Opponents on Steelers

Bengals are talking about T.J., Kenny and Larry

The Steelers have a rematch against the Cincinnati Bengals this week, a team they beat 23-20 in overtime in Week 1 of the season.

The Bengals come into the game 5-4, well-rested coming off their bye week. The Steelers are 3-6 coming off a win over the New Orleans Saints.

As everyone knows, though, records go out the window when it comes to AFC North football.

The Bengals know they have to be prepared for whatever comes their way in a key division matchup, and that includes facing linebacker T.J. Watt who returned to action last Sunday. The Bengals weighed in on Watt, as well as quarterback Kenny Pickett and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi.

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Zac Taylor on what makes T.J. Watt as dynamic as he is:
"He affects every play. He is really smart. You can just see he has tremendous awareness in the run and the pass. Does a great job hearing calls. Does a good job communicating to those around him. You can see that. Impacts the first run of the game he was involved in. First play they had a false start, second play he has a TFL, I think it was him and Cam (Heyward).

"He is somebody you always have to be aware of. He makes those behind him better. Watching all his snaps, the 90 or so came against us and then last week. Last week, as we are watching the personnel, the only time we were watching him play was against us so it's remembrance of how good he is. Not that we forgot, but how good he is and how much he impacts that defense. You saw it last week when he was playing New Orleans. He lifts up that entire defense and makes a lot of plays. You have to be concerned with him on every play."

Quarterback Joe Burrow on Watt:
"You gotta get the ball out quickly. He is probably the only guy in the league that you have to worry about when you do get the ball out quickly because he is really good about reading the quarterback's drop through the tackles and understanding when you are trying to throw the ball quickly, which you saw in the first game because he got an interception just based off of reading my feet and getting his hands up in the passing lanes. You gotta help with tight ends and running backs and me getting the ball out quickly. You can't help on every play. Sometimes you're just gonna have to block him. He is one of the premiere guys in the league that takes a lot of time and effort to game plan against.

"You're never going to shut him down. You're never going to take that away. He is too good a player. He is too impactful in the run game, pass game. You can minimize it but you can't shut him down."

Taylor on how different are the Steelers now than in Week 1:
"There are a lot of snaps in (that game). High 90s. Tape went on forever. How much different? There are things they have been doing for years they obviously believe in and take great pride in doing.

"It starts with the front. They have a great front. Those four guys are healthy now. They've developed the depth behind those guys. They play those guys as much as you are going to see any front four take snaps in a game. They probably play the highest percentage of a front four of any defense in the league. There is a reason why. Because they are really good. It starts with them. With having all four of those guys healthy and the depth they have behind them, they just feed off of that. You can see that defense last week. Again, when you get T.J. back it steps up a notch. Those guys did a great job last week."

Burrow on playing at Acrisure Stadium:
"It's always a fun place to play. This late in the year I know the weather is going to be cold and windy. Just like you like it in the AFC North. It's going to be a fun environment."

Taylor on if the offense has changed fundamentally with Kenny Pickett playing:
"I don't think anything drastic. I think he has made some good decisions. He can be really accurate with the ball. Made some big plays with his feet the other day as well. He's a really good athlete. Gives his guys a chance to go make a play. He's a rookie that's got a lot of talent. I think he's doing a good job managing that offense. They have a lot of playmakers around him that they do a good job of utilizing. It's one of those times your defense has its work cut out for them because they have a lot of really good playmakers and they try to spread the ball out and get the ball to all of those guys." 

Taylor on defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, who played for the Bengals:
"We all love Larry. This locker room, coaching staff, this building had a lot of love for Larry. He is playing at an incredibly high level. Really like Larry and ultimately, he went to Pittsburgh. Larry has worked so hard for everything he has gotten. He is the easiest guy in the world to pull for, outside of playing against him. Have a lot of respect for him. I loved having him in the locker room."

Get out and vote: Voting is now open for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, which will be a completely different format than in the past.

The traditional Pro Bowl game will be replaced by four days of activities, which will culminate with an AFC vs. NFC Flag Game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, February 5.

Leading into the game there will be skill competitions, giving fans a fun look at all of the league's top players.

Fans can vote for their favorite Steelers players now through Dec. 15. A social aspect of voting will be available beginning on Dec. 1, so keep an eye out for that.