Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Ed Bouchette: June! Fewer than 2 months before the start of training camp. As a sidebar, will the Stanley Cup playoffs be over by then? On with your questions ...
Israel_P.: Ed, who is next in line after Art Rooney II and what apprenticeships has he served thus far?
Ed Bouchette: There is no one "in line" after Art, but he has plenty of time to break someone in. Art has served as president of the Steelers since 2002, during which the Steelers won two Super Bowls. Before that, he was the longtime legal counsel for the ballclub.
Matt_in__Los_Angeles: Any interest in Plax from the Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Are you asking me just to get us all riled up? I see Matt that you are in L.A, which has a better chance of fielding a NFL team before Plax ever receives interest from the Steelers. The only time he'll get any interest from the Steelers will be if their cornerbacks have to cover him.
Pickman: Anything new on the Steeler FA's to be after this season? (Miller, Parker, Hampton, etc?)
Ed Bouchette: Nothing really new. They still are trying hard to sign Max Starks to a long-term contract and they truly believe that's possible. Next in line likely would be Heath Miller and Jeff Reed.
Ed: Hi Ed, Ben has seemed to adapt well to the poor offensive line the steelers have had the last couple of years. My question is comparing Ben to Brady with the Patriots having a questionable offensive this year how do you think Brady will hold up as he is more of a pocket passer than Ben.
Ed Bouchette: Yes, Brady is more of a pocket passer but that does not always mean more sacks. Dan Marino was one of the least mobile QBs in the NFL because of various knee injuries, yet he rarely was sacked. It did not have to do so much with his line as with his quick release, the best I've ever seen. Brady also does not dawdle back there to give defenders a shot at him. Ben, as we all know, holds onto the ball longer than most because he's trying to extend the play. Often it works, but when it does not, it can lead to 139 sacks in 3 seasons.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Hello Ed, are there any Steeler draft picks that are close to signing?
Ed Bouchette: None that I know about. I believe you won't see any of them sign until the OTAs end June 11, unless it's a later-round pick. By then, they will have seen all of their players and can release a few to make room for the rookies -- remember, they're allowed 80-man rosters and the rookies do not count until they sign.
STEELERWRAITHS: Hi Ed, thanks for your slice of Steelers input today. How much (actual yards preferably) do you believe our field position should improve both offensively and defensively with the return of our vaunted punter and his original long-snapper, as well as the plethora of return speedsters who will all be pushing each other to the limits during training camp?
Ed Bouchette: I'm interested to see that myself. Daniel Sepulveda should be a huge difference in what they had last season, but he did have ACL surgery in that knee so it bears watching because he has not punted in OTAs yet. I've seen many a potential return man in May who fizzled in August, but they do seem to have a better, deeper crop to pick from this year.
Davi-d: I think Heath Miller is entering the last year of his contract. Do you think the Steelers offer an extension or let him see what the free market has to offer? In my opinion he is too valuable an asset to let go.
Ed Bouchette: I agree that he is way too valuable, especially for what they ask their tight ends to do. Miller would be an outstanding tight end if he did not ever have to block, but he's also a good blocker, and they do not have another close to him. I think they will make him an offer this year and try to sign him before he enters his final season. And remember, if there's no new CBA, Miller won't be an UFA next March but restricted.
Steeler_Fan_In_Cen_CA: Ed, if Mendenhall has a big season this year, should the Steelers let Willie Parker walk at the end of his contract?
Ed Bouchette: What if Willie has a big season? I'm a Willie Parker fan and I would have to see something from Mendenhall before I'm willing to part with Parker.
STEELERWRAITHS: Hey Ed, have you gotten an insiders peek at the new rings yet?
Ed Bouchette: No, but I'm told they are big, diamond-encrusted and have some reference to six Lombardi Trophies. Even if I wasn't told that, you could figure all that out.
STEELERWRAITHS: Thanks for the chat Ed. I am so excited for the Steelers season this year! Could this be the season that No.7 returns to the site of his first pro start (we drove around the 3rd FL hurricane of the year to watch it live) and wins the Steelers #7 Lombardi Trophy on the same ground?
Ed Bouchette: Well, they do play in Miami on January 3. Are you suggesting that will not be their last trip to that city in 2010?
Chasomatic: I thought that the sale of the Steelers was to be finished by May 31st? What is that status?
Ed Bouchette: It is ongoing. I'm told now it will be later this month. It has stretched out awhile, but then it's probably not as simple as buying a house.
steel818: Have the Steelers started to renegotiate Tomlin's contract? I thought it was common practice with two years left?
Ed Bouchette: I wrote earlier this year just that, but there's been no word on whether they've actually started the process. I've been told that Tomlin's agent will have nothing to say on the matter and he has not responded to my requests. Tomlin and the Steelers decline to even address the issue. My guess is that he will have a new deal in place by early training camp.
steelfan88in_MD: Easy Ed, Can you ask Sepulveda to switch numbers with Mike Wallace? Last two Super Bowl Winning Steelers teams had punters who wore number 17. Seems like that would be the easiest thing to do. Your thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: Let me mull this over the rest of the summer and get back to you.
Pickman: With Rashard Mendenhall's 1st rd pick last season, do you think he receives a greater workload this season compared to how he was used prior to his injury? Can he possibly develop into the goal line/short yardage back role with Russell's departure?
Ed Bouchette: Mendenhall's role will develop along the lines that he does. He has to show them he can be productive, and it also will depend on how Parker is doing. They are not going to give Mendenhall more of the load just because he was a No. 1 draft pick. That role was evolving last year as well when he was knocked out in the fourth game.
Pickman: Do the Steelers expect any competition for Limas Sweed for the 3rd WR spot?
Ed Bouchette: I believe so. Mike Wallace could be one, and it's possible that veteran Shaun McDonald could too.
Daquido_Bazzini: Have you seen Ben lately? He looks a bit on the heavy side to me in pictures. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: People have told me that. He does not look overweight to me and, if he is, he has three months to shed a few pounds before the season starts.
Daquido_Bazzini: What's your truthful take on the Larry Foote incident? Do you think the Steelers wanted to keep him another year? Why didn't Foote express his feeling before the draft? To avoid a trade?
Ed Bouchette: I think Foote did tell them but he did not push it until later. Also, they still have salary cap issues confronting them, even without his salary of nearly $2.9 million on the books. I think they either would have ultimately released him before the season or asked him to take a pay cut later.
ajt123: Think we add another WR before training camp?
Ed Bouchette: No, because I don't know where you'd get one.
polamalu43: Hi Ed, I read in an article in Scouts Inc. that everybody is impressed with Evander Hood, what are your thoughts and who are you keeping an eye on?
Ed Bouchette: I try not to be impressed or disappointed with anyone in May/June. Hood hasn't tackled anyone, hasn't fought off a block, hasn't sacked a quarterback and hasn't worn a pad since he was drafted.
Jacque_Strap: Hi Ed. If you could step back from your official job duties and pick a player, who is your favorite Steeler and why?
Ed Bouchette: I am asked this question a lot and I do not have a favorite. I will tell you that in all my years of covering spots, their locker room has been among the best in dealing with players over the past 7-8 years.
Daquido_Bazzini: Do you think Sepulveda will be ready for TC?
Ed Bouchette: I believe so, but I also am a tad skeptical because he has not yet punted and they signed a veteran punter, Dirk Johnson, 33, an eighth-year pro. Normally they sign young punters when they have an established guy, merely as an extra leg in camp. Johnson looks more like insurance to me, in case something goes wrong with Sepulveda.
Jacque_Strap: Do you find it odd that rookies are allowed to participate in OTAs (and therefore risk injury) without being under contract? Have you heard anyone voice concern over this being a problem?
Ed Bouchette: A long, long time ago, back in the 1980s, it was common for the first-round draft pick to not go on the field for the one-week minicamp for those reasons. Often, the agent would cite the club's decision not to pay for insurance for his player in case of injury. I remember, John Rienstra came down with a hairline fracture of his foot in minicamp. They all get their own insurance now, I believe, but that has not been an issue for years.
pghfan6: Ed, has Santonio's continued success at wide receiver made him too valuable to risk returning punts?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, apparently. I do not believe that but the coaches do so they won't use Holmes as a punt returner unless everyone else falls on their face. It's another reason why when coaches say how valuable special teams are, they do not put their money where their mouths are.
Chooch79: With Timmons and Woodley gaining so much experience last year, could the defense be even better in 2009?
Ed Bouchette: It's hard to believe it could get better, but yes it could. Remember, they did lose McFadden and Foote and while they were not Pro Bowlers, they did start and helped with the depth as well.
Chooch79: Ed, I saw you recently on an old video on the NFL Network. Aside from now having less hair, how have you kept yourself in such great shape?
Ed Bouchette: Chats.
steelman: Ed, should the lack of depth at inside linebacker worry you?
Ed Bouchette: In the 2009 NFL, no one has depth everywhere. If your biggest worry about the Steelers is lack of depth at inside linebacker, that's not bad.
Jacque_Strap: Even with the way Steelers nation dissects everything, the Shaun McDonald signing seemed to go largely unnoticed. Time will tell but Limas Sweed aside, I think McDonald could be a great #3 for this team, and everyone keeps asking about adding another WR. We did add one!
Ed Bouchette: If he makes the squad.
ajt123: I've seen you on the Stan Savran Sportsbeat show from time to time, how do you like working with Stan?
Ed Bouchette: Stan is a pro in every sense and we've been friends for longer than we both wish to admit.
polamalu43: Polamalu still in California training?
Ed Bouchette: yes, as far as I know. That's the plan, one he followed last season and that worked out pretty good for him and the Steelers.
MaxStarksIsGreedy: Ed, have you seen Mike Wallace live? I heard he was blowing past most of our d-backs.
Ed Bouchette: Maybe, but wasn't 60 Minutes always taped? Yes, Wallace looks good but so too did other receivers through the years in the spring and they were nowhere in sight come September. However, Wallace seems to have all the ingredients.
Jacque_Strap: Did you get to meet Obama?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I gave him a little wave from the cheap seats.
da1130_412: Will Ryan Mundy replace Clark next year?
Ed Bouchette: That's way too far ahead for me to look. I'm just trying to get to vacation time, which reminds me. This will be our final chat until training camp, or the week before camp most likely. We will set up a schedule for camp and then stick to Tuesdays once the season begins. We have some new features coming to our site this year that I know you will like. Anyway, adios for the summer, or the first half of the summer anyway.
First published on June 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm
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