Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley**
Is Denver's defense the best you've seen all season?
Yeah. I think without a doubt. Statistics back it up. They are really strong in all areas, starting up front. They have arguably the best individual pass rusher in Von Miller. DeMarcus Ware is over there. They have a couple of other good ones in Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray. I was in Dallas when we drafted DeMarcus. What a player he has been for a long time. They have good inside linebackers. Their secondary has no regard for their bodies. They will fly in there. They are hitters. They play tight man-to-man coverage. They are a good group.
Re: Still getting yards and points against some of the best defenses in the league and what that says about your offense:
Missing some guys is a testament to the group we have and the type of character they have. Coach Tomlin preaches "Next man up." They've lived it firsthand this year. We had a lot of guys step in and do a very good job. As far as playing the best groups, we want to be thought of as a top offense. What more can you ask for than to go against some of these groups that are the best across the board, versus the run or pass. Denver's numbers back it up as I said. This will be a true test for our guys.
The Steelers prepare for the week 15 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Re: Being a stats guy yourself:**
I've always been really into not maybe the obvious stats. This week it's easy when you look at just the main categories. I like to look inside those numbers. I always have. I have always been interested for myself and for our staff as we prepare, because as Coach Parcells taught me for a long time, there's a lot of hidden numbers that tell you a lot of different things, and can tell you about your guys. It's just something I enjoy. They like to make fun of me. But I will take it.
Re: Being more comfortable with personnel now in your fourth year and knowing the guys:
I would hope so. Continuity is a great thing. The more we are around each other, the better. Because everybody builds comfort within that trust, and it builds. There's comfort within relationships and it builds. It's just always a good thing. It's been great here with this group, to be with a lot of the same players for an extended period of time. That doesn't happen all the time in this league. Obviously, if it is going to happen, Pittsburgh is the place that makes it happen. You just continue to grow and get better. You have fun doing it.
Re: Success in the two-minute drill:
Really, the same thing, comfort level with what we are doing. We haven't changed a whole bunch here through the years. We've been able to do the same things, a lot of the time, whether it's in OTAs. We are always working at it. It's really tied in with our no-huddle package with a different tempo. I think our no-huddle, two-minute is a little different than most, because we do have a little versatility. We use a number of different protections, obviously a number of different plays. Through time, starting with Ben, there's a great comfort level with the things we are doing, and it's tied into with those guys up front, knowing what to do and how to do it when there is probably a little more than what most people have. As long as the guys handle it, I think it makes you better. Obviously the skill guys running the appropriate routes and being where they are supposed to be. I think it's just time, reps and work, and then the guys enjoy it.
Re: Ben said you guys are calling the same plays at the same time:
I think there is great cohesion. It does happen more often. When it does, both of us will smile. It means you are on the same page. As I have said many times, the quarterback and the coordinator, first and foremost, have to be on the same page. It means a lot less talk between us. We know what each other is saying or wants done. Then we are able to communicate a lot more efficiently with everybody else. Whether I am giving a play, he has to trust that I am putting him in the best position to succeed. And when I give a play, I have to trust that he is giving us the best chance to succeed. It really makes for a good situation, a good relationship. Again, that comes through time. It's just nice to see success happening with that.
Re: Von Miller:**
I think he is physically gifted, No. 1. He is extremely explosive and quick off the ball. I don't know if there is anybody that gets off the snap quicker than he does. He is also very quick. He is explosive. He has a low center of gravity, which I think is a challenge for these bigger tackles. But I think he is smart. He is just a very talented guy that has a plan. It looks like each and every rush, if he is supposed to be rushing outside, he clearly has a plan, and he studies. He tackles. He has counter moves. You just see him do everything. He has the ability to close and finish plays that is second to none.
Re: Ben's accuracy improving:
I think he's always been an extremely accurate thrower. He is a gifted quarterback throwing the football. I think what you have seen is the guys around him continuing to hone in on their craft. The more those guys are doing it exactly the way that he visualizes it being done, then it allows him to show off that accuracy, because it gives him great confidence and trust to let the ball go, whether it's with anticipation, when he's throwing it much earlier than they are breaking. There is a lot of trust that goes on. He's a gifted thrower, probably without a doubt the most gifted I've ever been around.
Re: When things are going good on offense and how the group is:
I think it's a great atmosphere for success. That starts with Coach Tomlin. But within our group, I've always believed there's a lot of having fun. There are a couple of variables that play into that. I think to have fun you have to be doing what you want to be doing. These guys obviously want to be playing football. You have to be doing it around people you like being around. You have to be doing it well. When you are playing good football and we are moving up and down the field, I think then all three of those variables are fulfilled. It makes for fun.
Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler
Re: On how rushing the passer changes from Peyton Manning to Brock Osweiler:
He's a bigger guy, he's 6-7, 240, probably a lot more like Ben, but I don't think he's as mobile as Ben was when he was that age. He's a big guy. I think we're just going to try to get after him. We're not going to try to think about how we're going to rush him, we're just going to rush him and get to the quarterback as much as we can. Hem him in, yes, we have to hem him in. But, at the same time, if we can get him to hold the ball a little bit and try to get to him, I think we'll be okay.
Re: On Peyton getting rid of the ball quickly:
Yes, he did. You're not going to fool Peyton. He's seen everything and what you have to try to do is get them to pull him down and go to his second read or third read. And he rarely does that, because when he hits his back foot, the ball is coming out. So, he's not in much danger of getting sacked. You can compare the sacks, you probably have compared the sacks between the two, and the young guy has given up more.
Re: On how many of those sacks were a result of Osweiler holding the ball too long, or on the offensive linemen:
Sometimes it's a little bit of both. I've always said it's rush and coverage, it's a combination of both. It's hard to distinguish between the two. A lot of times, in terms of the quarterback's read and getting it off, him getting the ball, pulling the ball down, not being sure where he goes. Obviously, Peyton knows where he's going with it all the time. This guy, sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. He does make some good throws, he does have a good arm and he's been doing a good job for them. I know he's given up more sacks, that's not all his fault all the time. We have to try to do what we can to take advantage of him and try to get to the quarterback.
Re: On what's made the defense affective in the red zone:**
We do some things a little bit different. We change it up. I've always said coaching in this league, you've got to change it up, because if you do the same thing all the time they are going to beat you. So, we've got to be able to change things up in the red zone, come up with stuff that maybe they haven't seen on film from us. Sometimes, we have to rush them and sometimes we have to drop, max drop. We call it max drop. Change it up and make them read it to see if they can read it. If they can't read it, get the ball out, more power to you.
Re: On Demaryius Thomas giving you nightmares:
You're talking about the playoffs, aren't you? It was zero blitz, he catches it and takes off. We run a couple of blocks in that situation. I always talk about when they run those types of screens, always try to get over the top of the screens and get it back to what I call the cavalry. The cavalry are the guys who are turning and running to the ball after the ball is thrown, the defensive line, the linebackers who rush the quarterback, all that stuff. And the corners from the other side, the safeties from the other side. The cavalry is coming. We have to get it back to the cavalry. Unfortunately, in that situation we were committed to a zero blitz and we didn't get it back to the cavalry. He took off and ran off and that was the one play in overtime, if I'm correct. We have to make sure we don't do anything like that. Hopefully we don't.
You never have that nightmare?
It's always hard to lose a game in the playoffs. You work so hard to get to the playoffs and then you lose the game the first time out. Those things bother you and you learn from them. Hopefully, we won't be in those situations, but we may be.
What is it about William Gay that has enabled him to do what he's done with this streak?
He's a smart guy. He plays above the neck. He works at it, he knows our defense well, he knows the offenses, he's well prepared every time he plays the game, he knows what offenses try to do out of different formations and personnel. As a consequent, he's done what nobody else has ever done in the National Football League. I'm proud of him for it. He has five consecutive pick sixes in a row. Five pick sixes people have had, but not consecutively. I'm proud of him for what he's done. He studies the game, he's a great captain to have on this team, and I'm fortunate to have him as a captain.
Not all defensive players adapt an offensive mentality to get the ball in their hands. Does he?
I think he sees a lot of daylight between him and the goal line. The times he's picked it off, he's been in what we call the flat most of the time. He's never had to worry about anybody catching him because he's been about 30 or 40 yards away from the end zone. I'm glad for him.
The Steelers prepare for the week 15 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Do you think they'll help out the right tackle more than they did last week?**
I hope they don't. I hope they have the same front they did last week, but they're going to do something, I'm sure, to help themselves. It's on film, they see the film too. They're going to try to do something, in terms of trying to sure up their protection.
How much does your secondary stand to benefit from that?
I've always said, rush and cover. That's defense. So, if we can put pressure on the quarterback and make them throw us the ball and get some turnovers, that's the biggest thing we're trying to do.
Can it be as simple as having one less guy to cover, if they're keeping the tight end in on that side?
You always try to go into the game and take advantage of what they're trying to give you. They're going to make changes. They're always going to make changes. You try to see what's going on in the game and try to adjust to it. We'll see when we're playing. I don't want to tell them what we're doing, but we'll see when we play them and see if we can adjust.
Re: On if it's a compliment that Matt Hasselbeck said he was confused by what the defense did:
I'd like to at the end of the season, but I don't have time to do it now to be honest with you. There's a saying in the National Football League, there are two types of coaches and players in this league, those who are humble and those who are going to be. To me, I'm going to wait and see what we do after the season and try to see if we can improve and kind of augment the things that we do well. And improve on the things we don't do well. We've done a lot of things. We've done a lot of things, in terms of coverage. It's not just me, it's assistant coaches, it's Mike Tomlin, he's very involved in the defense. So, we've been fortunate on some things, but we have to get better on a lot of other things.
Re: On Tuitt's interception:
It was a great play. It was a great play by him, getting the feel. More so instinct than anything else. He comes off the ball, a little back tries to block him, and he feels that and steps in front of the ball and makes a great play. I don't know if that's coaching. I think that's more instinct than anything else.
The way they ran last week, was it just simply C.J. Anderson wasn't there?
I don't know. I think they have a couple of good runners. For us, if their running game is effective, their play-action pass is going to be effective too. We've got to stop the run, we've got to limit what they're doing. They do a lot of what we call misdirection passing. Misdirection passing is boots, throwing it down town, but they've done that since I played them way back when. That was a long time ago. Kubiak and John Elway, Kubiak was the backup and John Elway was the starter. They threw those boots all the time, they ran the outside zone all the time. It's been around for a long time, they've done it well for a while, that's the reason they've survived all this time in the National Football League, they've been successful at it.
Re: On watching more film on Brock or Peyton:
Brock. More Brock. We've been against Peyton before.
Is the offense that different?
It is a little bit, because there's a little bit more play-action, a little bit more boots, more outside zone, stuff like that that's tailored to Brock. I think the offense will be tailored more to Peyton when he gets back in there.