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Stepping up, blocking & Suggs

Posted Dec 7, 2017

Learn more in this week's edition of Coordinator's Corner.

Each week one of the Steelers coordinators will share their insight in an exclusive interview that can be heard on SNR every Thursday in the 3 p.m. hour.

This version of Coordinators Corner will give you a sneak peek of what to expect, but it just touches the surface. Read what they have to say, but take my advice, listen every Thursday for the full interview. It will be worth your time.

Featured this week is offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

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Time to step up: The offense will be without JuJu Smith-Schuster after the NFL upheld his one-game suspension, a result of a hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and then standing over him as Burfict laid on the field injured. Haley said it won’t just be one player who will be called upon to step up in Smith-Schuster’s absence, but instead the entire receiver corps.

Justin Hunter will get a chance, (Darrius) Heyward-Bey will get some opportunities. Eli (Rogers) will have to step up and play more snaps than he has in the last month or so. He has done a very good job, he has done nothing but get better.

“The entire group will have to step up in the run and pass. JuJu gave us such a physical element in the run game. Those guys will have to hold that standard.”

Block this way: Steelers’ receivers have long been a part of the blocking on offense, with Hines Ward setting the standard when he played. That hasn’t trailed off in recent years by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s something that players embrace, and have the talent for.  

“Some guys enjoy it a lot more than others,” said Haley. “The number one thing is hold the standard. There are expectations there. I have always said receivers earn the right to make that ESPN play, the one that everybody gets to see on TV. There are 10 other guys getting the heck beat out of them allowing that play to happen. They have to do their part.

“As far as the other part (what it takes), it’s understanding. You need to understand the big picture and what your assignment is.”

Still the man: The Ravens lead the NFL in turnover ratio, and continue to be one of the league’s dominant defenses. And for a long time that has been because of the efforts of a key player, who while he might not play every snap, when he does his presence is felt.

“As long as he is out there, it will be (Terrell) Suggs,” said Haley. “He is able to make such an impact. He has great instincts and feel for the game. You see it down in and down out. As long as he is out there you have to say he is the guy leading the troops.”