Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Carolina Panthers: Coordinator’s Comments
After a disappointing week two showing against the Baltimore Ravens the Pittsburgh Steelers will be back on the field Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers. On Tuesday Mike Tomlin gave his weekly press conference, in which he commented on the matchup with the Panthers, injuries, and he said obviously 18 times. NPC’s Kim Myers gave an overview of the presser in Tomlin Tuesday. On Thursday both Dick LeBeau and Todd Haley gave quick interviews about how their unit is looking and what they expect come Sunday night.
LeBeau commented on numerous topics. The first being the Panthers offense, specifically Cam Newton. LeBeau had high praise for Cameron, as he gave him a ton of credit for the Panthers 12-4 season despite starting the year 1-3.
"“He just kind of took over and said we’re not going to lose. And that’s the way he was in college. He’s a special athlete and he makes them tick. He can keep plays alive. He’s a much better passer than maybe people give him credit for. But he can do it all and he’s a big guy.” -LeBeau on Newton"
LeBeau also added that the Steelers were going to have to well on defense to keep their offense in check. The next question LeBeau answered was how can the team improve their run defense. LeBeau said that the team needs to stop shooting themselves in the foot. According to LeBeau the reason for the long runs allowed is the lack of execution at the moment.
LeBeau is hopeful that the Steelers defense will improve as the season progresses thanks to the continuity the players will have with each other. He was specifically asked about Mike Mitchell and Troy Polamalu playing together.
"“I think that they’re going to give us one of the best safety combinations in the league. I’ve said that all along and I still feel the same way. Again, with the whole group, we have some new faces and the sooner we can tie it all together (with) all 11 guys knowing where the other 10 are going to be, the sooner we’re going to get to looking like I want us to look.” -LeBeau"
Finally LeBeau was asked about creating turnovers and how tackling can be improved. LeBeau said that turnovers will come, but they need to force teams into longer yardage situations. As for tackling it is hard to improve due to the NFL rules not allowing contact practices to take place often. LeBeau said that the entire league has the same problem and you have to work on it when you can.
Todd Haley was asked numerous questions about his offense, which has scored only nine points in the past six quarters. He was first asked about Ben Roethlisberger and how he was feeling after taking a huge hit from Courtney Upshaw. Haley, said that Ben is a tough player, who will always fight it out.
Lance Moore was the next topic of conversation. Haley did not commit to Moore playing on Sunday by saying that is up to Coach Tomlin. He did say that Moore has a ton of experience and he’s made big plays in big games. He credited Moore with helping the younger guys even while he was hurt and he is looking forward to seeing Moore on the field making plays.
Haley was then asked about Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly.
"“When you have a guy that’s made 20-some tackles in a game and led the NCAA in all-time tackles – he’s a great player. He’s very instinctual. He is very quick to the ball in the run and pass. He is highly competitive and a really good tackler on top of it.” -Haley"
Finally Haley was asked about using the no-huddle while playing on the road. He said that last week in Baltimore was a very loud crowd and he has been in Carolina for a night playoff game, so he is aware of what the offense is walking into. However he said the offense has worked hard regardless of the circumstances. He said the Steelers handled the noise well last week as they were in the no-huddle for the majority of the game. Haley said the no-huddle is a good weapon for them, but the guys just need to make more plays.
You can listen to both Haley’s and LeBeau’s interviews right here.