The Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in their first AFC North game of the season.
Both teams sit at a disappointing 0-3, looking not only to get their first win of the season, but also their first win in the division.
Some of the names from the Steelers-Bengals rivalries of the past have changed, but it’s still AFC North football and Bengals first-year coach Zac Taylor knows what to expect.
“It’s the same feel I’ve always had,” said Taylor about the Steelers, even without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. “They’re still a really talented, well-coached football team, and that doesn’t change. Yeah, maybe some of the guys they were really counting on won’t play in this game, or haven’t played a lot of ball, but they’re still talented players and they’re going to be put in good spots. We’re going to have to put our best foot forward, and it’s going to be a tough test for us.”
Taylor and others weighed in on Monday night’s game, including talking about the rivalry between the two teams.
Zac Taylor on Mason Rudolph:
“Good football player. Coming out of Oklahoma State, he was one of the better (quarterbacks) in that class. It wouldn’t have surprised me if someone would’ve taken him in the first round. I do remember that. He was a really solid, consistent, accurate passer.”
Taylor on the Steelers-Bengals rivalry:
“This has been, from afar, one of the premier divisions to watch football. You always know it’s going to be a slugfest, a dogfight, or whatever you want to call it. Obviously there’s a history here between these two teams. It’s fun to watch.”
Taylor on if what he sees from the Steelers’ defense now compares to when he was with the Dolphins in 2012:
“No. Back when you played Troy Polamalu that was a different defense in its entirety. They still pride themselves on the physicality, playing tough and taking the fight to the offense. That stuff doesn’t change. They’re big up front, and those guys have strong hands and they’re powerful. They’ve got linebackers that can move, and they’ve got DBs who have played a lot of good football in this league. You have to be ready for big showdown over there. Those guys are going to take it to you, so you have to be ready to give it right back.”
Quarterback Andy Dalton on if the game will feel different with changes to both teams:
“We know the importance of this game. Every year it has been important, regardless of who’s on the other side. Their team is going to look a little different not having some of these guys that had been there for a while. The importance is still the same. Both teams are fighting for their first win. It’s a division game. All the same stuff is still there.”
Tackle Andre Smith on if the rivalry is the same:
“I imagine so. Because it’s been the same since forever.”
Receiver Tyler Boyd on the rivalry:
“At the end of the day, it's still Steelers-Bengals, so it will be a hard, physical battle no matter what. We are in the same division. We are competing against each other to get to the playoffs, so I still believe it's going to be the same game.”
Safety Shawn Williams on the rivalry:
“They still have the same system. Still have the same brand of football. They’re going to give you what they have. They’re tough up front. They’re going to run the ball. They still have a playmaker in JuJu (Smith-Schuster). They have James Conner. Both are Pro Bowl players and they have some young guys stepping up playing good football. It’s a new team for both parties involved, but it’s still the rivalry.”
Cornerback Tony McRae on the rivalry:
“They’re still the Steelers and we’re still the Bengals. It’s not a new chapter. It’s still a rivalry.”
Defensive end Sam Hubbard on the rivalry:
“I think it’s still the same rivalry. It’s Pittsburgh versus Cincinnati, I have no love for those guys.”