SteelQuotes - Bill Cowher Press Conference

<p><b>BILL COWHER</b><o:p> </o:p> </p> <p>Let me just say I don't have much more information than I did 30 minutes ago, or after the game or whatever. We do know Chad Scott is having surgery as we speak. I have not talked to a doctor in regard to his hand. He's out for this game and we'll go from there. I think we're cautiously optimistic that he will be ready to go for the playoffs.

James Farrior (shoulder) is questionable; Mike Logan (back) is questionable; and Tommy Maddox is questionable with injuries at this time. The indications are that Chad is the most serious injury we have and he'll be out this week, and again we're hopeful of getting him back for the playoffs.


It was a big win. There's not much more you can say about it. I know we have an outside chance to get a bye week so it makes this week's game a very important one playing Baltimore.


Did you have a problem with Sapp's hit on Maddox?

I don't know. It's hard to look into it. I looked at it this morning. From one angle it looked pretty much like he didn't do it purposely. From another angle you're not sure. A leg was thrown so there was some question as to the intent. I saw Warren say something to him the next play. I don't know. He does not have a history of being that type of player, so I'd like to think it was coincidental.


Did last night's game prove you could be successful in say a playoff game on the road?

I think it had that type of atmosphere and there's no question it's something we can draw back on. I'm sure at some point we will have to go on the road.


How helpful was the feeling that this was a different level?

You could feel it during the week, the build-up, and then all the talk. You sit around the hotel all day, it's Monday Night football, everybody's talking about the No. 1 defense, one of the top teams in the game. And then I think when you went out in the pre-game with the situations that took place, in the locker room and in the tunnel, it was as intense a feeling as any team since I've been here. At the start of the game, I knew we weren't flat and I wasn't sure what was going to take place. I knew there was a lot of energy. I was just hopeful that it was going to be coordinated into some positive results and certainly we got off to a fast start. We had to get off to a fast start. We were ready for this football game. I think we prepared well during the week for a fast start. Chad's play was huge. Tommy made some big throws, particularly the first play of the game. He threw well I thought all night long.


How important is it to get that bye?

All we can do is control our part of it. It'd be nice to have, sure. That's one less game we have to play. If not then that's the road we have to take.


How important is it to not lose momentum?

That's part of it. That's probably why I'm glad there's something to be playing for. I'd rather have it be that way so that we do have that same… you know we felt like we entered the playoffs a couple of weeks ago. After we lost to Houston, our playoffs started then. We gave ourselves no margin of error and that's how we've approached each game. It's a little different than years past when we had things wrapped up and we'd say, "Ok, now you take it to another level at the playoffs." I mean, maybe we're going into the playoffs right now already playing that way.


That's the only way we know how to play so there's not going to be anything we're turning on. The quality of opponents is going to become greater and we have to match that. That's the challenge we're going to have to face each week and there's potentially going to be some games on the road and so be it. That's the hand we're dealt; that's the situation we've created for ourselves; and that's the road we have to travel. So be it.


When's the last time you gave your players off on a Wednesday?

I don't know if I've ever done that. Given the game, how it unfolded, how it was played, I said 10 o'clock Christmas day. They were looking at noon and I just started walking away and I said, "You know what? Let's come in Thursday." I mean, they earned it. They need a couple days off. Get all the emotion, enjoy what you accomplished, and let's come back Thursday with a clear mind. Yes it's going to be a short week but we'll come back ready to work and we'll be ready to play Sunday. They earned that. I noticed they appreciated it. It's a long year for coaches too, maybe spend an evening with your family. It won't distract us. We'll be fine come Sunday, trust me.


Since you're playing a team you know, does that factor into it?

Big time. I mean, that was a big part of it. We're playing an opponent we know, a divisional opponent, and we know they're going to be ready to come in here. We're not underestimating them at all. But we know them. They know us. Again, it was a long night, an emotional night, a very physical football game. I just felt like they needed to take two days off, get away from it for awhile so they can come back here Thursday, on a short week, and get ourselves prepared to play a game with a lot at stake.


Who will replace Townsend in the dime when he moves up to replace Chad?

Hank (Poteat) will play where Deshea (Townsend) was. We've got five corners with Chidi (Iuowma) and so we're down to four. If there was one position where we did have a number of people it was at that position.


Did you put in a waiver claim for Deion Sanders?

No. Kevin (Colbert) asked me this morning; so, no, we're going to pass.


Could you talk about Maddox's game?

I thought he made good decisions. He threw it away when he needed to. He took a sack on the third series when we kicked a field goal, I thought that was the best decision he made all night. Maybe he could've thrown it away faster, but I just thought he made good decisions. He didn't try to force it. He threw the ball accurately and gave those guys a chance to make plays. He was sharp.


Did you guys do a nice job of keeping Simeon Rice quiet?

The offensive line played a very, very good game, protection-wise, run-wise. I mean, we knew it was going to be a grind. We didn't expect to come in there and gain over 400 yards of offense against that defense. No one's done it. But we were efficient. We converted third downs, the offensive line kept our quarterback in good shape.


Is your defensive line getting better each week?

It really is. They played very solid. Casey Hampton the last few weeks is making a lot of plays. Aaron Smith is making a lot of plays. Kimo (von Oelhoffen) is playing very, very well. It helps the linebackers. They can work downhill. The front seven has played well and our secondary's played well. We've played pretty good defense now the last four weeks. There's no question our defensive line has been very, very solid and very productive.


We have enough flexibility with what we have in our packages that we can show a lot of different looks and fronts. We still left a lot of blitzes out there last night that we still can carry and will carry. I think they're playing with a lot of confidence right now. They're playing very fast. There's not a lot of thinking going on. We're trying to just allow our players to go out there and play. I think you can see there's a lot of speed we have on defense, and when they're not thinking, they're just out there playing, it's a pretty sound group.


Didn't Mike Logan play well last night?

Yeah. There's another guy who came back and was missing for awhile. Just in our kicking game, and then Brett Keisel and Chidi, they're giving us energy in the kicking game. And then on the dime defense, Mike is such a good blitzer. We try to utilize him there. He's a good cover guy. He's a good football player. Having him out there, you can do a multitude of things with him and we try to utilize a lot of his skills.


Have you had a chance to see the Ravens?

Well, I haven't had a chance. I just think  Brian (Billick) has done an outstanding job. These guys lost Ray Lewis, the leader of that defense, and it's still one of the top defenses in the league. (Jamal) Lewis has come back. Boy what a year he's had. Jeff Blake is a great competitor. These guys have been in a lot of games. And for them to be sitting here in Week 16 and still eligible for the playoffs, I have a lot of admiration for them. They play hard. It's going to be a good challenge. There's nothing they would like greater than to come into our place and beat us here on our field.


--Jim Wexell



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