The injuries on the offensive line and the fact that they got to you the last time pretty good cause any concerns?
Not at all. I have all the confidence in the world in the offensive line. I know Trai (Essex) is going to do a great job of filling in for Max (Starks), who's filling in for Marvel (Smith). He's done it before and I have confidence in him.
you like it if they put the game in your right arm and just said throw it?
Well, it'd be nice. We'll see what happens, though. We have a great running game and we need to be physical. I don't think we're just going to abandon the running game, in fact I know we won't.
Is your passing game a little underrated because you don't throw it as much as some other teams?
I don't know. It's hard to say. We've thrown the ball when we need to and we've proven we can win the game when we have to throw it.
How tired are you of hearing about what they did to you the last time?
It's OK. When you get beat, you get beat and you should be able to take it. They beat us pretty good.
Can you talk about what does playoff experience mean to a quarterback now that you have some?
I just got done talking to Jacksonville's media about that. It's a lot better. The first time I went through this, you didn't know what to expect. It was like, ‘Oh, this is just another game.' You don't realize that it's not. It's not just another game. Every mistake is magnified. Everything you do has to be precise. You have to be on your Ps and Qs. Therefore, it's good to have that experience.
Does that show up in what you're seeing, what you need to be seeing?
It shows up when you know how much faster the postseason is, how much faster everybody is moving and the decisions you have to make. I've put in the extra film work and study time this week and hopefully it shows on the field.
Does your role feel a little more differently than it did in past years?
It feels more comfortable. I feel more comfortable like I have in every game. I feel more comfortable with the offensive plan and with me calling the no-huddle plays.
This is (David) Garrard's first playoff game, but he's a little older.
Yeah. When you're a veteran like that, I think it's a little better than a rookie doing it. Still, it's the postseason and it will be different. But I expect that because he's a veteran, he'll be able to adjust quicker than most.
Was that Jets game a few years ago like that for you or didn't you realize it at the time?
I had no idea what was going on. I probably still have no idea what was going on. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
That was kind of the way you did it as a rookie, right?
Yeah, for the most part, but that time was even worse.
Are you encouraged by how Trai played Sunday?
He did a great job. Trai was phenomenal out there. He did a great job against a speed-rush team. He's going to have his hands full this week because they're a power team. They're going to try to run through him. Trai has been working really hard to get ready. I'm encouraged that he'll be ready to go, as will the rest of the guys.
You really have to trust that side of the line, don't you?
It's your blind side, so you always have to have the faith in them. Before the game, I always tell Marvel (Smith) and Red (Alan Faneca) that you guys have got my back and they always tell me yeah. So we'll see if Trai says yes.
Did they do anything special the last time to get after you?
Not really. They beat us in a lot of different ways. They didn't do a lot of blitzing or other things, they just beat us.
What happened in the fourth quarter when you got into a rythym?
We just started making plays. We started throwing the ball down the field and guys got open and we got the ball to them. That's the biggest thing. We didn't do it early. We got off to a really slow start. We've been doing that sometimes recently. We need to make sure we go back to St. Louis two weeks ago and start fast.
What about the in-house feed that's showing Jacksonville over and over again? Is that educational?
No. Annoying. Honestly, you get tired of it. You want to watch Sportscenter or see something else, CNN, something. I don't know, the Cooking Channel.
Who's call was that?
I don't know. I assume Coach (Mike) Tomlin; (Video Coordinator Bob) McCartney; Mr. Rooney. It could be anybody.
That started Monday?
It's been on every day I've been here. And now it's started looping and they got rid of the commercials.
How's your ankle?
Do you like the idea of facing a team that beat you here?
It's intriguing. It reminds me of a couple of years ago with Indianapolis. I hope it turns out that way. It's good to be able to play a home game. That's big in the playoffs. I know the crowd will be into it. We'll be into it. Hopefully it will be in our favor.
Hines (Ward) said he never expected this defense to be handled like it was against Jacksonville. Do you expect your defense to show up this week?
Oh yeah. I do. It was surprising. We're standing there and it was like, ‘Holy cow. I've never seen a team run on us. I've never seen a team beat us.' I don't expect that to happen again. I expect our defense to come out firing and that motivates us as an offense because they give us the ball in good field position and they're fun to watch.