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Ben: 'We need to beat what we see'

Posted Dec 14, 2017

Steelers know what they'll be up against on Sunday.

Todd Haley has gone against Bill Belichick plenty of times previously.
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It used to happen on a daily basis when Haley and Belichick were coaching for the same team.

Haley was the wide receivers coach/offensive assistant for the Jets from 1997-99, when Belichick was New York’s assistant head coach/secondary coach. And the practice routine would often involve Haley helping to prepare a scout team working off of cards diagraming opponents’ routes run against Belichick’s defensive backs.  

“I got a coach screaming at me that (a wide receiver) lined up 1 yard outside of the numbers instead of 2,” Haley recalled. “I’m like, ‘What’s the difference? He was just very particular about what he wanted. As a young coach I didn’t always understand that. But as I got older and more experienced I understood kind what he was yelling at me all the time for.

“It tells you why he’s been one of the best coaches in the league and why some guys are good coaches and some guys aren’t so good. It’s the details and continuing to harp and push, and sometimes it involves a little yelling and screaming to get guys to understand.”

Haley now coordinates the offense for the Steelers, who host Belichick’s Patriots on Sunday.

Belichick’s reputation for concocting defensive schemes to take away an opponent’s best offensive weapon will precede him at Heinz Field.

“I coached with him for three years so I’m very aware of that,” Haley said. “They worry about the people that they think can beat them. That’s why it comes down to other guys gotta make plays. That’s just the way it is and the way it always has been.”

Haley was referencing guys not named Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

“They’re capable of taking two guys away,” Haley continued regarding the Patriots. “As the game progresses, as you get into the game you figure some of those things out and you make necessary adjustments if it’s different than what you thought it was going to be. But the bottom line is you gotta make plays, you gotta stay on the field and you gotta finish drives with points.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s perceived response to the Patriots’ anticipated defensive approach is to “have two or three good weapons.

“It’s a nice problem to have when you have a lot of guys that can make plays,” Roethlisberger said. “When they’re going to take one or two guys away, other guys need to step up, and that’s going to be the key to the game.

“We have a good group of guys here now that can do different things. We have guys that can stretch the field. We have guys that can be physical and get open. Does that mean we’re going to win the game or they’re going to win their matchups? Not necessarily, but I like the direction we’re headed. We need to beat what we see.”

Roethlisberger is 3-7 all-time against New England, including 0-2 in the postseason.

But that’s not what will motivate him on Sunday.

“They’re one of the better teams of my generation, with one of the best coaches and best players,” he said. “I’ve often said not only do their players beat you but their coaches out-coach you. They’ve been a team that not only has had our number, they’ve had most teams in the league’s number.

“You’ve heard me say it, that every game is the biggest game of the season and that’s the reason this game is. That’s no disrespect to New England, it’s this week’s game. That’s why it’s the biggest game of the season for me.”