Head Coach Ben McAdoo
December 2, 2016
Q: Justin Pugh just not there yet?
A: Not there yet. Has a little ways to go. Heís working hard at it.
Q: Youíll stick with Adam Gettis at left guard?
A: Yes, weíll see how it goes. Weíll have another day to work tomorrow.
Q: Howís Marshall Newhouse and Brett Jones coming along?
A: Theyíre coming along fine. Had some limited work yesterday. Had some feet meet work today. Weíll see how they do tomorrow.
Q: How close is Shane Vereen in your estimation?
A: He caught the ball well. He was moving around well. Weíll see how he does with some contact.
Q: Did he take some team reps? Was he allowed to take reps?
A: He took some reps.
Q: Is there value in the fact that JPP has won a Super Bowl here? Do you see that in any way with his demeanor and things he can share with his teammates?
A: I think experience is important in this business. When you have successful experience like he has to fall back on, it obviously helps. Heís a resource for these younger players.
Q: Did you know him that well in the last few years or do you find that you got to know him better as youíve become the head coach?
A: This business is about building relationships. Itís a two-way street as far as that goes. I have to work at it and the players have to work at it, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Iím a new face to them.
Q: Personality-wise, how would you describe Jason?
A: Personality-wise? Iíll let him describe himself. I donít really even want to take a shot at it.
Q: You said that December wonít define this team. Can you explain that because a lot of people on the outside might be thinking the opposite with the hard part of the schedule coming up.
A: Everything weíve done to this point has made December important. December is an opportunity to go out there and play good football against good football teams. You want your team to be defined in February, not in December.
Q: Have you been able to enjoy this run, personally?
A: What run is that?
Q: Six-game winning streak or the season to date?
A: Again, weíre focused on Pittsburgh right now. We have to put our best foot forward. We have a big day tomorrow in preparation. Make sure weíre ready to go at 4:25 on Sunday.
Q: I know youíve changed up the schedule a little bit. Are your Saturdays going to stay the same or do you tweak things?
A: Weíll take a look at them as we move forward. Everything is on the table. We have to be able to adjust and improvise really depending on the health of the football team and the physicality.
Q: What are you trying to accomplish with tweaking it?
A: Be fresh and fast on Sunday.
Q: You said that QB rating is a stat that you look at. What is it about that that you like?
A: I think itís a good team stat to use. When your quarterback is rating high from an offense, I think itís a complete offensive stat. When you affect the opponentís quarterback from a defensive standpoint, whether itís with coverage or pressure, hits or sacks, you have a chance to really positively impact the game for your team. We look at the difference between offense and defense QB rating when you match up against the opponent. This week will be big for us in that regard.
Q: How did you come up with this philosophy with the changes in the schedule? Is that something they did in Green Bay?
A: Itís my background. I studied it growing up. Itís something that you read about and try and educate yourself as best you can on. Itís something that I rely on the medical staff and strength and conditioning staff on. Itís important. You need to be strong and playing your best football at the end of the season.
Q: How much of that was pre-planned at the beginning of the season or how much do you just feel your way through it as you go along?
A: We have a plan. Itís about having the pulse of the locker room and being able to adjust and improvise.
Q: Nat Berhe and Mark Herzlich are key special teams guys for you. Does losing guys like that hurt more than maybe losing as starter?
A: We have guys that weíre very confident will be able to step up and fill those roles.
Q: Theyíre still in the protocol?
Q: How has Sterling Shepard been able to handle success at such a young age?
A: Heís handled success well. Heís a young guy that comes out, works hard at his craft. He plays a lot onside for us. We can move him around. Heís flexible that way. He works at it and asks a lot of good questions. Heíll make mistakes and fix his mistakes. Heíll move on. He likes the game, thatís a good place to start.
Q: How has he handled this week after not having a catch?
A: Same. Consistent.
Q: How come you havenít played Victor Cruz in the slot very much this year?
A: Thatís a good question. We like Sterling there. We do have confidence in Victor if we feel like we need to play him in there. We feel like heís done a nice job outside for us.
Q: Is not talking about your homecoming with this game intentional on your part? Why is it important to not bring it up?
A: It has nothing to do with the ball game.
Q: Did you watch the Cowboys game last night? How do you keep the players from being impacted by it?
A: I caught a couple plays of it. I didnít sit down and watch it. Weíre here to focus on the task at hand and thatís Pittsburgh.
Q: Is Odell going to return punts on Sunday?
A: Weíll take a look at everything. See how it goes.