COUGHLIN: Good morning. Hopefully, your families are safe and not too inconvenienced. We know that a lot of our great fans have had devastating results from this incredible storm. We start it off by just saying, we wish for everyone’s safety and hope that the families are healthy and safe.
Pittsburgh Steelers. The tradition, we had talked about tradition in the National Football League. You don’t get any more traditional than the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh
Steelers. The Steelers are 4-3, they’ve lost three games on the road and they’re a very, very good football team. They are 11th in the league on offense, they are second on defense. They’re traditionally a tremendous, powerful football team, very physical football team. They have an outstanding return game, they’ve had a couple of punt returns called back that were touchdowns. They have this young kid from Florida (running back Chris) Rainey. They have an outstanding kick returner. So, they do have a large offensive line. They have a group of running backs who seem to replace one another when injures do take their toll, with (Jonathan) Dwyer being the most recent runner. The receiving corps is outstanding. They have tremendous speed on the outside. In (Heath) Miller, they have a go-to, dependable tight end that has played very well. He provides Ben (Roethlisberger) with a reliable source that he goes to quite often. Roethlisberger has the ability to extend plays, which he’s done throughout his career. Much has been said about the way in which they’ve directed and changed their offense over there. He has been well protected, he has not been hit nearly as much, nor is he forcing anything. He’s distributing the ball very well to any number of receivers. Defensively, they’re powerful, they’re strong, and they’re an attack-mode team, just like they always have been. Multiple looks, the creation because of versatility of opportunities in terms of coverages, pressures, fire zones, all-out pressures on third down and in the green zone. (Shaun) Suisham is kicking the ball very well. They have a young, rookie punter (Drew Butler) who has had one blocked, but has held up very well. So, this is an outstanding football team. They defeated Washington last weekend, they defeated Philadelphia, and those are teams that we know very, very well. So, we’ve been studying them as best as we can over the last couple of days, and look forward to presenting the Pittsburgh Steelers to our football team here in just a couple of minutes.
Q: Given that your preparations have been pushed back a little bit and you don’t face Pittsburgh very often, is it more challenging to get the team ready?
A: No. Nothing is pushed back in the NFL. Everything is on schedule. Everything stays on schedule. We’ve made some adjustments to try to accommodate and anticipate some issues that we might have. In other words, starting late this afternoon, for example. I don’t think that’s going to inhibit anything. We’ve been hard at it and the coaches have been hard at it. We had pretty much a full day, yesterday. I gave a little time for family time. Everybody took their laptops with them and then we reconvened yesterday. I don’t see any issue which has stopped us from sticking with our normal routine, if you will. By tonight, after we’ve practiced late this afternoon, I think our entire operation, in terms of the way in which we proceed with our preparation, will be on schedule.
Q: Is it more important than normal that you stress “business as usual” this week, given the circumstances with the aftermath of the storm?
A: Well, we’re not denying what’s going on. I mean, I think that’s foolish. Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand, I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might me going through. Just like probably 85 percent of you who don’t have power. Well, there’s no sense in ducking that one. I mean, we’ve got guys who have kind of doubled up and families have gone to where they can, where power is in existence, especially people with young children. So, I’ll try to do the best I can with that, but there’s no avoiding what’s happened here. Quite frankly, we don’t want to. That’s not our job. We realize this is a part of life, we’ve been struck by a blow by Mother Nature and we have to deal with it the best way we can. Hopefully, we can kind of categorize all of the issues that we’re dealing with. When we get the players here, we get them focused, they understand how critically important this preparation is.
Q: Is it all helpful that you have seen several 3-4 defenses in a row?
A: They’re all different. They’re all different. You can categorize them that way, but each team is a different team in how they present. As soon as it becomes third down, it’s something totally different as well.
Q: How is
A: Well, he still has to go through the routine, the process. We’re hopeful, confident that he will pass, but we have that in front of us.
Q: Where are you with
A: He’s going to work.
Q: They like to utilize their tight end. Are there any concerns with covering him?
A: There is a concern because of the ability level and the quarterback’s accuracy. Yes, but there are a lot of concerns. Not just the tight end.
Q: Depending on Blackburn’s status, do you feel Herzlich is ready to step into that spot?
A: I do feel that, yes. He’s obviously studied and been in the same room with Chase and knows a lot of those mannerisms and if Chase is able to go, fine. If he’s not able to go, I’m sure he’ll be a big help to Mark this week or to any number of linebackers depending on the personnel set that we’re in. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re just talking about a conventional 4-3 ‘mike’ linebacker. It could be in different categories as well. We try to match as we match their personnel. Their number one personnel group is three wide receivers.
Q: Is Cruz going to practice today?
Q: How would you describe Ben Roethlisberger relative to what you would have anticipated his career tracking prior to the draft?
A: Obviously, he’s had a very, very good career. He has two Super Bowl championships. He’s a winner. He currently has a 117 quarterback rating on third downs, so he’s playing very, very well.
Q: Multiple players have referenced how you preach ‘mid-stream adjust’ when it comes to situations like this. Have you already expressed that thing to the players today?
A: They have heard it. They heard it last week. They heard it with regards to dealing with the potential, if you will, over the weekend of the storm and they’ll no doubt hear from me again today.
Q: If Rolle and Phillips come back as starters, do you still find ways to get
A: Stevie Brown had an outstanding run here. What we have to do of course is… My position has always been the more outstanding football players, the better. So we’ll find ways to involve all of them and, of course, we’re still on track trying to make sure that Kenny is ready to go, but he’s looking forward to practicing this week. So we look forward to the addition of another outstanding player.
Q: Will Bradshaw practice?
A: I doubt it.
Q: How about
A: He’s going to have to get after it this week.
Q: Chase makes a lot of the calls on the field. Do you have to consider another veteran for filling that role?
A: Those things will all be considered.
Q: Have you experienced a storm like this before?
A: Have you? I’ve seen the threat of that type of a storm, a hurricane, but I don’t believe… I’ve had the family sleeping at the stadium and all of that kind of stuff before, but I don’t think anything as devastating as this.
Q: How has the play from the defensive line been?
A: It’s getting better, no question. It’s definitely improved over the last three or four weeks.
Q: Can you watch JPP’s interception and be awed?
A: Well, I worked on it with him for his hand placement exactly where it should be.
Q: Did you lose power?
A: The particular area in Park Ridge where we are did not. I didn’t get home much to recognize it.