The Steelers will take the No. 2 offense in the AFC into Miami this week against a Dolphins defense that is ranked No. 13 in the conference.
And as Dolphins Coach Adam Gase will tell you, a lot of the headaches for an opponent start with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the way the offense is designed to fit his strengths.
“Just over the years playing against him and the multiplicity of things makes things so hard for the defense,” said Gaze. “The fact that all of a sudden you feel like they have gone big, they are going to pound you. And then all of a sudden they are big and they spread you out. And then they get little and start running the ball. And then they are on empty and play action. There are so many things they do.
“And his ability to extend plays. You think you have him, he gets away and all of a sudden somebody is 50 yards down the field wide open. He takes the offense, the outline of the offense, makes it better because what he can do physically buying time, letting guys get freed up, creating plays if something is not done the way it’s drawn up. When you have a guy that does those things it makes it hard for a defense to handle.”
Gase, as well as quarterback Ryan Tannehill and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, also shared their take on other aspects of the Steelers.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the Steelers offense and how 20-22 points aren’t enough to win against them:
“They’re one of the top caliber offenses in the league. They have the ability to score and score in bunches. So, as an offense, we have to be clean on what we’re doing, take care of the football, keep ourselves on the field, keep our defense off the field, and that’ll give us a good chance to win.”
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on the challenges the Steelers’ offense presents:
“They definitely have an explosive offense. Great receivers, great running backs, obviously a great quarterback who has a strong arm that likes to push it down the field as well as a get lot of short passes in their passing game. We have a lot on our plate that we’re going to have to deal with, and I think first and foremost we understand we have to stop the run.”
Coach Adam Gase on the threat Sammie Coates brings:
“He had some big production the last game. When you have that many guys that are as impactful as they are it makes it hard for a defense to focus on one guy. With the best receiver in the league there, there are a lot of one-on-one matchups going on with other guys. When those guys are able to win their one-on-one matchups, now they start making plays and you have a big time problem. You are looking at a guy who has been effective and causing problems for teams.”
Suh on importance of wrapping up Ben Roethlisberger:
“Roethlisberger is a very slippery quarterback. People don’t necessarily see him as a very athletic guy, but he can move around in the pocket, obviously great at that, and get outside the pocket to hurt you. You’ve got to continue to rally. No matter what, the play is never over. We just have to go out there and make sure we get him down on the field.”
Tannehill on the Steelers pass rush:
“They’re just a relentless defense. They are going to play to the whistle every snap. The front guys are good, even if they are getting double teamed, of just fighting through blocks and relentless pursuit of the quarterback. I have a ton of respect for their front and the guys they have rushing the QB.”
Suh on Le’Veon Bell’s strengths:
“I haven’t seen a ton of film on him, but I played against him before. A great running back. I’ve seen him at Michigan State in his early days. Obviously in the league he has run really well. He’s good out of the backfield as well as a pass catcher. At the end of the day, he’s a weapon that we have to contain.”
Gase on the Steelers’ pass rush:
“Right now for us we have to play one of our better games up front, protecting our quarterback and giving him a chance to go through some kind of progression. As of late we haven’t been able to do that. At the end of the day we have to be able to do a better job of playing the play longer than the defenders. Our biggest focus has to be making sure everybody is doing their assignment and finish the play. That is one of the reasons (the Steelers) defense does what it does. They play the play longer than the teams they are playing more times than not. When they are around the ball carrier, it’s not just one guy, it will be five or six guys hitting the ball carrier whether it’s a running back or receiver.”