Transcript: Smith Press Conference

Head coach Mike Smith
On how to stop Le'Veon Bell:

"He's their work horse, no doubt, in terms of running, carrying the football and catching the football. He's their second leading receiver. He has over 300 touches thus far in the season, so you've got to have a plan when they split him out of the backfield who's going to cover him. You want to make sure that you have the most advantageous match because he's a very good receiver."

On Le'Veon Bell putting stress on all levels of the defense:

"Absolutely he does. In their empty package, which they have an extensive empty package, he will line up in different spots. He can lineup out as a number one, a number two, or a number three. When you do that there's multiple guys that's going to have an opportunity to cover him when you're playing man coverage."

Julio Jones and William Moore update:

"Those two guys did not participate in practice again today. The only change from our injury report was Stansly Maponga did not practice today. It was non-injury related, and he will be back at practice tomorrow."

On Julio Jones and William Moore's status going into Sunday's game:

"I think there's a good chance that these guys will be ready to go. Both of them have made a big turnaround in the first 48 hours, and usually that first 48 hours is a pretty good indicator. I think that they'll both be game time decisions, but we do like the way that they have progressed through the first 48 hours."

On Steelers ups and downs this season:

"They've had some really impressive games, and then they've shown some games where they haven't been as consistent as they would like to be. I think they're getting healthier. They've missed some players. They got two linebackers now, (Ryan) Shazier and Jarvis Jones that are back, and really that's the strength of their defense. Troy Polamalu is getting healthy, and again I think injuries are always a factor when you start looking at how a team plays. They're not excuses, but they are factors."

On whether he takes into consideration the last two games of the season when trying to decide if Julio Jones and William Moore will play:

"Well, it's really going to be up to the team doctor, and our athletic performance group. They're going to be the one that makes that decision. If there's any doubt that there's a potential that they're not ready to go then the doctor will make that call. I know both of those guys are doing everything in their power to get back out on the field."

On whether the team can take anything they've learned from facing Aaron Rodgers and apply it to Ben Roethlisberger:

"Well, yes. We've got to do a better job with our rush lanes. With Ben, he's a little different than Aaron. He's not quite as mobile, but he still can escape. He escapes with his strength, and when you get an opportunity you've got to make sure that you pin the arm. You've got to get his arm pinned because you can be around his waist and he's still going to be able to throw the ball down the field. He's a different type quarterback, in terms of how he extends plays. It's more on his strength, than his fleet of foot."

On Dezmen Southward's progression this season:

"Dez's done a very nice job. He's played in a couple of the different packages that we have. He's very athletic. He can run. He's done a nice job on special teams for us as a gunner. He's a guy that's been able to get down under the ball. He's got speed, and he would be a guy that could potentially have to line up and play corner for us as well. We had him in the Senior Bowl as a corner, and that's something that he does. It gives us some flexibility, and it gives us some options in terms of trying to matchup.

On Robert Alford's progression:

"Robert is still not ready to go. He did not participate, and I don't think that he will be participating in practice this week."

On the biggest difference he saw in the two halves versus Green Bay:

"It was a tale of two halves. It was two different teams, in terms of the confidence that we played with and the execution. We went out and we executed on the offensive side of the football. Came out and created the explosive play early in the second half, and that kind of ignited the defense. We were able to get a stop or two, and really it was the consistency of the play in the second half compared to the first half. We made some plays in the first half we were just inconsistent."

On whether the players felt a level of desperation:

"No, I don't think there was desperation. We were all discouraged in the way that we played in the first half, and knew that we were capable of playing much better. At halftime, they committed to one another that we're going to go out and take it one play at a time. We were able to get the early score there on our first possession, and that changed the momentum a little bit. We were able to make some plays there in the second half, that we didn't make in the first half both offensively and defensively."

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