Sunday night will be a classic AFC North matchup when the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field.
And there is no doubt a typical Steelers-Ravens game will be on tap.
“We’re going to play the Steelers on Sunday Night Football in Pittsburgh, and we know what that means,” said Ravens Coach John Harbaugh. “We’re going to get their best shot. There’s no team that rallies for big games more than they do. They come up big for the big games, and playing the Ravens is a big game, and I’m sure the Steelers will play their best on Sunday night, like they always do against us.”
Harbaugh, as well of some Ravens players, shared their thoughts on the Steelers, including Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner and Vance McDonald.
Hearing from the Ravens:
Harbaugh on what makes Antonio Brown so productive:
“What jumps out? Man, playmaking ability is the broadest way that I can say it. But what jumps out to me is the deep over routes and the corner routes – that’s what I see – and also the inside slants, when they get you matched up in there, especially when you bring pressure. Those things are things he’s made simple concepts, that he and Ben are like one mind. He’s made that throw on the sideline against us. He’s made it on fade routes, too – right on the sideline where he makes a great catch and toe-taps it down. You’re just kind of amazed by it. We know that’s what you get when you play the Steelers, that’s what you’re dealing with, and that’s what makes them who they are.”
Harbaugh on how tough Brown is to defend:
“It’s tough, but we have the guys that can do it. Plus, we’ll mix coverages on them, and it won’t be seven-on-seven out there. We’ll be bringing some heat. That’s how you do it.”
Eric Weddle on Ben Roethlisberger:
“I have seen him for a lot of years. Each year he is getting better and better. Age is just a number with him. He is in full control. When they protect him and he gets in those runs, he is one of the best to do it. It’s fun to watch as a fan of football, but when you are getting ready to play against him it keeps you up late at night trying to figure out ways to make it hard on him and make it tough.
“It seems like he has more control. He is comfortable. He is able to get in and out of plays that he likes and doesn’t like. You can tell he likes what they are doing offensively.”
Guard/tackle James Hurst on T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree:
“They’re good players. They play really hard. You can’t stop blocking them. As soon as you stop, that’s when they’re going to turn the corner and get a sack. They have [Stephon] Tuitt and [Cameron] Heyward in the middle – two huge, strong guys that are going to really push the pocket. Everyone’s got to be on their game. It’s definitely a group effort. They’re really good players, so it’s a challenge for us, for sure.”
Harbaugh on the Steelers offense under Randy Fichtner:
“It’s the same basic offense. Randy has been in there all those years and been a part of it and I am sure he has had tons of input in the past. I think they have built on that. There are always certain evolutions coaches make. I think they are in that natural process.”
The Steelers prepare for the Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey on going against Antonio Brown:
“Going up against A.B., he’s arguably the best in the game. A guy like that, he doesn’t really get tired. You watch him on film, he’ll run his route. ‘Big Ben’ [Roethlisberger] starts scrambling, he just turns up field, runs around, and he is just a guy that you can tell, is in probably some of the best shape out of any receivers you play against. He doesn’t seem to get tired. He’s on one side of the field, on the other side of the field, going in motion, going on a sweep, getting a screen, so he does so much. He’s a guy that you have to be aware of. It’s guys like that, along with A.J. [Green], the guys we’ve seen in our division, it’s kind of a guy that down the line, you’ll look back and say that you were going against some of the best, and you can only know how good you are when you go against the best.”
Weddle on James Conner:
“He is an explosive, physical, downhill runner. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. They look for him in the passing game when things aren’t open. He likes to be the outlet. He is up and coming.”
Harbaugh on the Steelers offense:
“You have to be able to defend everything against this offense. They are very good in every aspect, very capable. They can run, they can throw. A tough group to defend.”
Humphrey on Roethlisberger:
“If you ever get your eyes in the backfield, what looks like a sack oftentimes isn’t a sack with ‘Big Ben.’ He’s just so strong. A lot of times, he can complete passes holding a guy off with the other arm. With that, the main thing is, you can’t ever really relax until you hear the whistle.”
Harbaugh on Roethlisberger:
“He is just playing really well. He has total control of the offense. He has been running it for years and years. He knows the ins and outs of it. Knows what he is looking for on every play, who he wants to get the ball to. How he wants to handle protections and pressures. It looks to me like he has complete grasp of the offense."
Weddle on Vance McDonald:
“That was a great play. McDonald has always shown his explosiveness and athleticism when he has gotten a chance to play, even back in his days with the 49ers. We understand that and respect him and all of those tight ends. That’s a good group of tight ends. We have to be on our toes with everyone. He is an explosive, physical guy that obviously can run.”
Humphrey on JuJu Smith-Schuster:
“JuJu, it’s crazy that he’s kind of putting up some better numbers than A.B. so, he’s definitely a guy you have to be alert of. Last year, he had a really good year as a rookie, and I think he turned some heads. Even though you have to be aware of A.B., you also have to be aware of JuJu, He’s been a guy that’s been given a lot of catches, a lot of yards per game, so we definitely have to be alert for him.”
Harbaugh on the Steelers pass rush:
“Their pass rush has been really good. They’ve had a bunch of sacks. They have good pass rushers. They have really good pass rushers. They can win one-on-one battles. They’re very good inside, obviously, with [Stephon] Tuitt and [Cameron] Heyward pushing the pocket inside. But, they also have good edge rushers. They run a good blitz package. [Vince] Williams does a great job of blitzing, so does [Jon] Bostic. They’ll bring safeties off the edge, they’ll bring their nickel, so they have a nice little pressure package. They’ll bring four from the field, four from the boundary. Sometimes, it’s a five-man pressure. Sometimes, it’s a four-man pressure with zone coverage behind it. They always add a wrinkle. They kind of have their system they’ve been running for years, but they’ll add a wrinkle, especially against us. They added a couple wrinkles last Monday night that were new, so they’re very creative as well.”