Opponents on Steelers

Washington is talking about Chase, Ben & more

The Steelers take on the Washington Football Team on Monday at 5 p.m. on FOX, the game changed by a day after the Steelers just played on Wednesday.

The Steelers go into the game with an 11-0 record, while the Washington Football Team is 4-7, but riding a two-game winning streak.

Washington Coach Ron Rivera spoke this week about the Steelers culture, and if it is a model for what he is trying to build.

"Absolutely. They've been able to sustain it," said Rivera. "If you go back and look at it, there was a stretch there that was rough for them. But they stayed consistent. They stayed with what they had. They stayed with their model, they stayed with their philosophy, they stayed with their culture. Now look at where they are."

In addition to talking about the culture, they also weighed in on Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ben Roethlisberger and the defense this week in Washington.

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Coach Ron Rivera on the most impressive thing about the Steelers defense this season:
"I think forcing the turnovers. They've been impressive with that. You've got to protect the football, and that's probably the biggest thing you have to be concerned with because they average about two takeaways or more a game. They've scored the most points off of takeaways because of the short field. You've got to be aware of that."

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
"Well, I could talk about my appreciation for Big Ben. I spoke with Mike Tomlin prior to one of his games last year, I think it was against the Rams. I was in town doing some work for ESPN that day, and I visited with Coach on the field. Obviously, he's happy to have Big Ben back. They were fighting last year, I thought, valiantly with a tough quarterback situation. Obviously, watching Big Ben back and knowing what he brings to the team—obviously, they haven't been beaten this year. He brings that calmness, that experience, that accuracy, that talent. He's a really good football player. Obviously, add that to the defense they play and it's a pretty dangerous combination. A lot of respect for Ben. We've played against him over the years. I think he's a heck of a football player."

Quarterback Alex Smith on his relationship with Roethlisberger:
"I think the longer you hang around, the more opportunities you have to be around one another. Especially as quarterbacks, so often times you do get opportunities randomly here or there with offseasons, Pro Bowls. We spend time together and I've had time to do that with Ben. He's a Hall of Fame player. I think the thing that has impressed me so much through the arch of his career is how much he's developed. As time has gone on, he's done it so many different ways. When he was a young guy, he made so many ad-lib plays and so many with his legs, the pump fakes, the breaking tackles. In the last five years or so to see how prolific he's become from the pocket and how good that part of his game is, how elite it is. With his age and how many games he's played and last year, he had the elbow problems and surgery and rehab and then to come out firing 10-0—it says a lot about him, not only as a player but I think the work ethic, the mindset that goes into that. You certainly appreciate it from afar."

Del Rio on game planning for the Steelers run and pass game:
"Obviously, (James) Conner is a good back, but I think they're capable with all their backs. We don't ignore the run because Conner is out or not out. We've got to play good defense. That's the dilemma. When teams have good players, how do you give each guy the necessary attention that he demands or deserves? That's part of working through it. We're putting a plan together and looking forward to going out and competing."

Rivera on wide receivers Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster:
"You look at them both and JuJu is a big, physical receiver. He's got good size. He's a guy that will battle of the ball. Claypool's got the speed, the quickness. He's got some vertical stretch on you. I don't see him much different than what we saw him coming out, other than he's a little more polished. That's probably the biggest thing you see about him is that he's a more polished player. JuJu seems to be the guy that, at some point in certain critical situations, seems to be the go-to guy and the guy that, during the game at any point he might throw a deep to is Claypool."

Del Rio on Claypool and Smith-Schuster:
"Claypool's been an exciting addition to them. He brings size, speed, play-making ability. Obviously, Big Ben has gotten comfortable with him and likes him a lot. I think JuJu has established himself. He's a good football player. The guy's really physical. (Eric) Ebron catches a lot of balls as well. They've got a good group. No matter where you look—tight ends, receivers, backs—they've got a very capable group of people. Obviously with Big Ben pulling the trigger, it makes them very formidable."

Center Scott Turner on having momentum against the Steelers:
"This is a tremendous challenge for us, obviously, at Pittsburgh. They're a very good team and we've got our work cut out for us. I think momentum is a very real thing. It's just confidence, guys building confidence and feeling good about themselves and continuing to work and grow. I made the point to you guys for a long time that we want to keep just getting better every week and play our best football in December and January. That's what we're working and striving to do."

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