Coach Mark Trestman
Do you feel pretty good about your team coming in here at 2-0?
We certainly are appreciative of what we’ve accomplished up to this point being 2-0. But we also know there is a fine line between being 2-0 and 0-2, and we’ve been working real hard on a daily basis to get better. We started today to do the same thing.
Do you expect to see a desperate Steelers team that is 0-2?
We know we’re going to face a good football team. I’m sure that Mike [Tomlin] has his way of approaching it, and we’re coming in there respecting the team we’re going to play and the environment we’re going to play in. We’re working this week to just try to improve our football team. We’ve got to focus on ourselves. We made a lot of mistakes last week and we were fortunate to come up with a win, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, either. We know we’ve got work to do.
Did you have any doubts about starting two rookie offensive linemen just because it would mean starting two rookie offensive linemen?
Didn’t have any doubts about it. We put them in an environment to compete for jobs, and they did and they continued to improve, not just at a small rate, but at kind of an exponential rate. They got there quickly and Aaron Kromer has done a good job with them. They continue to improve. They’re smart guys, they love football and it’s certainly good for our room. It’s certainly unusual but there are exceptions, and the guys have done a good job up to this point. But they’ve got a lot to learn and they know it. They’ve got some growing to do and they certainly know that as well. They’ve got their feet on the ground. They’re not over-evaluating where they are right now.
Have you had success in that kind of situation previously?
I don’t know that. I don’t recall. I know that Aaron Kromer is doing a heck of a job to continue to grow them on a daily basis. We’ve got great veteran support there with [Jermon] Bushrod and guys like [Matt] Slauson, good mentors and guys that they can look up to and learn from. I know they feel very fortunate to be in the room with those guys.
When you have a return man like Devin Hester, what does that do for you? And have you ever seen a return guy like him?
The Steelers have one like him. We’ve got a lot of respect for Antonio [Brown] and his ability. We’re very cautious going in knowing the kind of player he is. We said it today that we think he has the same ability. He hasn’t done it for 10 years like Devin has, but he has the same kind of ability like Devin has.
You had a couple of comeback wins. Is it too early to make judgments about what that means to your team?
The NFL season is so fluid. It hasn’t even really started from the standpoint of finding what teams are all about. That’s what we’re excited about, just to find more about our team each and every week. We haven’t let what’s happened the last two weeks take our eye off the ball and exaggerate what we’ve accomplished. It’s two weeks into the NFL season and we’ve got a long way to go. Our guys know that. We’ve got a mature football team. There is a lot of respect for the team we’re going to be playing on Sunday. We’re just working hard, as we did today, to get better. We’re going to go into meetings, try to get better and get prepared. We know we’ve got a heck of a challenge.
How does having Matt Forté back there solidify the offense?
He’s a three-down back. He’s got the ability to run it inside and outside, get outside, and we can throw him the football outside or on the line of scrimmage. He’s worked hard in his pass protection and he’s going to need to be very good at it on Sunday night with the type of football team and defense that the Steelers have.
Did you see Le’Veon Bell in college or scout him at all?
No, I did not.
Quarterback Jay Cutler
You have to be pretty happy with the start you guys are off to, even though they were some close games.
Yeah, there were some close games. I think Lance Briggs said it a couple days ago that we could easily be 0-2 and we could be sitting in the same position Pittsburgh is. We’ve had a few things go our way, a few fourth quarter plays went our way. We’re obviously happy to be 2-0 but we realize there is a lot of work ahead of us. We’re not where we want to be quite yet.
Do you expect to see a desperate Pittsburgh team on Sunday night?
We’re going to see a really good team. They’re well coached. They still have a lot of veteran players that can play at a really high level. They’ve got some young guys that can play too. Just looking at them defensively, they’ll show you a lot of front.
They have no turnovers and just one sack. Does that give you a little more confidence facing them?
No, not really. They’ve been doing the same system for a long time under Dick [LeBeau] and running that 3-4. They’re really talented guys, and they’ve got a really good feel for their system and how to run it. It’s going to be a challenge for us.
Just from going against your defense in practice and training camp, what makes it so good at creating turnovers?
They practice it. It’s just something they practice. It’s much like Pittsburgh. You’ve got a lot of guys that have been in the same system for a long time. They know every nuance, they know every little detail and they know everywhere to go. They know what works well against that defense so they’re going to try to eliminate that. They’re not going to give up that play to you. It’s something similar that we see on an everyday basis. We’re always going against them and we’ll see something similar on Sunday.
What was your level of confidence going into the season with having two rookie starters on the offensive line and how are you guys making that work so well?
I felt good about it. Even though they are, I’ve played with rookies up front before. These guys are no different. They want to be out there. They’re really talented players, they just haven’t had a lot of experience. They haven’t been through some of the situations that [Roberto] Garza and [Jermon] Bushrod and [Matt] Slauson have been through. So they’re working through that and there is going to be a few bumps in the road. They’re like sponges. They’re trying to learn everything every day and we’re just trying to help them along.
We’ve got a lot of big guys on our squad. Brandon, Alshon [Jeffery] is a big guy, Martellus Bennett, we’re putting Forté in and throwing him the ball – all guys that are 6-2 and above and do a good job of getting off press. It makes it nice. That window to throw in is a lot bigger when you’re dealing with guys who are 6-2, 6-2 and 6-4.
Have you ever experienced otherwise? Like a group of smurf receivers?
Yeah, when I first got to Chicago we had a bunch of little, fast guys that were all running 4.3s. They’re hard targets to hit. You just have to work with what you have out there. Ben has been in it long enough. He’ll make it work somehow or some way.
This is Marshall’s hometown. Has he mentioned anything about that to you?
No, he’s pretty level-headed. He knows that this game is important, just like last week and I don’t think he’s going to put this one above any other game. He just might have a few ticket requests.
Did you know anything about Coach Trestman beforehand?
I had actually met with [Coach Trestman] before coming out for the draft in ’06. I spent a couple days with him briefly. Nothing special. He’ll probably tell you the same thing. It was windy and it was rainy so we were inside most of the time. I met with him. I was able to read his book when we were going through the interview process with him. So, I knew a little bit.
Do you expect Marshall to be matched up with
Ike was matched up on Monday with A.J. [Green], so I don’t know what they’re going to do, if he’s going to travel with [Marshall] or if they’re going to play their right and left corners. We’ll see how it goes. It doesn’t really change anything in my mind. We’re not focusing on [Marshall] in this game. We’ve got to spread it around, hopefully like we’ve done over the last couple games.
The Steelers have a pair of young guys splitting one position at inside linebacker. Is that an advantage Forté has to take advantage of in the passing game?
We like Matt against really anybody inside. With his quickness and his ability to catch the ball, he’s definitely a target. He got targeted a lot last week, so I’m sure Pittsburgh is working on that and they’re going to try to take that away from us.