We've got two players that are doubtful. One is Charlie Batch with his hand. The second one is Andre Frazier with a hamstring. We've got three players that are questionable: Marvel (Smith) with his ankle; James Farrior with his knee; and Mike Logan with his hamstring. We've got six guys who are probable: Ben (Roethlisberger) with his knee; Joey Porter with a knee; Jeff Hartings with a knee; Max Starks with a knee; Chidi (Iwumoa) with an ankle; and Willie Parker with an ankle.
To reflect back a bit on the game in Baltimore, it was a tough
loss. Certainly we had our opportunities and did not play well
offensively. I thought we did a lot of good things on defense and I
thought our special teams were absolutely subpar. You lose two
of the three phases and it put us in the situation we were in.
STill, saying that, we had our opportunities on the last
possession with the ball at midfield and first-and-10, and also
on the first possession of overtime with the ball at midfield on
first-and-10. On both of those occasions we were forced to punt.
At the end of the game we just weren't able to finish those drives
and consequently we weren't able to finish the game. We sit
here right now at 7-3 with a six-game season, basically. We're
tied with Cincinnati. Obviously we face a big challenge Monday
night facing the best team in football. I can just say that by
looking at them the last couple of days, I can see why they're
10-0. They don't have a whole lot of holes in them. They're a
complete team, a balanced team and they haven't been in a lot
of close games. Their scores have been low on some
occasions, but these guys are playing at a very high level and it
will be a big challenge for us.
Did Cincinnati try to outscore them (Duh)?
BC: We try to outscore all of our opponents every Sunday.
They got into a shootout.
BC: That's how the game unfolded. What do you try to do, slow
down the scoring? You can try to possess the ball, but when you
have opportunities to score you score. It's hard to say. They hit
some big plays, but Indianapolis scored every time they got the
ball. They're good. You watch them and the one thing that you
see. They're the No. 1 team in third downs. We're improved up to
29th. We're making strides. You look on paper and say it's not a
good matchup, but with their offense, they do a great job of
keeping drives alive. You watch that game last week, there were
a number of third and nines, third and 10s that they converted in
the first couple of drives. It can get demoralizing for a defense.
And you keep giving them snaps and with the playmakers they
have a defense will eventually break down and they make a big
BC: He has seen a lot. It's a case of trying to not give him too
much time to gather the information. He's going to gather it once
the ball is snapped. They're an offense that's going to give you a
lot of different formations. They don't have a lot of movement.
He's waiting for you to show your hand and so it will be a case of
showing the hand after the snap. If you show it too early, he's
processing if you give him too much time. He's still processing it
once the ball is snapped as well. He does that as well as
anyone in the league. But you have to try to create some
indecision in a shorter period of time. I think that will be a key
us. Disguise will be a part of it and not getting caught up with
falling into a pattern and being non-predictable. And we have to
be patient. They're going to move the football. You have to try to
limit the big plays that they get and be a little patient and
recognize that they move the ball on everybody. We have to
recognize when we have that chance on third down, you have to
get off the field.
His pre-snap adjustments?
BC: That's him doing his thing and that's not going to concern
us. We have to make sure we're all on the same page. A lot of
what they do is based on the no-huddle. We have to make sure
we're communicating things on the defensive side as well. I'm
not so much worried about what he's doing as I am making sure
we understand what we do and execute our defense.
Is their scheme significantly different from any other in the
league or is it the players?
BC: A little bit of both. Certainly a lot of people run no-huddle
offenses. I go back to Buffalo when they had Jim Kelly. A little bit
of that concept is there with what they do. But you go play Kansas
City and you'll never see the same formation twice in a game.
They have 128 plays on a wristband. This football will repeat
plays. When you look at the formations, there's not a lot. But they
do execute what they do very well. When you look at what they
have, there's no weakness in what they have. They put (Brandon)
Stokely out there and (Reggie) Wayne and (Marvin) Harrison out
there, they can all make plays. Add Dallas Clark, who's a
playmaker at tight end, and add Edgerrin James in the backfield.
What do you want to do? Take away the run. Take away the
outside. Take away the middle because Clark can beat you.
They're a very balanced football team with a quarterback who
understands when the ball is snapped where the weakness in a
defense is. Every defense you have, there is a void in there
somewhere. He finds it. The thing we've got to do is make that
ability for him to process that a shorter period of time. And try to
confuse him a little bit. You're not going to confuse him for a long
period a time, but maybe just long enough to disrupt their
passing game and still be aware of what they can do in the
Do they run different routes or different combinations?
BC: Oh yeah. Every offense is unique. They have routes that
compliment other routes. And there are repeated plays.
Everything they have is a compliment to what they're doing. You
can just take away one element of it. They execute very well.
They've got a line that does a good job. The center is excellent
probably communicating that with Peyton. Their backs can block.
They'll keep people in if they sense you're going to blitz them.
They'll max-protect and now you're caught having to cover
Harrison, Stokely and Reggie Wayne one-on-one. He's an
accurate thrower. It's kind of a guessing game you get caught up
in and you have to minimize the big plays.
How is Ben's range of motion and how confident are you he'll be
able to go Monday night?
BC: I'm 75 percent condfident he'll be ready to go. He's probable
and seems ready to go.
Will he practice?
BC: We'll see tomorrow in practice.
You had success a couple of years ago making him move in the
BC: Yeah a little bit. That's three years removed. They're a little
different football team than they were then. We'll have to see how
they play it. They may play with two tight ends and two receivers
or they may go one tight end and three receivers. We have to try
to match personnel groupings throughout the series. They have
that little fast huddle they do and they can catch you with 12 guys
on the field. They've done that to teams as well. They're a little
different than they were three years ago and that much more
Ravens stopping the run and bringing pressure?
BC: We had our opporuntities and we were on edge a lot with
our protection. At times we picked it up and we weren't able to hit
the big plays. Even when a team puts pressure on you you've got
to be able to hit some big plays to deter that and we weren't able
to do that. We were on edge in our protection and other times
when we picked it up we weren't able to hit the big plays. A guy
here a guy there, a play here a play there. We had opportunities,
we just weren't able to do it.
With Ben back do you expect defenses to back off a little bit?
BC: That's hard to say. I think this defenses, taking a look at
Indianapolis, will do what they do. They're pretty good. Their
defensive line is very active. The ends, (Robert) Mathis and
(Dwight) Freeney are very fast, particularly when they play in the
dome with the noise. We've got to be aware of that. Getting Corey Simon and Montae Reagor and (Larry) Tripplett inside, those
three guys rotate. The linebackers can run (Gary) Brackett,
(David) Thornton and (Cato) June, they're all good athletes. The
two safeties show up. They are very active in the running game.
(Bob) Sanders and (Mike) Doss they have a little bit of presence
on the field. They're going to do what they do. I don't see them
deviating from that. They haven't deviated for anybody else. When
you're 10-0, you're not going to deviate from what you do.
Did Trai Essex settle down as the game went on?
BC: He did some good things. But like any young guy when you
throw him into that kind of situation with the noise, I thought he
was fine. Certainly he left room for improvement and as I told
him, I think he can play better. But I think he will. It was a tough
place to start, but not a bad indoctrination because that's the
National Football League.
Coach, is this a role this team will relish this week?
BC: If you can't get excited about a game like this, why are you in
this business? I look at our football team after 10 games and
we've lost three football games all on the last play of the game.
We've lost three games on the last play. We hopefully are now
starting to get some people back. We have an opportunity to go
into a place and play a team that is undefeated and playing at
home, which compounds that. But if you're a competitor and you
want to have an opportunity to play the best, you're looking
forward to it. And we're looking forward to it. It is a big-time
challenge. They are a good football team, sound in every
element of the game. But it's what you play this game to do, get
an opportunity to measure yourself against the best.
You threw a lot more last week than you normally do. Was that
based on what Baltimore was giving you?
BC: Yeah a little bit. We tried to make some plays and thought
we had an opportunity to make some plays. A lot of it is
predicated on what a defense is trying to do and what we think
we can exploit.
Do you go into a game with a score in mind that you'll need to
win and is it more this week?
BC: Just one more than them. Who knows? These guys, to their
credit, early in the season they won some low-scoring games.
Obviously the last couple of weeks they've gotten into shootouts
and won those games. They've shown the ability to win any type.
I don't know how this game is going to be. I hope it turns into one
of those ugly football games that we seem to play. If it becomes
ugly, that's a good thing for us. We need to go in there and play
our game and try to sieze the opportunity. We're going to go in
there and give it our best shot. If it's good enough, so be it. If
we'll come back and rally the troops and live to fight another day.
I think it's one of those atmospheres and one of those forums
where you get to go in and measure yourself against the best.
Do have the kind of offense to get into a shootout with these
BC: I don't know. We'll find out. Hopefully we'll be able to keep
the game close and get it down to where it's a play here or a play
there, that's the most important thing in my mind, to keep this
game within striking distance. If we can do that and not beat
ourselves and not give up some of the big plays, make them do
things methodically and slowly, the longer we can keep this thing
going into the fourth quarter, then it becomes a play here or a
play there. That's what you're asking for, to be within a play that
can impact the game. It's kind of been our MO all year. It's going
to be a challenge because these guys are pretty good.
Bill Cowher Press Conference
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