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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/13
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:00 AM EST
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BB: We'll have a couple of roster moves to announce later on this morning but we're working through some things, so don't have anything on that for right now. Obviously, Pittsburgh is having a great year, very talented team, playing very well right now. They've been playing well all year but especially over the last couple of months. They've put a lot of big wins together, played a lot of good football at the most critical times of the game when they needed to. It's a well-balanced team, very explosive on offense, good on defense, good in the kicking game, have a lot of great players, well coached, tough, hard-nosed, physical team. We've had a long history of great competitive games with [them]. I'm sure it will be a great environment there Sunday afternoon. We're going to put everything we have into it here the next four days and be ready to go, but this will be a big challenge up there. They're very good. They're playing well. They have great players, great coaching staff, great organization. They're a strong competitor all of the times we've played them through all the years I've been here going all the way back to '01. Those games don't really mean anything now. It's just about this matchup this week. We've got a lot to get ready for. We're going to put our foot on the gas here and hit it today.
Q: Are they pretty similar defensively to what you saw from them last year?
BB: Yeah, basically.
Q: Have things changed for them with Ryan Shazier out of the lineup?
BB: They've had to replace him. They've played more dime defense with him out. They're primarily a nickel team going back to last year when it was [Lawrence] Timmons and Shazier. A lot of nickel this year. They've played a little more dime this year and in the last couple of weeks in third down situations; not on early downs. I'd say that would be the biggest change. That's not really a change, but that has shown up.
Q: With the short turnaround from Monday's game is today going to be more of a walkthrough and tomorrow more of a traditional Wednesday practice?
BB: We're going to get as much done as we can today and then practice at a higher tempo tomorrow.
Q: How unique of a player is Le'Veon Bell?
BB: He's really good. He's a tremendous player. He leads the league in yards from scrimmage and that's about really all you need to know. He's a receiver when he's out of the backfield. He can run any run you want - inside, outside, runs with power, runs with a lot of skill and quickness in the open field. He's an excellent receiver in the passing game. A big guy, blitz pickup, matches up well against linebackers and DB's that he has to block. He's a tremendous player. Those two guys are both fabulous players on the same team, very hard to defend - [Antonio] Brown and Bell - just dynamic players that have the ability to do so many things, do them so well consistently. They're there every week. They make big plays every week. Two thirds of the offense with two guys - that's a lot of offense.
Q: How much does Antonio Brown's ability on deep balls open things up for people underneath?
BB: Everything opens up everything, so they can do it all. They have great skill players. They can run the ball. They can throw it, throw it long, throw it short, run after the catch, extend plays. Everybody is involved - tight ends, receivers, backs, multiple receivers, a very experienced offensive line, big offensive line. Just keep going. We'll be here all day. There's no real weakness on that offensive unit. They can't come all on the field at the same time. Whichever ones they put out there are good. Whichever ones they take off and put out there the next play, they're good, too.
Q: What is it that makes Antonio Brown so special?
BB: Everything. Just make a list. He's on all of it.
Q: A lot is made of Bell's patient running style. Defensively, do you try and answer his patience with patience?
BB: He does whatever he needs to do. If you want to see him run hard, run over people, run downhill then you can find plenty of plays of that. You can see him with his vision finding space in the defense. There's plays on that. Catching the ball - plenty of plays on that. The guy doesn't lead the league in yards from scrimmage by doing one thing, doing it a little bit. He does everything. He does it well, does whatever he needs to do. You give him an opening, wherever it is, and he's going to make you pay for it.
Q: The Steelers have won so many close games this year. What do you see on film that allows them to come out on top in those situations?
BB: They do what they need to do. If they need to score, they score. If they need to stop them, they stop them. If they need to make a kick, they make a kick. Their players have stepped up and made the plays they need to make in those critical situations all year from the first game all the way through. They play well under pressure, play well in critical situations. They've been in a lot of them and they've handled them all very well. It's a very talented team, a poised team. Plays they need to make, they make them.
Q: Have you noticed their no-huddle offense putting stress on the opposing team specifically in games at Pittsburgh or is that something they'll go into anytime?
BB: Again, they do a lot of things. They get you a lot of different ways. That's one of the many tools they have in their box, one of the many things you have to defend. They do it when they want to do it. They don't do it when they don't want to do it. They do it well. They do other things well, too. It's just another rock on a big pile of rocks.
Q: Will it be nice having Rob Gronkowski back in the building this week preparing for this game?
BB: It's good to have all of the players that we have.
Q: How much of a tone-setter is Cameron Heyward for their defense?
BB: Cam Heyward's having a really good year for them. They have a very strong front. He's having an outstanding year. He's a good football player. He's played well in the past, but I think his play this year coming off the injury last year - that hurt the team a little bit not having him - but he's back. [Stephon] Tuitt, those guys give them two very good players at end. [Javon] Hargrave is very disruptive inside. It's a good front. Heyward - he's played very well. He's a hard guy to block. He rushes with a lot of power, plays with great effort. He's a very good pursuit player. John Mitchell, the defensive line coach there, he's been there for 23 years. He has all of those guys playing well as he always does. They use their hands well. They play with good power. They play with good discipline. They're physical and they pursue very well. This is one of the best pursuing defensive lines that we ever play against. They make plays 15, 20 yards down field. They're never out of the play. You can put [Bud] Dupree and [T.J.] Watt in there, too. [James] Harrison - whoever the outside linebackers are, they're kind of a part of that front five, however you want to look at it, four or five depending on what they're in. But those guys, they're a factor in every play. Not just the plays at them or the plays that are kind of at the point of attack, but they show up on plays 50 yards away. Coach Mitchell does a great job with that.
Q: Given how often you have faced him, is Ben Roethlisberger a guy who you sort of know what you're getting with him or does he add something more to his game each year?
BB: Again, he can do whatever he needs to do. He's a great player. He's got a lot of experience, has a lot of weapons, so he can beat you with deep balls, intermediate balls, quick throws, standing in the pocket throws, use the check downs, screens, underneath routes. He has good vision. He can extend plays. He doesn't need to extend plays. He's got a great arm. He can throw the ball into tight spots down the field, too. Whatever you give him he'll take and he's, again, very accurate, very tough, can stand in there and take hits, stand in the pocket and people around him doesn't affect him. He just steps up and fires the ball in there into tight windows with his arm strength and his accuracy. He's a great player. He's played very well, very consistently. He gets the ball to everybody. Of course, he's got guys that he has a lot of confidence in - [JuJu] Smith-Schuster, [Martavis] Bryant, [Vance] McDonald, [Jesse] James. It doesn't matter. Whoever is open he throws it to them. They make plays.
Q: Over the years have you had to change or evolve the ways in which you motivate the team for big games?
BB: Every week is different, so we look at whatever the challenges are that week and do the best we can with those, so every week is different.
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