How does it look with LT's status?
"We just had a run (on the field) that none of our injured guys took part in; a normal Monday thing. It will be a day-by-day deal. LT is sore right now and we'll see where he is Wednesday."
What is Jamal Williams' value when it comes to games like this one?
"His value is the same in every game. We've incorporated using him more on third down in our sub packages because people were subbing and spreading us out and at times we were taking him off the field. He is just so solid inside it's hard to run the football when he's in the middle."
Do you think there are still people out there that doubt Darren Sproles' ability to go next week too?
"I hope there would not be doubters. Every week is a new week and we've got a plan for whichever way this thing goes, but Darren will be ready to play and he'll be a big part of this plan whichever way."
Will Michael Bennett factor in more this game?
"Again, that is all up in the air. We are going to have a plan that includes Darren and Michael if LT can't go. Michael was impressive the other night and he's slowly gotten work in practice. He's got a grip on what we're doing offensively, so if he is called upon I have confidence he'll be ready."
Coach Norv Turner
"Steve has been great. He's playing in our sub packages and he's improving as a cover guy. He has a knack for the ball, he's obviously very aggressive, he's a good tackler and he's been a good tackle player on special teams all along. With him and Paul Oliver playing back there I think it helps our deep coverage."
What is it about your December and January record out here in San Diego?
"Our guys have risen to the challenge. We've got good players and they're playing at a real high level. Obviously earlier in the year you are what you're record is but I never thought we were as bad as the way it appeared because we were playing at a high level throughout large parts of games, we just weren't finishing games."
What kind of confidence do you have from the last game with them?
"We know what Pittsburgh is all about. They've got one of the best quarterback's in the league in almost every category. They're the top defense in the league. People have scored very few points back there at Pittsburgh so we know what the challenge is and we're going have to do it our best to give ourselves a chance."
Does your coffee taste better this morning?
"Mondays after a win are always a lot different than Mondays after a loss. The strength of what our staff has done and the strength of what our players have done - they've gotten ready no matter what the results were Sunday and they've gotten ready to go out and play."
What is the weather factor?
"It's a big factor and it's a whole different type of game. It's a little bit of a throw back game. In the first time that we played them and I believe in this game, field position, taking care of the football, our punting game and our kicking game, which we think is our strength have become big, big factors in the game."
How is Nate Kaeding feeling?
"Nate is doing well. He is feeling a little sore, but he's doing well. Obviously Mike Scifres had the game of his life, but Nate was equally as impressive to me."
Quarterback Philip Rivers
Do you expect the same kind of game as the one you played against the Steelers in November?
"Yeah, as far as a physical standpoint, a weather standpoint. Obviously it's a heck of a defense and a heck of a team. Same kind of game in that sense. Will it be as low scoring or 11-10 game? Who knows how it will end up, but certainly field position will be key as it always is this time of year and especially in cold weather. It'll be just what you expect this time of year."
What do you and the offense have to do better this time around?
"It's going to be tough. I thought there were times we moved it pretty good. Again, this defense isn't going to allow you to just move it up and down the field. We had our opportunities, obviously the one turnover inside the 20 right before the half was a big momentum swing and a point swing. They got three out of it. We had the safety back there that gave them two. We did some things okay moving the ball but obviously didn't capitalize on a couple of opportunities. We have to take advantage…when we get good field position we have to score. In the red zone obviously when we get down there it's going to be key that we get in the end zone."
Before games like this do you spend a lot of time looking at the Weather Channel?
"Not necessarily. More than normal, than if you're going to Tampa or somewhere like we did a couple weeks ago. I think you expect the worse and we'll be ready to handle it. The one thing about it is it's the same for both teams. They obviously may be more used to it, but I think we'll be just fine however it ends up being."
Do you think there's any value in going somewhere cold to simulate that before the game?
"No, I don't. Kansas City got cold a couple of weeks ago. It's obviously going to be colder than that I imagine. It was cold last year in the game in New England in the AFC Championship Game and we handled it well. I don't see that being an issue."
Is this a different kind of defense in Pittsburgh or just a better one?
"It's a 3-4 and then they've got guys moving everywhere. The strong safety (Troy) Polamalu is as good as it gets in the league. He runs around. You've got to know where he is. Obviously we know what a player (James) Harrison is, just seeing where he won the Defensive Player of the Year. Just that defense in general, they have a lot of guys who have been there a while. The coordinator has been there a while. They know their scheme and they play it well. They force you to make mistakes. We did it last time we played them. It will be key to stay away from those mistakes and we think we'll hold up okay."
How similar is their defense to the Chargers' defense?
"From a front standpoint, starting with a 3-4, it's similar. Scheme wise, every team in the league to a certain extent has some relevance coverage wise. There's not but so many you can play. It's a little different. They do a little different stuff than our defense, but one thing about it, this time of year you look at who is left in the AFC and all of them can play defense. I think that tells a lot about playoff football. The teams that get there, they're all playing good defense this time of year or they wouldn't be where they are."
"Just for me, I was thinking it's crazy it's already been a year, we're right back where we were except going to Indy last year. We're right back where we were with an opportunity to advance to the AFC Championship. It's funny, some of these games you look and I just got through watching our game against (the Steelers) early in the year and there are things you say, ‘Golly, it could have been the difference in the game!' Then you think and we'd probably still be going to Pittsburgh this time of year, win or lose that game. The outcome of where our season has come so far would be the same. I don't see it as much as revenge. It's a good tape. It gets you a lot of value. We're playing teams, it's almost like a division game coming back around again six or seven weeks later. Both teams know each other pretty well. We've played a handful of times the past few years and it'll be just what you expect this time of year."
Is cold as much a factor in games like this as wind or field conditions?
"I think cold of the three you mentioned is probably last. When you think of field conditions and wind, the field held up pretty good the last time we were there. I don't know how far it's come in that span. It's winter and it's gotten colder. The wind obviously is a factor in the passing game. It was a factor. The biggest comparison I can draw is Kansas City a couple weeks ago, New England last year in the AFC Championship. The wind is a factor; which way you're going and trying to decide when to throw it and when to not, how it's affecting it."
Do you think it benefits the Steelers to have the week off?
"You can go round and round about it. Two years ago, we had home field and didn't advance and had a bye and got guys healthy. Obviously there's an advantage to it or people wouldn't fight and play so hard to get in the top two seeds. Certainly they'll have a week off, rested and playing at home. I think for us, because of how our season went and being 4-8, it's allowed us to stay in rhythm. Hopefully we can keep it going. We've been playing playoff football for five weeks now. We've handled everything well so far and hopefully we can handle it well again this week."
How do you prepare for possibly not having LaDainian Tomlinson this week and how is the offense different without him?
"LT is a huge part of this team. We all know that for all the reasons that are all known. I don't have to explain them all. I think as far as our game plan and what we're going to do, it's going to be very similar. You saw what Darren (Sproles) is capable of doing last week. Michael Bennett doesn't have the luxury of being here all year but he stepped in. He's played a lot of football and he made some good runs. We'll be the same offense as far as from a plan, scheme wise and we'll go. Certainly you miss any time a guy is banged up or how much he can go or can he go, but we'll grind and go. Guys will step up as they did last week and go try to get it done."
Do you notice a difference in the opposing defense when LT is not there?
"I think when they're both healthy, we've done more with Darren this year than any other year as far as regular off-tackle runs, regular play-action stuff. Previously he's been the screen/draw guy so you know certainly defenses are alert for that when he's in there. The fact that he had (23) carries last week and will be more of an every-down type back this week, you can't play the screen every play. You can't play the draw every play. I think he showed last week he can do it all, make every run and pass protect and do it all. Which we all know when LT is healthy he doesn't get as many opportunities. The fact that he'll get a considerable more amount of first and second down snaps than normal, I think teams will treat Darren as that. You've got to be ready for anything."
Do you hear any comments from the defense about not being able to find Sproles?
"I think it's pretty evident that when you see him squirt through there that they couldn't see him. Again, he's so strong. It's a perception because he's short and small that he's not powerful. I think now it's probably pretty well known, he doesn't surprise people any more, but the first guy doesn't bring him down very often. It's not only because he's making them miss. He's running through arm tackles, exploding and falling forward. He's a heck of a back and player and all purpose player as we know. He'll be big for us again this week."
Does Pittsburgh 's defense surprise you a lot and do things you don't see on film during the week?
"You've got to be ready for anything. A team that has as many blitzes as they do, a group of players that have been around each other for a considerable amount of time, there's no telling what a week off will allow you to do. You prepare, you study. You know the core of their defense is going to be what's got them to where they are. Then you've just got to be a football player and react. When you get some you don't get, you let your rules, your instincts take over and again don't let it cause a negative play. They're going to get us some. They're going to make plays. It's diminishing the negative plays and getting to the next down that's the key. It's not turning it over, not letting a surprise blitz or something you haven't seen cause a critical error. Let it get to 2nd-and-10. Let it get to a punt as you saw what Mike is capable of doing. All of those things will be critical as they are every time this time of year."
Linebacker Shaun Phillips
How difficult is it to get Ben Roethlisberger on the ground?
"He's just like any other quarterback for us. A quarterback is a quarterback, if you hit them hard enough, they'll all fall."
Do you think what he has suffered through over the last few weeks will have an impact?
"I'm pretty sure it won't. Because it's the playoffs, all those minor nicks and dings, bruises and all that stuff, it all goes away once the ball is snapped."
How much confidence do you have going into this game after losing the last one 11-10?
"All that is out the window. Anything that happened during the regular season is out the window. It's playoff time so there will be a new intensity for both sides of the ball. It's going to be an interesting game. We're a tough physical team and they are a tough physical team, so somebody has to bend at some point."
LB Shaun Phillips
"Our special challenge, personally, is defense. We know they have the number-one defense in the league and our goal is to go out there and try to out-play them. All we can control is our side of the ball and that's what we try to do on defense is make sure we keep putting the ball in our offense's hands because we know those guys can make plays and that's the key to winning football games."
Does your defense have something to prove?
"We have something to prove to ourselves; that's about it. Our expectations of ourselves are higher than anybody's could ever possibly be. We all know offense wins games; defense wins championships, so our mindset is that in order to get to a championship we have to play physical football on defense. That's what we plan on doing."
When you look at the film from Indy, how did your defense do?
"We played a solid game. But for us, when we play a solid game, we look at the mistakes that we did make. If there were five or six mistakes, I think there were four dropped interceptions, that is what is most important to us. Of course we look at the good plays, but the good plays are just a memory. We look at the things that we can correct and the plays that we made mistakes on."
With the weather forecast for a game like this, will defense be the determining factor?
"In our mind the defense is the determining factor for every game. Weather doesn't play apart when it comes to playoffs because both teams play in the same conditions. It's about who wants it more and who is going to be more physical. That is our mindset every week."
Does the weather affect you physically?
"One thing that you can never control is the weather, so that's the last thing on your mind. What's on your mind is playing the football game at a high level and playing to the best of your ability. Me, being an East Coast guy, the cold weather will definitely have no affect on me at all."
What is the coldest you have ever played in?
"The Cleveland Browns my rookie year; the wind chill was -16."
How was that?
"It was pretty cold."
Running Back Darren Sproles
How did you feel yesterday after being on the field so much Saturday night?
"You're going to be sore a little bit, but it's a good kind of sore because you know you did something."
With you playing so much more on offense, do you still want to return kicks and punts this week?
"Whatever I need to do to help this team win I'm willing to do. I did this in college, too. It really doesn't bother me at all."
RB Darren Sproles
"I feel I showed some people. Some people don't think I can do it still. That's the way it's always going to be I think."
Do you think Saturday might have quieted some of your critics?
"They want to see it again. I've got to keep doing it. That's all it is. As long as my line keeps blocking like that I can."
What do you want to carry into this week?
"I just want to keep it going really. I made a big mistake when I had that fumble. I want to take care of the ball. It's still in my mind but I've got to let it go some time."
Was it frustrating to you when you weren't getting many snaps with the offense during the middle of the season?
"You've got to know your role. My role at the time was special teams and then coming in to spell LT a little bit. Now I'm getting to do more and I'm having fun."
You've said you're not really comfortable in front of the camera. How do you feel about all the media attention you're getting this week?
"It's like football. The more reps I get back there, the more comfortable I feel doing it."
After your first touchdown Saturday, you gave the ball to someone in the crowd. Who was that you handed it to?
"My fiancé's father."
How much of a factor will the cold weather be this week in Pittsburgh?
"When you're playing, your main focus is on the game. You don't really think about it. You just play."
What's one thing that you want people to know about Darren Sproles?
"Just that I'm a good person. I work hard. I love football. I try to treat people right."