The Steelers hit the road this week to take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, a game that always proves to be a physical AFC North battle.
“It’s Pittsburgh week,” said Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. “Everyone is going to be hyped up, ramped up. Practice is going to be ramped up.”
Kirkpatrick and other Bengals weighed in on the Steelers, the rivalry, and more.
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Coach Marvin Lewis on Joe Haden:
“Joe is a fine player. No question about it. I have seen him since he came in the league with the Browns. He does a great job. When you play corner in the National Football League, you have to be a guy that not only has the physical tools and talent, but also the mental aptitude. He shows that."
Linebacker Preston Brown on Cincinnati’s dislike of Pittsburgh:
“Cincinnati doesn’t like Pittsburgh as a whole. The whole city. The Pirates, the Steelers, whatever it is. We just don’t like them. It’s going to be a tough game for us on the defensive side, but we just have to find a way to get the ball back to the offense.”
Kirkpatrick on what the offense is doing with James Conner and if it differs from the way Le’Veon Bell is used:
“It’s just the scheme of the things they do. Check downs and things like that in the open field. He is doing the same things. Obviously he is not Le’Veon, but he is following in those footsteps.”
Wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who is from the Pittsburgh area, on playing the Steelers:
“I love playing against my hometown team. That is going to be a must watch. It’s a rivalry. The game is always going to be intense.”
Boyd on what it’s like to see Terrible Towels in Paul Brown Stadium:
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it because there will be a lot of them doing it.”
Lewis on the emotion of seeing what happened to Ryan Shazier last season:
“He is one of the finest young players and just as a person, a tremendous person. I think we all lost a little bit when Ryan got hurt. I am glad to see he is doing well now. That was a hard thing for everybody.”
Boyd on his relationship with Conner, who played at Pitt with him:
“That is like my brother. We went to Pitt together, we were there through the whole journey. We talked about this moment getting to the NFL. Finally playing against each other. I think the moment already put a soft roll on us. We traded jerseys last year. I love seeing the dudes I know, and guys that I worked with, do well. I think he is a good fit in that offense. I think he can do anything Le’Veon has done. I am not saying he is a better player, but I know he is a hard-working guy and he can get the job done. I am always thankful and looking forward to seeing him play.”
Boyd on seeing Conner go through his journey with Hodgkin’s lymphoma:
“Me being around him, I saw the adversity he had to overcome. It was real tough. But he had support in his corner. We all cared for him and believed in him. He is one of the strongest dudes I have ever been around. That is why I give him so much credit. He is a dog.”
Boyd on if it was emotional to see what Conner went through:
“It was hard. Just seeing him come to the meeting room and break down and cry, it touched me to see that. It showed he cared and was kind of scared to go through the process. We had to make sure we had his back. That is what being a teammate and a friend is about.”
Quarterback Andy Dalton on preparing for the Steelers defensive scheme:
“It’s similar to what they’ve done — a lot of movement. You have to prepare for a lot of different things.
They put guys in a lot of different spots and move guys around. I’m stationary a ton, so you just have to be prepared for the different looks and be able to adjust to movement.”
Lewis on the Steelers overall:
“Not a lot has changed with the leadership they have at quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger). He’s coming off of a game where he made throws in the pocket and out of the pocket. It was a really productive day (for him). The Steelers got the run game going with Conner, so both in the pass game and the run game, they had a productive day offensively. On defense, they pressure the football, as we know. We’ll have to play a good football game.”