Steeler Nation , the Steelers 0-4 are back from their bye week and heading to New York to face the 3-2 New York Jets. Lets go behind enemy lines and see just what the enemy is saying about the Steelers and this up coming game… Proceed with caution!
Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan from conference call to Pittsburgh reporters.
Q : How do you stop the combination of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown which has been very successful?Head
Coach Rex Ryan : I don’t know [Laughs]. That’s certainly going to be a challenge. I will say this about that kid, he is quite a dancer. We did a little dance thing at a Pro Bowl one year when he made it as a returner. His score was like a zillion times higher than mine, but either way that goes without saying. He is quite a receiver, and then the [Emmanuel] Sanders kid as well. Jerricho Cotchery is still doing a great job, averaging close to 17 yards a catch. Big Ben, gosh, every time I see him out there I’m like, “Who is going to tackle this big monster?” He can hold the ball. He doesn’t have to throw it in rhythm like a lot of quarterbacks, even though he will. He can shake off a guy, and he’s always done that. Against me, he’s done it several times. He is still a tremendous player and obviously it’s hard to stop him. Nobody has stopped those guys yet.
Q: With that being said, how are they 0-4?
Coach Rex Ryan : I think it’s the turnovers. When you look at them, obviously Pittsburgh is a team that is built on taking the ball away on defense, as are we. The fact that they’ve been struggling to do that so far, I hope that happens one more week. When you look at it, you know Dick LeBeau’s and my defense will always be up there, which we are. But here’s one [a stat] that blows me away, percent had intercepted. Pittsburgh is 32nd and we’re 31st. Are you kidding me? Two teams that you expect to get a lot of interceptions haven’t done it, quite honestly, up to this point yet. I think that’s the main reason, the turnover differential. I think it’s minus-11 for Pittsburgh, which is totally uncharacteristic for them.
Q : Update on Santonio Holmes:
Coach Rex Ryan : We’ll see. I know he’s trying his best to get back out there. I’m not real sure about it. I don’t feel great about it right now. We’ll see how the week goes. He’s not going to practice today, I’ll tell you that.
Q : Can you talk about the impact Willie Colon has had on your team this year?
Coach Rex Ryan : Oh my goodness, absolutely tremendous. Don’t think for a second – Mike Tomlin knows Willie Colon – and everybody knows this is a tough man. You guys know it as well as I do. He’s great in the locker room. He’s brought so much leadership to us and is still just doing a tremendous job for us as well. He had his best game of the season this past week and he has done a great job as a player, but I’m really proud of the contributions he has made for our football team. He is quite a leader, probably one of our biggest leaders on the offensive side.
Jets Quarterback Geno Smith
Q :On this week’s game against Pittsburgh…
Geno Smith : It’s going to be another tough week. That’s a very proud franchise, Super Bowl-winning quarterback, stingy defense, in my opinion one of the best out there, two of the best safeties in the game. They fly around, they hit and they’ve been known for causing turnovers. They haven’t gotten as many as they’ve liked to this season, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to try to ramp it up. So we’ve got to continue to focus on what got us to this point, which is just working hard in practice, taking care of the ball and moving the ball on offense.
Q : On how he prepares for the challenge of facing a Dick LeBeau defense on a short week…
Geno Smith : Just seeing all the fronts, all the looks that they can throw at you. Dick LeBeau, everyone knows about that defensive coordinator. I knew about him before I even got here. He’s going to have some things. They’re coming off a bye week — two weeks to prepare. I know there are going to be some things out there I haven’t seen before. I’ve just got to be able to handle it the best way I can, just focus on taking care of the ball and not putting us in tough situations.
Q:On if he knew of LeBeau because of his proximity to Pittsburgh when he was at West Virginia…
Geno Smith : Just being a football fan, everyone knows about him. Christmas stories and all that. He’s one of the best defensive coordinators out there. The guy’s 73 years old and he still gets it done.
Jets Guard Willie Colon
Q : What do you see when you see the Steelers defense on film?
Willie Colon : I know those guys. I know Cameron [Heyward], and I know Troy [Polamalu],Ryan Clark, Ike [Taylor] and all those guys. Their back end is still playing at a high level. Up front, I think Steve [McLendon] is playing really well. [Brett] Keisel is obviously doing a great job. I think defensively they’re still up there. They’re still doing what they need to do to be efficient. They’re kind of like us how we started off, the turnovers are killing them. The turnovers are killing us, so we can relate to that in that regard. But nevertheless, like I’ve been telling these guys, just because they’re 0-4, by no means can we overlook this team. Pittsburgh, even when I was there, was extremely prideful on defense. They’re going to give us their best shot. That’s just kind of the attitude that, “Hey, these guys are going to come into town and give us their best shot, and we’ve got to be ready to go.”
Q : Have you looked at the offensive line at all?
Willie Colon : Yeah, I look at the guys, of course. They’re still my family, and I still have a lot of love for [Maurkice] Pouncey and Ramon [Foster], and obviously Big Mike [Adams] and [Marcus Gilbert] and the rest of those guys. It’s tough to see those guys go through what they’re going through, but I know they’ll find a way to get it done somehow.
Q : When you were released, did that come as a surprise? Are there any lingering hard feelings over it?
Willie Colon : Honestly, I think once Ramon was signed, the writing was on the wall. I knew they couldn’t keep both of us. To be honest, I did kind of expect a pay cut with me coming off my third IR [Reserve/Injured List]. That didn’t happen so obviously it was a business decision for them to move in a better direction. I have the utmost respect for the Rooneys, Coach Tomlin, who I love to death. Coach Kugler, when he was there, he helped me out so much in my career. I have no hard feelings towards that organization whatsoever. I referenced something earlier that I carry a big chip on my shoulder, only because me coming off my third IR, I was kind of labeled a limit, like I was kind of done with. That pissed me off. I know how hard I trained in the offseason. I know how much work I put in to be the best I could be. I never want anybody to put me in a box. With me coming in here it was fresh start, a new chapter. Pittsburgh gave me everything. I gave them everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of the day, I love that city. I love what they gave me, but it’s time for me to move on. I’m a Jet.
Q : What do you love about Mike Tomlin?
Willie Colon : Me and Coach T have a personal relationship. I think his ability to be a total general, his ability, when I was there, to always have a plan. There’s a plan A, there’s a plan B and there’s a plan C. Throughout it all, he never rode the emotional rollercoaster. He always had a direct order. He always believed in us as a line. He believed in my abilities to handle that room and he believed in me personally as a man. I’m forever grateful for that. There is so much I learned from him by just watching through my years there. It was priceless. I’m kind of in debt from him in that regard.
Q : What you bring to the Jets?
Willie Colon : I came here with the attitude that this team was missing a lot. They were missing chemistry, and they were missing that fight and belief in each other. I don’t know how to do that but just playing how I play. Practice hard, leaning on your brother, talking to the guys, sort of like Aaron Smith did when I was there. When I was a young guy, Aaron Smith was a guy who I would just watch his work ethic and how he talked to guys and how he presented himself. I admire him. I admire Hines [Ward]. I admire Casey [Hampton]. So many of those guys I was just able to sit back and keep my mouth shut and watch how they went about their day-to-day business. They’re the reason I’m the pro I am today. I was brought into an amazing organization where all I had to do was just shut up and watch, and things worked out.