Opponents on Steelers

Patriots are talking about Minkah, Najee, WRs, and more

The Steelers will host the New England Patriots on Sunday in the home opener at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers are coming off an overtime win over the Bengals, while the Patriots are coming off a loss to the Miami Dolphins and looking to get on track.

The Patriots know what they have in store for them having seen film of the Steelers win, and also know Steelers fans will be on point as always.

"A big win on the road against the Bengals, a good team," said Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. "So, home opener in Pittsburgh, I'm sure that there'll be a lot of energy in the stadium, and they'll be ready to go."

The Steelers and Patriots haven't played since 2019, and Belichick knows there will be changes, but also knows it will be a tough Steelers team they will face.

"I can't remember the last time we've gone three years without playing the Steelers," said Belichick. "Some definite changes since the last time we saw them. Big win for Pittsburgh on the road against Cincinnati, went all the way down to the wire. Won it after five full quarters. Made a big play. They had big plays in all areas. Obviously, a big day defensively in turnovers. Had some big plays offensively. Had a couple critical plays, game winning field goal. Just pretty solid effort. Good football team and home opener. I'm sure there'll be a lot of energy in Pittsburgh on Sunday."

While the two teams prepare for the game, the Patriots weighed in on the Steelers overall, and also talked the receivers, Najee Harris, Mitch Trubisky and more.

Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino on the Steelers receivers:
"This group is a really good group. You have Diontae Johnson there, (Chase) Claypool, (George) Pickens. Those guys are extremely talented guys, big guys. You also have (Miles) Boykin, (Steven) Sims, and Gunner (Olszewski) as well that complement the group very well. I would say for the most part the challenge is throwing off the football. They do a really good job of that. Making contested catches situation. We have to play our best and play our game.

"I respect this Pittsburgh group a ton, Claypool, Johnson and Pickens. They're a very talented group. They have great hands, great dynamic, ability with the ball in their hands, they do multiple things in the field. Their stems are very good, the way they set up their routes. It's a real good challenge for us and I am excited to see our group go."

Quarterback Mac Jones on the defense:
"Super talented defense. They play a lot of coverages. Fly to the ball. Minkah does a great job. He was my former teammate at Alabama. I have a lot of respect for him and all of the guys on their defense. They've got playmakers all over the field. It's a really good defense to go against, we don't get to play against them a lot."

Linebackers coach Steve Belichick on Mitch Trubisky:
"I'm sure indirectly he's familiar with playing against us because he was up in Buffalo. He saw how our team played last year.

"He's a very athletic guy, really strong in the pocket. Throws the ball well. We'll have our hands full, but we're excited to get back on the field."

Linebacker Matthew Judon on the Steelers overall:
"Fundamental team. Got good outside receives and they spread the ball around. Good players all around."

Senior football advisor/offensive line coach Matt Patricia on the Steelers defensive performance against Cincinnati:
"I think they played extremely fast. I think they played aggressive. They were able to generate a really good pass rush up front. I thought they pushed the middle of the pocket extremely well. They have some really good players inside, obviously edge players that can get around the edge too. I think their coverage guys, they read the quarterback really well.

"They made some huge plays. They were able to start fast certainly with the interception early in the game and return that and get a jump into the game itself. I thought defensively they were playing very aggressive early in the game. Really had good vision on the quarterback. Read the routes really well. They matched it really well. I didn't feel like (Joe) Burrow could hold the ball that long. I thought there was a lot of pressure on him.

"There were some scheme things in there certainly where they brought some edge pressure from some secondary players and different linebacker pressures that they can bring from some of their defensive units, which are certainly things we have seen before or some packages that we recognized from previous games."

Head Coach Bill Belichick on the Steelers defense in Week 1:
"They had a couple of big plays on the pass rush, strip sacks, sacks, (T.J.) Watt had an interception, batted the ball down. Then their coverage was good. Most of it was zone coverage. They broke on the ball well. Had a couple very good athletic intercepting plays, got their hands on the ball and finished them. Obviously, (Minkah) Fitzpatrick's return for a pick-six there on the second play of the game which was set up by (Cameron) Heyward's sack on the first down put them at second-and-long. So just overall a good complementary defense. Linebackers were fast. They have a good front. They play a lot of people. Their secondary is kind of a ball hawking secondary. They go after the ball, read the quarterback well, do a good job of breaking on the throw and closing space quickly."

Linebacker coach Jerod Mayo on Najee Harris:
"He's one of these guys that can really do it all. He has tremendous size and speed and athleticism for a guy that size. Very hard to take down. He can do a bunch of different things. He's like a Swiss Army knife.

"They're big upfront as well. They have a big offensive line. Those guys are talented. It's definitely going to be a challenge. I don't think one guy can really take him down. It's going to have to be 11 hats to the football type of game."

Patricia on Brian Flores input on the defense:
"I think B-Flo is doing a great job of blending into that defensive unit. Obviously Teryl Austin does a great job of coordinating that, but I think there's definitely some influence there, too, which is part of every single year as coaches grow and schemes grow."

Wide receiver Matthew Slater on the Steelers:
"Their continuity, their consistency, their brand of football. That environment. I can't say enough good things about that organization, that team. It's going to be tough for us. We've got our work cut out for us."

Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers on the defense:
"I know they lost T.J., he's a great playmaker, but they've still got a lot of guys who are pretty good on that team. We've got to be alert, aware of where they are and still execute."

Belichick on what he sees from the defense: 
"They have good inside rushers. Obviously, Heyward is one of the best in the league. Good outside rushers, Watt, (Alex) Highsmith last week. Then they blitz their secondary a decent amount, enough to keep you honest. And the linebackers are fast, (Devin) Bush, (Myles) Jack, (Robert) Spillane, they've got a whole bunch of them. So those guys are very athletic, too. So, it's an athletic defense with some good, powerful people inside."

Special teams coordinator Cameron Achord on Gunner Olszewski:
"Gunner's aggressive. Mindset is he's not going to want to fair catch the ball; he doesn't want to fair catch the ball. That's what you love about the guy. He did a good job for us when he was here. Now it's our job to go out and stop him and eliminate him that way as far as his return opportunities. He's going to be aggressive. You know he's going to take chances as far as trying to catch the ball and get vertical and stretch the field. He does a really good job with the ball in his hands. He's always able to run through tackles and he makes sharp cuts on the runs. It's going to be a really good challenge for us."

Safeties coach Brian Belichick on the Steelers skill position players:
"They're good all across the board at every position. Their receivers are really good. They have some dynamic guys, some big guys, they're all good football players. The tight ends are good. They have good young tight ends that are a problem. Some really good guys that we don't know. That will be good this week to dive into these guys that we haven't played much. Obviously, the running backs are good as well. A lot of guys to see here and a big challenge for us."

Bill Belichick on Pat Freiermuth:
"Athletic kid. Big target. Catches the ball well. Competitive blocker. He's got good size, can cover some people on the end of the line of scrimmage. He's done a good job for them. Had a couple of big plays last week. He's come through for them, so I'm sure they'll continue to give him those opportunities."

Patricia on the environment at Acrisure Stadium:
"It will be another big challenge for us. Pittsburgh is very loud. That's a great environment to play football in."

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