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Old 02-24-2010, 04:47 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript: 2.23.2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon all. Let's begin.
Amos_P_Swanson: Isn't it kind of strange that we might have to worry about the reaction of a guy that might get tagged for a salary of over 7 mil this year?
Ed Bouchette: It's been that way for a long time. Here's a hint: Don't worry about his reaction.
Troy Bingham: With the Steelers letting Fast Willie test the free agent market, how early, draft wise, will it be before the they address the running back need? Any chance the take someone like C.J. Spiller if he's available when the Steelers pick?
Ed Bouchette: Even if Willie Parker signs elsewhere -- and that's not a given yet because the Steelers would like to get him back -- I would not expect to see them draft a back high.
GjSteel: Hi Ed...do you believe that Casey Hampton will hold out if they slap the tag on him?
Ed Bouchette: No. First off, there's a chance there will be no football in 2011. If you are down for a $7 million salary, every week during the regular season you hold out you would lose $412,000. I could see a mini-holdout in camp, but not during the season.
Jeff: Hey Ed - The Steelers are going to have a tough time signing Casey Hampton and Jeff Reed to long-term deals, especially if they are operating under the assumption of a cap. Is there any indication their division rivals will also limit spending during the uncapped year? Thanks
Ed Bouchette: I have seen no indication, but going on track records I would certainly not expect Cincinnati to go crazy. Baltimore also is reasonable. Cleveland is anyone's guess.
Illinois Steelers Fan: Hampton is 33, why wouldn't he want to end his career with the Steelers? How many more years would he really have?
Ed Bouchette: It's not about where he's going to end his career, it's all about how much he will make and what the guaranteed money is. You cannot blame him for that.
Troy Bingham: Ed, what's more likely... The Steelers stay put where they are in the draft, move up, or trade down?
Ed Bouchette: They have a history of moving up in the first round. They did that to draft Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes. They rarely move down, although they did do that to draft Casey Hampton. Last year, they traded out of the second round to get more third-round picks. I would say anything is possible -- move up, move down, stay put.
Steeelman43: Hello Ed, do you think Tomlin can work his magic with Viking free agents and bring Chester Taylor to town? The Steelers need a Chester in the back field.
Ed Bouchette: If Chester would be willing to take their offer, if they make one, perhaps, but I do not see that happening.
tigercoach77: Thanks for the chat time. If the offense is going to have a true FB next year will the team look to add a FB from outside the club, or will they look from within the organization
Ed Bouchette: I would think they'll be looking for one either late in the draft or as an undrafted rookie, which is how they signed Dan Kreider.
B&G_Fan_Stuck_In_Ohio: Do you have any ideas about where SD's Tomlinson will end up?
Ed Bouchette: I can tell you where he won't end up -- in Pittsburgh.
black_gold: if they franchise Hampton what happens to reed and clark
Ed Bouchette: They can use a transition as well. Clark won't get tagged but Reed could. On PG Plus the other day, I gave my reasons why they should franchise Reed and give Hampton the transition tag.
Troy Bingham: Ed, are you more of an Ice Dancing type of guy, or do you get your thrill by watching Curling?
Ed Bouchette: I'm a Danish women's curling fan. They do not have to dance to get my attention.
Marv: Hi Ed, Do you think it would be a mistake for the Steelers to take a nose tackle in the 1st round?
Ed Bouchette: My, no. Even if they keep Casey Hampton this year they need to find his replacement and the nose tackle is the fulcrum of the 3-4 defense.
DB Cooper: Hi Ed, any hunches on where LT may end up? Does he go to AFC contender?
Ed Bouchette: The REAL LT is in the Hall of Fame. I do not understand the fascination with a 31-year-old back not wanted by his own team.
James_Taiwan: Who do you think are the front runners in the AFC North entering the 2010 season? What do the Steelers need to do to beat the Bengals?
Ed Bouchette: They need to be able to hold a lead to beat the Bengals. I think the front-runners will come down to the Steelers and Ravens.
Turtle Creek Ted: Hi Ed........I have heard from several reliable sources (take that for what it is worth) that Big Ben requested to play golf at one of Arnold Palmer's courses in Latrobe or Ligonier. The story that has been shared is that Ben was extremely rude to the people there and did damage to the course. Arnie was at the course at the time and "supposedly" informed Ben after the round that he will never be invited to another of Arnie's courses and that informed him that he (Ben) is in a position of responsibility and should not be acting in the manner in which he did. Can you confirm/deny the story and if this is the case any reason it hasn't been mentioned in the papers, etc?
Ed Bouchette: This is one of those urban (suburban?) legends that will not die even though the PG has privately discredited it.
Screenwriter: Ed, Could Vince Wolfork's negotiations in NE hold up Hampton's deal in Pgh?
Ed Bouchette: Wilfork was franchised and they continue to try to work out a long-term deal with him. I don't think the negotiations will affect what's going on with the Steelers but any time one player at the same position signs a contract, it can have an effect on the market place. Where it will not affect Hampton is on the franchise tag. That is set slightly more than $7 million for 2010.
Hinestheman: Ed, Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't there talk about each team getting 2 franchise tags and 1 transition tag this year because of the fact that there would be no salary cap?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, many thought that was the case but it is not. You can use one franchise tag and one transition tag. Or you can choose two transition tags and no franchise tag.
James_Taiwan: Who do you see as emerging as the primary backup if the Steelers are unable to keep Willie Parker?
Ed Bouchette: I think Mewelde Moore would hold the job in the clubhouse but I think they would hit the draft as well in that area, but, as I said before, not with a high pick.
Screenwriter: Ed, Work on commenting for any Top 10 NFL series?
Ed Bouchette: NFL Films usually gives me a call about that some time in the spring.
southernburgh: w/ LeBeau going to HOF do you think steeler players, mainly defensive ones will attend the ceremonies?
Ed Bouchette: I think they will need a bus or two. The ceremonies are Saturday evening and I would expect Mike Tomlin to schedule his camp practices that day to allow his team and coaches to attend.
Screenwriter: Ed, How are the scouts evaluated? Do they get bonus points for having their players drafted and demoted if their notes are over-hyped and players are a bust?
Ed Bouchette: I cannot tell you but if you fail enough times you won't have a job very long, especially if you do so with high draft picks. That's for the guy running the draft and he evaluates his own scouts based on the importance he places on certain criteria. In all my years covering the Steelers, I have never seen an area scout fired.

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Old 02-24-2010, 04:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript: 2.23.2010

RavenHater: Hi Ed. Have you heard anything more about the Ryan Clark negotiations?
Ed Bouchette: Not much other than they are not anywhere near close to getting a deal done.
Screenwriter: Ed, why would the NFL Union opposes a rookie salary scale? Doesn't it make sense to reward proven veterans than potential rookies?
Ed Bouchette: I have never understood that myself. What I've heard them say is that there is a scale only it's called a rookie pool for each draft class. They also say that the rookies are not overpaid except for those in the first half of the first round and that is not something to be concerned about. The real truth is the agents fight it all the time because that is how they make their money. They negotiate contracts and tell players they can get them more. If there were a salary scale for rookies, there would be no reason to hire an agent to try to get you more money -- at least not until after your first contract.
Screenwriter: Ed, Is it possible to see "replacement" players play in 2011 ala 1987?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure but I do not see how you can lock players out and then sign others to play. In 1987, the players went out on strike, allowing the owners to replace them.
Hinestheman: Ed, when will they start negotiating contract extension for Woodley, Holmes and Polamalu?
Ed Bouchette: Polamalu has two years left so they would not start talking to him until 2011. The others, Kevin Colbert told me, are "down the line,'' which could mean anywhere between after the draft and the start of the regular season.
LupeSanchez: Hi Ed, Your week leading up to the draft series of articles is always a highlight and when you put together those player profile nuggets, are they from your viewings of tapes or from your discussions with scouts and player personnel people?
Ed Bouchette: Let's get this one thing straight: I am not a scout and I do not view tapes. I report, so I talk to people and read and then write.
V Hull: If the steelers let Ryan Clark go what do you think they will do to fill his position?
Ed Bouchette: Ryan will play free safety. Ryan Mundy if Ryan Clark goes. At least, Mundy will get first shot at it.
Steeler_in_Tucson: With Kevin Colbert stating that we need depth everywhere along the defense, do you think that Free Agency might be a viable avenue for him to pursue "under the radar" players that can provide that depth and help out on special teams. I.E. Mewelde Moore..
Ed Bouchette: That is their MO and they always will look at those guys.
chicago_stiller_fan: did the frank the tank experiment fail as a fullback then?
Ed Bouchette: Not necessarily. He was a rookie who was not asked to block much in college, then he was hurt and did not finish the season. He will be in the mix there.
Steelergill66: Ed, some have suggested that the Steelers try to re-sign Kreider. Do you think that is even a remote possibility, given his age?
Ed Bouchette: I think Dan Kreider did a nice job while he was here but they will not go back there. They want to get younger.
Craig: With the Steelers focusing their offseason on what seems to be Hampton and Reed, do you see the Steelers addressing the safety position through the draft? As it appears Clark will not be resigned.
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I can see them drafting a safety. And they do like Ryan Mundy as a possibility too.
Steeler_in_Tucson: Any chance Jamal Lewis ends up in Pittsburgh as a short-down back? He is only 15 pounds shy of The Bus, am I right?
Ed Bouchette: No, I don't see that one happening.
RavenHater: Have you talked to the new O line coach or is he still be sequestered like a juror in a high profile trial?
Ed Bouchette: I've said hello to him. We tried to interview him but, yes, he's been sequestered.
Steelergill66: Why transition Hampton instead of franchising him? Seems the cost would be lower to franchise him than to transition him.
Ed Bouchette: No, transition is the average of the top 10 salaries, franchise the top 5. I can't get into it here but I gave my reasons on PG Plus.
Steeler Fan in B-More: Heard to Rooney's proposed the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz....Pens/Caps...thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: It certainly makes a whole lot more sense to play it at Heinz Field than PNC Park. The sight lines would be better and also Heinz holds about 30,000 more and that game will sell out in a heartbeat.
Huey Richardson: Ed I just completed my mock draft and have the Steelers drafting Carlos Dunlap DE from Florida, what do you think about that?
Ed Bouchette: I think you have a wonderful hobby there.
RoomTempIQ: Since Colbert/Steelers are so good at picking first rounders but questionable in later rounds, why not try to move picks 2,3,4,5,6,7 so we can have two #1 picks and fill the rest will street free agents? Wouldn't you rather have 2 Polamalu's than 1 Polamalu and 6 Mundy's every year?
Ed Bouchette: I'd also like to have a LaMarr Woodley (second round) and Mike Wallace (third).
Illinois Steelers Fan: When the Steelers played in St. Louis a few years back, I thought I saw you outside the stadium. Should I say Hi! next time I see you?
Ed Bouchette: If I'm ever in St. Louis again, please feel free to say hi.
James_Taiwan: Do you think Frank the Tank will get an opportunity to become the short yardage/goal line back in training camp?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, but I believe they would prefer Rashard Mendenhall to stay in the game in those situations, as they used him in the second half of last season.
jbird1015: Eagles just released Brian Westbrook...a lot of big name (older) RBs are flooding the market!
Ed Bouchette: Thank you, and you should hope the Steelers stay away from them. The last thing you want to do is get older running backs, or did the Duce Staley experiment go unremembered?
Steeler_in_Tucson: Do you get the feeling that management is satisfied with the play and depth at the center position, or do feel that the Steelers are interested in getting better at that position in the short term future?
Ed Bouchette: I believe they would like to get better there but I'm not sure it will happen overnight.
Purple Goose Saloon: Ed, Duce Staley might not have been a world beater, but he got almost 1000 yards in a half a season as a starter, and spelled Bettis at important points in other games. And he really came through when Bettis and FWP were out in 2005 against Green Bay. Do you think that people forget that?
Ed Bouchette: Duce was hurt nearly half his first season here and after that did do well in Green Bay, then he got old real, real fast.
Steeler Fan in B-More: since when are we bringing back a fullback?
Ed Bouchette: Ever since Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin agreed they need to run the ball more consistently
BigPicture: Any word on the players on injured reserve, and recovery.
Ed Bouchette: I'm told they all are coming along nicely, even the shoulder surgeries they did not reveal to Justin Hartwig and Ryan Mundy.
Menofpaws: Ed, are the Steelers extremely leveraged as a result of the change in ownership structure? It seems as though buying out the other brothers would be an expensive and costly endeavor that would strap the team financially.
Ed Bouchette: I do not know how leveraged or how strapped, but the Rooneys did have to take out loans through PNC Bank to purchase more shares as some brothers/uncles got out of the business.
Troy Bingham: We missed Polamalu last year, but no more than we did Aaron Smith. Is he gonna be good to go from day 1?
Ed Bouchette: I talked to Aaron the other day and he is doing fine, ready to go, although he might not fully participate in spring drills only because there really is no need for him to do so.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you all for your time and questions. See you soon.

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