|01-18-2006, 05:26 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: DIA Tunnels
Phone Conference with Shanny
As reported on Steelers website:
Q: What is your injury situation right now?
We donít have any.
Q. How important is it to have home field advantage this deep into the playoffs?
I donít know. I think sometimes people get carried away with home field advantage. Obviously the two teams in the Championship game really donít care about where it is played. Obviously, you would like to play at home, but I donít think it is a big advantage.
Q. Can you talk about Ben Roethlisberger and what type of pressure he has been putting on defenses in these first two playoff games?
Ben has played extremely well, especially for a young player. It seems like he handles himself extremely well, he doesnít make very many mistakes. What I would do with him if I was in Pittsburgh is put him over in defense because of his tackling ability. That was a great, great job of making a play against Indianapolis. That gives you an idea of how competitive he is, as well.
Q. Can you talk about Champ Bailey and the trade? You donít see too many high-profile trades like that in the league any more. What compelled you to go in that direction and how pleased are you that you did?
Things donít happen like that very often. Champ was a franchise player and they couldnít agree on a contract and Clinton Portis, after a couple years, had a couple 1500 yard years and his agent said he may hold out for a contract. It is just like everything just kind of worked out for both teams. It was a situation that we were looking for a corner, and they were looking for a running back and it just seemed to work out.
Q. Can you talk about what he has meant to your team, his leadership aspect and off the field?
He is a complete player. He loves to tackle. He loves to practice. He makes big plays in games, and that is what you are looking for as a head coach, a guy that is accountable each and every day and leads by example. He is a class act and very fun to coach.
Q. You are 9-0 at home this year and Pittsburgh has won two tough road games in the playoffs. How does that equal out?
I donít pay any attention to what people have done. I donít think Pittsburgh cares about our record, but they respect it and I think we do that same thing. This is two excellent football teams that are fighting for their lives to get to the big dance. It will be a very physical game. It is a game that you work for constantly to put yourself in this situation, it is two great football teams going against one another.
Q. Coach Cowher said yesterday that he offered you a job back in 1992. What made you decide not to take it?
I think I had 11 reasons why, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Tom Rathman, John Taylor. It was a pretty good crew at San Francisco and to learn a different system from what I was with, I had Denver and to go into a situation where they had some great established players I thought was a situation that would help my career.
Q. How many times do you run across blitz packages like the Steelers have and how much of an advantage will it be to have Jakeís mobility?
Number one, Pittsburgh has watched a lot of quarterbacks that are mobile, so a mobile quarterback is not going to change your scheme at all, especially with the speed that they have on defense. Jake is not going to out run any of those guys just because they are so well coached and play so hard. They have been doing it very consistently for a couple years. The blitz package they do have is very sound and they really keep offenses off balance. It is one of the best schemes I have seen and have been impressed how hard the players have been playing.
Q. You didnít draft Courtney Brown or Gerard Warren. Can you describe whether they are playing up to the level you would expect of a high first round draft pick?
That is why they are here. That is why we went after them. I liked Courtney Brown a lot but Courtney was injured for most of career in Cleveland and Gerard Warren had a fantastic game against the Broncos when we played them here, he had a couple sacks and he played extremely hard. I really donít judge people by what they have done in the past, if I see some good qualities, we bring them in here hoping that they play at a certain level, and they have done that for us.
Q. What are your thoughts on Troy Polamalu and the challenge he presents in the secondary?
He is unbelievable. I really didnít know that until I studied him over the last couple days. But they do a great job with their scheme making it very tough to figure out where he is, but the rest is him making plays. There are not very many plays where he is not involved with the play. You canít say that about many people in the National Football League. He plays with one of the highest motors I have ever seen.
Q. How big of a weapon has Heath Miller become at tight end?
Just like with all tight ends, they count on him. I liked him coming out of college. He is a guy that you can count on. He does everything well. Since he is so sharp, you know he can come in right away, or you are hoping that he can come in right away and play, and that is exactly what a lot of people thought he would do. You have a solid guy you can count on week in and week out.
Q. How has Jake Plummer matured as a player in the last couple years?
This being his third year, I think most quarterbacks in their third year have a good feel for the terminology, a good feel for the supporting cast and you are hoping that in the third year your quarterback is playing at a very high level. He feels a lot more comfortable with our system and a lot more comfortable with the supporting cast and he has played well.
Q. Do you think Ben Roethlisberger dropped out of the top 10 exclusively because he was from the MAC? Do you downgrade quarterbacks in the MAC just because they had less competition?
We donít. We werenít looking at a quarterback that year so I looked at Ben, but I really didnít study him. I think some people do that and other people donít for good reason. They look at guys like Phil Simms and you can go on and on about players that played at smaller schools and play quite well.
Q. A lot has been made back here about the altitude factor. Is that a big advantage for your team playing in that Mile High air all season or do you think it is over-blown?
Who knows? We got the best record over the last 30 years, I donít know if we are the best team, so I do think there is an advantage, the best win-loss record at home, but I canít say it is just because the Denver Broncos have been the best team, so I do think there is an advantage, how much I canít tell you for sure.
Q. On the day Ben Roethlisberger signed his contract last year, his agent called him a franchise quarterback and compared him to Troy Aikman and John Elway. What does that mean exactly?
Did his agent say that? Most agents will say things like that. I think a guy proves himself over time and to compare him to John Elway or Troy Aikman, I think any time you compare a guy to the great ones, there is a possibility that a guy will reach that. Ben surely has started out the right way, but youíre just hoping that he can stay healthy and just keep on doing what he has been doing.
Close to the vest ... close to the vest.