The Steelers open the 2020 season on the road against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in a primetime Monday Night Football matchup.
It will also be a matchup of two coaches who have a long history.
Giants Coach Joe Judge got to know Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin when Judge was working as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State, working with Amos Jones, who is now on the Giants coaching staff and a long-time friend of Tomlin. Tomlin would call Jones, and Judge would often talk to him.
"Very simply put, when he was an assistant in the league, at the time in Minnesota, I got the chance to meet him simply by answering phones when I was a graduate assistant for Amos Jones," said Judge. "He called Amos and sometimes Amos would say grab that phone and talk to Mike for a minute. Shortly thereafter he was the head coach in Pittsburgh. I immediately became a Steelers fan because he was good enough to me to tag along with me.
"He was always very open for a conversation, very open to share advice. I have a lot of respect for him as a person, a lot of respect for him as a coach. He has done tremendous things in his career.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach. What he has done for me personally in my career, giving me an opportunity as a young coach to tag along at times, imparted in my some of his experiences that have helped me develop my own career."
Judge and the Giants weighed in on a variety of topics, including the team's history, Ben Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree and more.
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Joe Judge on the history of the Steelers:
"Very simply put, this team defines continuity in professional sports. From the ownership with the Rooney family who have done tremendous things for the development of the National Football League, to the good they have done for the players and coaches in this league. We have a lot of respect and appreciation for how they have helped develop our game. Obviously, three head coaches since 1969. All three have been as highly achieved as possible. We have a lot of respect for them.
"To play the Steelers, it's important for our players and coaches to understand the tradition and culture that is in their DNA. They're a tough team from a tough city. They have a blue-collar mentality."
Quarterback Daniel Jones on T.J. Watt and the front seven:
"You look at their defense, it starts up front with those guys. You look at, like you said, Watt and all those guys up front can make plays. As an offense, as a quarterback, we have to make sure we're executing, that I'm understanding where to go with the ball, getting the ball out on time, and making sure we're sharp from that perspective. Like you said, they're good players. They cause you to study what you're doing, make sure you're prepared going in and I think we will be.
"I think you can see he certainly is attacking the ball when he gets back there. He's working hard to get that ball out. A lot of the fundamental things as a quarterback, like keeping two hands on the ball, and like I said, making quick decisions and getting the ball out. Those are things that we're certainly focused on."
Receiver Sterling Shepard on the Steelers defense:
"It's a great test for us. They've been good on that side of the ball for a long time, so that's nothing new. We're excited. We've been preparing."
Judge on the Steelers offense:
"This offense is heavily explosive. They have one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. They have a tremendous collection of receivers, tight ends and running backs, all of which can change the game on any play. They're only a few plays away from the end zone at any point and time. We have to respect everything they do. They run the ball effectively. They throw the ball at will. They can extend plays. Ben (Roethlisberger) is one of the best to get the ball out of his hands fast.
"Ben is a tremendous player. He has been great in this league for a long time, well over a decade. There is going to be some things that carry over from his past. You've got years and years of tape to watch on Ben and what he has done well.
"Randy (Fichtner) has been there a long time with Ben, they have a strong relationship. We'll see what Matt Canada's influence on the offense is. I wouldn't be surprised to see new wrinkles. What has made them good over a long period of time is their ability to do what they want to do, that is play a physical brand of football."
Center Nick Gates on Watt and Bud Dupree:
"Everyone on that front seven is really good. All those guys. Watt, those edge guys are really good. The linebackers are really good. They're just all good. It's a really good front. Watt, he's really good at getting after the quarterback and trying to get the ball out."
Judge on Watt and Dupree:
"If you over play T.J. Watt, you have Bud Dupree on the other edge, and he is just as fierce. We have to play smart as a team. You have to account for really good players, Watt, Bud Dupree. You could go down a whole list. They are really good."
Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson on Maurkice Pouncey and how much video of him they studied:
"Yeah, you watch a lot of film and you try to pick up all the tendencies from each offensive lineman, especially with their interior for me because I'm always on the inside. You always try to pick up as many possible tendencies and things that help benefit you in the game. I watch a lot of film on Pouncey and stuff like that."
Judge on the Steelers defense:
"This defense is very talented. They're experienced, they play together. They're tough. They're opportunistic. They make plays up front and take advantage in the backend of the mistakes you make.
"You can't talk about the top defense in the league without talking about Pittsburgh year in and year out. They have a ton of talent on that defensive front. They use it very effectively. They are extremely talented, and we have our work cut out for us this week."