Photo Gallery: Eye on the Opponent
Head Coach Dennis Allen
How did Terrelle Pryor’s game compare from the last two weeks? Have you had a chance to look at what went right and wrong in the last two weeks you’ve played?
I think he played really well in the San Diego game. I thought he did an outstanding job of going through his reads and his progressions throwing the football. He did some great things creating with his feet. Obviously, I thought it was a tough environment there in Kansas City. Terrelle didn’t play as well. I think every time that he’s had a little bit of a setback he’s always responded. I’m looking forward to watching him play. I think he’ll respond well to a difficult situation that he went through the last time he was out there in Kansas City.
He told us that he’s trying to think of it as just another game this week. How do you think playing his hometown team will affect him, if at all?
I think that’s the big thing for him. I think that’s the way he’s got to look at it, is that it is just another game. Obviously, Pittsburgh is a good football team. They’ve been a good football team for a long time. They’re very well coached. They’ve got a lot of good players. But, it’s another one of the 16 games on the schedule and we’ve got to take it one game at a time. He’s just really got to focus in on making sure that he’s doing what he’s supposed to do and taking care of his responsibility. The results will take care of themselves if he does the things that are necessary for him to play well.
Could you talk about your two young Western Pennsylvania linemen, Lucas Nix and Stefen Wisniewski?
Both of them have done a good job for us. Obviously, [Wisniewski] is coming off the injury. He’s getting back to being healthy and he’s been kind of a rock inside for our offensive line. He does a great job of targeting the right people in the run game, getting us in the right protections. He does a great job of communicating up front. He comes from a long line of outstanding football players. He’s done a really good job for us. Nix has been a guy that’s come in as a young guy and he continues to improve on a week-in and week-out basis. I think as long as he continues to get the opportunities to get out there and play, he’s going to continue to get better. I’ve been pleased with both of those guys.
What have you noticed, if anything, different with the Steelers play the past two weeks, as opposed to their previous four games?
I think they’re playing Pittsburgh Steeler football. They’ve run the ball very well the past couple of weeks, specifically last week against Baltimore. They’ve done a good job of controlling the time of possession and they haven’t made the critical mistakes. They haven’t turned the ball over and their defense has done what they’ve generally done. They don’t give up a lot of points. They’re pretty stingy. They don’t give up a bunch of explosive plays and when teams get down there in the red zone, they don’t let them score points. They make them have to kick field goals. They’re playing at a pretty high level right now.
Do you take anything from last year’s game?
Not really. I think both teams are different teams and obviously, with our quarterback, we’re a different offense than we were a year ago. I try not to take too much from year-to-year because I think from year-to-year everything is different. You kind of have to look at what they’re doing now and who’s playing well for them and maybe what are some areas that you might be able to try to attack.
They’re moving him around and he’s still an outstanding player. You never know where he’s going to be or what he’s going to do. It seems like every time I turn on the tape he’s jumping over somebody and making some kind of big play. He’s definitely a guy that we’ve got to account for. They’ve got a lot of guys that we have to account for, both offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. It’s certainly going to be a great challenge and they’ve got a really good football team.
Did you think the wildcat had kind of gone away?
It’s always going to be around and obviously they used it for four snaps in the game last week. We’ve got to be prepared for it if that’s something they want to continue to do.
Getting back to Polamalu, have you seen many players try to anticipate the snap count and jump over the center on an extra point?
Well, I don’t know. I’ve probably seen it somewhere before, but that’s the type of stuff that he does. He’s a very instinctive football player, a very smart football player, and he has a flair for making the big play. We’ve got to be ready for him at any point in time to try to get a good jump on us.
How important is the bye week in the league these days to get an extra prep week?
I think a couple of things on the bye week. I think the most important thing on the bye week is you get a chance for your guys to get refreshed, both physically and mentally. This isn’t only a physical grind of a 16-game season, but it’s a mental grind. So, it was good for our guys to get a little bit of time off, get a little bit of time away, get their bodies back, get their minds back and then the extra preparation really falls on the coaches. You get some time to kind of look at what have we done the first six games of the season? What did we do well? What do we need to improve on? What are some things that we can do to take advantage of some of the skills that our players have? As well as get a little bit of extra time to look at the Steelers. It came at a good time for us and you always appreciate the bye and you want to try to get as much out of it as you can.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor
What does this game mean to you?
It’s just another game, another step in our way. We have goals we want to accomplish in the second half. We have to get this win. It’s an important game.
Have you checked in on Jeannette? What do they think?
I am really focused on being a quarterback in this business. It’s very hard. I’m not worried about what others are thinking. I have so much work I have to do to get ready for these guys and their tough defense. I don’t even have a lot of time to call to talk to people. I am just getting ready for these guys.
Did you follow any Steelers growing up or root for them?
Absolutely. I remember when I was younger watching
Do you have to put that out of your mind? Will it be strange lining up and playing against guys you grew up rooting for?
No, not at all. I already played them five times in my mind watching film on them. I’ve watched so much film I’m over that point. It’s time to get on the field when the time comes and start making plays. There’s not so many plays in an NFL game, so if I take a play off thinking about anything like that it’s not very good. I’ll be very sharp mentally and ready to go.
You said you played them five times. How did your record come out?
I can’t tell you that. I always win, though, in my mind.
How are you different as a quarterback from your days at Ohio State?
Every single day – I’m not anywhere near where I want to be and where I will be – but every day I’m getting better. I’m understanding the quarterback position and understanding how it’s supposed to be played. I’m just getting better at understanding situations, understanding not to take sacks all the time and understanding to have positive yardage. I’ve learned an awful lot in the last five games I’ve played in and I’m getting better and better.
You saw what happened to Robert Griffin III last year and you lead all AFC quarterbacks in rushing. Have you had to tweak your game?
I’m pretty good at getting down. I haven’t been taking many hits besides the sacks I took against Kansas City. That’s the only time that I really took a lot of hits and I’m sure that won’t happen again. I shouldn’t be taking many hits. I get down, I’m pretty smart about it. I just have to recognize it and realize right now that I’m the leader on offense and I have to understand that I have to get down and understand that my next play is going to be important. I have to take care of myself.
Have you found that opposing defenses use a spy on you because of your running ability? Do you expect the Steelers to do the same?
Playing different teams, they play me different. A lot of guys, I don’t know about the Steelers, but other guys may have egos and just play their regular game. They’ve played quarterbacks that can move before and they understand – they have a great defensive coordinator and a great head coach – and they understand what they’re going to do and what they want to do to stop the running lanes and stuff like that for me. I just have to understand what they’re trying to do to me and attack them.
When you visited the Steelers before the supplemental draft, did you think there was a real chance the Steelers were going to take you?
Mike said, “Hey, I’ll draft you if you want to play here.” But he gave me a story when he was down in Tampa Bay about a quarterback that was there and he ended up being in the same hometown as his NFL team and it was just hard for him. He ended up cutting out because of all the distractions around him. But he did say, and I’ll remember this, he said, “When the time comes and we play you, I’m coming after you. I’m blitzing you.” So, I remember that and I’ll giggle with him when I see him on the field and I’ll be waiting for it.
When did he say that to you?
He said that when I visited there the supplemental year. I remember it.
Did you basically leave here thinking they wouldn’t take you because it would be better for you to go somewhere else?
Me and Tomlin had a talk. I don’t know what the guys up top were thinking and whether they wanted to pick me or not, but I know Coach Tomlin gave me an opportunity to say if I wanted to or not. I had to say no because, at a young age, I didn’t want to be near home and have distractions around me. That’s how he ended up pointing that out.
Do you still talk to any of your former Pittsburgh Jots teammates and think about what it’s like to have so many of you guys playing professional sports?
It’s amazing. The only person we’re really waiting for is Greg Blair to pop out at Cincinnati. We’re waiting for him. There are a bunch of guys in the league right now. It’s phenomenal just growing up and playing with guys and seeing them work their butt off to make it to their dreams. It’s amazing.
Just to clarify, when you talked to Tomlin, did they want you as a quarterback?
One hundred percent quarterback. If I would have went there I would have been competing. We didn’t talk about anything else.
So when you left here after that visit, you pretty much knew you weren’t going to be a Steeler?
I guess you could say that.