Ex-Steelers receiver Sammie Coates breaks down why Pittsburgh are so good this year

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates (14) returns a kick against the New England Patriots during the third quarter in the 2017 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium.
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Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates has revealed what he believes is the secret to his old team’s success following their 8-0 start this season.

Coates spent two years playing for the Steelers, during which they reached the AFC Championship in 2016 before losing to New England.

Even after losing key players like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh has consistently been in the mix for postseason football, and this year is shaping up to be the team to beat.

Coates believes there are two key reasons as to why the Steelers have been so successful in recent memory, and their names are Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger.

Speaking exclusively to Pickswise, Coates said: “Coach Tomlin gets that team ready to play every week, and he’s a straight shooter. As a player, you want a coach to be straightforward with you about everything, and Coach Tomlin always let’s you know where you stand.

“A lot of people in the NFL don’t tell you everything that you need to know, and they won’t be honest with you. If Coach Tomlin tells you something on Monday, he means that for the rest of the week — no change up, no nothing. 100 percent straight up with you with everything.”

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates (14) runs after a catch against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at Heinz Field.

Coates was also full of praise for Roethlisberger, who has revitalized this Steelers team after missing nearly all of last season due to injury.

He said: “Having Ben healthy is such a massive boost for this team. When he’s healthy, he’s winning. “He’s a competitor and he loves winning. He’s smart and can read a defense like no other quarterback I’ve played with. He can change the play on the line of scrimmage and you can rotate, and that’s what makes him stand out from all other quarterbacks.

“He loves the trust side of the game and I think that’s one of his biggest things with his receivers, that they have to build trust with Ben before he can start making you that guy.”

Roethlisberger is set to play in Pittsburgh’s game against Cincinnati on Sunday, but his preparation has been far from ideal. As well as dealing with a knee injury, the 38-year-old has also been on the COVID list. That means he will play without participating in any practice this week.

However, Coates believes if any quarterback can overcome these issues and still light it up, it’s Big Ben.

He added: “He can definitely handle all this stuff, he’s that type of guy. He’s smart. He’ll break down film and see what he’s got to do. He’s a guy who wants to have bonds with his players, and he’s going to play football.”

As well as talking about the Steelers, Coates also discusses Antonio Brown, his time playing in the XFL, and what it was like playing for Auburn in the famous Kick Six game against Alabama. Be sure to check all that out and more in our exclusive interview below.

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