After soundly defeating the New York Jets this past weekend, Joe Philbin and the Miami Dolphins’ next task will be making the trip up to Pittsburgh for another AFC showdown, this time with the Steelers.
“It’s a good football team,” Philbin said in an interview with the Finsiders. “Mike Tomlin and his staff do an excellent job, number one. They’ve got very good players.”
There’s little argument that Pittsburgh’s best player is Ben Roethlisberger, the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback who has led the Steelers to two Super Bowls over the course of his career.
“Their quarterback is one of the best in the business,” Philbin said. “I remember watching him when I was a college coach, on the sideline, I could remember watching him throw the football and extend the play…and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Whew, this guy has a chance to be a pretty good player’. He’s very, very good. It’s going to take an effort by the whole football team. We’re going to have to play better in all three phases.”
Then there’s the aspect of the game the Steelers are known for, which is their defense. Orchestrated by the legendary Dick LeBeau, the Pittsburgh defense is one that will present plenty of pressure.
“We played them in 2009 and then we played them in the Super Bowl. He’s just an outstanding coach,” Philbin said of LeBeau. “They have a veteran staff on defense—John Mitchell, I don’t know personally, but I know he’s an excellent defensive line coach. I think Keith Butler does their linebackers. They’re very good. They’re very multiple. Their pressure package that coach Lebo uses originated a long time ago with Dom Capers, who was one of the great defensive coaches in the league as well.
“It’s formidable. And we’re going to have to spend some time. We’re going to have to be on the same page. We’re going to have to be able to execute versus pressure. We already talked about that as a staff. One of the keys to the game is going to be how well we execute from an offensive perspective against that pressure. Because it’s coming. It’s coming, he’s going to bring it and we’re going to have to be able to handle that and make some plays.”
Philbin also alluded to the point that Miami may be able to use the Steelers’ defensive strategy to their advantage, as the pressure should allow some Dolphins to get free and open.
“The good news is, it’s risk-reward for everybody and the good news is, you pick it up, there’s going to be some seams,” he said. “There’s going to be some open players and we’re going to have to step up and make the plays when they’re there.”