The Steelers will have their toughest test of the season this week, and it’s not just because they are going against the AFC leading New England Patriots at 5-1, but they are doing it without their general on offense, Ben Roethlisberger.
Steelers’ players have confidence that Landry Jones will step to the plate, though, and Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick knows that Jones’ experience in the system, if not on the field, will benefit him.
The Steelers prepare for the week 7 matchup against the New England Patriots.
“Very experienced player in the system, good arm, accurate, has good zip on the ball,” said Belichick. “Looks like he understands the offense well. He spreads the ball around. He is a good player that has a lot of good skill players with him that I am sure he can get them the ball and they can do a lot of damage.
“He’s athletic, good arm, quick release, doesn't hold the ball. I thought he played well last year when he played in Arizona and Kansas City. Got some shots of him in the preseason.”
Belichick also knows that the Steelers offense doesn’t begin and end at the quarterback position, as there are plenty of weapons, including Le’Veon Bell who can present a lot of challenges for a defense.
“Oh my God. Oh yeah,” said Belichick. “He's a tremendous player, great hands, catches the ball, very quick, makes people miss, strong, breaks tackles, excellent balance, tough, doesn't run out of bounds, fights for extra yardage, a great player. Le'Veon Bell, I mean he led the league in rushing the two weeks where he played earlier in the year when he had a lot of carries. He's had a tremendous career. Really one of the all-time great careers statistically. He's been tremendous. Again, they have a lot of depth at every position. They have a lot of depth at running back and it doesn't matter who's in there - they're a problem. But Bell's as good as anybody we'll play.”
Here is a little more about what Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady had to say about the Steelers.
Quarterback Tom Brady on the Steelers overall:
“They have a lot of good players, especially on defense. It’s a veteran group. They play well at home. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Coach Bill Belichick on if Antonio Brown is someone you can’t cover one-on-one:
“Very difficult. He's got a tremendous skill set, very quick. He almost always can create separation in his route. He's a very good technique route-runner so he does a great job of setting up routes. He does a really good job of getting on top of the DB's, almost stepping on the toes before he goes into his route so they can't get any kind of, they can't really anticipate it. He does a great job of stacking the defenders where he gets a step on the defender then he kind of cuts him off so that the defenders like a full man behind him so he can use his body to protect the ball on the deep balls. He's hard to jam on the line because of his great quickness and then as I said, when he gets that half a step on the defender, not that he necessarily outruns everybody on the field, but once he moves in front of them and stacks them then he is on top of them. The skills with the ball in his hand as a runner are exceptional. You see that on the punt returns. You see it on a lot of those under routes, catch-and-run plays, so you don't want to back off of him and let him catch it and break a tackle or if you get up on him he runs behind you. That's a problem and he's a good intermediate route runner, too; in-cuts, comebacks, curls, things like that. He has great quickness coming out of cuts so he's very, very hard to cover. And he's seen a lot of double-coverage, too. I don't think that really bothers him either. He knows how to beat that. When you double him I mean at some point he attacks one guy so it really becomes single coverage. He takes the other guy out of it and then he beats that guy. So he's tough. He's really tough.”
Brady on the Steelers defense under defensive coordinator Keith Butler:
“There are a lot of the same elements. They have a lot of the same players. (Lawrence) Timmons and (William) Gay. Mike Mitchell is a great player. It feels like it’s always the same Steelers’ defense. A lot of pressure. They blitz a lot. They have every blitz in the book. They have every combination you could think of. It’s a challenging defense to play. They test you in every area.”