Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 28, 2015
How similar is Pittsburgh's defense to when (Dick) LeBeau ran it?
"There's definitely similarities to what they've done in the past, but you can tell the new coordinator has his style. You can tell he's thrown in his wrinkles he likes to do. But I feel like the base of their defense is what they've been doing in the past."
Is this the most blitz-heavy team you'll face? They've blitzed over 40 percent … "Yeah, they do a lot. All the different blitzes that they've got going, putting guys all over the place. It's kind of been a big thing for the new coordinator. It's part of his style and what he wants to do, but I think definitely this is one of the teams that's going to blitz the most of the teams we've seen so far."
They have a lot of young guys on that defense who play fast ...
"That's one thing: They have a lot of speed on defense. You definitely see that watching the tape. So for us, we've got to match that, we've got to play fast. That will give us the best advantage we can have."
Would it be a great source of pride to go 7-0, the fact that the franchise hasn't done it?
"Regardless of the fact that the franchise hasn't done it, it's the next one, it's important, it's a division game, it counts a lot. And so whatever we can do to get to 7-0 -- yes, it would be cool for this team to do something that's never been done here before, but that's definitely not our only motivation of what we've got going. There's a lot in front of us."
Do you get a sense of the rivalry in preparing for this week?
"Yeah, I mean, if I'm walking around town anywhere, I feel like there has been a lot of people saying stuff about this week, simply because it is the Steelers. The Steelers won the division last year, and so we understand that we're facing a good team, and we're going to get their best, and we've got to show our best."
Does the way the game there ended last year stick with you a little bit?
"Yeah. In both games we had chances. Even down to the fourth quarter in the game here, we had chances to win. So when you have those chances, you can't let them slip. You've got to play the full game. You never know with a team like this, they can always come back and that's why they've been a good team for a long time."
Steelers will be at full strength, is that how you want it?
"Whoever they're going to put out there, obviously they're going to want to have all their starters out there, and we're going to have all our starters out there too. So it's going to be a good test, a good matchup. And we've got to come to play."
How much has your relationship with Hue Jackson helped you this year?
"Hue's been really great for me, from the moment he took over, the support he had for me. He's pushed me to be even better and better. We have a great relationship. We think the same when we're out there. When he's calling stuff, I know exactly what he's trying to do, and he puts a lot of trust in me. That's just been built over time and a lot of work put it."
How has that grown this year compared to last year?
"Obviously another year in the system, another year together. We understand each other really well. That's just how it should be. It's the next progression in the offense."
During the bye week, you and Hue assessed the first six games. Where do you go from here?
"It's all about consistency. For us, we've been able to play well enough in the first six games to win, and to figure how can we keep doing that and what's going to give us the best advantage to do that. We still don't feel like we've played our best game. We've left stuff out there, I've left stuff out there. And so you work to figure how to take advantage of every opportunity to make sure you can put your best game out there."
You are tied with the Patriots in red zone TD percentage. What's behind the success?
"I think first off, we haven't turned it over. Anytime you're down there, you know you have points. But you also have to take advantage of it and score touchdowns. When you get down there, you've got to find different ways to get in the end zone. Guys have made spectacular plays -- when we played Buffalo, two acrobatic dives into the end zone. It's just a mindset of how can we get in there. I think that's a big part of what we've done. And we feel we've matched up well. Guys have been able to go up and make plays on the ball."
How important is it to be balanced and have that rushing game in the red zone? "Definitely. Anytime you can hand the ball off and our guys in front are getting a good push and giving backs lanes to run, it makes it easier. So the more balanced we can be, it's going to be better for us."
Pittsburgh has seven guys with multiple sacks. Is it hard to figure out where pressure is coming from?
"Yeah, with all the different blitzing they do, they bring guys from all over the place so you have to understand where guys are, where it can be coming from, and when you're protected and when you're not protected."
Do you enjoy that chess match?
"Yeah, it's obviously part of what we do. It just comes down to the preparation throughout the week and trying to figure out and understand what they're doing, and where they're trying to attack you."
You've faced a lot of exotic blitz packages from different teams and done well ...
"We pride ourselves on it. So like I said, it's knowing when you're protected and knowing when you're not and when you can hold onto the ball and when you can't. So however we can get them blocked, we'll do it."
What makes Ben (Roethlisberger) so good?
"Ben's one of the best quarterbacks in this league. You have to admire the way he can extend plays, the way he can make guys miss, move around, get the ball out to his guys. His guys react really well, and it's not always how it's drawn up. When he moves around, guys move around, too, and he makes big plays down the field. I think that's a big part of his game and what he's done. He's had a lot of big plays that way but also, he can stand back there and throw it. Like I said, he's one of the best quarterbacks in this league."
Two high powered offenses in this game, do you feel you have to take advantage of your opportunities?
"It kind of goes back to what I was saying. The game's never over regardless of what the score is. At any point, things can turn. So that's why you really have to take advantage of everything you get."