Opponents on Steelers

Bills are talking about Najee, Ben, JuJu

The Steelers open the 2021 regular season on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, a game that will be a true test for both teams to know where they stand.

There is no lack of familiarity for the teams, either. The Steelers and Bills have faced off the last two seasons, and Bills' quarterback Josh Allen is no stranger to what the black and gold will bring.

"We know it's going to be a tight game," said Allen. "The last couple of years they've been boxing matches, taking a couple hits here or there and giving them out. They're extremely well coached. They're a very talented group on defense and they have a Hall of Fame quarterback over there.

"We have to be on top of our game and go out there and try to execute to the best of our abilities. But we know they're going to bring it. Game one and they were extremely good last year and they're going to be extremely good this year. And we know that."

Allen and others talked about the Steelers, including Ben Roethlisberger, Najee Harris, JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.J. Watt and more.

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Head Coach Sean McDermott on what stands out about the Steelers receivers:
"Very talented. They've got JuJu (Smith-Schuster) in the slot. He moves all around. They move him around. They've got speed outside with multiple guys outside, (Diontae Johnson) and (James Washington) and then with what (Chase) Claypool's done at an early point in his career has been very impressive.

"Now you have the tight ends with (Eric) Ebron and (Pat) Freiermuth, too. Very good tight end package as well with the backs. They're extremely talented on offense."

Safety Jordan Poyer on the Steelers receivers and what makes them so good:
"Just the athletic ability that all of them have. Claypool obviously is a bigger receiver who can run, make contested catches. Johnson is very elusive with the football in his hands. Obviously, they have JuJu. It's a really talented core group of guys in their receiving group, guys who make plays with the football in their hands and guys who are elusive out in the open spaces. When those plays happen, we have to make tackles. They're a very talented group."

Defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier on Najee Harris:
"He's one of those guys, who as a running back, has really good vision. He can see things that a lot of other backs can't see. There are times where he's about to approach a hole, and it may look a little cloudy, and he's able to find that opening and the real good ones they're able to do that. You know you shut something off and they're able to sidestep it or take a cut and find a crease and he's one of those guys if you give him a crease, he'll find it and it could become an explosive play."

Safety Micah Hyde on Ben Roethlisberger:
"Playing a guy like Ben Roethlisberger who has been around, he has seen every single look on defense. Has seen so much that teams have tried to do against him. We aren't going to do anything out of the ordinary. We're not going to surprise him out there. I think with the offense they have, the weapons they have, it's going to be a challenge for us, a true test for us. They're going to get the ball in their playmakers hands. It's going to be on us to go out and tackle them."

Frazier on Matt Canada's offense and how it's changed the Steelers' offense:
"We have been trying to figure that out, just get a feel for the new coordinator, his history, get an idea of what we can expect. There are some unknowns for sure. It's a little bit of speculation on our part, but we are trying to gather information. It presents some challenges. We try to put our players in different scenarios just guessing what they might do with their new coordinator.

"We know there is a heavy emphasis on trying to get their run game going. The have some explosive receivers and a Hall of Fame quarterback as well. So, it's a little bit of a guessing game what they might do."

Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll on the defense:
"The squad we are facing this weekend is one of the best defenses historically, the last how many years Coach (Mike) Tomlin and Coach (Keith) Butler have bene there. They have a lot of really good players up front, in the backend. I think they lead the league in first round draft picks on the defense. They have exceptional players. All of the guys they rotate in. They have (Melvin) Ingram on the edge, (T.J.) Watt and (Cameron) Heyward. It's hard to block them. They pressure too. They play tight man-to-man coverage. The coordinator has been there a long time. The guys know what they are doing. They are a really formidable opponent. One of the best in the league."

McDermott on Harris:
"Really good young player, talented, both in the run and pass game. Picks up protections well. Obviously, he's a high pick in the draft for a reason and I'm sure he's going to have a great career, but he's looks like he's off to a great start."

Quarterback Josh Allen on how tough it is to prepare for Minkah Fitzpatrick:
"He's a ballhawk and one of the best safeties in the league. He just switches up his style every couple plays. You don't know if he's dropping into the box or if he's trying to play over the top on something. He's always around the ball, whether it's a fumble that's forced by one of their other guys that just seems like it's popping right up into his chest. When the balls in the air he has as good of ball skills as anyone in the league. Making sure that we're focused on where he's at and his depth from the line of scrimmage. He's one of those guys that can wreck a game plan. We've got to figure it out and figure it out early come game time. It's always fun playing against guys with that type of caliber and putting yourself against that test."

McDermott on T.J. Watt:
"We know he's an elite player. Elite player at his position, one of the best defensive players in our league, and he wreaks havoc on game plans, so you always have to know where he is."

Allen on Watt:
"He's an unbelievable player. They got a ton of guys on that defense that are just so good. We expected to be that, but we know that that matchup is not going to be easy for us and we've got to figure out ways to try and limit his impact on the game."

Poyer on going against the Steelers and the type of game it is:
"I played Pittsburgh my whole career. I was in Cleveland for four years and saw them twice a year every year. It's always like that when you play Pittsburgh. It's the Steelers. It's a team that's well known around football, around the league. It's a team that's going to come in and try to run the football. It's always been a boxing match every time I've played them. That's their mindset and our mindset too, that it's going to be a fistfight."

Allen on Ben Roethlisberger:
"I've gotten a chance to meet him a couple of times and he's awesome, just the way that he carries himself. He's, in my opinion, a first ballot Hall of Famer. I know he's got a lot of respect from a lot of guys around the league. But, watching his game back in the day just like the play was never over. It's never over with him. He's able to find ways to escape and kind of get the ball out in some funky ways. So, he was super fun to watch, he still is super fun to watch. And it's always a blessing going against a guy with these types of calibers as a player, and especially with what the Steelers got."

Poyer on Harris:
"He's a back who obviously he likes to hurdle. We've seen that quite a bit, especially in college. I think when they played the Lions, he tried to hurdle a defender on the sidelines. He's a big back. He's going to be someone we have to gang tackle, and everybody get to the rock. A good back for them."

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