Scott: Without getting into sources, can you verify your conspiracy theory regarding departed Steeler coaches?
Ed Bouchette: It's not a conspiracy theory. I just think that perhaps with the change in coordinators, there might have been some philosophical differences among the offensive coaches last season.
Pahn711: Educated guess on who the Woodley "anonymous source" is?
Ed Bouchette: Since it wasn't my source, nor my story, I would not venture a guess.
Sam: Ed, Have you been invited to take part in any "Top Ten" episodes on the NFL Network this year?
Ed Bouchette: I have never done it for the NFL Network, I have done it for NFL Films, which you probably then see on the network. Yes, they interviewed me before the Super Bowl in New Orleans about several things they are working on.
DiamondSteel: Do you think the locker room is losing is cohesiveness?
Ed Bouchette: That's too hard for me to judge, since I'm only a visitor in there several times a week and then for not long periods. I do not think one anonymous comment, however, means a whole lot as to whether it is or is not.
mikeflores16: Are we looking at another mediocre season or two before things get better?
Ed Bouchette: As many know who follow the sport, that can depend on a whole bunch of circumstances. They have the quarterback and a lot of other pieces in place. I believe they were odds-on fourth or fifth among AFC teams to win the Super Bowl. All teams have their problems.
Phil: Ed, the label on Woodley bothers me. The proof is in the pudding as they say and look no further than early December, and you have a down and out Chager team coming into Heinz Field and...get in shape LaMarr!
Ed Bouchette: So you're going to blame their loss to San Diego on LaMarr Woodley? I think you could point plenty of fingers there. Woodley did not have a good 2012 season, I think he'll even tell you that.
mikeflores16: Who do you expect to step up like Lewis did this year?
Ed Bouchette: If Keenan Lewis leaves, they will need Cortez Allen to do so, for one, and I thought he played well in their pass defenses last season and that could bode well for him in 2013 as a starter if Lewis does not return.
mikeflores16: What do the coaches thing about the NT position behind McLendon?
Ed Bouchette: They did not keep Alameda Ta'amu on their roster after his South Side rampage for nothing.
dave: Which of their current RB's do you think will be on the roster next season?
Ed Bouchette: Isaac Redman and Baron Batch for sure and maybe Jonathan Dwyer.
Sam: Ed, Have you ever been influenced to research and write a story based on a reader's question other than your recent write-ups on the change over time in how you report?
Ed Bouchette: I'm sure I have, although I can't recall any specifics at the moment.
Pahn711: Based on what the media is saying, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Willie Colon is done with the Steelers. But what about for the veteran minimum? Didn't he show potential as a pulling guard?
Ed Bouchette: There's always that chance, but I'm hearing there's not much of that chance.
Dale Klima: Do you ever keep the confidences of players who complain or do you report it?
Ed Bouchette: It depends. If they understand I may use what they're telling me, I'd report it. If it's told to me in confidence with the understanding it's just for my background information, I keep their confidence but am armed with knowledge that I can use in my future reporting.
mikeflores16: I think the Steelers should at least try to sign Jackson from STL, he would provide a workhorse RB to take some pressure off of Ben. Your thoughts ...
Ed Bouchette: My thoughts have been pretty plain on this based on my knowledge of how they operate, they will not sign Steven Jackson nor even make an attempt.
Scott: If reports are true and this is TP's last season, where do the starting safeties come from in 2014? Especially with Clark in the final year of his deal.
Ed Bouchette: Tune in to the 2013 draft in April for your answer.
Wexford Wag: Any talk of looking for a new punter next year? I know Butler was a rookie, but even with that in mind, he didn't meet NFL standards either on distance or hang time. It's an important but often overlooked aspect of the game -- it's field position.
Ed Bouchette: I'm sure if they can find someone better, they will.
Guest: Do you see the Steelers making a serious effort to sign Lewis?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I do, but not until after he hits the market March 12 and only if another team does not offer him crazy money.
Dale Klima: Please tell me that Ziggy won't be here next year.
Ed Bouchette: If by next year, you mean 2014, that's possible because he is entering the final year of his contract. If by next year you mean next season, 2013, he will be right where he was in 2012.
Penman: Did the Steelers hire a special teams coach yet?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, quite a bit ago. Danny Smith, a Pittsburgh native who played at Central Catholic.
mikeflores16: Do you believe that Gilbert can be a good LT?
Ed Bouchette: I think he has a chance to be Marvel Smith's equal.
dsf: Do you personally think Woodley was out of shape and not working out or preparing at a level that is to be expected?
Ed Bouchette: Personally? I have no idea what his workout routine is or has been. Others have told me he needs to pay more attention to his workout routine in the off season.
John in Ohio: If there is a top OLB or WR available when Steelers pick, which do you think they choose?
Ed Bouchette: If they are rated equally, I would say the linebacker.
steveo: We now know that Ryan Clark and LaMarr Woodley read the PG columns. Are you sure Colbert doesn't?
Ed Bouchette: Kevin Colbert is well aware of what we write about the Steelers.
mikeflores16: By the way, Kugler coming to El Paso, although considered by some a step down, is being very well received here. He is the prodigal son returning, hopefully to build a respectable program, while at the same time raising his profile. Wishful thinking for my hometown school?
Ed Bouchette: Sean Kugler is an excellent coach and he could very well turn that program around.
weegie: Will Tomlin or Colbert be talking to reporters at the combine?
Ed Bouchette: Kevin Colbert annually talks to reporters at the combine.
John in Ohio: Art Rooney II said he would like to see players play earlier than 3 years after they are drafted. It is ridiculous that it takes 1-2 years just to learn the defense. Shouldn't some asst coaches or scouts be fired for not identifying correct players for the Steelers system?
Ed Bouchette: I guess I missed that comment, but he did tell me a few years ago that he thought the younger players needed to be developed more quickly. Keenan Lewis is a prime example. Cameron Heyward might be another. Jason Worilds enters his fourth season. You're seeing more young players play more quickly in the offensive line in recent years.
Scott: Is there a realistic chance the Steelers get a handle on their salary cap issues? Seems they have been up against it for a few years now and restructuring efforts will eventually create a lot of dead money hits.
Ed Bouchette: They are in the process of trying to get that under control, a process that began last season.
Pahn711: Amidst reports that Steelers Management want to keep Harrison, it seems like unless they draft an OLB early, they don't have much negotiating power to cut his salary. Can they wait until after the draft to negotiate or must it be done in March?
Ed Bouchette: Ideally, it would get done before March 12 with any player they are considering cutting or restructuring because they need to create salary cap room by that date.
mikeflores16: You seemed pretty pessimistic about Spence this morning? Your odds on him ever playing again and becoming the player we all hoped he would just last August.
Ed Bouchette: He's facing tough odds.
Bill L: Say for example Emmanuel Sanders walks into team hedquarters and wants to work on the field with Charlie Batch this month. Is that prohibited in the CBA?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, unless that field is at some high school, etc.
Guest: Do you think the combine is a relic? Maybe it was helpful when every college game wasn't on tv, but now you can find film on any player.
Ed Bouchette: I've been told so many times that the combine is best for getting height and weight and some injury reports, that they do not put that much stock in the cone drills, etc. If that's the case, why not just eliminate the cone drills, etc., is my argument? No, it's not a relic, but it's what Chuck Noll called it 30 years ago, football players in their underwear.
Dale Klima: Are you bored during the football off season like most of us are?
Ed Bouchette: No, I have other things of interest to me outside of my job. However, most of those things do not involve sports.
Guest: Will the Steelers make an effort to keep Mike Wallace?
Ed Bouchette: No, I think that's water over the dam, under the bridge and the glass is empty.
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