Back at it here. We have the players coming back in tomorrow. Today's a good day for us to go back over all the things we worked on last week, pull it back together, get ready for the players coming in tomorrow and practicing, have a good week for the Steelers. They look good as usual - the AFC champion last year - a lot of the same players, same schemes. [It's a] big challenge, a lot to get ready for. They do a lot of things to make it tough on you. They're well coached, [they have] a lot of talent in all three phases of the game. Both teams know each other well, so I don't think there will be a ton of surprises here. It will come down to preparation, execution and decision making on game day. Hopefully we can do a good job of that.
Bill O'Brien elaborates on what he sees from the Steelers defensively.
You just look at, they're number three in the league in defense and they're number one against the pass. They haven't given up 100 yards to a receiver reception wise, and they haven't given up a 300-yard game to a quarterback. They're, again, stout against the run, just like they always have been. They're a typical Steeler defense. We're going to have to have a great week of preparation and then put together a good plan and go up there, and we're going to have to play a really good game to have a chance.
I really believe this is a tough defense, a smart defense, a really well coached defense. You look at Troy Polamalu - he's in his ninth year and this guy is playing as well as any safety in the league. That's an example of a bunch of veterans on their defense that are playing well, as well as their younger players.
Nick Caserio explains what he sees in Steelers WR Mike Wallace that is different from when he was coming out of college.
Coming out he was a big, fast receiver. His production, just in a relative base - I think he had back-to-back 30-catch years. Some of that was the offense, some of that was some other factors but since he's been in the league, since year one up until this point, he's really improved just as an overall receiver. I think he was big and could always run. He's just become more consistent in all phases - route running, catching the ball, understanding coverages, just understanding how the defense is playing. Really these last couple years, including this year, he's played at a very high level. He had a real productive year for their offense last year. I think he's averaged, I want to say, 20 yards or close to 20 yards a catch since he's been in the league, so he's always been a big play receiver who can attack the third level part of the defense - the vertical part of the defense. He's done some other things just with the underneath route running and he's improved. It's a credit to him and a credit to the Pittsburgh coaching staff for what they've done with him.
- WEEI Patriots Monday: Deion Branch (12.15 min.), Andre Carter (10.24 min.), Vince Wilfork (8.55 min.) and Bill Belichick (34.15 min.)
- Conference Calls: Bill Belichick (15.40 min. plus Transcript), Bill O'Brien (8.15 min. plus Transcript) and Nick Caserio (9.28 min. plus Transcript)
- Totally Patriots - Week 7: Matthew Slater shares his thoughts on the NFL rule changes and Stephen Gostkowski explores his talents off the field, and more. (21.23 min. video)
- Christopher Price sees the Patriots opening a key stretch of their season Sunday against the Steelers.
- Greg A. Bedard asserts that unless the pass defense continues to improve greatly, the odds are seriously stacked against a Super Bowl run.
- Mike Reiss comes up with five key questions facing the Patriots the rest of the year. The ultimate question remains: Can they win in the playoffs?
- Kirk Minihane begins his Bye Week Report Card with a question: Is this a great team?
- Tom E. Curran says the flaws run deep, even among the best teams in the AFC.
- Fred Smerlas points out the Patriots may lead the division, but the Bills and Jets are not going anywhere. (3.14 min. video)
- Chris Forsberg lists the defense and the impact of PUP players among the key questions for New England after the bye.
- Chris Forsberg opened the film vault to watch Brandon Deaderick's 2010 snaps and reports on some of the positive plays that jumped out.
- Mike Reiss highlights Bill Belichick on the Big Show yesterday afternoon. Belichick is encouraged with the progress of Marcus Canon.
- Ian Rapoport shares some nuggets from Tom Brady's call-in to the Dennis & Callahan show this morning.
- Ian Rapoport notes Bill Belichick doesn't seem too concerned about what his players (cough Gronk) do on their bye week.
- Christopher Price offers his Bye Week Breakdown: Defensive Backs and Special Teams.
- Dan Duggan writes about the Patriots starters who make a big impact on special teams.
- Jeff Howe expects Wes Welker to remain with the Patriots because he needs them as much as they need him.
- Mike Reiss catches up with how the former Patriots are doing that started Training Camp in New England. Meriweather rode the pine for the 2nd straight week.
- Mike Reiss believes the sorry state of the Colts highlights what the Patriots did without Tom Brady.
- WEEI highlights Deion Branch and Andre Carter on the Mut & Merloni show Monday morning.
- Bob Ryan wants to know if you're enjoying the National Penalty League. He's right on.
- Shalise Manza Young Patriots Notebook: The Steelers have won three straight games with the top-rated passing defense and second-rated defense overall in the NFL; Bill Belichick offered no update on the status of Jerod Mayo; Coaches were given a couple of days away during the bye too; Kevin Faulk might be the first of the PUP players to be activated to the 53-man roster; Nick Caserio didn't respond as to whether he'd be at Terrell Owen's workout today.
- Dan Duggan Patriots Notebook: Troy Polamalu remains a force and is playing as well as ever; No injury updates yet on Jerod Mayo or Sebastian Vollmer; Bill Belichick praises the toughness, 'both mentally and physically' of punter Zoltan Mesko and the value of his consistency - even playing through pain.
- WEEI highlights Boomer Esiason's guest appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show Monday.
- Ian Rapoport reports Matt Light will be honored at the 2011 YMCA Legends Ball.
- James Walker (ESPN) Bill Belichick on Steelers' offense.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballtalk) AFC North hit the scheduling jackpot.
- Jamison Hensley (ESPN) Upon further review: Steelers.
VIEW FROM PITTSBURGH
- Scott Brown (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) Steelers ready to face nemesis Brady. Showing remarkable restraint, 'asterisks' and 'spygate' aren't mentioned until the second sentence.
- Ed Bouchette (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Archrival Patriots up next for Steelers.
- Teresa Varley (Steelers.com) Room for improvement.
- Dejan Kovacevic (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) Steelers aim to do it for Aaron. DE Aaron Smith was placed on IR with a neck injury.
- Bob Smizik (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Is it Roethlisberger's time?
- Ron Cook (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Wallace speeds up his greatness.
- Mike Bires (Beaver County Times) Young receivers have been money for Steelers.