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Chudzinski press conf. transcript - Nov. 20

Posted Nov 20, 2013

The transcript of Coach Rob Chudzinski's Wednesday morning press conference.

Opening statement: “Good to get back to work. It’s Steelers week. There’s a real sense of excitement with our team. It’s in the air, in the building. It’ll be good to be back at home. Pittsburgh is playing great football since their bye. They have an outstanding coaching staff. I have a lot of respect for that group and they’re coming off of a big win against Detroit. Offensively, as you look at them, very versatile. They can attack you in different ways. An explosive offense and everything starts with their quarterback, with Ben Roethlisberger, outstanding player; a group of outstanding receivers as well, Antonio Brown, (Emmanuel) Sanders and (Jerricho) Cotchery. I think Brown is leading the league in receptions. Those guys can do a lot of good things well; good route runners and very good run after the catch. They have good running backs in (Le’Veon) Bell, (Felix) Jones and (Jonathan) Dwyer that they use, and they have a solid offensive line. Defensively, we know the defense well, an attacking defense. Some familiar faces and some new faces as well. It starts with (DB) Troy Polamalu, a great player and a real playmaker and still playing at a very high level. (LaMarr) Woodley, (Brett) Keisel, (Lawrence) Timmons and (Ziggy) Hood all in their front seven; very, very good players. You see some new guys that stand out to you. A guy like Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones as well, (Cameron) Heyward and (Steve) McLendon; those guys are playing good and solid football. They have a good secondary; Ike Taylor, we know he’s a shutdown corner, has played a lot of years and played a lot of good football through the years, and Ryan Clark as well at safety, playing excellent. Their special teams are a good solid group. (Mat) McBriar and (Shaun) Suisham at the punter and kicker positions, and Antonia Brown is a great returner as well. We’ll definitely have to pay close attention to him. It’s important we have a great week of preparation. We’re excited and looking forward to that.

“As far as injury updates to give you, I think you just got word, (WR) Armanti Edwards, we’re putting him on IR. We moved (WR) Josh Cooper up and we also signed (WR) Reggie Dunn to our practice squad as a receiver. (LB) Craig Robertson has a sprained knee. We’ll see where he’s at in the next couple of days. He will miss today in practice.”

On if any other players would miss today in practice: “Not that I know of; we’ll see when we get out there.”

On being confident that the team can regroup and focus against Pittsburgh: “I am. Again, the approach we’ve taken is one week at a time. This is a division game. It’s the most important game that we have this week and we’ll treat it that way.”

On if LB Tank Carder would fill in for Robertson and how he looked in the game against Cincinnati: “We’ll work Tank today in practice at that position. I thought he did a solid job, particularly not getting a lot of reps during the course of the week and stepping in. He’s been a real plus for us on special teams. In college, I know he was an MVP in the Rose Bowl and has some good traits I see in him. He’ll get some reps today, some extra reps today.”

On LB Eric Martin, who has struggled with special-teams penalties, punt blocking, etc.: “Well those things have to improve. He’s played well at times and really done some good things on special teams. It’s those types of mistakes that we have to eliminate.”

On who will return punts with Edwards being placed on injured reserve: “What we’ll do is we’ll work (DB) Jordan Poyer. We have (WR) Davone Bess, who’s obviously filled in during the game, and (DB) Joe Haden is still an emergency for us.”

On if QB Jason Campbell’s rib injury may have caused him to be more cautious against Cincinnati: “He made no indications of that, and talking to him he felt fine. I think that the biggest thing that he felt and looked like was that he was never able to get into a rhythm. That’s something that we want to get him into, a rhythm in the game as he plays. He’s anxious to get to get going this week and have a great week of prep and get ready and get back this game and play the way that he can.”

On why he is so confident that Campbell can bounce back from adversity: “Just seeing him, being around him, knowing what he’s made of. Also, just looking at his past and all of the things that he’s battled back from, and he has the experience of doing that. So, again, as I’ve mentioned, that’s what really defines quarterbacks in this league, because they’re going to go through some rough stretches and some have some rough games.”

On whether there were calls that tried to get the ball downfield at Cincinnati: “There were and, again, it was a combination of things. But we’re always looking to spread the field and get the ball to the open guy and sometimes that guy is going to be deep. We want to have those opportunities to get the ball deep but sometimes it’s going to be short as well. Managing the game, getting first downs, ultimately, getting scores is the most important thing and the most important job a quarterback has.”

On if he has a good Steelers-week memory (i.e. burning a Mean Joe Green jersey): “Didn’t do that. Of course I remember the “Turkey” Joe Jones sack on (Terry) Bradshaw. There was a number of games I remember, I think it was in ’80 when (Brian) Sipe brought the team back, was down and Ozzie Newsome caught a pass there with a few minutes left in the game. But it’s an important week. There’s always a little bit extra for the Steelers and Browns games and everybody’s excited about them in the community and the division rival and so close together, the cities, and the history that is all there. It makes for a particularly fun week.”

On if it being a division game is able to get the team focused quicker than compared to a non-divisional game: “Well I think they’re focused and they will focus. I think our approach, each game, (we) handle it the same way. We’re focused and there’s always a little extra highlight when it’s Pittsburgh.”

On if the defense will have to be adjusted if Carder fills in for Robertson: “Again, we’ll see what the status is of him as we go through the week. Generally, we’ll be able to do most of the same things with him.”

On if TE MarQueis Gray is coming back: “He’ll miss practice today and he’s improving. We’ll see as the week goes on, same thing with him. He’s getting closer.”

On playing without two of his potential third QBs (Edwards and Gray): “Yeah, we still have an emergency-emergency for that.”

On if the emergency-emergency option is WR Davone Bess: “It’s Bess.”

On if he is seeing the improvement he wants to see in LB Barkevious Mingo: “Yeah it’s always a process. There’s always going to be some ups and downs but generally you see the improvement as a trend. Sometimes those things aren’t always things that show up on TV or when you’re looking at the game, until you look at it afterwards and see if his technique is improving, and see him playing some things better and understanding things better and making growth in that way. I think that’s where I see a lot of things coming from Barkevious. I think he’ll continue to go that way because that’s the type of player, his personality, the attention to detail that he has that’s making him improve that way.”

On if Mingo still has to improve against the run: “I don’t think it’s a struggle. I think that’s something that he continues to work on. Again, he plays with really good leverage, and really understanding blocking schemes and those types of things is really where he can make a lot of growth.”

On if the success of Pittsburgh against Cleveland over the years gives the Steelers a psychological advantage: “Our group of guys, we have so many young guys, rookie guys, and this team hasn’t been together and hasn’t played Pittsburgh and that’s the approach we’re taking. They’re an opponent that we need to play and play well and beat. We’re going to do anything we can to do that.”

On if Pittsburgh is intimidating: “I don’t think of teams that we play in that way. I think of what we need to do to win and beat a particular team. Those things are more of the things we focus on.”

On if the players know about how important the rivalry is: “I’ve talked a lot about that. I think they can tell that this is a rivalry and we’ll continue to educate them over the course of the week if they don’t understand that.”

On how he would describe himself as an aggressiveness head coach: “I think we’re going to lean toward being aggressive. We’re going to be smart about it. We’re not going to be reckless about it. That’s part of our makeup in terms of what we want the identity of this team to be. We want those type of players as well. As far as the game decisions that come out, there’s a lot of factors that go into those. Sometimes we’ll do things that are perceived as aggressive, sometimes maybe not. The important thing is that there are reasons for it.”

On if the punt and kick returns are going to improve or if this is how they will be the remainder of the season: “I think you lose somebody like Travis (Benjamin) and the ability that he has certainly was a shot. I think that we’re working around that and we have some guys that we feel like can get the job done to the level that we need it to get done. It takes everybody in that regard; the blocking has to improve, the guys on special teams have to improve. I talked to the team and some of those guys. We’re 10 games into it; the young guys, the rookies, are not rookies anymore. It’s time to step up and get better and continue to get better, which I think they are. We need them now to really turn it on.”

On if he has talked to former Dick LeBeau pupil Ray Horton regarding Steelers defensive tendencies: “Not as much this week, but over the course we do our studies in the summer and leading up to the season and so forth. So we prepare at that particular time for different opponents and talk through some of those things during that time.”

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