As the team continues to prepare for Sunday's AFC Championship Game, fans everywhere want to know what's going on with the players and how they're getting focused for a big-time matchup. On Thursday afternoon, members of Steelers Nation Unite got the opportunity to find that out firsthand, as LB Ryan Shazier took time to answer their questions during a live fan forum conference call.
An event that was available exclusively to SNU members, Shazier talked about everything from preparing for Sunday's game to his time so far as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. All year long, Steelers Nation Unite provides this insider access to the team, with opportunities to interact live with current players and Steelers Legends. Fans can sign up at SteelersNationUnite.com to become members and score access to these exclusive events.
Here are the top five takes from the live conference call with Shazier and Steelers Nation Unite members.
Do you like it better when the defense starts the game on the field or the offense?
"Either way, we're cool with it. Sometimes the defense loves to go out there and set the tempo and get everybody going. A three-and-out would be huge and give our offense great field position. When the offense goes out there first, we're cool with it because we know they can strike fast and that can set a good tempo for us because we can start playing with a lead."
What has it been like learning from the veteran linebackers like William Gay and Ryan Shazier and how does that help when facing someone like Tom Brady?
"Their advice definitely helps out a lot. Just from all the experience they have and how many times they had to play against them, they just learn more and more each time. They gave me all this knowledge early and they've just really helped my game out as I continue to grow."
Will you or the team do anything different in preparing this week for New England since it's the AFC Championship Game?
"I don't think this week's preparation will change much from the other weeks. We've been doing pretty good [with our routine]. Everyone knows they have to key-in more on certain guys a little bit more because those guys have been playing really good football. But preparation-wise, I don't think we're really changing it much. We're just trying to stick to the good routine that we have."
Was there one thing or one event that caused the defense to start jelling this season?
"I don't think it was any one thing. I definitely think it was just our learning of each other and everybody understanding how important it is to be a better group. We knew that we wanted to get to this point so everybody had to step their game up."
What is the feeling like in the locker room right now?
"It's a great feeling to be where we are right now. Football is a humbling game and we're just happy that we're able to continue to play and play the way we have. It's just a really good feeling right now."
To hear the full replay of the call, as well as score access to future Weekly Huddle events, visit SteelersNationUnite.com now to join for free and get recognized as an official member of Steelers Nation. Learn More