While everyone wakes up from their candy-induced comas from last night’s Halloween festivities, the Steelers are hard at work on the South Side putting their finishing touches on the game plan against New England. Can they get back to winning football by stealing one from the Patriots? That would be glorious. Here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.
Steelers Offensive and Defensive Coordinators speak with reporters following Thursday’s practice. Each coordinator has a tough task ahead of them this week in New England. Dick LeBeau has to figure out how the defense can stop Tom Brady as well as the Patriots’ rushing attack while Todd Haley needs to get the offense to turn around their red-zone inefficiency and try to strike early in the game. Haley was asked why he thinks the offense has been so ineffective in the red-zone. You can find both coordinators’ comments in full here.
“We’re just not making plays. We’re finding ways to shoot ourselves in the foot. Penalties have shown up there. Inefficient runs last week, we had a minus-five run because we missed a block. It’s a little bit of everything. There’s no one issue. It’s just we’ve got to be better, and when the opportunities present themselves we’ve got to make the plays. In the last two games, we had a couple catches that potentially are points. And we’ve just got to do a better job across the board. ” – Todd Haley
LeBeau was asked about whether it was important for the Steelers defense to stop the run or to stop Tom Brady on Sunday afternoon.
“Well, I think you have to stop their offense. That never involves stopping any one thing. We always like to stop the run and make people throw, but I don’t know if that is exactly the thing you want to do with Tom Brady. [Smiles] They are pretty well balanced. In the last three games, they’ve been getting up there in the low 30s in points per game. We have to keep them under that for sure. We’ve played him before. He’s played us. We are looking forward to the challenge. I wouldn’t say you wave either one against these guys. They are pretty balanced.” – Dick LeBeau
Brown down after drops in Oakland
Antonio Brown is having what looks to be a record-breaking season for the Steelers. According to Steelers Insider Ed Bouchette of the PPG, Brown is on pace to break the team’s reception record that was previously set by Hines Ward. But, those stats aren’t erasing the two costly drops Brown had in last Sunday’s loss in Oakland. Brown dropped what could have been a first down pass on a third-and-long as well as another possible first down that ended up in the hands of Raiders CB Tracy Porter, both in the fourth quarter. Brown reportedly apologized to Ben Roethlisberger on the plan ride home.
Kovacevic wants Jarvis Jones on the field
The Trib’s Dejan Kovacevic thinks that the decision to bench rookie LB Jarvis Jones this week in favor of Jason Worilds is a bad one. His reasoning is that the Steelers should give Jones the opportunity to get the on-the-job training of being on the field rather than on the sidelines since the Steelers’ season is, at 2-5, pretty much a goner. The film reveals that Jones had a rough outing in Oakland, and hasn’t recorded a sack yet this season but Kovacevic thinks that keeping him on the sidelines is a mistake. Maybe I’m not quite on the “the season’s over” boat that everyone else seems to be on but I don’t think this benching is that detrimental to Jones or the team. He’s the first LB for the Steelers to start in the 3-4 in 31 years so it’s not unheard of for him to learn behind someone. I realize that Worilds isn’t exactly the ideal player for Jarvis to learn behind considering he’s in his 4th year with the Steelers and hasn’t shown any signs that he’s worth keeping after he becomes a FA this offseason but there’s still a reason to keep trying to win games. If Worilds is outplaying Jones at least a tiny bit, why not put the players on the field that give you the best chance to win? Doesn’t mean Jones is never going to see the field again either. There’s no reason to think he won’t get a good amount of snaps on Sunday in New England anyway.