Q&A: Brett Keisel

Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel talks about Year Two of the Mike Tomlin era, and provides insight on the young linemen on both sides of the ball.

Brett Keisel, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: What are you seeing in Year Two of Mike Tomlin?

A: It's much better. Not that it was horrible before, but we know what to expect from him; he knows what to expect out of us. When you have that, and know that, things work better. Last year everyone was up in the air. We didn't know how this guy would handle practices. This year we know what he expects and it's gone real well I think.

Q: After Bill Cowher, did the veterans go in thinking Tomlin had to prove something?

A: I don't know. The main thing is you just don't know what to expect with a guy. With Cowher, we had that level of comfort. We knew what he expected; we knew what practices were going to be like; we knew what tempo he wanted for practice. No one knew what to expect. So this year there's just that much more of a comfort level with these guys. We know what he's doing when he puts the news up and things like that. It's gone real well.

Q: Everyone likes Tomlin, right?

A: I think so. I think guys do like him and I think he's getting to the point – when you get a team that respects their coach to the point where they're ready to go out and bleed for him game in and game out, because it knows you have each other's back – when you get a team like that, you have a special team and I think this team's starting to show that.

Q: What do you see on the field? What do you like?

A: I like how he lets his coaches coach, but he's not afraid. If he sees something that's messed up he's going to come in and tell you he doesn't like the tempo or he's not happy with a certain thing. I think that's what great coaches do. He definitely has the respect of this team.

Q: What do you like talent-wise?

A: I haven't been able to watch much of the offense. Our young guys seem to be playing well. I think our front is picking things up better than I've seen in a long time, which is nice.

Q: The offensive line?

A: No, our line, our young guys, which is nice to see because it's not the easiest thing to pick up, especially now when they're throwing so much at you in a short amount of time.

Q: Who's impressing you?

A: All three of the new ones. They're still raw, but as far as picking up the D and being where they're supposed to be, that's what you look for now, their mental state.

Q: This team could surprise. But do the lines have enough depth?

A: I think the offensive line's playing real well together. Last year there was a lot of shuffling and things like that. It seems like this year they're staying with the same guys each time. You've got to have that continuity with each other.

Q: Is Chris Kemoeatu for Alan Faneca going to be okay?

A: I think so.

Q: Tell me a bit about him.

A: Chris is a great talent. He hasn't had a chance to play because he's been behind Alan, but he was a beast in college and he's really gotten to the point where he understands what the offense is doing. He can make his calls and things like that. I think he's going to be fine.


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