Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Coordinator’s Comments
The Pittsburgh Steelers can clinch a playoff berth with a victory at home on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. At 9-5, the Steelers have at least avoided their third straight 8-8 season, but more can be accomplished with two home games go to in the regular season. On Tuesday Mike Tomlin gave his weekly press conference, in which he commented on the matchup against the Chiefs, injuries, and he said obviously 13 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.
Against the Falcons Dick LeBeau’s defense allowed only 20 points, while also scoring a touchdown of their own. With the Chiefs coming to Pittsburgh, LeBeau was asked about Jamaal Charles and what kind of problems the star running back can create.
"“He’s a great back. He’s dangerous and they don’t have to block everybody and they don’t have to block anybody for a while. If they can just hold them for a little bit, he gets a little crease, he can do the rest. I’ve always have had a lot of respect for him. They’re way up there in rushing in the league. He’s got a bunch of touchdowns but that’s pretty much a routine regular year for him. He’s a great back.” -LeBeau on Charles"
LeBeau was then questioned about Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and his high sack total but also high rushing yardage. The Chiefs have allowed Smith to be sacked 39 times this year and Smith has 240 yards on the ground, the second highest amount in his career. LeBeau said that the high sack total may be overstated because the Chiefs have been playing from behind at times. He added that Smith is a tremendous athlete and a great scrambler. LeBeau said he is a veteran guy, who can create first downs with is athletic ability.
The next question for LeBeau was asking if it is harder to get to and to sack the quarterback these days. While LeBeau wouldn’t really answer yes or no he did say that creating pressure on the QB is the most important thing for a defense. He said the best pass defense he’s ever seen is the quarterback laying on his back.
With James Harrison likely returning to action this Sunday, LeBeau was asked about having all of his linebackers finally healthy at the same time and if they would all get to play. LeBeau said that Harrison, Arthur Moats, and Jarvis Jones will all be on the field and that you can never have too many good backers available.
Dec 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) returns an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
The final question for LeBeau was about William Gay and his ability to not only get interceptions this year, but also his ability to return those interceptions for touchdowns.
"“Part of Will’s skill set has always been really good ball skills. He’s always been an interceptor, a steady interceptor. Interceptions again are like sacks. They come and they go. Sometimes some years more than others. He’s got a couple in the open field and then made a couple good runs with them. Sometimes it just falls that way. But in order to have that happened you have to get the interception. Will has always been a really intelligent player and if he gets close to the ball he’s going to get his share of interceptions. I think we’re just seeing Will doing what Will Gay does.” -LeBeau on Gay"
The first question for Todd Haley was regarding Mike Adams and what will happen to him if Marcus Gilbert is able to return from his injury. Haley said that if Gilbert is ready to go, Adams will be the next guy up at either tackle spot.
Haley was then asked about coaching against his former team.
"“This is a huge game for both teams. A lot is at stake for both of us. They have a very good defense, probably the best we’ve seen this year. We need to have everybody on point and doing their job, and executing at a high level against a defense like this that can do a lot of different things to hurt you. They have two of the best pass rushers in the game in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. They have a very good secondary. They have some big run-stopping dudes inside in Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey, and some of those guys who do a good job. We have our work cut out for us. We probably have to play our best game.” -Haley on the Chiefs defense"
The next question was about the similarities between Jamaal Charles and Le’Veon Bell. Haley said that while they have a different running style they are both triple threats. He said that Charles is also a good blocker and that obviously Bell and Charles can run for a lot of yards, while also being able to catch out of the backfield. He said they are very similar in that way.
Oct 26, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) runs after a catch on a forty-nine yard pass play against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 51-34. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Up next for Haley was a question about Heath Miller and if tight ends like him are a dying breed. Haley said that it is tough to find guys like Heath out of college now because of the way they utilize the them in a college offense. Haley then added that Heath is a great football player for the this team and that he always steps up when called upon.
Haley’s final question also regarded Heath Miller and his blocking abilities.
"“It’s hard to find guys that can do both. You have some big tackle-types that slim down to be blockers and some receivers that beef up to be tight ends/receivers or h-backs. But Heath does a great job in both areas. Not only that, he is so smart and understands. He allows us to do so much schematically. You would be worried with some other guys. But we have Heath, and we know he will understand and he will know what he has to get done. It’s a huge benefit to have a guy like that who does it at a high level. And he’s a big reason why we’ve been able to run the ball very well this year.” -Haley on Miller"
You can listen to LeBeau’s and Haley’s interview here.