Bill Cowher press conference

Opening Statement: Obviously the game was played just last night so I don't have a lot of news relative to injuries. The status of some of our players is this: Ben (Roethlisberger) is getting an MRI on his knee as we speak. The initial diagnosis is that it's a posterior capsule strain. All the ligaments are fine. We'll have a further update on him as the week goes on. If anything's up, we'll let you know. The only other player who is out is Mike Logan.

Bill Cowher: There is nothing coming out of the game of any serious nature as we speak. Obviously it's been a very short period of time since we played. As I said last night, it's a game where we certainly didn't play our best football, but we found a way to win. I think there's a lot to be said for that. I don't think it's a case of taking anybody lightly or overlooking anything. I think it's a case of a football team playing very inspired last night in talking about the Baltimore Ravens. It was a close football game but we did what we had to do to win it, which is the bottom line. It's going to be that way week in and week out. Hopefully we can rectify some of the inconsistencies that we had and move on. We're playing another team that's in the same state of mind traveling up to Green Bay this week.

How much did his knee injury affect his throwing and scrambling?
I'm sure it had some effect on it. He gutted it out, he was hurt. He came in and told me after they came in and looked at it and taped it up, he told me at halftime, ‘I'm going to give it a shot but if I feel like I'm hurting this team, I'm going to take myself out.' I told him, ‘You know where you're at with it.' He got it hit early in that first drive, but I've got a lot of respect for Ben. He's a competitive guy, he's a tough guy. Our doctors have done a good job communicating with him and him with them in regards to the risks of putting him back out there. Like I said, I think it was painful and hopefully it's something he can work through. But we'll rest him and see where he is at the end of the week.

Did something kick in with him on these last-minute drives, he's had a few now?
He's a very poised quarterback, that's the only way I can put it. He has a feel for the game, an understanding of what the scenario is in terms of the time. He's a very competitive, confident individual in those situations. You never sense the guy overreacting. You can relate it to a lot of things, but he's like that guy in basketball who wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line. I would equate that to our quarterback at the end of a game.

Same attributes with Jeff Reed as well?
Yeah, Jeff is very clutch, very cool, very confident. He's developed that over time and we have a lot of confidence in him.

Is Charlie (Batch) second on your depth chart and how's he been playing in practice?
Fine, yeah he is and he's been good.

Every time you've needed that offensive drive late in a game, the offense has come through. Once you do it once, does that make it easier the second time through?
I don't know if it's easier, but certainly there's a confidence that exists on your football team and not just with the offense. You look back and not just at the games we've won, but some of the games we've lost. Against New England, we drove back down and tied that football game up. Unfortunately we weren't the last ones with the ball in our hands. I think there's no question that you gain confidence, not just with your offense but with your whole football team, because you have a chance to come back and win a game at the end. Obviously the more you're able to do that, when those situations arise, the more confidence it gives the team.

Positives from this game?
I will say this, B.J. Sams has been a Pro Bowl returner and I thought our coverage teams did a great job with him. A lot of times we put them on a long field and had some big impactful hits on kickoff coverage. You take out that little FUBAR we had, you take that play out and the special teams really responded very well. Defensively we were put in three adverse situations. They took over the ball on our side of the 50 three times and we held them to two field goals and one missed field goal. Third down was probably the biggest disappointment. Three times we had them in third and 10 or more and they converted them. I mean third and 12 on the 12-yard line, come on, we've got to hold them to a field goal there. That was probably the most disappointing play of the night. If you hold them to a field goal there, there's a sense that they moved it, but we're off the field at 7-3. What we did in the running game against that football team and we really didn't give up any big plays. And how we played at the end of the game. I talked about third downs, but they were one of five in the third quarter when we had to stop them. Offensively we had the first drive and the last drive and yes, we may have sputtered in between a bit, but we did a lot of good things. There were a lot of positives, but there were some inconsistencies. We need to put together 60 minutes in all three phases playing solid football. We didn't do that, but we did enough to win.

Is Quincy (Morgan) becoming more a part of this offense?
I think the circumstances have been such that Ben feels comfortable with all four of those receivers in a two-minute situation or even on third down. I think Quincy, Cedrick (Wilson) (Antwan Randle) El and Hines (Ward) is a good receiving corps and he's grown more comfortable with all of them.

Were you surprised with Baltimore's efficiency throwing the ball given the troubles they'd had?
They executed. I don't know if there were any issues, they hit a couple of check downs and so I guess everybody wants us to hold everybody under 200 yards but it doesn't happen all the time. The bottom line is that we did what we had to do when we had to do it.

Were your defensive backs blitzing from a little further back?
No. Not really. We tried to disguise some things. We had one where Chris Hope was a little late there, but sometimes with the noise, we're trying to time things up to. And they had motioned a guy and he's trying to communicate something and when they changed it, we changed the blitz. Nothing more than normal.

What about the timeout with eight seconds left in the half?
I wanted to make sure we had the right personnel on the field.

Did they use a lot of max protect?
A lot. Yeah, that's why they protected. When they were doing that, Todd Heap was back there protecting, so that wasn't all that bad. We get that, people aren't going to let us blitz them. At the same time, when you're only sending out three receivers and you're max protecting, you'd like to think that goes to the offense. They hit a couple of passes that we didn't react quickly enough to and recognize quick enough. They did a good job protecting the quarterback and when you blitz, you're not always going to get a guy free. You're going to create some one-on-one match ups. I thought we put some pressure on him sometimes and other times we backed off. It was kind of a cat-and-mouse game at times, but I think for the most part our defense did a pretty good job.

Are there times when you say there's no sense blitzing?
If they're going to max protect, they're going to pick things up a lot of the times, but that doesn't mean you should deter from blitzing. You have to put pressure on the quarterback. It's a fine line. You do have to mix it up if they max protect. You have to drop more into coverage. It's a cat-and-mouse decision you have to make as a signal caller.

What do you think about going to Lambeau for the first time in 10 years? What do you remember about the last game?
The last game there was '94 or '95 and I remember telling Yancey (Thigpen) after that game not to travel through the Detroit airport after that game. I think it cost Detroit a playoff spot. Kevin (Colbert) has reminded me of that. I do remember the first trip up there. My first loss as an NFL coach came in Brett Favre's first start in Green Bay. That was his first start, his first win up there with the Green Bay Packers. It started the consecutive games streak that's still alive today. That was my first loss as an NFL coach. I remember both of those games for those reasons.

Do you think he's on his way out or doesn't have the weapons around him he used to have?
I just know he's a scary guy to defend. You can say what you want. They've had some tough breaks, a lot of injuries. That guy is as fierce a competitor as I have witnessed. I have not played against him a lot but I have a tremendous amount of respect for the guy. He is one of those guys who can literally will a team to victory. I know that's we're going to face on Sunday.

Do teams get more desperate as they lose?
Yeah. There's that fine line in the National Football League. You look at a team like Baltimore, I know they had two of their leaders out, but they still have a lot of good football players on that team. You look at a team like Green Bay, they've made the playoffs with Coach (Mike) Sherman I think every year he's been up there, four or five years. They're a football team that's used to winning. They're going through some adversity as well, but they're not to losing at Lambeau Field. Look at the expectations of teams going in and when they lose like that, they're going to come out and play and play hard just like they did last week at Cincinnati. It varies every week and you have to bring your top game every week. That's the way it works in the National Football League. If you relax and let your guard down, you're going to be in for a big disappointment.

Are there any comparisons between Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger?
I think it's too early to make those kind of comparisons. They're different type of quarterbacks. Brett's done it year-in and year-out. He's won a Super Bowl. He has done it through a period of time. Not that Ben won't, but I think it wouldn't be fair to make those comparisons. I love our quarterback and his demeanor and his competitiveness, his toughness. Ben's got a great future ahead of him. It's hard not to respect a guy like Brett Favre and what he brings to the game, the passion, the pride and the competitiveness that he has week-in and week-out. Like I said, how he almost wills the people around him to win because he's got that type of leadership ability.

In that respect, the Cincinnati players were even helping him up and patting him on the back after he threw that crazy pass at the end against them. That just shows the respect everyone in the league has for this guy.
There's no doubt. You have to respect him. He's a genuine guy. You look at him, he wears his emotions on his sleeve. But his commitment to the game and what he represents in the game, to me it epitomizes what the National Football League is about. You know what you're going to get every week. I have nothing but the utmost for this man.

Can you tell on film whether he's lost something off his fastball?
You can tell that. I haven't seen it with him. He can still make all the throws that you would probably tell your quarterback no, no, no. With him it's yes, yes, yes. He'll throw it across his body across the field. He'll get it into tight spots. Sometimes it's like last week, he'd probably like to have a couple of them back, but those will be the same ones next week he'll get in there. He's one of those guys if he sees an opening, he's going to try and get it in there. He'll move around in the pocket and he's almost at his best when he's ad-libbing. You just see him do it year-in and year-out and week-in and week-out. You've got to expect the unexpected with this man.

Are you pleased with your defensive line?
I can't say enough. Those six guys they all are playing at a high level. It's great to have all of those fresh bodies at the end of a game. Brett Keisel comes in with a big sack. Travis Kirschke has played very solid. So has Chris Hoke. Those three starting down linemen had another solid game. Casey (Hampton) was really, really good again last night. Those six defensive linemen are really playing solid.

When you have depth like that, does it help the starters that they know they don't have to hold anything back?
They do. John (Mitchell) does a good job and those guys are good enough about realizing that if they are tired to come on out. It's a very unselfish group, it's a very close group those six guys. It certainly has lent itself to us playing well as a group.

On that long drive Baltimore had, was that just them being the best they can be or were there some problems defensively?
What drive?

That 16 or 17-play drive.
The field goal? I can't recall the specifics of it. I think they converted a third and 10. Give credit to them. They executed. We couldn't get off the field. The one thing I do like is that you take away that third and 12 where they scored in the first half and they converted some third downs and we've got to work on that, but I like the fact we're getting to third down. We're not giving up big plays on first and second down and we'll be all right with that. My concern is if we don't get to third down. Then it's a problem. If they're making 10 yards with two downs. If we get off the field on that first one with a field goal, it's five field goals instead of four. I like the fact we're scoring touchdowns in the red zone for the most part and we're holding them to field goals. When you look up at the end of the night, that four points is big on both sides of the ball.

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