Can Arizona Bend the Steelers Defense?

Todd Haley understands that a team is never really ready for the Steelers defense, but it's his job to prepare his offense as well as he can. His experience with the Steelers should help. Arizona has been tested for three consecutive weeks, but the biggest trial will be staying on course in the Super Bowl. For Arizona, it's all about confidence and trust between Kurt Warner and his targets.

Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley expects great players to play big in big games, and the Super Bowl is the biggest game a player can have.

Haley anticipates his lethal weapon, Larry Fitzgerald, to be on point.

"I know Pittsburgh is going to have a great scheme to try and slow him down – it's pretty clear he's made a lot of plays for us – so I don't think it's going to be easy," Haley said. "But I think that's part of the game – that he's got to find a way to have success even though they're trying to take success away from him. It's not going to be easy and I don't think it was easy last week and I don't think it was easy the week before that – but Larry just makes it look easy at times. So even when he has two defenders on him, he's so good that he makes it look easy."

Haley describes Fitzgerald as the quiet storm.

"He's very quiet and very low key, but very passionate about what he does and about trying to be great," Haley said. "I know that within a game, if Larry comes to me and says, ‘I've got you Coach, I've got you,' I feel pretty good. When he's been in that state of mind, he's been able to back it up. He's a good, good person that I enjoy being around."

Part of Fitzgerald's "state of mind" is the 100 percent confidence that quarterback Kurt Warner has in Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban and Early Doucet.

The faith in each other is all in the design.

The quarterbacks and receivers meet before and after practice. They meet again on their own once or twice a week. Haley thinks they can never have enough communication between the two.

"We try to get together because you can't have enough trust," Haley said. "When the quarterback drops back and the heat is on and the pressure is coming, he has to trust that receiver is going to be where he thinks he's going to be."

The Steelers defense, which includes Troy Polamalu, will try to throw the Cardinals off their marks. Haley emphasizes getting in and out of their routes will be the biggest challenge.

"We can't get disrupted or re-routed anyway and I think that's important every week for us and when we're playing well we do that well and when we're not, we don't do it so well," Haley said.

Polamalu is a disrupting kind of safety.

"He's arguably the best safety in the business," Fitzgerald said. "He's all over the field. He causes so much disruption, because you have to know where he's at, and then right when you think he's over here, he's in your backfield or he's picking off a play on the backside. He's all over the place, and you have to identify where he's at and try not to let him affect the game, because he does such a good job of disrupting it."

Fitzgerald makes Mike Tomlin nervous. Tomlin commented that Fitzgerald is the best in the world in one-on-one downfield situations.

Fitzgerald doesn't know how he feels about Tomlin's statement.

"I've had a good playoffs, but that was last week, that was the week before," Fitzgerald said. "This is an even playing field, playing against the best defense in the world. I'm going to have my hands full with these guys, so I'm just looking forward to going out there, playing, competing, and trying to win a Super Bowl."

CardinalsSource Top Stories