Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts: Coordinator’s Comments
The Pittsburgh Steelers kept their streak of alternating wins and losses alive with their Monday night victory over the Houston Texans. This Sunday the Steelers remain at home to take on the Indianapolis Colts, who have won five games in a row. On Tuesday Mike Tomlin gave his weekly press conference, in which he commented on the matchup with the Colts, injuries, and he said obviously 20 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.
With the emergence of Martavis Bryant and even Darrius Heyward-Bey against the Texans, the number two receiving spot appears to be up for grabs with Markus Wheaton having a zero reception game. Todd Haley was asked about using a lot of wide receiver groupings in order to find a number two weapon behind Antonio Brown. Haley hopes that the result of using a plethora of players will eventually determine who the guy is. He hopes that somebody steps up and proves they are the player that can’t be taken off the field. He also said that when your number is called you need to make the play because there are plenty of guys behind you that are chomping at the bit for their number to be called.
As the offense continues to search for a number two receiver, Haley was asked about how reliable A.B. has been without a consistent performer behind him.
"“I think the bigger the name opposite somebody, obviously it takes a little pressure off the lead dog or number-one type of guy like A.B. He is doing a great job. He continues to get better. That’s the exciting thing. From the day I got here, he wasn’t a household name other than on special teams, and you’ve just seen the guy ascend and put himself up there with the elite receivers in the game right now.” -Haley on Antonio Brown"
The Colts defense is fresh off a shut out against the Bengals. Haley was asked how they have been doing so well this season despite not having any household names. Haley said that how the Colts don’t have one guy that gets all the focus is a benefit to them. He said when you have a group of guys working hard and playing physical it leads to playing well and playing with confidence. Haley mentioned that it is going to be a good test for the Steelers offense and that it’s harder to prepare for numerous players instead of focusing on a big dog.
Haley was then asked about using running backs in the passing game more often. Le’Veon Bell had eight catches against the Texans, while LeGarrette Blount added one. Haley focused on Bell by saying that he has a tremendous ability receiving and while they want to hand it off to him as much as possible sometimes it’s easier to exploit match-ups versus other players when they get Bell involved in the passing game. Haley said that Bell has the skills to perform and he hopes that he will continue to get better and better.
The first topic Dick LeBeau was asked bout was going up against Andrew Luck and how he has been so successful this early in his career. LeBeau said that the Colts have been so successful this year because they converting third-downs and also Luck has been able to spread the ball around to all his targets. He said that Luck as the former number one pick has proven that he is pretty good already partly due to his ability to make good, quick decisions.
LeBeau was asked if he is surprised about how much Luck has progressed in only his third season. LeBeau used a quote from current Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians when he was the interim coach with the Colts in Luck’s rookie season, “This is the best young quarterback I’ve had.” Arians not only coached Ben Roethlisberger as a young quarterback but he also worked with Peyton Manning as the Colts quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000. LeBeau said that coaches have a tendency of saying the newest guy is the best guy, but when you hear praise from a guy like Arians you know Luck is good and it’s not surprising that he is already playing at a high level.
LeBeau was then asked about how the Colts seem to utilize T.Y. Hilton similarly to the Steelers offense using Antonio Brown. LeBeau said that Hilton is their fastest wide receiver and he has been making big plays, which his stats prove. He also said that Hilton does a great job with the ball but that you have to credit Luck’s accuracy for getting the ball to Hilton.
Finally LeBeau was asked if the game against the Texans was a step in the right direction for the defense.
"“To be totally honest with you we’re capable of so much more than that. We’re not consistent enough. We did have some great impact plays and that’s what we got to do and obviously we have to continue in that line. But we have to keep everybody together, everybody on the same page and playing our defense. We made a step in the right direction but I know we can get a lot better than that. I know we can.” -LeBeau on the defense"
You can listen to both Haley’s and LeBeau’s interviews right here.