When Joe Greene speaks, people listen. And it's not just because the Hall of Famer and legendary Greene has a presence about him. It's because he knows what he is talking about, especially when it comes to the Steelers and in particular, the defensive line. Greene shared his opinion on the 2016 Steelers, weighing in on the defensive line and other topics in this exclusive interview.
On defensive end Cameron Heyward: **"What I like is his maturity and his real desire to buy into what the Pittsburgh Steelers are about. That is what happened with all of us in the 1970s. We grew into being a Steelers player. Leadership goes along with that. Physically he has the length and size to play the position. He still has a lot of upside. That doesn't mean he is slacking. He is growing. He is going to mature into a dominant player."
On defensive end Stephon Tuitt:
"I am really excited about him. He plays the left side and in the old days that was the strong side. He has not only the length, but the girth to handle that position, take on the blocks and get rid of them.
"Some of the games I saw last year his temperament is coming to where it should be. It's going to take him to another level in his ability to play. The aggressiveness, the way he goes about tackling the line of scrimmage, the way he finishes plays. It's about an attitude. He is growing into it like we spoke about Cam. He is younger, but he is going along that same line of progression. That is going to happen if you have that makeup and talent. I think Coach (John) Mitchell will get it out of him."
On Coach John Mitchell and his leadership and knowledge:
"He sees everything, knows it all. He is what I call a consummate teacher. When I am watching he is always talking about hand placement, the alignment, the position in the alignment, width of stances, reading their keys and attacking the line of scrimmage. He doesn't allow them to have a play off. That is one of the better things about Coach Mitch. The guys know he is watching and isn't going to miss a thing."
On what you have to do to be an effective nose tackle:
"Pay attention to the coaching and you have to have the size and mass to play it. When you are playing at the zero position head up with the center the blocks coming at you from straight ahead, left and right and oftentimes when you are attacking the line of scrimmage, sometimes those blocks come and you don't see them. You have to have the body to withstand the blocks you can't see. You have to have the instinct and reaction that allows you to prepare to ward off the blocks. The number one thing is to attack the line of scrimmage all the way down the line, second is inside ward off the blocks whether they are coming down low or high.
That is a talent I call the warriors. You have to have that talent and mental toughness to be in there."
On what message he would give to rookies on the team:
"Come in being ready to work. Listen to the coaches. When you are not in there, watch your position, listen to the instruction being given to the player at that position. Study your playbook. Get into your playbook at night.
"When the ball is snapped, when you have to practice, just go for it. If you are sitting there trying to figure it out you are going to be too late and too slow. Just go for it and react. The coaches will tell you what you missed. Everything will become in focus. But if you wait to try and see it, then your eyes never adjust to the tempo and speed of it. Having your eyes adjust to the speed and tempo helps you more than you physically trying to adjust to the speed and tempo, waiting and looking for it."