Todd Haley (Thursday) Conference: Steelers vs Ravens
Re: Martavis Bryant’s production and getting an opportunity:
I think it is just part of the process. It was clear, and the injury added to it, that he wasn’t ready to go. There is a lot of trust that is placed on a guy that is playing outside in the NFL, specifically between him and the quarterback. But I do think that once he got back in pads and he was working, and he wasn’t getting a helmet, but it was clear to everybody that he was on his stuff and working. And when he got opportunities in practice he was getting the job done the way it is expected to get done. So it was kind of just the process and evolution of a young guy being ready to play, and he stepped in and made plays. He is far from a finished product but he did come in and make some big plays for us.
Q: This receiving class of the 2014 Draft was highly rated. Do you keep tabs on the other guys that were drafted?
Sure, I take a great deal of pride in my scouting ability (laughs). I pull the old books out here and there. You just don’t want to do it too quickly, because you can look real smart or real dumb. You kind of watch all the positions, who you graded and who you really liked specifically and how they are doing.
Re: Talking about players stepping up and then last Sunday the receivers stepped up and complemented Antonio Brown:
It is a process. It’s a 16-game season. The object is to keep getting better every week and to keep yourself in position to be in there at the end. We’ve had some ups and downs but I think everybody in here that’s been working every day felt confident that we were going to be a good group in the end. We aren’t there yet. We played a great game. I think that’s a testament to each position group playing and executing at a high level. And I think the group we have, when we do that we are going to see good results. Against a good defense on Sunday, each group, starting with the quarterback, and obviously he played a phenomenal game. He was on his game as good as I’ve ever seen anybody be on their game at that position. The offensive line, the receivers, the tight ends and running backs, everybody played at a high level and executed. They made plays for the most part when their numbers were called. And I do think we have the type of group that when we do that, when we go out and execute like that, that we will have good results.
Re: Bringing along Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Markus Wheaton:
I’ve said it a number of times, I think that good coaches figure out what their players do well and play to their strengths. We have a pretty diverse group at receiver. Guys like A. Brown can do it all. Then we have some guys that have certain strengths that you want to play to, and it just so happens, and in an effort to get guys that are at the game snaps, you come up with different personnel groups that get different guys on the field. At the same time you are trying to play to their strengths.
Q: Did the new contact rules help small receivers like A. Brown and others become top players at their position? Many of the top-10 receivers in the NFL are smaller.
Maybe but I haven’t thought about it. You are definitely seeing a change. Some of those big time big guys have been injured for different reasons and they aren’t in there. I think they are probably up there competing for those top spots. That might be (the case) but I hadn’t put a lot of thought into it.
Dick LeBeau (Thursday) Conference: Steelers vs Ravens
Q: What can you carry over from what worked against Andrew Luck to facing Joe Flacco?
It seems to be that the offense scored a whole lot of points in that game. We were active (there’s) no question about that. We have to do that every week and continue to improve. We have to improve a lot. Our good plays are getting more frequent and our effort has always been pretty consistent so we’re just working to get better. We just need to keep working.
Q: Do you think the play of your defense was better than what the final numbers suggested?
We made some impact plays and (there’s) no question about that. We scored a touchdown and got a safety so (we) made some good plays. I thought we had good pressure on a great quarterback and you’re not going to beat him if you don’t do that. Like I’ve said consistently, we have a young club and we’re working to get where we want to be. We’re sure not there yet but I think we’re making progress.
Q: Did you blitz with five or six players more than usual or was that a by-product of having a big lead?
It was a condition of the situation of the game. You could predict a little bit more of what they were going to do. You’re going to get more pressures in those situations.
Q: At what point do you start to get concerned about Cortez Allen’s confidence?
Well, having been an old corner myself, a corner learns to live alone. He has to believe in himself and just go out there and play and work on everything he’s doing. You have to believe in yourself to play corner and I think Cortez does. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s just got to produce and get out there and make some plays.
Re: William Gay struggling in Pittsburgh, leaving to go to Arizona and then comes back to Pittsburgh and is a different player:
Will Gay has always played pretty well for us here. I don’t know what he did in Arizona. I don’t pay any attention to that. He’s always been a good player for us, a good, smart player. He had a really significant play in that game the other night.
Q: What does Vince Williams bring?
He’s a growing, young player. He always has such great spirit (and is) really gaining knowledge of the defense. We trust him to go in there and play any of those inside linebacker positions and play it well.
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