Transcript: Bruce Arians interview

<b>PITTSBURGH -- </b> Bruce Arians has coached every offensive position in his 11 years in the NFL. He coached on the same staff with Bill Cowher at Kansas City and coached against Cowher the last three years as the offensive coordinator at Cleveland.<br> <BR>Arians is coaching the wide receivers for the Steelers now, and he talked with us about some of the changes he's made, some of the players he's coaching and one of the players he's not.


How are things going? What do you see?
I'm really enjoying it. It's a learning experience for me as well as the players. I'm learning a new system, new language, teaching it for the first time, so it's been fun. A good group of guys. The veteran leadership is outstanding.

Is Hines a great leader?
Yeah, he is. I can always ask him a question and he'll say this is what we've done in the past; you might want to try something new this way; very receptive to new ideas.

Hines knows it better than you. How does that dynamic work?
He knows the system. The routes, there are things that I've done that they haven't done. The biggest change, as I told them in the first meeting, was that you've been taught by a coach who'd been a receiver; now you're going to hear it from one who was a quarterback, so you're going to get a different perspective on why and where the quarterback's looking, why you need to be in a certain area. It's been fun. It's a good bunch of guys. I'm learning; they're learning. We've added some new things to the offense. We're working on those.

Can you give us a hint?
It's really subtle things, nothing big. Different routes and different combinations. Kenny did a great job putting things together, a wonderful system, his system. So that part of it's been good.

How will you fit in? What kind of input will you have?
When I first talked to Kenny and Bill, we kind of know each other and our systems are so similar. Now we're going to keep the good things and add little things, nothing big. I have experience. I've coached every position in the league now.

At Cleveland, you were the offensive coordinator when you were fired. Wasn't it because you had philosophical differences with Butch Davis?
No, no. He just wanted to make a change.

I just read somebody, somebody who should know I think, and he wrote Cleveland's on the verge of having a Super Bowl team. Did you see that?
Well, if anybody stays healthy anymore you're capable. There's no great team out there. You can't have one. They steal your guys. The bottom half of your roster keeps turning over, so you're playing with new kids all the time.

What about these kids? Burress has been out. What are you seeing in his place?
I had some real good conversation in meetings with Plax before this started and was really impressed with him. He knows the game. El's improving every day. I like what I see in him. He brings a certain dynamic to the position.

Can he play split end?
Oh, yeah. He's got enough quickness and speed to play it. And Lee Mays has been impressive. I think he can really get up the field. He's catching the ball real well. He's improving his techniques every day. Chris Doering is a veteran player who knows how to get open, knows the game. And there are a couple impressive young kids in the mix. It'll be a nice battle.

Any long shots?
I'd hate to single one out right now, but there are two or three that are going to push for that last spot.

What's held Mays back?
Probably just experience. Besides that, I don't know why. I don't want to judge what's been done or what he did in the past, just on what I see. And what I see right now, I can't tell you why he hasn't played, other than the opportunity hasn't been there. And when it was there he did pretty good it sounds like. He's playing extremely well right now. He can stretch the field; he can catch the ball; he plays special teams so I know he's tough -- that part's not a question. Just calming down and letting the game come to you instead of (being) like most young players (who) try to force the issue. When the game slows down, both for El and for Lee, I think they'll be fine.

Do you see the Burress situation resolving itself happily?
I would think so. I hope so.

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