A conversation with Chad Pennington

I think after we left Heinz Field back in December when we played Pittsburgh, we felt like we would be back here again.

Q)What are your thoughts on going back to Heinz Field and getting another shot at the Steelers?

Pennington: I think after we left Heinz Field back in December when we played Pittsburgh, we felt like we would be back here again. And here we are, playing in a similar situation, a big time game. We are excited about that but I think we felt like we would be here again.

Q)Do you guys think you are better equiped this time around to handle the challenge?

Pennington: I sure hope so. No matter how I feel physically, I can always help control the game mentally. That is where I didn't help control the game the first time. So as an offense we have to be mentally sharp and make sure that we are on our P s and Q's and do the right things necessary to start moving the football. Once we start getting good drives, we have to put points on the board.

Q)What is the best approach against the Steelers defense?

Pennington: We have to be patient. It is not about confusion, it is about being patient and not trying to force things. They do a great job in coverage. Their safeties and linebackers do a great job underneath and we have to make sure we remain patie nt. If we get a chance to hit a big time play, we have to hit it because you don't get too many.

Q)What are your thoughts on the season up to this point?

Pennington: We put ourselves in this position. We don't feel like we were handed anything. We set the tempo early in the season to get into the playoffs with 10 wins and we played well on Saturday night to win the game. We had to win the game three times, so we feel good about that.

Q)What is your evaluation of your first meeting with Pittsburgh?

Pennington: I just didn't play well mentally. I have to be more patient and make sure I don't give them easy ones. I gave them two easy ones that were crucial to our success. One of them, we had the ball across the 50 and the other we were gettin g ready to get in the red zone. You can't turn the ball over in those situations because those are times when you can score points.

Q)How is your chemistry with Justin McCareins developing?

Pennington: We have made some progress but I think we have a long way to go as far as quarterback/receiver relationship. As long as we continue to work hard and talk to each other and work things out, we will be fine. Q)Are you feeling better physically and mentally?

Pennington: It is a little bit of both. It always comes back to a couple of fundamental concepts. I always believe on the road that you have to communicate with each other when the crowd is loud and you also have to remain patient and make sure you don 't force things. Because, when you turn the ball over on the road, your percentages of winning aren't very good.


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