Ricardo Colclough with a shoulder; Verron Haynes with a knee; Duce (Staley) with his hamstring; Deshea (Townsend) with his hand; Kendrell Bell with the groin; Jerome (Bettis) with his ankle; Clark Haggans with his groin; and James Harrison with his groin. Obviously everybody will be working. We'll see where they are at the end of the week. As it relates to Jerome and Duce, they both will play and we'll see where they are at the end of the week in regards to who starts. We'll go from there. Deshea, we'll monitor that as well. He's been working with a big cast, but that will come down some as it gets later in the week. We'll see where he is and make a decision accordingly.
We're looking forward to it. Certainly I was very impressed with
what they were able to do to go out to San Diego on a short week
and to play the game they played was very impressive. I thought
they won that game. They went out there and did what they had to
do. It was a very impressive win. As you know, our last game
against them was not that long ago, so we'll have something to
look at, as will they. Certainly it was a hard-fought game and we
expect this one to be the same. We're looking forward to the
challenge this weekend.
Coach are they doing anything differently?
Not really. I think Chad (Pennington) played well the other night.
He threw the ball well. They've played very good defense. Our
game against them was a very hard-fought game. We only had
about 50 yards at halftime and the game was tied at 3-3 going
into the fourth quarter. It was a hard-fought game and I think this
one will be similar.
There are people saying Chad's (we're on a first-name basis
even though I've never met him) arm isn't what it should be. Did
it look OK to you? (Like he's going to say no)
Oh yeah, he looks fine. He made some throws. The touchdown
throw was well-thrown with good timing. He played a good game
the other night and the line did a good job. Lamont Jordan had a
big run at the end of the game and Curtis (Martin) is running
hard. Defensively, if they get John Abraham back, he didn't play
in our first game. He'll be a big lift for them. They played well in
the first game and it's going to be a tough matchup for us.
Coach, after the first game, you said there's a good chance we'll
see these guys again. Did you have that feeling, or were they just
one of many teams you felt that way about? (God, somebody
sane has to step in and stop this now)
I know this would happen. No. They are a good football team.
They've played a lot of close games against quality football
teams. When you look at them, they don't have a lot of holes in
their football team. They're very solid offensively. They've got
some big-play ability: (Justin) McCareins and (Santana) Moss,
two quality backs, a veteran quarterback who sees the field as
well as anyone in the league. When you look at them defensively,
they are stout. Jonathan Vilma has stepped in and given them
speed at linebacker and he's an impact guy on the field. Their
front four is as formidable as any we'll play this year, particularly
those two guys inside, (Jason) Ferguson and (Dewayne)
Robertson, they're a load. It's going to be a grind just like it was
the last time we played them. We know it. We knew it going into
the last time and we didn't feel any differently coming out of it.
They have two good corners in (Donnie) Abraham and (David)
Barrett. Again, I think when you look at them. Obviously at the
time they had nine wins, but we knew that they would be in the
hunt. It was a playoff-caliber football team. We knew that then.
We haven't changed our opinion. They may have changed some
other people's opinions based on how they played last week.
How will you decide who starts at halfback?
We'll see. They're both going to play. I can't make any
predictions at this point.
Is there a disadvantage to playing a team in the playoffs that
you've already played and beat during the regular season?
I don't know if it's anything. It's something that you have a chance
to go back from a matchup standpoint. You know the players that
you played against. Particularly from this game as compared to
the other games. Everybody (remaining) has played each other
once already, but those other games were played very early in
the season. This game was just played pretty recently. Pretty
much the same players will be in this game, so I don't think its
an advantage for either team. We know them, they know us. It's
kind of like a divisional opponent. We're playing them a second
time. We're just fortunate that it's here at Heinz Field.
They've added about 12 to 15 new plays which involve both of the
backs. Is that commonplace around the league when the
playoffs start? Does the playbook get a lot thicker?
I guess it depends on which team you are.
That's not a universal thing?
I don't know what other teams do. I know that we may add a
couple, but I can't speak for the rest of the league.
Are you at all concerned about a rust factor after being off for a
couple of weeks?
Not at all. We had two good practices last week. We had a
chance to get a lot of guys healed up. We were pretty banged up.
I'm not concerned about that. If you give me a choice between
playing and a bye week, I'll take the bye week.
Do you increase the speed of practice to simulate game speed?
No, Our tempo is pretty good. It's been pretty good all year. I don't
think it's been any different all year.
Did they do any max protection the last game? I know
Pennington does a lot of three-step drops. But did they keep
extra guys in.
They mixed it up. I think some of it was predicated on down and
distance. But they did a good job against us. Last time on third
down, they converted a number of them. Sometimes we were
able to win that battle, other times they were. They hit the one big
play against Willie Williams with McCareins on the go. That's the
thing we have to do, if we can eliminate the big plays and make
them methodically move the ball, then we'll have a better chance
and hopefully win some of those third-down battles we lost the
last time. We did a good job eliminating the big plays for the
most part and we were able to come up with some big plays
along the way.
Did they attack San Diego's 3-4 differently than they came after
you a couple of weeks ago?
They had a plan that they went in with. It was a little different,
not that much. They played New England after us and had a little
different attack against them. There are a lot of 3-4 teams in this
Jerome said on ESPN yesterday that you talked to him after last
year and said that you were going to run the ball. I was
wondering if that was accurate? What else did you say to him
that made him think it was worth his while to come back again?
We talked about reestablishing. When you finish 31st in the
league, that's a very easy statement to make. We needed to
rectify that element of our football team. And Jerome, as we sat
down and talked about the makeup of the team last year, there
were some concessions that needed to be made. To his credit,
he wanted to be here. All he asked was an opportunity to
compete for the job and that's all he really asked for. That's all
the promises that I could really make. Even at the time, we
weren't sure who we were going to bring in. We were going to
bring in another back, somehow, someway. We really wanted to
have depth at that position given what the approach was going to
be. He's made a lot of concessions. He's been the ultimate
team leader. He's been very inspirational with this football team,
not only in the way he's accepted his role he was given at the
beginning of the season. When he got the opportunity to have
that role expanded, he did so in a way that a Jerome Bettis would
do that. You're talking about a Hall of Fame player who became
a role player. He was a great example for a lot of players on this
football team. He's a very unselfish guy. A guy who's in this
business for all the right reasons. There's no better leadership
that you can get when you get a veteran like that.
You mentioned Lamont Jordan, did you coach him a few years
ago at one of the bowl games?
They seem to be using him differently than they were earlier in
the year. Is that how you saw it? How would you compare him
Lamont is a very strong back with deceptive speed. I think they're
similar types of back, they're both slashers. They're coming
downhill right now. Certainly, Lamont is a bigger guy than Curtis,
but Curtis has that body lean. You don't see a lot of big hits on
Curtis Martin. You always see him falling forward. I think they're a
little different size-wise, very similar in running style. Lamont
Jordan is a good back. He's a big guy with some speed to
bounce it outside. He bounced one against us outside that got
called back because of a holding play. But he got outside
against us. He's a good back. They've got a great one-two
cannon in those guys.
Did it look like they adjusted the way they used him?
No. It's like anything. When you have two backs, it's not easy to
keep them both involved. You can say it was an adjustment, but
maybe it was the way the game unfolded. There's a fine line in
keeping people involved. You want to give them a feel for the
game, but at the same time you want to get the other guys in. It's
not an easy thing to juggle.
Marty (Schottenheimer) got flagged for coming out on the field.
Do they crack down on that more in the playoffs?
You shouldn't be on the field, but who am I to be talking? I
certainly took notice of that. I'm not going to do anything to
jeopardize our team. But they usually warn you. I've been warned
a few times. I'll definitely make sure it doesn't happen.
It look like the league has maintained its emphasis on the
five-yard chuck rule. Are you surprised?
It's been there. Maybe some games it hasn't been called as
much, but I think it has been pretty consistent throughout. That's
good. A foul is a foul. Why should is change in the postseason.
I'd like to think it's been that way. I don't teach our players to do
anything differently because it's the postseason thinking that
they will call less fouls. We don't approach the game that way.
One thing we've been able to do is play disciplined football as of
late. We'll need to do that again. We need to make sure we don't
get into situations where we give up cheap yardage with foolish
fouls. Sometimes that happens, but you have got try to avoid
them as much as possible.
Coach, does it feel like you are going into the postseason with a
rookie quarterback with as much as Ben (Roethlisberger) has
I don't look at it. To me there are no rookies any more. We've
played almost two college seasons already. This is our football
team. This is how we got here. We have an identity now. We
have players who have roles on this team and we need
everybody to play at the levels they have that put us in this
position. There's no one excluded. I don't differentiate rookies
from guys who have been here eight or nine years. I think there's
a good blend on this football team with the veteran leadership on
this team. They understand what's involved. That will get
translated through the week. We've just got to keep doing the
things we've been doing and seize this opportunity.
Do you feel any need to talk to Ben about playoff pressure?
No. Expectations that we have are no different than the ones we
had to start this season. This is just the next step that we're
taking. I think the only thing that changes is the quality of teams
you play. This is a very good football team. And all of the attention
that takes place, all of the scrutiny that exists. That's going to be
there. This team has done as good job of handling things and
keeping that in perspective. We're not taking anything for
granted. We're not looking beyond the next week. That's the only
thing we're guaranteed. And we recognize that. We've been
playing on the edge all season. That being the case, it's a good
thing that we haven't had to change the way we've played down
You talked all season about the team's confidence. How might
that counteract playoff pressure?
I don't know if there's any correlation whatsoever. Those are
things that they'll think about because they will have to answer
the questions that you're asking. All we have to do is keep doing
the things we've been doing. You don't deviate from that. It's a
quality opponent coming in here. We just have to keep preparing
like we've been preparing all year long and go out and seize this
opportunity. We've got to go out and establish the line of
scrimmage and limit the big plays on defense and try to get the
ball in the end zone on offense. It's really that simple.
Did they do anything special defensively the first time?
Nothing we weren't prepared for. We had to make a few
adjustments. They gave us a few different looks early in the
game. They're just a stout team. We just have to stay patient.
Sometimes it may not unfold right away. If we can stay patient
and not try to force the issue and play our game, hopefully we
can find a way to win this thing at the end.
Coach, which game will be more relevant, your game against the
Jets or their game against the Chargers?
I don't know if you can put one above the other. We're going to
look at them all. We'll look at the last game against them. We'll
look at what they did against San Diego. We'll look at what they
did against New England. Those are 3-4 teams. Again, you take
the information to prepare, but we can't deviate from what we do
best. There will be a few new wrinkles I'm sure based on the last
time. But that's no different than playing a divisional team when
you play them the second time. We'll take all of that information
and look at it and prepare and go from there.
Given your relationship, will you take to Marty this week and get
his thoughts on what they did and what happened?
We'll talk. The game is right there, so you can see it. I don't know
if there's much more insight that they can give that you can't get
off of tape, but I'm sure we'll talk.
When you get to the postseason, special teams can play a
factor. You must be happy with where your special teams are.
Yeah, but you still have to play the next game. Santana Moss is a
very dangerous punch returner. Jericho Cotchery just returned a
kickoff for a touchdown a couple of weeks ago. They've got some
dangerous people in the kicking game. Certainly we've got to get
our return game going a little better than it is. But right now it's
like everything else. It's a new season, you're starting 0-0. We've
got a great opportunity to start this thing off Saturday afternoon at
Will (Antwaan) Randle El go back to kickoff returns?
There's a good chance that could happen.
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