Steelers Injury Report – Week 10 at Jets
Cameron Heyward (DE, non-injury related)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, hamstring)
Brett Keisel (DE, non-injury related)
Mike Mitchell (S, non-injury related)
Maurkice Pouncey (C, non-injury related)
Jason Worilds (LB, abdomen)
Troy Polamalu (S, knee)
Ryan Shazier (LB, ankle)
Ike Taylor (CB, forearm)
Shamarko Thomas (S, hamstring)
Ross Ventrone (S, hamstring)
Predicted Starters (for injured players)
Will Allen and Mike Mitchell (S)
Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams and Sean Spence (ILB)
The Steelers signed safety Jordan Dangerfield to the practice squad on Wednesday, releasing defensive end Ethan Hemer.
Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau
Re: Will Allen replacing Troy Polamalu:
Will has played a lot of good football for us in the past and we’re very confident that he’ll do a good job for us. We’ll miss Troy. He’s a great player but throughout the league and every city they’re going to have games where they will have to go without some of their people and we’re just without Troy this week.
Re: Moving inside linebackers around like Sean Spence and Vince Williams and is that situational or matchup wise:
We think we’ve got two quality young players right there. (We’re) trying to get them both some good playing experience in building for the future and in the meantime making us better right now. Trying to get them both a piece of the action and I think they’re both doing a good job.
Re: The Jets running game:
They are a very good running team. They have excellent running backs (in) three of them. And then their running statistics are facilitated with their quarterbacks running (and) making yards for them too. I think they are third in the league in rushing and that’s the result of the compilation of all those guys making rushing yards. We’ll have to play well to contain them.
Re: Moving Lawrence Timmons between Buck/Mac and how that’s going:
Fortunately or unfortunately, however you look at it, when he was younger he actually even had to play most of the season as an outside linebacker if you recall. So Lawrence has got playing experience at all three of those positions. He is in fact the key that allows us to get the others guys some snaps. He can handle it because of the experience factor and Lawrence is a studier. He studies his football. He’s a professional. He’s pretty rare in that he can play all three of those positions tomorrow if he had to.
How important is it to have Will Allen and William Gay on the roster for depth?
You’ve heard me say this many times, you cannot have too many good football players. I know only 11 can be on the field at a time, but all those guys in that defensive room know before the year is over, they’re going to be in the game and playing the majority of the snaps in that game. A veteran player like Will, everywhere he’s ever been, he’s done the job. Again, he’s a pro.
What challenges does Michael Vick present?
The same challenges he ever did. I don’t see much difference in him. Maybe he’s a 4.4 instead of a 4.2. But trust me a 4.4 is pretty damn fast. He still throws the ball with a flip of the arm 45 yards without any problem. He can reach any spot on the field. The two quarterbacks are not that dissimilar in that they’re both great scramblers. They both can get you some extra downs. They’ve got some tremendous skill people around them. I think but for the turnover situation, they’ve had a disparity of turnovers given and taken, they would have a winning record. I’m not saying a better record. I’m saying a winning record. They’ve got a lot of good players. We have to play well.
Do you prepare for the scheme or the player?
Well fortunately he’s been in there some the last three games so we got to get a look at him in that regard. They do so much with so many different people I’m not sure that you get a real handle on him anyhow. But to my way of thinking, Vick is Vick. I thought maybe his first game in there he was a little rusty, but I didn’t see that the next two (games). We’re going to see a good quarterback. I know that.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley
Re: Haven’t run the no-huddle the last couple of games:
We always have the no-huddle available. There are some times where we use it a little earlier but I think with some new guys in there and some of the rotation at receiver, we are getting into more huddle calls. It has given them a chance to focus in on what they have to do. Like Coach Tomlin said, no-huddle is a part of what we do and we’ve had success with it. We’ve been having success going the way we have against the last two teams we’ve played. There wasn’t any need to get out of what we were doing at that time.
What has the offensive line clicking?
I’ve felt that they have played pretty well all year. Sometimes they take the brunt of the criticism when there are sacks and those types of things but sometimes that could be that the receiver isn’t getting open, which then causes Ben Roethlisberger to hold the ball. So it’s not always as obvious as it seems. I think they have been playing pretty well. They have had some better games than others but I think they have been a group on the rise. Clearly when they are playing at a high level and when each group is playing at a high level, we can execute at a high level as a group. And it shows.
What is it like playing at a high level like you are now? Can you dial up anything you want?
Yeah, I feel a lot smarter (smiles). Like I told the players, as much as I would like to make it about me, when our guys execute and do it the way they are supposed to do it – we as coaches are going to try to put them in the best position to succeed from a game plan standpoint. But it comes down to them executing. When the quarterback is playing at a high level, I think it’s a testament to receivers doing their job, getting open, and the protection upfront, which includes not only the offensive line but the tight ends and running backs. Guys are winning in the passing game. And we have been efficient at running the ball. It all has come together the last couple of weeks. And I think as much as anything our group can take from it some confidence. We’ve faced some good defenses. We have executed and when we do we get good results.
Is this how good you envisioned your offense could be?
Yeah. Sure. The last two weeks, I’ll take it. I have been in multiple places. I’ve been in a place where we ran the ball the best in the league. In Arizona we threw it with the best of them. But what I am excited about here is that we have a chance to be a very balanced group that can run the football efficiently and throw it. When you have that balance, I think you have a chance to be good.
Re: Scoring 40 points per game with Martavis Bryant in the lineup:
I think it’s just an element of our group growing and getting better. As I have said, the object isn’t to be the best team game one, it is to have your arrow pointing up and continuing to get better and grow as a group. He has been a factor in that. He has obviously made plays when his number has been called. I think we have something good going on at that position. Those guys are competing. They understand the situation. There may not be as many opportunities so take advantage of the ones you get. Ultimately the entire team is playing better. Early in the year when we weren’t creating turnovers, we were having to go the length of the field and the field position wasn’t good. When you start playing complementary football with the defense and special teams, you start to pick up some of those possessions that are on the short field and are quick change opportunities. We’ve taken advantage of them. Again, I think that’s why they call it the ultimate team sport. The entire group is playing together and we are doing our part. We have to keep it going.
Re: Antonio Brown being a small receiver but being difficult to defend:
He’s just a talented guy. Along with that, he works as hard as anybody that I have seen. He is very driven to prove that he is among the elite guys at his position right now. I think from a big picture standpoint, he is one that they will talk about for a long time. His work ethic reflects that drive. When he is out there on the field he is extremely quick, tough and fearless. He is great with the ball in his hands. I think you saw some of that last week. He uses his tools, the stiff arm, which we usually beg guys to use the stiff arm. He naturally uses it as a weapon. He obviously has great hands and ball skills, as good as I have seen. He might now come in the traditional package but it’s all there.
Re: Bryant getting better:
He was a young player coming out of college that missed some time. He already had a lot on his plate. I think getting away from the no-huddle a little bit has helped him. Maybe it allowed him to earn the trust of the quarterback and the coaches a little quicker because he had a little bit of a smaller menu to draw from. Our situation helped him in that sense. I think it is just what these guys are told from day one what they have to do. They have develop. They can’t stay the same. They have to get better every day, whether they are out on the field contributing early, helping out on card offense or on the practice squad. Every guy is called to the same task. It must be shown that they are making progress and getting better, and being ready when their number is called.
Re: Markus Wheaton doing extra work and if that’s him or a product of seeing how A. Brown works:
A little bit of both. I think all the coaches are working guys all the time but at the same time when you have an example like A.B. that is doing more than anybody else, and then you see the results that he gets, it’s an easy sell.
Re: The threat of Bryant going deep and if it has opened up the field:
I think he is another element to a group that has some balance. Any time he is out there, and the fact that when he got in there he made some plays early, I think that was big. You can’t ignore guys that are making plays. He is a big guy that can run fast. He’s no different than Darrius Heyward-Bey who is a big guy that can run fast. And with Wheaton, we have some speed out there on the field. We have different packages. We obviously have more speed at time than others. You have to account for them. Every play one of those guys makes I think it just helps A.B. a little bit or helps our run game a little bit from a pressure standpoint. It causes the defense to make tougher decisions.
Re: Teams don’t seem to press Bryant at the line:
You have a big guy that can run fast. If you stand out there and he gets by you, it’s going to be all over quick. Those are defensive questions but guys are going to defend guys differently for different reasons.
Re: This Rex Ryan’s defense compared to others:
There are a lot of similarities. You see a lot of carryover, especially from Baltimore, where there is still a lot of similarities you see from when he was there or in Indianapolis, where you see character traits that are similar. You see coaches that have been together and have similar coaching philosophies. His defenses are always unique. He is always going to have something different for you. It’s never going to be easy. There is always going to be a lot of preparation involved because there is going to be a number of different personnel groups and looks that you are going to see. You have to have everybody on the same page and handle it whether they are blitzing or not blitzing.
How do you handle it if you haven’t seen it before?
You have rules and that is part of the communication process and why Coach Munchak is a great offensive line coach. He is a great communicator. And you have to have that at all positions. This game usually never stays the same. I have always said you better have a plan A, B and C. it’s just part of the preparation and thinking with a little foresight. We’ve seen this but you could also see this, this or this. That’s what rules are for. The better guys follow them. And you at least have answers until you can get together on the sideline and talk through things and make sure you are doing it the best way possible.
Do you think you are only scratching the surface on offense?
I feel like we have done a lot of great things but I still think we feel like we have left some things out there. We didn’t run the ball well enough last week. We got off to a slow start. This isn’t a game of perfection but like I said, against some pretty good completion, we’ve done a lot of good things and that should give our guys confidence that if they go out and keep working hard and do their job to the best of their ability, then we can have some very good performances.
Have you ever coached someone that has Le’Veon Bell’s receiving skills?
He is pretty unique. Jamaal Charles was pretty unique. He was still just a young player, and you have seen him develop more and more in that area. I had a guy named Richie Anderson with the Jets. He was a halfback in college. He played fullback in the NFL. We would split him out and run comebacks with him, receiver type routes. Le’Veon is probably most in his mold but he is a big, fast guy that has a great feel. He has very good hands. But when you combine those in one player, it’s a pretty good player to have because he is generally going to be quarterback friendly because he is going to understand what he is seeing coverage wise and he has the skills to do great things after he catches it. He does something every week that wows you. He ran just a little simple what we call a sneak route last week on C.J. Mosley and he about broke his legs. But every week you see something where you say, “Wow. That is pretty special.”
Jets Injury Report
|Smith, Geno||QB||Rt. Shoulder||FP||FP||FP||probable|
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