Q&A with Bill Cowher

<b>Bill Cowher</b><br> <b>Uh, coach, is Jerome (Bettis) giving you the truck?</b><br>No, I don't think there's any chance of that. It's a nice honor, good recognition. Howie (Long) came in and we had a nice visit. You have to give a little slack with things like that. It was very nice recognition and very well deserved.

What about Ben (Roethlisberger)?
I think when you look at what he's done and how he came and and how he's handled things, certainly he's deserving. It was kind of a no-brainer I think and he was really deserving of the recognition.

Did Howie have any words of advice for everyone as the playoff start (a question nominated for the slappiest of the year)?
No. Not really. The biggest thing for us is just not to forget how we go here. I think that's the biggest thing for us this week. We're working on a different team a day and we'll work today through Friday and take the weekend off. We'll come back here Tuesday and prepare for a normal week. I told them that nothing is going to change except for the quality of opponent that you play in the playoffs, though we've played some pretty good ones down the stretch. And how you handle attention, that's the biggest thing. With all of the people coming in and everyone trying to pull at you in every direction. We've got to be able to learn to say no. And we've got to remember to stay level and grounded and humble and not forget how we got here. We've never taken anything for granted. We have been a very unselfish football team. We have an identity that we are going to enter the playoffs with and we're going to focus on the next game. That's how we got here.

Did you get everybody back today?
Yeah. Pretty much everybody worked. Jerome didn't. Hines (Ward) didn't. Verron (Haynes) didn't. And Max Starks didn't. Hopefully we'll have them all back by the end of the week.

What's wrong with Max?
He's got and ankle.

Having been through this before with the bye week, do you have any changes in philosophy?
No, not really. When we come out here, the most important thing we need to do is stay grounded and focused. We had some good work today and starting Tuesday, it will be a normal week.

A team a day, how does that work? Obviously, you can't get too in depth with what you're looking at.
No. We just kind of take a look at their fronts and some plays. We get a little acclimated for it. San Diego runs a 3-4 and we took a little look at that today. We'll work a little bit on Denver tomorrow because those are the two teams we did not play this year. We'll look at the 4-3 and some of their different formations. And Friday we'll do the Jets.

All of your running backs have played well. Any idea how you'll use Jerome and Duce (Staley) in the playoffs?
No. We'll see where they are from a health standpoint next week and go from there.

Obviously the week off is good, but what are the other good things?
Well, I think the crowd, playing at home. I think that's the biggest thing. We're very comfortable playing on our field in front of our crowd. There's a lot to be said. It's an advantage, you want to think, for your defense, because of the noise and how loud it can be. That's certainly something you have to prepare for as an opposing team because Heinz Field can be very loud. We worked very hard to obtain this. It's just very good to play that first game at home and hopefully that next game at home as well.

Are falling short in 2001 and 2002 motivating factors?
We're focused on this year. We're really not looking back at anything in the pat. Every year is different. We're just taking this year as it is.

Russ Grimm is talking to the Browns. Your thoughts on that?
Russ is a good coach and that's the way the rules are structured right now. I'd never want to get in the way. I wish him the best. As long as they look at the situation closely and make sure it's the right situation. And I give my advice when they ask. Russ is a good man and he's been through it once. We'll see what happens.

This week is the window and they have to leave you alone next week?

A lot of the guys talked about how he helps them and teaches without yelling.
Russ is a good offensive line coach. He's played the game, he understands everything and the guys have a lot of respect for that. He's up for the Hall of Fame and he does a good job of communicating. I think this whole staff does a good job of that. That's part of coaching to be able to teach and get a good feel for players, trying to find the little buttons that each one has to get them to play to the best of their abilities. Each one is different. Sometimes you understand that more because you've been there. You know what some of the problems are, what some of the demands are. I think Russ is a very good teacher, a good communicator, but we have a lot of those coaches on this staff.

With all the injuries you've had and guys coming back healthy, have you thought about how you'll work players back into the lineup?
We're going to have to look at all of that, but it's a nice problem to have. We'll welcome everybody back and see where we are at the beginning of next week and go from there.

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