Here are some thoughts from Pats coach Bill Belichick on the Steelers red-hot offense from Monday’s conference call:
What are your thoughts on Steelers WR Mike Wallace?
Bill Belichick: He’s a big play receiver. He’s really fast. Nobody is going to catch him, so you have to be careful about how much space he gets when he catches the ball. I think he’s improved a lot from when we played them last year, just as a football player, his patience and route technique.
He has great speed but he also is getting better at route technique, setting up routes, using his speed, changing his pace. He’s good after the catch with the ball in his hands. He breaks tackles and eludes people, does a nice job of going up and getting the ball in the deep part of the field, he’s taken it away from some defensive backs. I’d say overall [he] improved his route running in the red area where there’s less space. He still is a key guy down there. He did a lot of things well last year, doing them well this year and even better.
[He’s made] plays in just about every game. He stretches the field but he can also take a short pass and turn it into a long run, so you have to defend him from the line of scrimmage to the back of the end zone and from sideline to sideline. He’s a tough guy to match up on. He’s done a good job. Obviously he’s worked hard and he’s being well coached and he’s got a good quarterback and other good receivers to complement him. He’s part of their very productive offense.
What do you expect from Pittsburgh’s offense?
Belichick: I’d say they’re pretty well balanced between those three groups that you mentioned – three tight ends, two tight ends, and one tight end, three receivers. That fluctuates from game-to-game but if you look at it over a broader view, they utilize all those personnel groups as well as multiple backs and different receivers.
It’s not always the same receivers in the game all the time. Even though it might be the same three receivers and one tight end personnel group on paper, it’s not always the same exact players or backs. They utilize a lot of different personnel groups and different people within those groups so they give you a lot of different looks and they have a lot of good players.
They have different skills but they’re all good. Some guys do some things a little more or better than others but then other guys come in with different matchup problems. They get a lot of mileage out of everybody. It looks like they use all three of those groupings – they split it up between those three, however they do it, a half, a quarter, a quarter or a third, a third, a third. Some of that depends on the game, they way it’s going, some of it probably depends on their game plan – how they feel they match up against that opponent.