I am working on a story on the running game for Friday's paper and interviewed a number of people on the topic. Here is the interview I conducted with Walter Jones:
Mike (Holmgren) said this morning that he jumped on you guys pretty good about the run blocking. What do you have to do to improve the run blocking? Just keep working, man. One of those things where you just have to stick with it. We are still learning and just continue to keep working. I think Shaun is still trying to learn some of the guys. Just keep working.
How close are you to where you want to be? I think we are close. We just have to get going faster. We are close. The thing about it we are winning. If we were losing, you could probably look at some things. But you just keep on working on the things we know well and hopefully things will get better as the season goes along.
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You would think that if you are struggling with the run blocking, you likewise would be struggling with the pass blocking. But instead you are doing well in pass blocking. Why the disparity? I don't know. I think teams are gearing up for the run. They know we have 3-7 back there and their goal is to stop 3-7. They have been successful with that. So we are happy to sit back there and throw it. With the talent we have at wide receiver and quarterback, he can sit back there and if we give him time he can find those guys. Basically that is what we've been doing, giving him time to throw the ball.
Does this game have any additional meaning because of what happened in the Super Bowl in 05? None at all. This is a new season. A new team. Everybody is trying to get to the Super Bowl this year. That is the approach we are trying to take, go down there and get a win.
I think among fans there is the feeling that we really don't like the Steelers. But with the players, is there more a feeling of we were affected by the officiating, not the Steelers? The game was decided by outside factors? I just don't have no comment on that. I don't know. I know we have to get prepare for the Steelers this week. It is going to be a tough crowd and we have to come out with a victory.
How do you get prepared for a team with a good run defense like the Steelers? Or do you feel that as long as you do what you are supposed to do, it doesn't matter who is in front of you? I think so. But they are good. It ain't all about that. It is about who is in the right spot. And the way they play their defense, they are going to be in the right spot. You can't make no mistakes. So you have to constantly stay with what you are going to do and in the end it is going to be who makes the least mistakes. It is going to be a game like that. They play their defense pretty well.
How do you prepare differently to face the 3-4? It is just a matter of me as a tackle, you get a defensive end over your head all the time. That is what you want, especially in pass protection and sometimes in the runinng game. But they play it so well, they control their gaps. That is what that defense is for, to control the run gaps.