Head Coach Ben McAdoo
November 30, 2016
Excited for Steelers week. Playing one of the premier offenses in the league. Ben looks like he's back to full strength. They have a wealth of play makers around them. Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, they're among the best in the league at their positions.
Defensively, they're young and have some experienced leaders in the group. They're confident and they're playing at a high level. Stephon Tuitt has done a nice job for them upfront. They're loaded at the linebacker spot, inside and outside, like they typically are with James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier and company. They have an athletic secondary led by physical, hard-hitting safety, Mitchell.
Special teams-wise, Tyler Matakevich and Shamarko Thomas are their top coverage specialists, and Brown is always dangerous with the ball in his hands. He has four career returns for touchdowns in the punt return game.
Q: Shane Vereen saw his first action today; how do you think he looked?
A: It was good to get him back out here in the mix with the team. He caught some balls.
Q: How close is he and what does he have to show to you in order to be ready to play?
A: That's more a question for the medical staff. When they deem him ready, we'll take a look at bringing him back.
Q: For a guy who's had an upper body injury as opposed to a lower, has he been able to stay in shape?
A: Yeah, he looks like he's in good condition and caught the ball well today.
Q: I guess ball security would be a big concern for him?
Q: Is that something he can show in practice?
A: That's something we weren't really going to do today, but we'll take a look at that moving forward.
Q: How do you think he can change or help the offense?
A: He's a good play maker; the more of those you have on the field at the same time, the better off you'll be.
Q: What do you see in Le'Veon Bell?
A: He's a very talented player. He's a big back with receiver-type skills. He has good vision and runs with patience. In two-minute, he's a magnet for the ball. He does a good job getting the chains moving there and keeps them in favorable down and distances. He's one of the best in the league at that position.
Q: How about with Antonio Brown, what makes him so dangerous?
A: He's a smart player. He has good natural hands, he's a hands catcher. Instincts are there and he's a very good route runner, whether it's short to intermediate with his patience or down the field. He does a good job of getting defenders off their grass.
Q: Do they give you a lot of different, complex looks on defense?
A: They always have. The system is in the bricks there. I think they've been in the same system since 1992 or around that time. Again, tremendous defense, a history there, it's in the bricks.
Q: When it comes to punt return, do you see Odell getting more returns?
A: We'll see. We'll take a look at that as the week goes on.
Q: You're one of the few teams in the league that hasn't scored 30 points in a game. Can you get to where you want to be without doing that?
A: We just talked this week about being more consistent with what we're doing in the details. We need to get in scoring range more often. We seem like we're one scoring attempt away each week, whether it's a touchdown or a field goal. If you get in scoring position five times, you get three touchdowns or four touchdowns out of it and some field goals, it gives you an opportunity to hit 30 points or at least 27, which is the bench mark.
Q: Is a part of that third down success?
A: Whether you move the chains on second down or third down, moving the chains is a good idea.
Q: Does it surprise you at this point in the season that you haven't scored 30 points?
A: Nothing surprises me, but we need to continue to put more points on the board.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Jason Pierre-Paul getting back to where he is after the accident?
A: I think it's very impressive the progress he's made since you saw him come back last year to where he is now and the production he's having, the success he's having getting after the quarterback, in the run game as well, and also being able to come up with the loose ball the other day.
Q: How would you describe how Janoris Jenkins is playing this year?
A: He's a competitor, we knew that when we got him. It seems like the secondary feeds off of him a little bit. Very opportunistic and he never shies away from competition.
Q: Do you think he and Antonio Brown will have an exciting matchup?
A: I think whoever ends up on Brown is going to be competing at a high level and they're going to have to bring their best game.
Q: How much does going against a guy like Odell in practice is help somebody like Janoris prepare to play an Antonio Brown? Are there similarities between those two?
A: (Janoris and Odell) don't see much of each other this time of year. Going back to training camp, I think Odell and Brown may have some similar type skill sets in some ways. They're both different players but they're both premier players at their position.
Q: Is there something specific you're seeing JPP do now that he couldn't do at the beginning of the season?
A: I just think all the hard work and him being able to play with the hand, the way it's been. I think he's just cashing in on his hard work and his preparation. I think confidence probably has a lot to do with it.
Q: What was it like to have Peyton Manning here yesterday?
A: It was great. Anytime you have a chance to have one of the best players to ever play the game in your building, you want to take advantage of it.
Q: How much were you able to pick his brain?
A: Spent some time with him.
Q: Talking about Steelers, stuff like that, or general?
A: Just talked about some general football things, philosophies, some scheme stuff. Kept it simple.
Q: Have you crossed paths with him much the past 6-7 years?
A: At the Pro Bowl a couple of times.
Q: Was yesterday the most extensive conversation you’ve had with him?
Q: Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger both came in the draft class of 2004. What can you say about the impact that those two have left on the game?
A: Just two franchise quarterbacks at two tremendous organizations. Very steady players, very consistent players that have a history of production.
Q: The Steelers in some games make their default option going for two after a touchdown. As the weather gets colder, is that something you would consider as well.
A: Yeah, we game plan to have a handful of two-point plays if need be. But that's something we'll take week to week.
Q: Are you worried about Robbie Gould at this point?
A: No. I'm confident in Robbie.
Q: What makes you confident even though he's missed three extra points?
A: His track record, consistency.
Q: What is it about Pittsburgh’s defense in the red zone. They are the best in the league.
A: They're one of the best red zone/green zone teams in the league with their offense and their defense combined. They're playing at a high level right there. They're multiple and, again, their system is in the bricks. They have play makers at each level of the defense and they have good veteran leadership and they have young guys who play competitive and play hungry. But we're going tp spend a little bit more time on them in the green zone, red zone this afternoon.
Q: How much more careful do you have to be with Justin Pugh coming back here after last week and the setback that he had?
A: Again, I'll let the medical determine how fast he comes back. That's not something I'll determine. When they give us the green light to go full speed with him, we'll go full speed.
Q: Did he take any team reps today?
A: He mixed in there a little bit in the jog through.
Q: When you were with the San Francisco 49ers in '04, did you do any evaluating of the quarterbacks?
Q: I know going back to Green Bay was emotional, having a connection there. Is it going be special playing and coaching in Pittsburgh?
A: No. We're focused on the preparation for the ball game. That's what everything is about this week. It's about going to Pittsburgh and preparing to beat the Steelers.
Q: You were at Pitt that year and the Steelers basically were right in the same office?
A: Yeah, right across the hall.
Q: What was it like to see them operate?
A: Again, it's a class organization. I think the world of the organization and the Rooney family and look forward to Sunday.
Q: Who's Homer City rooting for?
A: That's a great question for Homer City.
Q: Are you curious to see how your team plays and the level that it gets to, knowing the next five games since you're going up in class? Are you curious to see and do you think your team can raise its...?
A: What do you mean ‘going up in class’?
Q: You're playing five teams that are playoff contenders.
A: The only thing we can do this week is prepare to beat Pittsburgh and that's what we're focused on. We're not worried about anything else. There's a lot of energy in the building, a lot of energy on the field, but we have to channel that energy into our preparation.