Skip to main content

Opponents on Steelers

Chargers are talking about Najee, QBs and more

It will be back to primetime football for the Steelers on Sunday night when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, a 5-4 team, at SOFI Stadium.

For the Chargers' defense, this week has been about preparing for two different quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph. Roethlisberger is still on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, but the Chargers know they have to be prepared for both.

"You have to prepare for both styles," said Coach Brandon Staley. "They're a similar style of players. I think we have a good plan for both guys."

The quarterbacks aren't all the Chargers are talking about this week, as they also talked about Coach Mike Tomlin, Najee Harris and more.

* * *

Coach Brandon Staley on if their defense is preparing for quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph:
"You have to prepare for both styles. I feel like you get a strong sense of how they play with Mason because you have last week to go over, and then last year when he was in the game - you have film of him playing in games. Then, you can certainly watch him in the preseason, just to get a feel for if this offense is really changing for him. They're a similar style of players. Mason's a big statured guy. He has a very good arm, has enough mobility, like Ben. I think that we have a good plan for both guys. We're going to have to prepare that way.

"Like I said, fortunately for us, we've seen him in games, so we have a good idea of how he plays and his style of play, his mannerisms and some of those game-day differences between him and Ben, maybe how he operates from a communication standpoint at the line of scrimmage in the shotgun - all of those little things."

Safety Derwin James Jr. on Roethlisberger:
"We have to prepare like he's playing. He's a professional, he can get healthy within the next two days, or a day. We have to prepare like he's still there. Whoever their quarterback is we have to prepare because it's football."

Staley on Coach Mike Tomlin:
"Well, number one, there's not another guy that I have more respect for in the league. His consistency and performance; he's been an NFL head coach for 14 years and he's never had a losing season. He's made two Super Bowls, won one of them. There have been nine playoff appearances and seven division titles in one of the premier divisions in football. He was the youngest head coach, at the time, to win a Super Bowl. When I went into my interviews last year, because I've watched this guy for a long time and what stands out to me is his humility. He's an outstanding communicator. I was with (former Steelers offensive line coach) Mike Munchak in Denver, who was with Mike for several years. Mike (Munchak) is a Hall of Fame player and coach, and just the level of respect that he had for Mike (Tomlin) - this guy's as good as it gets in all of sports.

"It's that humility, that communication, that competitiveness. When I went into my interviews last year, a lot of people were asking me, 'Who do you pattern your game after?' Mike Tomlin was at the top of my list because he was an offensive player, played wideout at William & Mary, he had only been a coordinator for one year before he became a head coach. I felt like I saw a lot of myself in him. I was hoping to pattern a lot of my game after him. Watching him with a young quarterback, he had one of the top quarterbacks in the game as a young head coach and that was certainly something that I was hoping to do. I just think that this guy, his consistency and his leadership skills and his ability to adapt over time.

"One thing that has always stood out to me is that he was a defensive coordinator that came up under a certain system, and when he became a head coach, he was with a legendary, Hall of Fame coach in Dick LeBeau. They kept that system in place because it was, at that time, one of the top defensive systems in all of football. I thought that said so much about his humility that he would learn that defense. He was a secondary guy that came up under Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin, it's a very different style of play than Dick LeBeau. For him to have that type of humility and that type of awareness as a coach, to know that you're going to fit your team to the way it is and not someplace else, I think that there are so many lessons to learn from him. I just can't speak highly enough of him because he's one of the great competitors in the game."

Defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill on the Steelers offense:
"It's always focused on the run game. We have to try to take away their run game and make them one dimensional if we can. We know that's going to be a big part of their game. We know that's where the momentum for these guys (comes from). They build off tough runs that they get."

James on running back Najee Harris:
"I like Najee's game. I feel like he's a big guy. He runs hard, runs strong, and I feel like he's going to have a great career in this league. Every time we play it's a tough challenge to bring them down. He's another guy we have to beat to the ball."

Staley on Harris:
"They really hit on this back. He's a really complete back. He's smooth, he can see, he can run with power, he can catch the football out of the backfield. He has a physical presence, so he's willing in pass protection. He's definitely a strength of their football team. He is one of these young runners that's making a name for himself in the league. I definitely think they've done an outstanding job of bringing him along. He certainly has a great pedigree, coming from Alabama. He's an outstanding young player."

Hill on Harris:
"Strong runner. Lowers. You can tell he is in the weight room constantly. Once you make contact with him, the next opponent is he is a wrestler and we're going to have to wrestle him down to the ground. We just can't rely on the wrap up. You can see a lot of people make contact and he is either falling forward or turning and spinning off of tackles. It's like you are rassling a big guy who spends a lot of time in the weight room."

James on the Steelers offense:
"It is basically all the same stuff. They're going to run that stuff; they have a lot of faith in them. Last year we played against their backup quarterback, and you see what happened."

Staley on safety Minkah Fitzpatrick:
"He's a fantastic player. Minkah is as good as it gets at safety. I have a ton of respect for his game. When he was coming out, that was one of my first years in the league. Such a fan of his game. Derrick Ansley, our secondary coach, coached him at Alabama. He's one of the guys that has that rare versatility, corner, safety, star, money. He's a dynamic playmaker in the deep part of the field, open-field tackler, man-to-man. I thought that it was a great trade by the Steelers, going to get him and adding a difference-maker like that. I thought that was a really, really smart trade for them. Any time that you lose a key guy like that, it's impactful, for sure. But, the thing about Mike Tomlin, he's a secondary coach. The next guy is going to go and play well. The expectations are going to be high, so we expect them to operate similarly. If Minkah does play, it does add a different dimension of your awareness because he's a true ballhawk back there. He is a difference-maker."

Wide receiver Keenan Allen on T.J. Watt:
"Hopefully Watt doesn't play (laughing). If Watt plays, then we'll have to scheme around him."

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi on the Steelers offense:
"Their pass rush has been very good. They are a team that can put pressure on you. That's a challenge. It doesn't mean you can't go deep. You just have to be smart."

Related Content