Skip to main content

Take 5 with Ross Ventrone


Safety Ross Ventrone weighs in on special teams in this installment of Take 5.Do you enjoy playing special teams?"I love it. I feel like people don't appreciate the special teams' side of the game. In this system you realize how important it is with field position. I love going out there. We get a play every eight plays or whatever. It's just a bunch of wild men out there being reckless. It's just doing our thing. It's that exciting time. When we are out there a fire is burning and we are getting after it."

What kind of mindset do you need to have to play special teams?
"You have to be a little controlled reckless. When you are on defense you are going against a wide receiver as a defensive back, guys your size. On special teams you don't know who is going to hit you. You have to have that no fear mentality and that reckless ability."

What would surprise people about what it takes to play special teams?
"It's more mental than people would think. They see us run down the field going full speed and smashing into people. But there are so many things that go into kick and punt returns, kick direction, things that get factored in. I don't think people realize the mental side of special teams. It is more important than anything. When you are running down the field full speed, if you don't know what return is coming your way you are never going to make a play. It's being able to dissect that one move.
(Special teams coordinator) Danny Smith lays it out so well for us. You know what you are getting."


Does it feel good when special teams' sets the tone?**"That is the best part. Starting the game on kickoff and getting a big hit, or starting the game on kickoff return and getting a big return. It sets the momentum for the start of the game or the second half. You can change momentum real quick and change the aspect of a game."

What's it like to have Antonio Brown return punts, especially when he breaks one?
"He is so talented. When he is back there you never know what he is going to do. Coach (Mike Tomlin) says Antonio doesn't need much, just block the guy in front of you. Once he starts doing his thing you just find a guy and block him. He is going to do his thing behind you. You can't look back. If you do, he is going another way. He is special."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.