Andy Dalton News Conference
December 9, 2015
Paul Brown Stadium
Ben Roethlisberger was very complimentary of you on our conference call, what are your thoughts about him?
"He's been one of the best in this league for a long time. And he's always fun to watch. You never know what's going to happen when he's out there. He extends plays, he does so much moving around and all that kind of stuff, and he really gives their team an opportunity to win. It seems like that in every game they play.
"So it's been fun to get to know him throughout the years. My first chance was obviously when I played against him my rookie year, and then we were at the Pro Bowl together my rookie year. So it's always cool to hang out with guys. I watched him play, obviously, before I got into the NFL. To get to the NFL and to get to hang out and see what a nice guy he was -- yeah, he's a great player."
What do you think of his game, is it unique?
"There's not a ton of people who are like him and can do what he does. You can have guys that are free, and he's able to make them miss and take shots down the field and do different things. He's a special player."
Is there any advice he's offered you?
"No. There hasn't really been a whole lot of advice given, just kind of getting to know each other a little bit."
Ben talked about his competitiveness and not wanting to take a sack …
"Yeah, you can see that with the way that he plays. You've got to be competitive to play this game."
Do you feel you're cut from that same cloth?
"I think so. I think anytime you're out there you want to do anything that you can to score and help your team win."
How's their defense playing?
"Their defense is really good. They're flying around, they're making plays and they're playing together as a team. We've got a tough task ahead of us. We know what we're going up against. Obviously being a division game, it means more. So every time that we've played Pittsburgh, it's been a tight game, a close one. We're going to get each other's best."
They've gotten a lot of interceptions …
"Balls have been tipped up. I think you saw that in the game this past week: A ball got tipped up and got intercepted. You can't force throws against these guys. You've got to understand the look that they're giving you and when you can take your chance and when not to. I think that's a big part of it."
It was a low-scoring game first time in Pittsburgh, but both offenses are doing well now …
"We obviously hope it's different on our end. We want to score as much as we can, just because we know how powerful that offense is and how quickly they can score."
What does the chance to clinch the division at home mean to you?
"It would be huge. As you look at the season and you set your goals, one of our first goals is to win the division. and we've got an opportunity to do that now. We've got an opportunity to do that at home. So we've got to come out and play our best game."
There's the chance to flip the script on Pittsburgh from how they clinched last year at home …
"Yeah, to have this opportunity -- this is something we've been working toward for a long time. So we've put ourselves in the best position possible. We're in control of everything for the end of the season. So there's not more that you want."
There was a lot of talk after the game in Pittsburgh What's been the message from coaches this week about not getting sidetracked?
"Yeah, you can't worry about any of that kind of stuff. We've just got to go play our game and you can't get caught up in the emotions. We understand the rivalry between the two teams, we get that. But you've got to stay calm through it all."
You guys made some mistakes in Pittsburgh but still won. What did you learn about this team from that game?
"I think we've shown it every game that we've played. We've been in it at the very end. And more times than not this year, we've been able to come out on top. So we've just got to keep fighting to the very end. For us to come out and get the win the way we did, to score in the fourth quarter and hold them at the end of the game, that shows a lot about this team."
In games like that, with mistakes at the end, do you tell the other guys to keep the composure?
"Yeah, I'm obviously one of the ones that's always up and down the sideline preaching that kind of stuff, but it's got to be the mentality of everybody. Everybody has to have that thought in their mind, that they're going to make a play that's going to win the game, and we've got to go make it happen."
Why is the Steelers' red-zone defense so good?
"That's where you have to make a play, and I think scheme-wise, they do a good job of trying to disguise different things to make you think one thing and maybe playing a different coverage or doing something different. I think that's the big reason why they've been so good. They can show they're going to be in an all-out blitz and not bring it and just different stuff like that. I think it's just being sharp on the looks and knowing when and where to go with the ball."
Does the speed of their linebackers become a factor as the field compresses?
"For sure. They've got athletic guys all over the field, but especially at linebacker because those guys can run. They've been able to make a lot of plays. So for them, it's been a big part of what they've been doing."