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Do you ever just watch those guys and say, ‘Wow’?
“Yeah, absolutely (laughs). There’s a lot of stuff that A.J. (Green) does, and it’s like, ‘Man, there’s not many people on this earth who can do that.’”
Is there anything that makes you sicker than hearing about primetime games?
“(Laughs) All we’ve got to do is win. That’s all it comes down to. That’s our goal.”
Do you think that’s a thing of the past?
“We don’t think about it. Regardless of what time the game is, we’ve got to go out there and play and do what we can to win.”
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Is getting over the ’Steelers hump’ a huge obstacle?
“Every time we play them, it’s been a good game. It comes down to the fourth quarter. It’s been tough games, hard-fought games. That’s why we hear about it. They’re a really good team. We’ve had our share of being on top in this division. That’s why there’s so much put into it, because obviously it’s a divisional game too. There’s a lot of importance surrounding it in this city, around this area when we play them. They’re a good team. We’ve had some hard games against them.”
The Steelers sometimes seem like they’re trying to get into your heads, like when they mocked A.J. Green’s fight with Jacksonville CB Jalen Ramsey, or when Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell said that Vontaze Burfict should be out of this league. How do you guys receive things like that?
“We can’t worry about that stuff. You can see some of it, and some of the stuff I don’t even know about. You can look for it all you want. You can’t get that into it. You’ve just got to play your game.”
How does that impact you?
“They can do what they want. I don’t know what they are thinking, or what their reason is. It doesn’t affect us.”
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When they do stuff like that, and with this being a divisional game, does that make you want to beat them more?
“We want to win. For us to get to where we want to be at the end of the year, this one is really important for us. We’re playing a good team. To win this one would obviously mean a lot, just for where we are trying to go, but also to show what kind of team we are. We’re facing a really good team.”
The last three weeks, their defense has given up long touchdown passes. Is that something you guys see and want to take advantage of?
“When these teams have had their chances to hit these plays, they hit them. Obviously it’s on the tape. That’s what it comes down to — when you have those moments and have those plays called for those chances, you’ve got to make those plays, because they can change the outcome of the game.”
How much can you scheme up those sorts of plays?
“It’s part of it. Sometimes its stuff that’s called, and sometimes it kind of happens. You don’t know when it’s going to happen, but when you get those chances you’ve got to hit them.”
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Is it as simple as execution, or is it something you look for more often?
“It’s a little bit of both. We’ve made the plays, and we’ve had some big games in the last couple of weeks. We’ve just got to keep doing it.”
What do they do well?
“They know what they’re doing. They put guys in different spots, and they’re always around the football. They try to take away the easy throws, the easy completions, and make you hold on to the ball a little longer. Things like that. So they’ve got different things that they do to try and disrupt your game.”
How does Steelers LB Ryan Shazier’s speed and activity impact what you do on offense?
“He makes plays all over the field. The big reason for that is his speed. You just have to be ready for it. That’s what it comes down to — knowing what type of player he is and being able to (block) him.”
In the last game, you guys got the ball back with a six-point lead in the fourth quarter after they scored and then proceeded to be pretty aggressive — for example, you threw on first down and had six passes on the drive. Was there a message being sent with that aggressiveness, rather than sitting on the lead and trying to run time off the clock.
“At that point in the game, we felt we still needed to score — not just work the clock, we still needed a drive to get down there and get points on the board. At that point, that’s what we needed to do, and that’s why we kept throwing it.”
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When he took over as offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor said he might see slight changes and new things as the year went along. Have you seen that at all?
“There’s different things that we do (differently). Right at the beginning, it’s hard to change everything. I think things could be a little different if he would have had the whole training camp, OTAs and the whole (offseason program). We’ve done some things that he likes, and there are things that have been successful for us.”