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Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers Conference Call

Posted Oct 16, 2013

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

On if this week feels like a normal Ravens-Steelers week: “It does today. I don’t think records are as important in this game, from an intensity standpoint. If nothing else, I think it heightens it. There’s a certain sense of urgency based on the position that the team is in.”

On if this game is more important than past matchups: “I don’t think it needs to be propped up by me. I think it is what it is.”

On if coaching against John Harbaugh ever gets easier: “It’s ever-changing, because the components of it are ever-changing. There are new people on their side, and there are new people on our side. That’s what keeps it fresh and challenging.”

On his evaluation of his team’s current mental state: “It’s Wednesday for us. That’s just the start of a new week and the formulation of a base plan. That’s our mentality and state of mind, regardless of the circumstance.”

On how different he thinks the Ravens’ defense is from previous years: “I really haven’t sat down and thought about comparing it to what it’s been in the past. It’s a waste of time as I sit here today. It’s about preparing for it in its present state, with the components that are playing in its present state. They are very impressive. [Elvis] Dumervil has been added to this series now. We’ve got to look at the things he’s capable of, the positions in which they put him in, and how to utilize him. There’s Daryl Smith and, of course, the talented safety tandem. There’s a lot on 2013 tape for us to be concerned about and have to prepare for where we don’t need to waste our time thinking about years past.”

On if both teams’ under-performing rushing attacks change the dynamics of the game: “I don’t believe that it does. We’re at the very early stages of the season from a rushing and statistical standpoint. We are where we are at this point. We desire to be better, but I don’t think it defines us. I’m sure that is their mentality, as well. I’m sure it’s not going to change the attention of the two teams with how they formulate plans.”

On if it is more advantageous for the Steelers to play with QB Ben Roethlisberger: “Yes, he’s our quarterback.”

 

QB Ben Roethlisberger

On not playing against the Ravens last year: “It’s tough. I enjoy this rivalry. I know people think I’m crazy, but you enjoy playing against the best – personnel-wise, defensively and as a team. I enjoy it, and it was really painful not to play this game last year. I don’t think it was as painful as if I would have played, but it was still pretty painful no to play.”

On if the rivalry still exists without former Ravens Ray Lewis and Ed Reed: “We’ll see. It’s our first game without them. It’ll definitely be different. I’ll still have to assume that it will just be as intense as always.”

On the challenges the Ravens’ defense presents: “To us, they’re the same defense, just different personnel. [Terrell] Suggs is still coming off the edge, [Haloti] Ngata is still in the middle, and they’ve added Elvis [Dumervil]. It’s still a very good defense, just with different people.”

On Pittsburgh’s win being a confidence booster: “It’s always good to get a win early in the season when you’re struggling. It helps everyone get a little confidence and get ready for the ‘meaty’ part of the season.”

On if the Steelers will be back in playoff contention if they beat the Ravens: “We’re not worried about contention. We’re just trying to win one game and that’s this week – that’s our focus. It’s an AFC North opponent, which adds a little extra. It being the Ravens, the rivalry and the Super Bowl champs – it adds even more.”

On if he’s excited to play against the Ravens this year: “Yes, absolutely. It’s a great rivalry, it’s fun to play the best, and I’m excited to get back out there.”

On his perspective of head coach Mike Tomlin’s recent in-house rule changes: “Coach [Mike Tomlin] has got to do what he’s got to do. Us older guys, we just go along with it.”

On if the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory escalates the rivalry heading into this game: “It definitely makes this rivalry that much sweeter. Congratulations to them for the Super Bowl last year. To coach [John] Harbaugh – a Miami (OH) guy – I have that much respect for him, not just because of Miami, but because I respect what he does. We always talk before the game quickly, and then once the ball is kicked off, there’s no more love and honor in there. It makes for a great rivalry.”

On OLB Elvis Dumervil’s performance this season: “Pretty good is an understatement if you ask me. [Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil] are exceptional. Elvis has been in the league for a while, and I’ve played against him out in Denver, so I know what he brings. They are two premier pass rushers in this league.”

On Steelers C Fernando Velasco: “I think Fernando has done a great job coming in on short notice a couple of weeks ago. He’s grown, learned this offense and gotten better every week.”

 

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