Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at today's opponent – the Cincinnati Bengals:
Q. With Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman both out of the game against the Bengals, how will you deal with their absences?
A. Jonathan Dwyer is going to get the call today. Obviously, Baron Batch also is a capable guy, and we saw glimpses of that last week, and we're excited about the prospects of a young Chris Rainey as well. These are the guys who will get the bulk of the load, and how we divvy it up will depend on how they perform. Jonathan Dwyer gets the first whack at it.
Q. How do you cover for the injuries to the offensive line in this game tonight?
A. Unfortunately we've got some experience covering that. We go to some familiar faces, like Doug Legursky who has done it for us over the last several years, and we have an exciting young guy in Mike Adams who is talented and has improved greatly day to day since he has been here.
Q. Has A.J. Green actually improved over his great rookie season of 2011?
A. Certainly he has, as most players do. You see them expanding his route tree – he's running some non-vertical routes. They move him around formationally in ways they didn't a year ago. That probably represents a natural maturation process of not only Green but also of Andy Dalton.
Q. What makes Green such a special player?
A. He's a big guy who has little guy body control and little guy quickness. He can get in and out of break points uniquely for a big man. He's just got an awesome physical skill-set.
Q. Can you give any reasons why Andy Dalton has thrown nine interceptions this season?
A. It's a variety of things. I think they're better equipped to address the reasons why because they've built their system and they analyze what breaks down and what doesn't. Sometimes it's just quality play by the people you compete against. I've got a great deal of respect for him and his decision-making, and his physical and mental skills. I think he's an interesting, rising young star in the National Football League and I've got a great deal of respect for how he plays the position.
Q. What kind of weapon do the Bengals have in running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis?
A. He's steady. He's a one-cut runner. He's very good at possessing the ball. He gets what is there based on the blocking and then some. He made his reputation on being really solid, and I think he has been that for them so far.
Q. Along the line of scrimmage when the Bengals have the ball is the key matchup James Harrison vs. Andrew Whitworth?
A. You also could say it's on the other side, with their young guy Andre Smith from Alabama vs. LaMarr Woodley. The reality is that our outside linebackers vs. their tackles is going to be a big part of this football game.
Q. How would you assess Bengals DT Geno Atkins as part of a defense that leads the NFL in sacks?
A. This guy is a talented guy. He's not small, he's short. He's also athletic. He can go speed-to-power on you and threaten the edge and run down the center of you and collapse the pocket. He can also do the very opposite. He can get on the edge and rip, swim, and use a variety of rush moves to get to the edge and by you. He's a talented player. He has been to the Pro Bowl. He's a young guy who's really emerging and being very consistent in terms of how he dominates games and particular situations.
We've got our hands full. It's not only a Willie Colon battle, or a Ramon Foster battle. It's a Pittsburgh Steelers battle. One of the things that's unique about their rush, and I think they've sacked the quarterback 20 times thus far in the season, is the fact that it's a culmination of all the men on the defensive line. They've got some great edge rushers. They also have interior people who can collapse the pocket. So, simply sliding up in the pocket doesn't get you out of harm's way. Of those 20 sacks, the sacks don't always go to the first man who created the pressure or broke down the pocket. They do a nice job of creating a collective rush, a four-man rush, if you will.
That's why you see production from all of the parties. Whether it's Robert Geathers, or Carlos Dunlap, or Michael Johnson, or Atkins, or Domata Peko, they all are registering statistics and they're all being productive, they're all affecting the game, and I think the strength is in the pack. Although, individually, these guys are having great starts to their 2012 seasons.