Ravens' Friday notebook: Wannstedt gets Pitt job

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh's bid for the University of Pittsburgh head coaching job was officially derailed Thursday as former Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt accepted the position.

A former Pitt quarterback who led the school to its last national title in 1976, Cavanaugh interviewed twice for the position and was emerging as a leading candidate until Wannstedt changed his mind one week after turning the job down. Wannstedt succeeds Walt Harris, who resigned and took the Stanford job.

"Dave Wannstedt is an excellent coach," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "They're both Pitt grads. Obviously, it would be disappointing for Matt. That's part of the profession and you move on very quickly."

TONED-DOWN: Even though Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter is expecting to be a marked man after his cheap shot on Ravens tight end Todd Heap earlier this season, he's not itching for a fight in Sunday's game at Heinz Field. Porter wasn't fined or penalized for shoving Heap down while he was essentially defenseless with a severely sprained ankle, but drew heavy criticism, including from Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

"If they are still mad about the Todd Heap deal, that is something they can deal with," Porter said. "Earlier this season, my temper was going everywhere. I would be feeding into the frenzy, if I were to go out there and get into something like that."

KRYPTONITE?: One day after Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs' boldly labeled his team as the Steelers' kryptonite following two consecutive wins over the newly crowned AFC North champions, Pittsburgh receiver Plaxico Burress was dismissive of his comments.

"He's only been there for the first two games they won in three or four years, so how are they our kryptonite?" Burress said. "He doesn't know what he's talking about. This is his second year playing and second-year guys shouldn't talk like that.

"We're in the driver's seat. We don't have to do much talking right now."
The Steelers (13-1) had posted a five-game winning streak against Baltimore prior to last season. The Ravens have never swept the season series, or defeated Pittsburgh three times in a row.

"What's kryptonite?" Steelers offensive guard Keydrick Vincent said. "Let him talk."

CONTINUITY: Cowher's intense sideline presence for 13 years in a row in Pittsburgh is likely a major reason why his team has won 12 consecutive games following a 30-13 loss to Baltimore.

Cowher, 47, has the longest active coaching tenure with one team and is 135-85-1 overall, including an 11-6 mark against Baltimore. Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney has extended Cowher's contract several times. And Pittsburgh is winning this year with new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
"It's huge, that kind of continuity allows you to go through the highs and the lows and to not give in to the knee-jerk reaction of, 'Oh my god, what do we do now?'" Billick said. "The Rooneys have been excellent in that regard. Particularly this year, you're seeing a byproduct of continuity at the head-coaching position."

SCOUTMASTER: Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart has put quite an accent on his scout-team duties this week in prepping the defense for Sunday. Stewart was the Steelers' starter for five seasons, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2001.
"He's been able to coach it up a little bit in terms of the look and how they set this and the verbiage and the way they nod here and wink there, and that type of thing," Billick said. "So, it's been fun."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens reported no changes to their injury report. ... The Steelers upgraded linebacker Clint Kriewaldt (hamstring) to questionable. ... Rookie receiver Clarence Moore is rapidly gaining an education about the ferocity of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry. "We don't get along with Pittsburgh, I know that now," Moore said. "It's almost like they're brainwashing me." ... Heavy rainstorms prompted Billick to move practice into their indoor facility Thursday. ... Steelers receiver Hines Ward is 28 yards shy of his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season.

 


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