Q: What kind of
offensive challenges does Pittsburgh present?
Mike: "They run the option, they run a lot of screens, and they play three people at quarterback in any one game at times. They have a player, Randle El, who's a wonderful young man, who's a great football player. He was a quarterback at Indiana in college, then we had him in the Super Bowl, and now he's a wide receiver for them, but can play quarterback and he does punt returns. He can do a lot of things. He's an exciting young guy. And Bill's always done that, he's always found that guy. He did it with Kordell Stewart. He's comfortable with that and he's been able to do that and make it work for them. They do a lot of empty formations. They just make you prepare for a lot of stuff, and you'd better be ready defensively."
Q: Will you be
tweaking the defense this week?
Mike: "We're going to try some different combinations on the defensive line. Partly because Lamar King will in all likely hood be activated for the game. That's one thing. Norman Hand's situation, depending how his foot feels and things like that changes the dynamic of the defensive line just a little bit. I said earlier in the week we were going to do that and that's really what we're doing there. I wasn't particularly pleased with how we played last week in that area and neither was Ray (Rhodes). We have good football players now and I think it's important we settle in as a group and go from there."
Q: The Steelers are
having their own problems, are they the remedy to get you out of the funk from
Mike: "Well, the next win is. It just happens to be the Steelers who we're playing. Yeah, I think the next time you win a football game and now everyone feels a little better and then you go on. I have great respect for Bill Cowher and the job he does and has done there. Watching the Steelers on film, they're kind of a scary group. They do a lot of things on offense that challenge you. It's a very interesting thing. They've used anything and everything on offense, and you shouldn't be surprised by anything you see. Now defensively, they show you a scheme you don't see every week. Not many teams run a straight 3-4 anymore. So that gives you a special set of problems. They've always been a good football team and they're a better football team than their record. I know that. Shoot, it's going to be a battle, like they all are."
Q: Do you feel like
you have a home field advantage?
Mike: "I think we're getting there. We haven't been in our new home long enough to really say that for sure. But we've won games there recently, and that's good. The fans have been wonderful. The noise has been good noise when we've needed it. We're getting there, yeah. Now, I think we still have to play a few more games before I say, now it's real."
Q: What is Cowher's
Mike: "He's a passionate, intense guy. He was that way as a player, and he's that way as a coach and I think the guys, like Willie and Chad, who have played for him, guys who I've been around that played for the Steelers who later I coached, they like him a lot. He has a style of coaching that is sincere and he's emotional. The players sense that and know that about him. And then his teams have always been well-prepared and he's a very bright guy, a very smart football man and he's done a nice job. And then the other good thing about that whole situation in Pittsburgh, in my opinion, is that Mr. Rooney believed in Bill, and when he went through a couple of tough years a few years ago, they stuck with him, and that's a perfect example of the owner finding a coach and they're committed to one another. It doesn't happen so much that way anymore."
How is Chad Brown feeling?
Mike: "Chad Brown is better, and so he'll practice a little bit this week. Hopefully he'll have a full practice on Friday and then with him probably all season it will come down to how he responds to Friday's practice and how he feels on Sunday. It's just one of those things we have to do it that way, especially this first year after the surgery."