How is Kaeding doing? Is his groin ok?
"He's alright. I think he'll be fine."
Are you considering how important the kicking game will be this weekend?
"It's obviously going to be a big part. You get into weather, you get into field conditions and obviously if it starts snowing we know how big it's going to be. I don't know that we can put an added emphasis on it because we emphasize it as much as I think you possibly can and it's been a big part of our entire season."
Any contemplation to having Mike Scifres kick off or will it be Nate?
"No, it will be Nate."
In your experience what wins out, having playoff and game experience or the weather?
"I think all the things involved. I think guys that played over an extended period of time have confidence. Guys who have played in playoff games helps their confidence and guys who have had success in those games certainly helps and as I said yesterday, at some point when you haven't had success I think you understand that this thing can end really quickly, and it does create a real sense of urgency."
There was a big change in turnovers the last few games. How much do you attribute that to circumstance and how much of it is actually protecting the ball better?
"In terms in our turnovers, I think we've been good all year in taking care of the ball. We've had some unusual plays this year, early in the year, that over 16 games you are going to have. I do believe there's been an extra emphasis on it over the last month. Philip has done a great job in the pocket and he hasn't had a lot of turnovers, but he has had a couple that were glaring to people."
WR Malcom Floyd
"I've been trying to get Malcom up. I would love to have him up. Unfortunately (for him) when he got hurt and was out, Kris Wilson came in and played so well on special teams. We're used to having five receivers up and we've gone with four the last few weeks. It's just a matter that you only get 45 and it's a tough deal. Obviously Kassim Osgood plays receiver and also plays on special teams, so we've just got a dilemma there."
What is the status of LT?
"I think LT explained it pretty well yesterday in terms of where he feels he's at. The chance of him being able to practice tomorrow doesn't look real good and that would carry right over into the game I would think."
Is that still a Sunday decision then?
"We don't have to list him until tomorrow and we'll list him tomorrow and we'll move from there."
If he doesn't go, will Michael Bennett have more of a role in the offense?
"Yes. Michael showed the other day that he is capable of going in and playing from a standpoint of knowing what we're doing and I thought he made a strong contribution in the game the other day. If it works out to where he gets more reps, I have a lot of confidence in him."
Cornerback Quentin Jammer
Do you think playing in the playoffs previously will help guys out?
"As far as playing in last year's playoffs, I think that losing will definitely help with this year because you don't ever want to feel like that again."
CB Quentin Jammer
"We only had each other and nobody really thought we could do it, including you guys in the media. We just stuck together and we ended up getting into the playoffs. Once we got into the playoffs, we figured if we kept the streak going and win a few games, maybe even get into a Super Bowl. Our primary focus is Pittsburgh and it's going to be a tough match-up. It was tough last time we played them. We watched that game, we saw the mistakes we made and got them corrected, and I think it will help us going into this next game in Pittsburgh."
Is there any disadvantage in going up against a team that has had a week off while you were grinding?
"I don't think that's a disadvantage. Pittsburgh is a great team. Their defense is, what can you say, it's a beast. The offense can generate some yards and put up some points, but that defense is the heart of that football team. They can put up a few points and shut everybody down. We just have to try to play as well as that defense or better."
Running Back Michael Bennett
What do you expect to see this weekend? Do you think you'll get more reps?
"Definitely. I expect to see a great defense, cold weather, rowdy fans and a great game. I think this is really important. I think it sets a milestone for our team if we can go in and get this win and continue to move forward."
How is the cold going to affect you?
"It really won't affect us. I played in the cold in for a long time. It's a mindset. You want to go in there and win the game and you don't think about the weather, whether its rain, sleet, snow. Those are just the conditions and we're going to have to man-up and play in it."
RB Michael Bennett
"I'm going to prepare like I'm going in to start the game. Whatever role I have to take during the course of the game, I'm going to take it. I have to prepare well and make sure that I'm on top of the things that were going to learn on offense while recognizing the different things that they do with their defense and get that down. Tomorrow is Friday; it's a big day for us to get all the little wrinkles out and get ready to go for Sunday."
How much does game experience factor in? You haven't had that much this season, so how will that rank?
"My thing is that I've been in the league for eight years. I've been in a lot of playoff games over my time and I think that really helps. Game experience and different situations always help. It's cold weather and I've played in cold weather and know how to prepare for that. The biggest thing is just going out and just executing what is called on offense."
Quarterback Philip Rivers
Does it work in your favor that you're playing the Steelers for a second time?
"I don't think so. They have the same deal. They played us once but it is a game where it's almost like a divisional opponent, the second game in the division. You've played them. What did they do well against you? How did they hurt you? You can use that game to your benefit but you can't get enamored with it because they have played six games since then. It certainly gives you a good feel for how they play it."
QB Philip Rivers
"I think the thing with Norv in generally is he's coached against so many guys in this league for such a long time. He obviously has a good feel for every opponent based on the coordinator as do they on him. That's the thing to me about playoff football is that chess match. You don't want to ever try to out think yourself and think, ‘Last time they did this. They're probably going to go cover it.' Let's see if they cover it. You still have to play the game. Just because something wasn't open the first time, it may be the second time or vice versa. You can't get caught up in that first game and think things are going to come up the same way. They see it to. It works both ways."
How much better are you guys playing right now?
"I think we're playing a lot better. I think too, we were in that little funk. For whatever reason, snake bitten or I don't know what you call it as far as the close games we had lost, so many of them, you just couldn't seem to put a game together. I think from a mental standpoint we're so far better off as we go there as we were then. We were fighting and battling like everything to win that game but it was almost like we were still digging ourselves out of being a 4-5 team. It was like, ‘Maybe this is going to be the one that turns us around. We come home for three after this one. Let's steal one in Pittsburgh .' It was almost like pulling teeth. We just couldn't get out of it. I don't know how to explain it. Now as we go back, we've won five in a row. We've put together some complete games on offense, defense and special teams. We're kind of playing with the confidence that you play with when you've won five in a row. There's no denying a team that's lost five in a row and a team that's won five in a row, they play different. You can try to trick yourself all you want. When you've lost some close games and you're battling through it, you trick yourself. Until you actually do, it's like walking out of that Pittsburgh game going, ‘Here we go again. Can it happen again? Losing 11-10?' We're way better than we were then. They probably feel they are too."
Do you think this team is peaking at the right time?
"The championship-type teams, they get better as the year goes. We hope we're better. We are. That's when you want to be at your best. I wonder if that 14-2 year if we peaked early. I don't like getting caught up in the whole peaking thing, but we were playing our best (in the middle of the year). I remember when we got hot that 14-2 year. Then we stumbled around and found a way against Seattle . We stumbled around and beat Kansas City at home; it was so ugly. We got a bye and kind of played the same way in the New England game. Maybe there's something to that. Last year we finished hot, were playing good and kept it rolling. Now we finished hot, are playing good and hopefully we can keep it going."
Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera
Are you content with the way your defense has given up a lot of yards but not many points?
"I'm going to be very honest and very blunt. I give a (explicative) about the yards. I really could. It doesn't matter. When's the last time a team won giving up 200 yards but the other team scored 21 points? We have four game goals we talk about. You can ask the players. I show them every day: hold the opponent to 17 points or less, force four or more three-and-outs, create two or more takeaways and score or put the offense in scoring position. Nowhere does it say anything about yards."
Where does your accountability play into how your defense is playing?
"They now think they're responsible for themselves to their teammates. That's important. Just like the touchdown pass that Peyton Manning threw on us when he got us out of position. During the game I told the guys it was my fault. You know the little huddle where I pulled them up and everybody thought I was yelling at the players? No, I told the players that was my fault. That's going to happen, but let's just go out and whoop their butts."
DC Ron Rivera
"When I put the tape on I see a running back that's running pretty good down the stretch in Willie Parker. I think that's a misnomer. And even though (Roethlisberger) is coming off the concussion, he's had a whole week to come back. Now after having a good week off and getting his fresh legs back, I think he's probably going to be ready to throw the ball well."
When you play a team a second time in one season, are there some things you try to do different just for difference sake?
"Yeah, I think there's some nuances to what we do in terms of our defense, in terms of our defense and alignments, looks, coverage looks and shells. There are different things we've done since we played them. It was the same thing with Indy. We did things different."
How big was Eric Weddle last week?
"Eric has played very well down the stretch. The last six weeks he's been exceptional. He's been exciting. I think he's finally come along to the type of player we envisioned him when A.J. and Norv drafted him. I think he's gotten to that point and I think the young man is really a smart football player and does a lot of good things for us."
Is there something in particular that's happened for him in the second half of the season?
"I think just the experience factor. His experience is starting to show."
What's this like for you to be in another playoff run as a coordinator?
"I think it's exciting. It's fun. I enjoy the heck out of it. I enjoyed last year. I thought last year was a great run for us as well. I was pretty excited about it and I'm excited about this as well. I think our guys have played very well. We've accomplished a lot, but I think there's a lot of unfinished business left to go."
How important is it to stop the run early?
"It's very important because then all the play-action that they run becomes affective. We have to limit that."
The night that Mike Scifres had, how much does that help a defense?
"It was tremendous. You've got them backed up and when you've got them back in that situation, as a play caller, you can take some chances. You can say, ‘If we blow it here, we may only give up 12 yards, but at least we're bringing pressure.' Who knows? Maybe we make something big happen. That was kind of the philosophy going in against these guys. They're going to run the ball a specific way. If we can hit it just right, who knows what could happen."