Answer Man

The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to avenge a 26-7 Monday night loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the quarterfinals of the NFL playoffs on Sunday. Here are his thoughts and insights:

JW: Have the Colts changed much since the last game?

AM: Nah. They're the same.

JW: Could you describe them?

AM: Speed: offense, defense, all over – speed.

JW: How can the Pittsburgh Steelers you beat it?

AM: The best way to negate speed is to attack right at it. Don't let them use it to their advantage.

JW: I thought their defensive line dominated the last game. Are they that good?

AM: They're quick off the ball and they've got good speed. They do a lot of games and play to their strength. They're not going to try to bull-rush people. They're going to try to get on the edge and use their strength, which is their speed. They're not a complicated team. They do what they do and they do it well.

JW: Why couldn't the Steelers run on them?

AM: I think that first game, I don't think we really – it was one of those things where people talk about the speed of the game and I don't think we were ready for the speed that they were bringing. I just think it was one of those things, like whoa! I just think the Steelers will be more prepared and know what to expect.

JW: Is Corey Simon as good as his reputation?

AM: He's good. I don't think he's completely in shape. They really don't have a weakness. Everybody's as good as advertised. They won't be super stout if you run it and try to jam it down their throat. They want to get an angle, an edge and use their speed to get after you.

JW: How would you attack them?

AM: That's the million-dollar question. I'd probably do what San Diego did.

JW: What did San Diego do?

AM: I didn't study it. I watched it on TV. I think defensively they put a lot of pressure on them and disrupted the timing. They got in the face of the receivers and said ‘You may beat us but we're not going to sit back and let Peyton Manning pick us apart.' A lot of their offense is timing and that's why he doesn't get sacked as much, but if you disrupt their timing and get pressure, that throws them off their counts. Offensively, it helps if you have L.T. (LaDainian Tomlinson) in the game.

JW: But the Steelers have nice facsimiles, don't they?

AM: Right.

JW: Could you give me a quick rundown per unit?

AM: Defensive line – speed; linebacker – speed; secondary – hitting and speed. I'm telling you, everyone on defense has speed. Corey Simon in the middle is the meat guy, the stout guy, but Reagor and those other guys in the middle used to be a defensive ends. You know what they are? They're like a Florida State or a Miami. They take linebackers and make them D-ends; they take safeties and make them linebackers. Their thing is just speed. Their linebackers are speed guys, all probably 230 pounds, 6-1, 6-0 and can run. Their D-linemen are 250 and can run, although Simon's three-plus. Their corners are small guys that can run and their safeties – (Bob) Sanders and (Mike) Doss – are small guys that can run. It's just all about speed and they play that (Tony) Dungy system to a T. Their offensive line just does enough to let Peyton Manning time to get it done. Their receivers, they're as good as you're going to get. The tight end is as good as you're going to get. Their running backs are as good as you're going to get. Their quarterback is the best. Obviously they're beatable but they have very few holes.

JW: They would expect the Steelers to try to overpower them and come right at them, wouldn't they?

AM: Right. You would think.

JW: And they probably thought the same way last time and defended them pretty well, right?

AM: Right.

JW: So how should the Steelers approach this game against the Colts?

AM: I would play on their ego: ‘They embarrassed you last time. What are you going to do this time? Get it done. You know their strengths; you know what they've got to do to beat them. Step up and beat them. You didn't do it last time.' And I think they know what they're walking into with the crowd noise. The Steelers have been there before. It's not going to be a surprise.

JW: Any other thoughts about this game I might not have asked about?

AM: Not really. Sorry I can't be more insightful. They're an easy team to evaluate. It is what it is. They're a speed team headed by a guy who probably knows the offense better than the coaches. They're not a hard team to break down. They're a hard team to beat.

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