The Steelers will play their first primetime game of the 2021 season when they host the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field, a game where the team will honor those who were enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021.
The two teams have identical 2-3 records and are both looking to get to .500 early in the season.
"We have to get our game going and I know they feel the same, a couple of 2-3 teams going at it on the East Coast on Sunday night," said Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll. "It's going to call for a championship matchup and a championship performance from us. We have a lot that we need to get done this week and it's going to be a challenge, obviously. We have a lot of respect for this club, their players, and their coaches. Right now, we have to have another tough one and these guys are going to bring it to us."
The Seahawks weighed in on a bunch of topics, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the offensive line, running back Najee Harris and more.
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Coach Pete Carroll on his impressions of Ben Roethlisberger:
"I think he's amazing. When I addressed the team and talked to them about the Steelers and all that, I started talking about Ben. Everybody's watched him, it feels like their whole careers. He's been around forever. He's an iconic football player in the NFL. He's still using the whole field. He's advanced games in different ways over the years. They spread the ball really well. They get rid of the football extremely quickly and cause a real problem for your pass rush. He's making big plays, as always. We see him, really, the same that he's been. As the offense has been styled a little bit differently, he's adapted really well to it and really commands it."
Carroll on how Ben Roethlisberger looks now compared to previous years:
"The emphasis of the ball coming out fast is really evident, the ball really gets out. Nobody gets the ball out faster, I think we said that about the 49ers a couple of weeks ago, but these guys are faster at this point. That means that you can't fool him. When stuff is happening, you are pressuring him, and coming at him, he knows everything that is going on and he just does not let you get to him. Their offense is really designed to use his decision making to spread the ball around the field, mix their runs and passes and the stuff that goes along with it. It includes a lot of quick perimeter stuff so he's really good at doing that and he can strike you dead. He's still throwing deep balls right on the money. He has a nice crew with him, with Najee (Harris) in there to hammer the football. It makes for a nice mix on their offense now."
Linebacker Bobby Wagner on Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense:
"Obviously, he's less mobile because he's getting older and stuff like that, but he still makes great decisions, for the most part. He gets the ball out of his hands very fast. I think he does a good job of looking for the receivers and looking the linebackers off, moving them with his eyes and finding the target. A lot of our job is just making that pocket uncomfortable I think the game changes when he gets uncomfortable, or when you've got guys in his face, just like any quarterback. Our job is to make sure he's not just sitting back there and trying to pick us apart because he's a great quarterback and he's shown over the years that he's done that. He's capable of doing that if you give him the opportunity, so we just can't give him the opportunity."
Carroll on what Najee Harris brings to the offense:
"He has been consistent. He's a really competitive football player. They have gone to him so much, they are running the ball a bunch already, he's caught a bunch of passes as he is the leading receiver of the team. That's their running game and they are really committed to him which was a great pick for them to do that. He is real creative and really aggressive. He's bigger than most guys, he's over 230. He runs through people, makes them miss, and makes them bounce off. He's a really effective football player and is a really good player."
Wagner on Harris:
"He's definitely a challenge. Fun to watch on film. I like his footwork. When he reads the holes, when he sees it, he hits it. I think he stiff armed somebody out of bounds in the Raiders game. Definitely somebody you've got to get a body on, and somebody that you've got to be conscious of. He's also really, really active in the passing game. They like to get him out, he rarely stays in when there's a pass. He's somebody that can do it all, somebody we have to account for. It'll be a good challenge for us."
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on receiver Chase Claypool:
"He's a challenge. You're going to get big receivers, you're going to get good skilled players, every single week. There's no question. You turn on the film, there's skilled players. Claypool, Diontae (Johnson), their running back, obviously the quarterback. Pretty good. They do things well. They throw the ball well. They get the ball out. They get the ball out even faster than the Rams. It's going to be a good challenge for us."
Carroll on how different the offense is without JuJu Smith-Schuster:
"He's a fantastic player. I would bet he's a big part of their team too because he's got attitude and juice and all that to him. Anytime we lose a player like that on our team, we miss him. But they've got other guys that are doing really well too. I'm not sure what's going to happen with (James) Washington and all that, but Chase Claypool has just done a marvelous job of getting started in this league and Diontae Johnson looks very comfortable with Ben. Ben has had his guys over the years. You can see him fit in with guys. They look like they have a really good group and they'll be able to hold up and respond even though they're losing JuJu."
Norton Jr. on offensive coordinator Matt Canada:
"You can tell that they kind of stand for what Pittsburgh has been known for over the years. Winning ball games, being tough, really committed at running, really committed at throwing the short, intermediate routes. The quarterback, Roethlisberger's always been good at finding the open man. He's seen a lot because he's played a long time, and he can still throw a deep ball pretty good."
Carroll on the offensive line:|
"They have been a little bit banged up at tackle and the young guys inside are doing a nice job. I know (Zach) Banner is trying to get back, I don't know when that happens, so we'll see how it goes. Their young guys are really coming through, that's the thing I notice the most."
Wagner on offensive line, especially the tackles:
"I like them. They play really well together. I know they're new and they're trying to figure it out, even form their double teams to some of their single blasts, they're figuring out they work really good together. That's what has kind of helped that run game, in the last game, as they progress in the season and gotten better at some of the pass off blocks, that's what shows. They're a great O-line and they have a really fun back, back there. We just have to make sure that we come downhill, and we don't give them time to work out all the blocking schemes they're trying to do."
Carroll on the challenge of facing the pass rush:
"They have historically been a difficult defense. They play with an aggressive style but don't pressure as much as you might think. They use their players and move them around to try to cause problems. They have historically been a good group, so they are a challenge because of the makeup of their play. T.J. (Watt) on one side is pretty good over there and they have some guys that will create problems for you that we have to deal with."