One on One with Steelers TE Jay Riemersma

<b>GVB: </b>Jay, you and I have talked a couple times in the past couple years…one of the reasons you came to this ballclub was to be in a position like this, to be fighting for a division title and a playoff berth. You have to be pleased with the start.

Riemersma: Absolutely. There's no question. If we started week one, and we said we'd get to the break and be 5-1, everybody in their right mind would be ecstatic about that start, but we really haven't accomplished anything yet. I mean, yeah, we're sitting on top of our division and all that's good, but it's really where you finish in this league. That's what we're looking at now.

GVB: What about the bye week coming at this time? A couple of nicks and some serious injuries. Is it a good time?

Riemersma: Absolutely. I think this is a good time. It kind of hits in the middle of the season in the sense that you include preseason games and that kind of stuff, so everybody at this point in the season really needs a break to get away and refresh themselves. I think this has come at an opportune time for us. You mentioned that there's some nicked up guys, and hopefully we can get those guys healthy for the home stretch.

GVB: Injuries have hurt. Kendall Simmons went down in camp and now the defense has been hit with Chad Scott and with the nose tackle, Casey Hampton, but other teams have gone through this. It's part of football. This is why they call it a team, I guess.

Riemersma: Absolutely. We talked about it his morning. Guys will have to step up and make plays in their absence. You know, guys that have been behind those guys understand that and they're looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity that they have in front of them.

GVB: A little bit of a surprise: six balls to the tight ends in the Dallas game. What's going on?

Riemersma: I don't know. I guess those payoffs to Whis ( Whisenhunt ) are really starting to show themselves out there on the football field. No, it's just a matter of us taking what the defense gives us and we're going to have the opportunities. It's just our job to make the most of them, and hopefully we'll do that.

GVB: It had to feel good, though.

Riemersma: Absolutely. When you get the ball, you get a little bit more involved, you kind of bop back to the huddle a little bit. It's a good feeling to be involved in that sense, but we have other responsibilities in the running game, and we take pride in those as well.

GVB: A final comment about the quarterback. So much has been written and said about what's he doing, and it is great what he's doing, but he is a youngster. But it seems he's so well-grounded. Am I just imagining that, or is that the way he is?

Riemersma: No, I get the same sense you do. He has a pocket presence in there that seems like it's just natural, and even a huddle presence that I've seen. I've been around quite some time, been through some really good quarterbacks, the likes of Jim Kelly and Drew Bledsoe, those kinds of guys, so all the attributes those guys had in the huddle, he has at a very young age. It's just a matter of us going out there and surrounding him and making plays for him, and hopefully that's what we'll do down here in the stretch.

GVB: I appreciate it, Jay.

Riemersma: Thank you.

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