Brian-Hoyer-AP Photo

Photo courtesy of the AP

On what he learned about Pittsburgh from playing them Week 1:

“Just that we can’t get behind, especially against a good team like that who’s solid. Yeah, we made a run at them and got close, but when you play good teams in the NFL, and most teams are, you can’t get behind because it’s too hard to come back. I think, especially playing at home this week and with what happened to us last week, we know that we have to start fast.”


On how well the offensive line is playing:

“They’re awesome. You sit there and watch film and you see how great they’re playing not just in the pass game, but the run game, too. I think it shows their commitment to the new scheme. It’s not like anything I think they’ve ever had before, and obviously, very different than what we did last year. Those guys did a great job of getting in shape knowing that they were going to have to run. You look at them, and they all look svelte. I think it’s paid off. You can see their athleticism show through, especially in the run game.”


On if he can see the no-huddle happening earlier this week:

“Yeah, definitely. It worked to our advantage last time. I’m sure they’ll be prepared for it so we can’t obviously do it the same way we did last time. I think the tempo helped us. Like I said, I think once you put it on tape, especially a team you played very recently, they know what we’re going to try to do to attack them, but I think there are some things we can do and use the tempo to our advantage.”


On if having two games against the same team this close together can be beneficial:

“Yeah, I think it can. It’s fresh in your memory. You don’t have to go back to a game plan that was 10 weeks ago. I think it also can hurt you. It’s only four games in between, and it was the beginning of the year. They haven’t shown everything that they have. I think, as the season goes on, teams come up with new stuff. Maybe this week, they’ll show us something that we’ve never seen before so I think there are positives and negatives.”


On what he knew about WR Taylor Gabriel before he got here:

“I confused him with the other two guys, (WR Willie) Snead and (WR Jonathan) Krause. They were just kind of like the three guys I wasn’t sure who was who. ‘Gabe’ (Gabriel), he’s really grown on me. The one thing that jumps out about him is this isn’t too big for him. Coming from where he came from – not drafted, a try-out guy – sometimes guys like that can get overwhelmed. I think it just goes to show his work ethic, how (much work) he’s put into making the team, standing out amongst the other rookie receivers, he’s done a great job.”


On not forcing the ball into tight coverage and that being a big reason he’s only had one interception:

“Really I had two, but one got called back. I think that a lot of it goes into preparation. If you have a good feel for your game plan plus what their defense does, you shouldn’t be surprised where their defensive players are on the field in relation to my guys. It’s always been instilled in me when you touch the ball, you hold the fate of the whole team in your hands. It’s something that I don’t take lightly, and obviously you don’t want to throw interceptions. It’s definitely on my mind. I don’t want to give the other team any more chances than they already have so protecting the football is definitely high on my list of priorities.”


On how he’s been able to effortlessly distribute the ball evenly:

“They’re all my favorite. I think really the way that this system is set up is that it’s set up for you to have success if you go through the reads and the progressions and get to the guy who’s open. I think I’ve always done a good job, whether it was here, New England, Arizona or back to Michigan State, of not zeroing in on one guy. I think when you do that, you make the defense really work. You just have to go out and take what they give you. It can be frustrating at times because you want to throw the ball down the field or you want to do certain things, but I think that’s when you throw interceptions. For me, it’s definitely about taking your spots for you where you want to attack them deep. I think all along I’ve said I trust our receiving group, tight end group, skill position groups so much that I just try to read the defense, go through the progression and take what the defense gives me.”


On this being the first time in his career that he’ll be playing a division team for a second time and if he thinks it’ll give him an edge over the first game:

“If anything, it’s playing them not in the season opener. In the season opener, you come in and you’re not really sure what to expect, not just with them but with ourselves with a new system, new coaching staff, new players. I think we’ve grown so much in just four or five weeks. Back to the throw that I hit (WR) Travis (Benjamin) on right before halftime, there’s no way I would have ever been able to do that Week 1. Just the trust level, the timing, those types of things, as you go on through the season, you get more and more reps and more and more looks and you just evolve as an offense. I think we’ve come a long way, and we still have a long way to go. I think as long as you go out and try to continue to build, it definitely benefits you, and I think, talking about playing team for the second time and it being so fresh in our minds, that game plan, I still have it in my book bag. It’s still pretty fresh.”


On what it’s like to have his jersey put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame today:

“It’s pretty cool, especially a kid growing up here going to Canton all the time – field trips, whatever it might be. To have something that I wore on display there is pretty cool, but with my luck, that record will get broken this week (laugther).”


On needing a win in the division:

“No matter how well you play throughout a year, if you don’t win in your division…You look at teams like Arizona last year not making the playoffs when they were 11-5, 10-6. Back to New England, I think it was in ’08 when they were 11-5 and still didn’t make the playoffs. You have to win games in your division. Regardless if it’s Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, these are huge games for us.”


On if the Steelers defense has changed since Week 1:

“Obviously, there’s been some injuries. You get (Steelers LB) James Harrison back, who everybody knows James Harrison. He’s a force to be reckoned with on the field. Yeah, he’s a little bit older, but you watch him on tape and you don’t see much of a drop off.”


On being able to trust the offensive line:

“It allows to play fast and not worry about things like that as long as there’s not a blitz or anything. I know that I’m going to be able to go through my progression and get to the third, fourth guy without (pressure). Sometimes you see pressure, there are stunts, there are linebackers blitzing, it takes a lot of things to go right to be able to get through those progressions. When a team just straight up plays coverage and rushes four, I feel really comfortable getting through my progressions.”


On OL Mitchell Schwartz:

“Mitchell’s great. I think the first thing that stands out to me is how smart he is. He knows how to use this scheme to his advantage. I think, as far as that’s concerned, a lot of it has to go on the quarterback, too, like the sack in the game the other day. That’s all on me. I didn’t make the proper call in the protection. Sometimes, the o-line might get a bad rap for something that the quarterback’s doing, and I think last year’s scheme was a lot of deep drop backs and you’ve got to hold onto the ball. Whereas, I think this year’s scheme plays the way I play. I get the ball out quick, and it takes some of the heat off those guys. They feel more comfortable playing. I think Mitchell’s done a great job just like the rest of them.”


On if the Steelers have compensated for a depleted pass rush recently:

“I think (Steelers LB) Jason Worilds in mind is just as good as any other guy that’s been there. He might be a little smaller, but I think he uses that to his advantage. (Steelers LB) Jarvis Jones is a great player, too. I think in my time being there and now playing against them multiple times, they want to have good, quality players that know the scheme and play it well. If you’re a guy who’s reckless and can’t do it they’re not going to let you play. You might be a great pass rusher, but if you can’t set the edge in the running game, you really don’t do them any good. (Steelers LB) LaMarr Woodley’s gone and guys like that, but I think those guys that are there right now do a great job.”


On some of the most important things he has to keep in mind going against Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s scheme:

“He’s going to force you to throw the ball underneath. They’re going to be great in their zone drops and their man coverage. Their blitzes are going to be, they’re going to hit the gaps the right way, and you just have to be able to willing to take a little here, take a little there. Then when they give you an opportunity, take advantage of it. They’re so well-coached that they’re rarely out of position. It can be frustrating for a quarterback. They’re making you throw underneath all the time. As a quarterback – in my mind at least – I want to get the ball down the field. You’ve just really got to be patient.”


On if TE Jordan Cameron has bene frustrated:

“For me, I have such a great relationship. You see we’re sitting here talking every day. We share a locker. We spend a lot of time together watching film. I think Jordan knows he wants to get the ball more, and trust me I want to get the ball more to him, too. Talking about the system, for me, it’s more important to get it to the right guy than to try to force the ball. People know about Jordan a little bit more this year than they did last year. He is getting a little more attention from the defensive side of the ball, and that’s to be expected. I think it’s a long season. He didn’t play the second half of Pittsburgh. He missed the second game. Baltimore, he really didn’t get the chance to practice. I look back to last week’s game, the ball at the goal line doesn’t get batted it’s a touchdown. Another play, if we block correctly, maybe he turns up the sideline and gets a touchdown. He’s just a few plays away from really having a breakout, and the couple catches he did have were huge plays. The second down where I hit him across the middle, that gets a first down to get us rolling. Then, the one on the sideline when I had let that ball go, it was kind of a ‘who’s going to go get it,’ and Jordan went up strong and got it. I think the injury definitely held him back a little bit, but now you see him out there practicing. He’s going full-go, and I think he’s primed to have a big game here.”


On if an offensive player getting more attention opens up other things for the offense:

“Yeah, that’s when we talk about going through progression. Sometimes, they might tilt a certain coverage to certain players, and you can see that frees up other people.”

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