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Coordinator's Corner: Haley & LeBeau

Posted Oct 18, 2012


Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

What happened to QB Ben Roethlisberger that caused him to have to leave practice early?
Anything dealing with the players and leaving the field, I’m going to defer to Coach Tomlin.

Re: OT Mike Adams:
I think he’s done a very good job of coming back after his injury, because he was making progress when he got hurt in the preseason. He’s come back and worked hard and got better. I thought he did good things in the game last week, which is great experience for him. Now he gets another shot to go out there with the live bullets and see how much progress he’s making. I think we all have confidence in what he’s doing.

Re: Rotating running backs:
Really that’s kind of how we were built through the preseason. Those guys know everything they need to know, and I feel good about each one of them playing their role.

Is QB Byron Leftwich capable of doing everything Roethlisberger can?
Leftwich and Charlie [Batch] work hard, they’re in every meeting and they’re ready to play all the time. That’s their job as backup quarterbacks in the NFL, so I would expect both those guys to always be ready.

Re: All of the injuries this season:
I’ve been places. I was with the New York Jets in ’98-’99, coming off a good year. We had every possible player have an ACL injury that you could have. Last year in Kansas City, I think everybody is pretty aware of what went on injury-wise. The good thing is most of these guys are battling to get back and that’s all you ask. There are going to be injuries, you just don’t want too many of those that take guys out for the season.

Is Bengals DT Geno Atkins a player you have to focus on stopping?
He has the second-most sacks in the league playing three-technique, which is not a normal thing, since the days of John Randle and guys like that. He’s an active player that can penetrate the line and shows up in your backfield in the run game and the pass game. He’s a guy you have to pay special attention to, also knowing they’ve got some outside long ends that can bring it around the corner. You have to make sure you’re trying to help as many guys out as you can. Everybody’s got to do their job.

Have the Bengals got most of their sacks from just using the front four defensive players to pressure the quarterback?
They bring pressure in some different spots but I would say yes. Mike Zimmer, having been in Dallas with him, he probably feels pretty good having four, five or six guys that he has to put up front to bring it. If you play defense and four guys can create a lot of pressure and sacks. That’s a good thing.

Are you not afraid to put RB Baron Batch and RB Chris Rainey in any situation?
I really believe that all of those guys, Coach [Kirby] Wilson has them well prepared. I don’t know if early on I said the same thing but the stage we’re at right now, I think that all of those guys are cross-trained, including Will Johnson, who knows the running back and the fullback position, along with if we’re in two tight end formations. Coach Wilson has done a great job having those guys get ready, and from what I’ve seen they’re all ready to go.

Re: Batch saying he missed a couple holes in the running game last week:
If he said it then I would believe his work. The guy didn’t play all of last year and he hasn’t played on a full-time basis this year. Each and every game he’s in there and getting active reps. It’s a positive for him because he’s gaining experience because he really is still a rookie.

What do you see in Adams’ development?
I think that he’s done a great job. He got nicked-up in the preseason. That was little bit of a setback but he came back, has worked hard and I think everybody out here has confidence in all of those guys. He is getting his number called and he has to go in and do his job. I think that’s why he’s here. He’s developing, he’s getting better and he gets another chance. Like I said, the last game he got a bunch of snaps and those are good for him, and he did a good job for the most part. This will be his second opportunity to hopefully play a full game and play at a high level.



Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau

Could it be more difficult for a quarterback in his second year in the NFL than his first year?
I think players are going to improve dramatically over their first three or four years. I think that is true of every position. I think the first time through for a young quarterback every experience is a brand new one. In my mind, they are going to be better their next time around. Football is a game of a myriad of bounces and plays. A bad play may happen here and there but in the long run, and I know you are talking about Andy Dalton, he’s playing better. He is quicker with the ball. He has always been accurate. He is only going to get nothing but better. I really believe that.

Re: Problems that A.J. Green gives to teams:
He is fast. He is tall. He is tremendous at getting the ball. He runs very good routes. They are going to scheme things at him and give him plenty of chances. He has delivered his whole career. Last year was his first year. Again, you are talking about a young player that is going to grow and improve. His yards per catch average is tremendous. He has a lot of touchdowns. He is a very good young player that is going to get better.

Are the criticisms that Ike Taylor is hearing accurate?
We have to play better. The cornerback position is a very exposed position. It’s not a question of if they catch one on you here and there, it’s when they do it and how you respond to it. He is a veteran cornerback and he will respond. He will come out fighting. A cornerback has to have a very short memory. I don’t think you can single out any player. We have to do a better job, get off the field and get our offense the football a few more times.

Re: Getting more pressure on the quarterback so the cornerbacks aren’t beaten that often:
It’s an 11-man situation, no question about it. It’s not the defensive line, linebackers or the defensive backs. It’s not the defenses that are called but it’s a combination. All these games were really one-play games. We have to be the ones that find a way to make a play at the end of the game that swings our way. We all know we have to get better and we are working on that. These guys are going to fight through it and we are going to come out on top. I am really confident in that.

Does the success of rookie quarterbacks in this league put an end to the thought that facing a rookie quarterback is an easy task?
I think so. I think if you look at the colleges, they are playing wide-open and spread-out offenses. They are used to sitting back there with no one in the backfield with them and throwing the ball 45-50 times a game. Essentially they are running a pro offense, even from the time they are in high school. Their learning curve is definitely accelerated. I think you are seeing that around the league. If I am not mistaken, everybody is scoring a few points this year. It’s up to the defenses to get that number down a little bit.

Re: Dalton’s improvement from last year:
He has improved. He is more decisive. He’s always been accurate. He is much quicker with the ball even though he was always quick with the ball. He presents some problems because he has that great receiving core around him. He gets the ball out of there pretty fast. He does a good job.

Re: Dalton throwing nine interceptions this season:
Some of those were tipped balls. As we were talking about earlier, those are the types of plays that happen. Sometimes they happen in series. In the long run, this guy is a good quarterback that is going to get better.

Re: Number of league-wide knee injuries is up this season:
I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason to it. Many times you will have injuries hit the same position on your football team. There’s no reason for it. I think it’s the way the chips fall sometimes. Over the years, I’ve seen it happen before, where one particular area of the body seems to come down with more injuries than any other parts. I think it runs its course and balances out.

Re: Last three games going down to a field goal on the last play:
Every game is stressful for all of us coaches. We knew that when we signed on. I would just assume to have this one go down to the last play with us having a 20-point lead but I have a feeling that it won’t be that way. They are a very good team. It’s going to be a tough, close game. We like the games we are playing. We have to find a way to make plays at the end of the game, on offense, defense and special teams to make sure that we come out with more points than they do.

How do you make those plays?
It starts right here out on the practice field, every day. If you can make yourself a little bit better and make our team a little bit better, then it will be a deciding factor in those close games. If you look around the NFL, every game, every week, games are pretty close. There may be one or two games that get a little bit out of touch but most of them come down to that fourth quarter. There is no doubt you have to win your share of close games because you are going to be in a ton of close games.

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