and I don't think any defense plays better without their best players. It does not mean they still cannot play well, though.
Vegas Dave: If the Steelers struggle against the Chiefs, do we see this as a step backwards, playing down to the competition or looking ahead to the Ravens?
Ed Bouchette: If they lose, it's a step backward. If they win, it is not.
Shef: Do you think Levy subconsciously biased his officiating based on his track record with the Steelers in the Super Bowl?
Ed Bouchette: Like players do on occasion, I just think he had a bad game.
Dude_From_Cali: So Haley's OC job would've been Wilson's had the fire not happened?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, as I wrote early this year.
sidney: Why no more deep passes to Mike Wallace? He was the best deep threat in the league.
Ed Bouchette: Defenses have played more to present that and the Steelers don't try it as often under Todd Haley. However, you can bet they won't give up on it because that is too valuable and if you stop doing it altogether, defenses will pick up on that.
kjacksonpgh: Ed, do you think Todd Haley will run up the score if given the opportunity?
Ed Bouchette: That's not up to him.
missing86: Ed, now that Brown is injured, any chance the Steelers bring back Hines Ward for the Baltimore games... for ol' times sake?
Ed Bouchette: Thanks. Too many serious questions before yours.
missing86: Do the Steelers have any recourse regarding the bad calls, i.e talking with NFL offices, if for no other reason than getting the benefit of a call down the road?
Ed Bouchette: You mean a makeup call? They only do that in the NBA. No recourse other than to complain.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another great chat. See you next Tuesday after the game.
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