Dick LeBeau met with the Pittsburgh media Wednesday. Here's what the defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to say.
Q: Statistically, your defense is No. 1 in yards allowed again, but there continue to be some letdowns late in games. Is it something you can put a finger on? Are they wearing down?
We gave up too many big plays last week. It's easy to put a finger on that. We're working to get better. Like I said earlier in the year, this defense has a chance to be a pretty good defense. We're working toward that goal.
Q: Those big pass plays are typically something you don't allow. What happened on those?
They executed very well on a couple of them and we didn't. Those are the kind of plays you have to cut out in any quarter, but particularly in the fourth quarter when you're playing with a lead. We've got to finish these games with a win.
Q: Was there confusion on that 61-yarder?
I believe there was some. That's something that we have to do better also. That happens in games, hurry-huddles and those types of things. We work on it every day in practice and our guys have done a good job. I do believe we had some confusion on that snap.
Q: You defense and Baltimore's defense have been compared as similar types. Do you agree they're similar?
Yeah, we're pressure defense. I think that's true.
Q: Is that where it ends? They're both pressure defenses?
Yeah, I think so. They've been more of a four-man line and we're a three-man line. The type of pressures are a little unorthodox on both teams. I think it's a good comparison.
Q: Both teams are great stopping the run.
Both teams have had good defenses in recent history.
Q: What have you seen from Joe Flacco on tape and the progress he's made since his rookie season?
He's had the normal growth you'd expect for a player coming from his first year to his second. He got to play all of his first year, which is a big plus. By the time you get halfway through that, you're really not a first-year player any more. You've already played 10 or 11 games and that's a college season. They went all the way to the championship game, so he had a lot of big-pressure games under his belt and you can see that. He plays with confidence. He knows his receivers very well and he's an effective quarterback.
Q: You improved getting the turnovers last year and now it's down again. How do you account for that?
I wish I knew or I'd damn sure have our numbers higher. We need to have more turnovers. Right now, that's an area that we must do better in.
Q: Ryan (Clark) mentioned that you can't press.
You can't or you'll break the defense down. I think our opportunities are there, we just have to come off the field with the ball.
Q: After the first game against Flacco last year, did you do anything different the second two games to account for his ineffectiveness in the last two compared to the first one?
I know we won all three of them so we really didn't change that much. They've got a good offense. He's got good receivers that he's got a good report with. He's got an arm and he can get the ball any place. Like any week, you've got to keep good pressure on the quarterback and they've got that added ingredient that they're a strong running team. They've got three running backs that could start any place in the league. They're great runners and they keep you honest. We have to not let them run the ball and not control it by throwing it, either.
Q: (Ray) Rice gives them a different kind of running back than the other two, though.
I think so. Although (Willis McGahee) is a breakaway guy too. But Rice is more of one. And LeRon McClain is more of a pounder. So they have the perfect match. They can put the biggest guy in there. They can use the guy who's kind of a hybrid, he can run it fast and has great vision and cutting ability. He's been a breakaway runner in this league for a good while. And they've got the true darter who's leading their team in rushing and receiving. They've really got a good compliment in the offensive backfield. They've got the best offensive backfield we've faced.
Q: Yet they only rank 14th in the NFL in rushing yardage. Is that because they're looking for more of that balance?
I don't know the answer to that. I know that they've got a very good running attack. They're averaging 350 yards of offense and any time you're averaging up over 350 yards of offense, you're moving the ball pretty well.