LeBeau ready to unleash Blitzburgh

With a meeting with the league's M.V.P. and leading rusher, and one of the its best offensive lines just days away, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau talked, you guessed it, defense with the Super Bowl's media contingent.


On when he recognized how good Troy Polamalu was going to be:
"He's not unlike any other safety that I have ever seen. We had a fellow by the name of Carnell Lake that played safety pretty well in Pittsburgh and Rod Woodson finished his career as a safety, but he was a corner when he was with us. To even be talking to Troy in that frame of reference is speaking very highly of him because those two other guys I mentioned were great players. I began to see a lot of the things that they did that Troy could do, and I think Troy has a ways to go. He's going to continue to get better, and it's going to be interesting to see how good he gets. He's very motivated, he very studious, and he has tremendous instincts, so that's a pretty good combination. He certainly has produced tremendously for us. His talent lets us do a lot of things that you could not do with many people who might be pretty good football players. Troy has that rare ability to play at all levels of the defense – deep, intermediate, at the line scrimmage, and blitz. Those types of people don't come along everyday."

On whether Seattle's ability to snap the ball quickly on offense will negate Pittsburgh's pre-snap defensive movements:
"It probably will, but it also negates their ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage, so we just have to be ready for that. It takes away the quarterback's ability to check off. If they start going fast, we just have to be ready."

On whether the Steelers have faced a team that snaps the ball as quickly as the Seahawks:
"I think we have faced several teams that did not huddle up at all. At this level in this league, you've seen about everything by the time you get this far into the season. The thing that makes the Seahawks a little bit different is that after they snap it, they do some pretty good things with it. It isn't so much how they snap it, it's what they do after they snap it."

On the Steelers defense elevating their game over the last month:
"I think it's an accurate statement to say that we certainly played our best football down the stretch which is what you want to do. I think that's a credit to Coach Cowher, and how he controls the pace of this team, and how he brings the team along. We also got a lot of our guys healthy down the stretch and I think that helped us."

On how he keeps making his 3-4, zone blitzing scheme go:
"We kind of make it happen because we've got real good players. It really doesn't have anything to do with me. I think these guys would be very successful and probably be sitting in the scenario they are sitting in right now whether we ran the 4-3 or whether we ran the 7-Diamond. We happen to be a 3-4 zone blitz team, and these guys do a great job. I do think that with their athletic ability and the way they play together, they would be right here (in the Super Bowl) no matter what defense we ran."

On whether the media makes too much of the 3-4 defensive scheme:
"I think for this group of men, the 3-4 scheme certainly fits them. But I do believe they could play any system and play it well."

On his secret of staying young although he is 68 years old:
"We are what we are. You are born when you are born and hopefully, the good Lord will leave us around long enough. I think having real good genes from your mom and dad also helps."

On Seattle's wide receivers:
"I think they are a fairly underrated group of wide receivers. They are good enough in the fact that they had to play a good portion of the season without some of their wide receivers and never missed a beat, so that shows they have good depth. They've also got a quarterback that's pretty accurate and very quick with his decision making. Put that combination with an MVP running back, you've got a pretty decent offense."

On whether Seattle runs the West Coast offense as well as anyone in the NFL:
"I don't think there is any question about that. Just look at what their statistical productivity has been for the last four or five years. Those numbers have certainly gotten my attention. Coach Holmgren has been running this offense for a very long time, and he has been running it successfully. They know where to go to counter what you are trying to do, and they've got the people to execute it."

On why Seattle's offense is effective:
"They spread the field, and they make you defend the whole field. Generally, they don't hold the ball very long. The ball is out of there quick. They are very good because when you do this, they do that. They can react rather quickly, and their quarterback gets the ball to the right spot. That's the challenge that we have. I think it will be very difficult to surprise them. They know what they are doing."

On defending Shaun Alexander:
"I think the one thing I see in him that nobody talks about is his contact balance. He just does not go down. He's got the great speed that all great running backs have, but he also has the great vision that all great running backs have. I think he also has a very strong center of gravity, and his sense of balance is tremendous."

On all of the NFL's young coordinators:
"Coach Cowher was a head coach at 35, and I think three seasons previous to that, he was the defensive coordinator so that would make him about 32 or 33 years old. I don't know that he had a lot of problems getting done what he had to get done. I don't think you can put an age limit on anybody. It's all about the knowledge and the experience and exposure. If they have enough talent to get that job, they will grow into the job no matter what their age is."

On where he got his defensive philosophy:
"I've always been a pressure on the ball guy. How I evolved to that was probably as a player. I played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. He was a no-nonsense, get after it, pressure on the ball football coach. You pick and choose as you go through your career. I think pressure on the ball is the best way to go."

On why Bill Cowher has been so successful:
"He's a great speaker and motivator. He also is a great judge of talent. He can stay the course through the good and the bad times. He makes the right decisions. You can't stay as successful as he has for as many years as he has without having a lot of talent."

On how good Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck has been playing:
"He's very quick, and can make plays with his feet as well as his arm. That makes him a very difficult quarterback to defend. He is also very accurate, and his ability to escape adds to his overall package."

On whether Steelers S Troy Polamalu has freedom the roam:
"I try to stay out of Troy's way. We establish parameters for him, and he has to be at a certain place at a certain time."

On Casey Hampton playing well on Sunday:
"We've got a challenge. This is a great offense. I think it's going to be a great battle. You don't get this far without both teams being very accomplished at what they do. I believe that Casey Hampton will hold his own. I'll take him any day."

On being in Detroit as an NFL player:
"It was great. Detroit is a great sports town. The USA automobile was king at that time. Detroit was a great place to be. The three leading producers of in-ground swimming pools in that era was California, Florida, and Michigan. Things were pretty good in Michigan if you had more people buying swimming pools in Michigan than you did in all those other western and southern states. It was a good time to be in Michigan."

On whether he has to remind his players that he was a great player, himself:
"We call that establishing a line of credibility. I had an awful lot of good players around me, and I just tried to hold up my end of it. We had a very good defense."

On when his defensive players wore Dick LeBeau Detroit Lions throwback jerseys:
"They did that for the Lions game which was our last regular season game of the year (Jan 1, 2006 at Heinz Field vs. Detroit). Every member of the defense had on that jersey, and it was a very humbling experience. I had no idea the players were going to do that. I was awestruck. When I parked and rode the bus to the locker room, people were saying, "I love the jersey. Where can I get one?" I didn't know what they were talking about. When I walked in the Steelers locker room, all around the locker room you saw Lions blue #44 LeBeau jerseys. It was humbling to have the people you work with honor you like that."

On keys to Sunday's game:
"We have to contain both Alexander and Hasselbeck. We can't let either one of them dominate the game. In order for us to get done what we need to get done, we have to contain both of those men. We think we can compete with them."

On how much the Steelers defense emphasize generating turnovers:
"I think if you said to any football coach that we will give you one statistical advantage at the end of this game, they would all say give me the turnover ratio. They generally decide games because field position is impacting so much by turnovers. Our team stresses turnovers because we realize the importance they have in the outcome of the game. The team that wins the turnover battle on Sunday probably will win this game."

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