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Notes from Steelers Coordinators pre-game interviews


Steelers Interviews (Coordinators) – Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014

Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley: QUESTIONS/ANSWERS

  • Re: Justin Brown playing on Sunday against the Browns:

Haley: “As I’ve said about Justin, he has worked his tail off since the day he has been here.  I am sure he is chomping at the bit about the opportunity…Number one, he is a big guy.  When you talk about the slot position, you are talking about a guy that has to block some linebackers if he has to and do some of the dirty work there.  That makes him also a big target.  He is a tough guy.”

  • Re: Adding LeGarrette Blount and Coach Mike Munchak:

Haley:  “I am excited about what we have across the board. From a staff standpoint, it’s been great. There’s great continuity and communication, all the things that are important to have success in this league from a coaching staff standpoint and how you relate to your players. Le’Veon Bell at this time last year wasn’t ready to go. He is ready (now). Blount has toted the ball for a pretty nice average in this league. I know the guys up front, there is great cohesiveness. They are excited to hit somebody in a different colored uniform on a real Sunday.”

  • Re: A time frame between plays that the team is looking to hit in regards to the no-huddle:

Haley:  “We have up-tempo and we have regular tempo so it all depends. When we’re up-tempo we’re trying to go fast, get the ball to the officials and really use tempo as an advantage and speed to plays. (We try to) get more plays run. Then we have our regular tempo, no-huddle where (it’s) more about trying to get the right play called, whether it’s run-pass. If it’s run, (choose) the right run play. If it’s pass, (choose) the right pass play.”

  • Re: Cleveland’s defense being good:

Haley:   “Yeah, they’re an imposing bunch from top to bottom. It starts up front with the two big guys inside in (Phil) Taylor and (Ahtyba) Rubin. (Armonty) Bryant is a real good high-motor pass rusher. The linebackers are really good, (both) outside and inside. I spent some time with Karlos Dansby, an athletic, fast guy, playmaker, sideline-to-sideline (player). The young guy is coming around in (Barkevious) Mingo. You can tell that he’s got a year experience and they are putting more and more trust in him. The secondary, as I said, (includes) Haden and (Buster) Skrine. Haden is at the top of the list (and) when you start talking about corners, he should be talked about. Safeties, adding (Donte) Whitner, an experienced guy that’s played a bunch in this league and successfully. So top to bottom, they’re an imposing group that is very multiple. They are a 3-4 team on paper, but you’re going to see everything. You’re going to see 3-4, you’re going to see five-down off bare looks. You’re going to see three-downed nickel looks (and) mixers. There’s a lot to worry about, think about as far as protection and the run game.”

Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau – HOT TOPICS

  • Re: LeBeau playing the Steelers in his season opener in 1969:

LeBeau:  “We didn’t play Pittsburgh very often. They were in a different conference. I think we played them over here. I know we played in Forbes Field on a regular season game.”

  • Re: You started three rookies that year:

LeBeau:  “Did we really? I remember they caught a pass on me. I think it was that game, I’m pretty sure. And the defensive coordinator said, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I said, ‘Well I was trying to lay back a little and make them think he was open and intercept the ball.’ (He said,) ‘Well they thought he was open alright’ (laughing). That was in that game. It was a while ago.”

  • Re: Do you consider Stephon Tuitt a starter since you use so much nickel defense?

LeBeau:  “Tuitt will play a lot. Do I consider him a starter? We consider most of our players starters because we know they are going to get a bunch of snaps. He’s one of them.”

  • Re: Has Brian Hoyer tried to call you this week?

LeBeau:  “I think he knows I wouldn’t accept a call this week (laughing).”

  • Re: Devoting time to prepare for Johnny Manziel:

LeBeau: “I think if he gets in there he’s going to be more of a running threat than the other quarterback. So we have to prepare our players for that eventuality. I’m pretty sure we’ll see some of him. Manziel will take off, whether it’s designed or not. So we’re going to see some running, scrambling quarterback I think a little bit less with the other quarterback. But still, he can keep plays alive. He’s very athletic. I just think that No. 2 will be more inclined to leave the pocket and take off.”

  • Re: Why are you so sure you’ll see Manziel play?

LeBeau:  “I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see him. Let’s face it, he’s been one of the top football players in the nation not for one year, but for several years. You look at his offensive numbers (and) there’s not a magic wand he’s waving out there. He’s creating those situations and making plays. So they’re going to want to bring him along and give him game action. I’m sure of that.”

  • Re: What the Browns offense does well:

LeBeau: “Well again, I think they’re pretty balanced. They acquired some guys to fill in for the guys that they are going to be missing. I think their running back is a good running back. He’s a slasher and a hard runner. Their offensive line is very good and their tight end is one of the best that we’ll play against. He may be their best offensive player. We regard these guys with esteem. I think that they’re a good, solid offense and we know they have a great defense. So they’re going to be a good football team.”

  • Re: Health of the Steelers defense:

LeBeau:  “I think our defense is in pretty good shape for this opener, yes. And to answer your question, no, I don’t have any reservations about our players right now.”

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