After a disappointing end to week four, losing to the Buccaneers, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be back on the field Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On Tuesday Mike Tomlin gave his weekly press conference, in which he commented on the matchup with the Jags, injuries, and he said obviously 19 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.
The Steelers will be taking on rookie quarterback Blake Bortles on Sunday. Since 2004, with Dick LeBeau as the defensive coordinator, the Steelers are 17-2 vs. rookie QB’s. LeBeau was asked about the success they have had against in these situations. LeBeau gave credit to his players, saying they are the ones making plays and disguising themselves. He hopes that trend will continue but he did give credit to Bortles and his potential in this league.
"“I think the sky is the limit for this guy. He’s a creator. There was a play in the game last week where the protection completely broke down and he was actually rolling into an unblocked player. He did something that very few people can do. He made the guy miss. He didn’t even know he was there until the last second, reversed his field, got away and then threw a perfect 35-yard pass. You only have to see that one play like that to recognize that the guy has tremendous talent. He just has a feel for the position and he’s going to be an excellent player.” LeBeau on Bortles"
LeBeau also talked about James Harrison and his performance last Sunday. Harrison played 28 snaps, a little more than LeBeau expected. LeBeau said that it was a good session for Harrison and he thought that Harrison will continue to see more and more snaps as the season goes on.
LeBeau was then asked about the success the Steelers had in stopping the Buccaneers running game. LeBeau said that’s the best the team has done all season, as they only allowed 63 yards on the ground. While the run game was controlled, LeBeau was also asked about getting pressure of the edge and possibly needing to get more from Jason Worilds, who has only one sack this season. LeBeau refused to blame Worilds or one individual for the lack of pass rush, but did say that pressuring the quarterback goes hand in hand with having good coverage. He said that the Steelers have to better in that area.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley faced questions about the Steelers final three-and-out which allowed Tampa Bay to get the ball back. Haley said that the offense has been inconsistent running the ball this season.
"“Two weeks ago we were pretty impressive in that area. Last week, at the most critical time, we got a two-yard run, a run that had a false start penalty that we didn’t even get to see transpire and a run on third-and-manageable that had we done a better job executing we probably wouldn’t be feeling so bad. But it’s time to move on. We are inconsistent at this point.” Haley said"
Haley also stated that when you are gaining 400 or more yards of offense, you should be scoring more 24 points. He said that the offense has to be able to stop turning the ball over and committing penalties which leads to missed opportunities.
Haley quickly commented on Antonio Brown and his 15 yard penalty after his touchdown last week by saying, as one of the best players in the league he has to act like he’s been there before to avoid big penalties like that.
Haley was then asked about if blocking was the main reason Justin Brown has been playing more than Lance Moore since Moore has returned from his groin injury. Haley said that it’s not that Moore can’t block, it’s just that he missed a lot of time and during that time Justin Brown made progress helping the offense. When asked if Moore can reclaim his position on the depth chart, Haley said he wasn’t sure, rather he will see how it plays out.
You can listen to both Haley’s and LeBeau’s interviews right here.