(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey was on The Lefkoe Show recently with Adam Lefkoe and he made some interesting comments regarding knowing what the Steelers are running before the ball is even snapped. Even going back to when Antonio Brown was with the Steelers.
"AB, even with the Steelers, every time he's about to get the ball, he undoes his gloves and straps them back," Humphrey said, which was also highlighted by Cris Collinsworth when he would call Steelers games. "So when he was at the Steelers, any time you see him (undoing his gloves and strapping them back), you get a little more ready."
Humphrey went on to say that very rarely do you have something that tells you exactly what the offense is going to do, but with mostly empty stadiums this past year due to no fans allowed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a different ball game.
"The craziest thing about this year: We played with no fans, and we played the Steelers. We walk on the field, and of course, it's no fans, so it's kinda quiet. I'm on the field, and like, I heard Big Ben say something to the wide receivers. And I'm, like, listening, and I'm like: 'Is he telling me the play?' Did he just tell him the route he's about to run?" Humphrey said. "And he does it again like the next play, and I'm just like, I couldn't believe it. Like, I don't know if they were in hurry-up, and that's how they'd always done it or what, but he was just verbally telling them. And I was like, crap, I think I should be able to cover this route. And that happened a few times in the game. He didn't throw it to me when he told them, but I couldn't believe it that, like, that's what happened."
This past December following the Steelers-Colts Week 16 game, during a segment on the NFL Network, Michael Silver said that JuJu Smith-Schuster told him pre-snap the Colts' defense was calling out their plays in the first half. Ben Roethlisberger was 11 of 20 for 98 yards and the offense scored just seven points in the first half, and that was because T.J. Watt had a strip-sack and Mike Hilton recovered the fumble and returned it 14 yards to the Colts' 3-yard line to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by James Conner.
In the second half, the Steelers scored 21 points and came back from a 17-point deficit to beat the Colts, 28-24. The offense switched things up in the second half to a no-huddle attack and Roethlisberger started to call the plays instead of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
"Ben's mind is super creative he was calling out plays in the second half that we did not practice, just pulling things from the past," Smith-Schuster told Silver.
Mike Tomlin was asked about Smith-Schuster's statement at his weekly press conference, and Tomlin said they were calling the Colts plays out as well.
"We were calling out their plays, too," he said. "Philip Rivers was calling out our adjustments. I think it's one of the things that kind of goes on in 2020 during the global pandemic when you're playing in crickets, in eerily quiet stadiums.
"I think it's just one of the adjustable things that we all globally have to deal with in the 2020 environment because of the level of communication and the amount of communication that's heard between units prior to a snap in 2020's environment."