The Steelers take on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. The Rams are coming off a win over the Arizona Cardinals, while the Steelers are playing their first game coming off the bye week.
The Rams bring an array of offensive weapons, along with a tough defense led by Pittsburgh native Aaron Donald.
For the Rams, though, they know the challenge they are going to face going against the black and gold.
"We've got our work cut out for us, but I think it's going to be incredibly important, like any week, but especially against an outfit like this, to be efficient on those early downs and not get into some of those situations where they can really pin their ears back and dictate the terms," said Rams Coach Sean McVay. "That makes it really difficult against excellent players, great schemes."
The Rams weighed in on a variety of topics, including Alex Highsmith, T.J. Watt, Coach Mike Tomlin and Super Bowl XLIII.
Coach Sean McVay on what he sees from the Steelers defensive front:
"Yeah, they've always been such a high-level operation with Coach (Mike) Tomlin's leadership, and it always starts up front. You look at (T.J.) Watt and (Alex) Highsmith off the edges. They've got excellent depth behind them. They can push the pocket interior-wise and they do a great job of playing hard on all three levels and they can do it in a variety of ways. And a lot of times when they're creating that pressure, it's just coming off of a four-man rush.
"So, we've got our work cut out for us, but I think it's going to be incredibly important, like any week, but especially against an outfit like this, to be efficient on those early downs and not get into some of those situations where they can really pin their ears back and dictate the terms. That makes it really difficult against excellent players, great schemes.
"It'll be good. That's what you love. Our work is certainly cut out for us."
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald on if there are any extra emotions playing the Steelers, his hometown team:
"Not really. I was just talking to my dad like last week about playing the Steelers this week. He was asking me, 'You get to play the hometown, how does it feel?' I was like, 'My first year I was excited about it.' Obviously going back to Pittsburgh, it was exciting, but now it's just like, it's cool to play against the team that I grew up watching and all that, but it's just another week. I want to find a way to be successful, try to find a way to win this game but there's not extra excitement this time playing against the Steelers, just another week."
Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris on the Steelers offense:
The one thing I could tell you what I've seen is I've seen the quarterback stand in the face of adversity and put his team to put them in a position to be tied for first place in their division. He's winning late game charges and doing some of those things that you do at a very high level. Got all the preseason praise, it was all the hype of how well they were doing, didn't start off the right way but at the end of the day, they found a way to put themselves in position to be tied in that division, which we all know is a tough one to be right in a position with, which they've always done…having an organization that I can't remember the last time they had a losing record. I know their leader well. I know what his messaging is and he's all about wins. He'll tell you, he's in the business of winning and this week we hopefully can take him out of that business."
Donald on training in Pittsburgh in the offseason:
"I see a lot of those guys. Obviously in OTAs I'm back in Pittsburgh still so I see those guys practicing and see those guys, walk past those guys. I see a couple, say what's up to them. So yeah, I see those guys a lot. I see Coach Tomlin out there. So yeah, it's pretty cool."
Quarterback Matthew Stafford on if defenses are usually more dialed in or relaxed coming off a bye week:
"Sometimes, it depends on the coordinator, depends on the style of defense that they run.
"Pittsburgh is a really talented defense. Obviously upfront, in the back end, second level, really all three levels of the defense, they've got playmakers so it's going to be a big challenge for us.
"But I think we'll get out there and see on Sunday. We obviously see what they put on tape, they see what we put on tape, we game plan, we go play and then make adjustments as needed."
Donald on if his mom grew up a Steelers fan:
"We all grew up big Steelers fans. I still consider myself a Steelers fan, obviously, until we got to play them. I still look to see if they're doing good. I'm still a Steelers fan myself until we got to suit up and play against them. So whole family is still Steelers fans, but now more Rams fans but it's pretty cool."
Morris on his relationship with Coach Mike Tomlin:
"We met in 2002. I went to interview and he's very blunt. I went through the whole process. The due diligence of meeting with Monte Kiffin and all the guys on the staff. I finally got a chance to meet with him and he just cut right to the chase, 'Hey man, how do you know the defense?' I told him I was with Herm (Edwards). Then from 2002 we got a chance to work with each other for a couple of years and we remained really good friends off the field and on the field."
Morris on his favorite Tomlin story:
"No, not right now. I'll give you some of those in the offseason. Right now I got to get ready to face him because he's going to stand in front of his media with the stone face. He's going to stand in front of his media with the big eyes and he's going to absolutely be stoic and he's not going to want to joke about our relationship, so I won't give him any ammo because he'll take it and use it against me."
Donald on his relationship with Tomlin:
"We talk when we see each other. I got a lot of respect for him as a person just talking to him. He's just a cool guy when I'm back in Pittsburgh training sometimes, he might be over there talking to my trainer and watching me train. We get to talk a little bit. So much respect for what he does as a coach, but more as a person, just me getting to talk to him and get a little feel for who he is. He's definitely a cool guy."
Receiver Cooper Kupp on the Steelers defense:
"I think that the defense, they fly around, they play hard. Obviously, the guys on the edge, they come off the ball. Obviously had counter production sacking the quarterback. The linebackers have done a great job as well. I think they play hard and fill holes, hit typical Pittsburgh defense in the back end. They got a lot of guys that play a lot of good football, instinctual football players in the right place. They know what they're doing, they communicate well so they present a great challenge and excited about being able to go out there and attack it."
Donald on if there is a game he remembers watching as a kid being a Steelers fan:
"Yes, Steelers when they beat Arizona in the Super Bowl. I remember that so it was cool. I think I was at my uncle's house. We had a Super Bowl party there and I remember just being super excited when they… that toe touch, that touchdown in the back in the end zone. I still remember it. So, a lot of excitement in the household then, so it was pretty cool."
Donald on James Harrison's Super Bowl interception return for a touchdown:
"I remember that. A lot of good memories watching the Steelers obviously, but now we try to do what we got to do here as the Rams just trying to find a way to beat them. I don't want to keep praising them too much."
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