BALTIMORE RAVENS TRANSCRIPTS: STEELERS WEDNESDAY
Head Coach John Harbaugh
On how much QB Troy Smith was able to do in practice today:"He did the 'look' [scout] team stuff. He was fine."
On what feelings he had on Sunday with Dawan Landry's injury:"Dawan has been in the building a couple of times. He was here with his parents yesterday and his dad this morning, and he was doing some treatment stuff with Bill [Tessendorf]. [He's in] great spirits. He had the big neck collar on, so he was doing this deal. But, he looked great and said he felt great. His parents are amazing people. They were right there at the game. His brother drove up immediately after their game and was at the hospital immediately. Obviously, it was a scare. Once they got him on the cart and he was headed off the field, he started regaining some function, so that [was a] relief for everybody. We heard pretty much right away that, at least by the ambulance, he was doing OK. So, we told our guys that – a few guys during the game and everybody after the game. It was difficult. It's something when you see a guy [go down like that]. When a player goes down and you look at a guy and you see him start moving, you're like, 'He's OK.' If it's a knee, you're like, 'How serious is the knee?' and it's a football-related issue. When you see a player go down, especially face first, and you don't see him move, then it's not a football issue anymore; it becomes a life issue. You just want to see him move and make sure he's OK. That was the scariest part. The players all around were throwing their prayers up and their well wishes up just for that. They wanted to make sure he was OK. It was pretty moving to be out there on the field with those players and the good feeling they had for him and what they were hoping for."
On how you return to football after an injury situation like Landry's:"What do you do? They put the ball on the ground, blow the whistle and say you've got to play. And, you don't have any choice. That's what you do. It's still in the back of your mind: 'How is he? How's he going to be?' You maybe throw up a couple of prayers while you're still competing."
On whether the absence of Steelers RB Willie Parker will adjust his game plan for Monday night:"No. They'll have a running back back there lining up, a real good one."
On his impression of Steelers rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall:"You study everybody. You look at all the players in the league, you study them all and you give a scouting report based on what you know."
On how much a single injury can change the balance of power within a division:"You don't even look at that stuff. To sit there and analyze what the balance of power is based on the talent portion of it is not even a factor."
On if he will discuss strategy for Monday's game with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson:"I talk to Jim Johnson every week. We talked about that before. And, I talk to Andy [Reid] every few weeks. So, it's kind of standard operating procedure. The Eagles played well in the game. The Eagles are a really good football team. They played well and they had a lot of success."
On whether he expects the Steelers to change things up against the Ravens:"We just expect to go play on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers."
On whether this will be a statement game because it is the Ravens' third divisional game on Monday night against the Steelers:"No. Every game is important and it's just the next one on the schedule."
On how much the protection from the offensive line has helped QB Joe Flacco in his development:"That's a great point. For two weeks in –- and they'll be the first to tell you this – they've got a lot of things to work on. When you study that tape, there are many things that the offensive line can do better. But they've played well to date and I think they've come a long way. John Matsko has done a tremendous job with those guys. Jason Brown in the middle has been orchestrating those guys really well and they have protected Joe. That helps Joe develop or any quarterback play better. They've played well to date, no question about it."
On the advantage of being able to run time off the clock in the 4th quarter:"It helps to have a good running game, no question."
On whether he is apprehensive or encouraged by Flacco's two improvised plays in the past two games:"It's a good question. I would say it's encouraging. Being creative as a football player at any position is important. If you look at the really good quarterbacks around the league in the history of the league, they've all had that, haven't they? They have the ability to move around and make plays on their own. As a coach, we like everything to just dial up exactly the way you draw it on the board and all of the sudden you have to go out on the field and play the game. That's when players take over games and that's a good thing. He's got to play within certain boundaries and make good decisions. As long as a player is making good decisions, you're OK."
On how he would grade WR Hines Ward as a blocker:"I haven't really thought about grading him as a blocking receiver. So, I wouldn't know what category to put him in or what number to put on him."
On Ward as an overall player:"We're getting ready to play him on Monday night."
On importance of DT Justin Bannan and S Jim Leonhard having so many snaps in the preseason:"It turned out to be fortunate. Those guys had a great camp, and when you practice the way those guys practice you get ready to play. We believe you play like you practice. Preparation is so important. The same thing for Dawan. He had a tremendous training camp. He practiced every single day from training camp through the offseason, and look how well he played. So, we'd expect the same from those guys."
On whether RB Willis McGahee's eye is better today:"I don't know if [the swelling has] gone down. It still looks pretty bad to me. If you guys saw him in there, that thing is swollen up badly. As long as he can see, he'll play. But if he can't see, he's not going to be able to play. So, we'll have to try to get that swelling down."
On if the Ravens have talked to the league about the incident that occurred with McGahee injuring his eye:"We did. We sent it in and we talked to the league. We asked them for their opinion on what happened, and we're waiting to hear back on it."
On whether they know who did it:"It's on the tape. There were two incidences, two different guys."
On whether he can say who did it and if it was done blatantly:"I don't think we should say. I wouldn't want to comment on it, but you can see it on the tape."
WR Derrick Mason
On QB Troy Smith returning to practice:"It felt good. He was out there. He was throwing the ball well. He's proclaiming himself the 'best scout team quarterback ever.' He's never short on words. But he looked good out there. Hopefully, we'll have him back at full strength pretty soon."
On Pittsburgh's injury situation:"That doesn't matter. It's football. They understand the situation they're in, and we understand the situation we're in. They don't care what we're looking like injury-wise. We don't particularly care what they're looking like injury-wise. When it comes down to it on Monday night, all hands on deck. They're going to have their best players out there, and we're going to have ours. It's going to be a good, old-fashioned football game."
On whether the team hopes to make up for last year's Monday night loss to the Steelers:"This is no payback game. It's a game where you make progress. You don't dwell on what happened in the previous year. You just go in to play football and hope during the week you prepare yourself enough for what they do to go out there and put yourself in a position to win a football game. I guarantee you they are not looking back on last year and saying, 'You know, we beat this team.' No. They understand that part. It's a whole new ballgame."
On the impact that injuries have on a team and the landscape of the league:"I'm not surprised. Some teams are an injury or two away from going from the best team in the league to being in the middle of the pack, or [from] on the verge of going to the playoffs to not making the playoffs. So nothing in this league is surprising, as far as injury-wise. It's who guys have on their team when you have a marquee player go down. That changes the outlook on your team and what you can do, as far as a game plan standpoint. Am I surprised? No, that's just how the game is. There's so much parity that you just try to stay as healthy as you can throughout the whole season."
On how important the upcoming game is to the division race:"It's a game. It's a game that we have to prepare ourselves to go down to Pittsburgh and try to pull out a victory. That's how we're looking at it. We're not going to get too caught up in it being the Steelers or it being a divisional game. It's a game that we understand that we have a good opportunity – if we prepare well and not make any mistakes – we have an opportunity to win. I guarantee you they are looking at it the same way. So, it's good that it's a division game and it's early, but as far as that, it's just a football game. It's a football game we've got to go out there and we've got to play well to win."
On the relationship between the players on offense and defense:"The offense and defense have always been cool. The atmosphere is not different. The attitude towards one another is not different. We're all in it as a team."
On whether the defense is more appreciative of the offense this year:"I think they were appreciative last year. It baffles me where people get this misconception of the defense against the offense, offense against the defense. I mean, come on, man. You need to find something better."
On how he thinks QB Joe Flacco will handle his first road game:"There's my man Joe! You've got to ask him that. I think he'll do well. Joe will do well. I'm not worried about how Joe will do. He's our quarterback. He's matured over the last two games as a quarterback. I think he's looking forward to going down there to Pittsburgh and playing in that environment. He's a guy that I think, from the last two games I saw him play and playing with him in the preseason, he's a guy that thrives on things like that. So I'm looking for him to go down there and do what he has been doing, and that is to help us win football games."
LB Ray Lewis
On the intensity of the rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers:"It's the type of games you always get. First of all, they're in the division, so that's a rivalry within itself. Pittsburgh and Baltimore has had something for the last 13 years. I just think it's going to be a good game. [It's] always a hard-hitting game, always a physical game, so here we go."
On whether there is an extra incentive for the Ravens because of the loss last season on Monday night to the Steelers:"Not at all. The only thing for us is that it's another ball game, the next 60 minutes. That's kind of the pose that we took, bottom line. Let's get the next 60 minutes out of the way, and that's all it's about. It isn't about putting an asterisk here or an asterisk there or not. We're totally different out there and we're just going to go play the same way."
On how the defense feels knowing QB Ben Roethlisberger is hurt and RB Willie Parker is injured:"You really look at it for truly what it is. If you start getting caught up in all that stuff, other things hurt you, other people hurt you and things like that. What you do is you just prepare for Pittsburgh, bottom line, just like everybody's going to be in there. They still have pieces. Don't misunderstand what's going on there: They still have pieces to make plays and things like that. We have to come in there and just play our game."
On whether the Ravens' defense feels it can get after Roethlisberger because the Steelers' offensive line is not playing well:"Really? I haven't had that conversation yet. At the same time, we're just like every other defense in the league, [in that] everybody's different. I just think last week Philly had a great game plan against them, and if you see the scheme that they drew up, they had a lot of open runners coming free. Of course, they're going to go back and correct whatever there is to correct. So, if you try to go and emulate the same thing, then you can get beat doing the same thing. I just think, truly, that we just need to come out play to our identify, and that is whatever it is. If that's pressuring people, pressure them. If that's just staying in zone, stay in zone. We just need to go in with our game plan and stick to it, and I think everything else will just take care of itself."
On the effect S Dawan Landry's injury had on him and whether he offered any counsel to his teammates when it happened:"You forget the game, because it's just a game. Any time you see a brother laying down there on the ground, that's not a good sight. You try to focus back and you do kind of, but it lingers in your mind. God is truly amazing just to even let that kid just get up after you saw what he was dealing with down there. That's why I was so disturbed by just seeing what was going on. Once you get past the game and start dealing with people's bodies and if they're ever going to do this or do that, that's kind of challenging. So, for him to come out totally [healthy] after that, God is freaking amazing."
On whether it changed his perspective on the game and how fragile things can be:"It reminds you how fragile life is. Life is a very precious thing. When you see somebody down like that, helpless, it's not a good sight. It's not a good sight. As teammates, we really had to pick each other up – on both sides. It wasn't a biased feeling from one side or another; on both sides we just had to pick each other up."
On whether he sees the game on Monday night as a statement game for the Ravens to be recognized as a better team than they've been given credit for:"We don't want no coming out party. All we want to do is just play football. It doesn't matter, man. [With] me being in this league for so long, I've been through that. I've told the guys in our Super Bowl year we weren't picked one time to win a game. So, who cares? Just go play 60 minutes of football, no matter who's watching. Just be who you are, and life will take care of itself and the game will take care of itself."
On if the reason the defense is back to playing so well because players are healthy again:"It's always health with us. When you deal with health, the first thing that comes from health is chemistry. When you have chemistry, man, the way we have chemistry on our side of the ball, it's just freaking special. Our offense just controlling the ball the way they did the last two weeks is huge, too. That's the best thing you've got for a great defense like ours. But at the same time, if you've got all of our pieces back playing like that and everybody is back flying around, we can be rough. We can be arguably the best defense in this league, definitely."
On how much an injury can shift the balance of power in a conference:"Injury is just something you've got to deal with. We went through the injury bug last year – from the first game. When you start dealing with injuries, you start to compensate – here, there, you try to fix this piece, fix that piece. It just so happens we don't have those problems right now, and that's what you kind of see with our team right now. Our team is completely put together, we're completely healthy right now, and I think our play is kind of resembling that."
On S Jim Leonhard being a ball hawk and a good addition to the defense:"That's what I love about our defense. We've got a lot of those guys. It's next man up, [the] next man up-type of thing. Jim Leonhard is just a pure athlete. He's somebody who loves to play the game of football and he's a Raven. He loves to [play]. He [came] in and he fit in so quickly with us, with our chemistry and how we play football around here. I just think we've got a lot of young kids like that."
QB Joe Flacco
On QB Troy Smith returning to practice:"It's good. It's always good when you get a teammate back out there. He can get back into what he loves to do, and I'm sure he's excited about it."
On his feelings about playing in Pittsburgh, where he transferred away from the University of Pittsburgh:"I don't know. It's kind of weird that my first start in Pittsburgh will be on Monday night in an NFL game, not a college game. But I'm not really looking at that. It's an NFL game. It's Monday night, and it should be a lot of fun to go out there and play a division opponent."
On whether this game means more as a divisional game:"It's another football game to me. Obviously, we're going to go on the road and [try to] get a tough win against a division opponent. That's what a good team is made of in the NFL. That's what you have to do."
On how the Steelers' defense looks:"They look good. Like I said, all the games that you play in the division are usually tough games and hard-fought games. We're going to go up there, and we're going to be in for a game. We're ready to go."
On making his first appearance on Monday Night Football:"I don't know if it's set in yet. Right now, we're just getting ready to prepare and just starting the week. I'm sure once it gets closer, maybe I can tell you a different answer."
On his goals for his performance next game:"Just continue to improve each week. The last thing you want to do is take a step back, so I'm just trying to go into each game and trying to get better each week, get even more comfortable with the receivers, all those things. I think we're moving in the right direction as long as we go out and practice this week and work hard. [If we] push ourselves to get better, then we're going to get there."
On the offensive line:"Those guys have been doing a great job all throughout preseason and the first couple games in the regular season. I always trusted that those guys were going to do a good job. I feel very comfortable behind those guys."
On the effect S Dawan Landry's injury had on the team:"I think, obviously, we're all excited that Dawan is going to be OK, it looks like. Any time that happens in a game, your first thoughts go out to him and his family and what they must be going through. But I think our guys, if anything, are going to rally around that and try to go out there and get a win."
On Landry's injury being a reminder of the fragility of health while playing football:"Yeah, that's part of the business. It's definitely a tough game, and things like that happen on occasion. You don't enjoy those things and you don't enjoy that part of it, but we all understand it. Part of the game is moving through those things as a family, and that's what we did."
On if he is feeling more prepared for a road start with two home games under his belt:"I think you're always more prepared the more games you play. Like I've said all along, the more experience I get, the more prepared I'll be the next week. That'll go and that'll hold true throughout my whole career, I think. I think any time you get a chance to play two home games and your first road game is Week 3 in Pittsburgh, it's definitely a benefit."
On how he has improved since the regular season started:"You start seeing the field better. You get a feel for your offense. Next, you've got to get a feel for how the defense plays and the little details within that. It all starts with your vision. With each game and with each repetition, your vision gets better and better."
On how tough he expects the game to be with Pittsburgh's blitzing and crowd noise:"It's going to be just like any other division opponent. They're a tough game. We're going to go out there, and we're going to be ready to grind one out. I'm not going to really look into anything too much more."
On what he expects the crowd noise to be like:"I'm sure it's going to be very loud there, and we're not going to be able to hear very much. NFL offenses deal with it every week, and that's what we're going to do."
On the team's Owings Mills training facility:"It's incredible. I think anyone who has ever been here can say the same thing. You walk up to it, and it looks like a castle."
On whether having such a nice facility makes it nice to come to work every day:"Yeah."
QB Troy Smith
On if he is ready to fully practice:"Not yet. There are still some things I have to clear up. I have to get my stamina all the way back, the muscle memory and all that stuff. But it feels good to be out there."
On his timeframe:"Well, I'll work hard throughout the week. When I went through my injury, you kind of take for granted the day-to-day things you could do. I'm just playing it by ear. My body will know to let me be ready, and that's about it."
On how tough it has been mentally to know there was nothing he could have done:"To tell you the truth, my teammates have been tremendous in my recovery to getting back on the field. I have to keep a clear and positive understanding that this is something that you can't plan for. I think things happen to people for a reason. I believe the great things happen to great people. Being how rare it was, who's to say [not]? The doctors did an incredible job of getting me better. Those are the positive things you look forward to. This illness came, we battled through it and here we are now."
On if he thinks about his career ending:"No. You take for granted, for example, being able to breathe on a consistent basis. That was taken away from me for a period of time, where I couldn't really breathe and couldn't really move the way I wanted to. Just to be able to be back out joking with the guys, being able to run and take deep breaths again… that means everything."
On how much weight he's gained back:"I've probably gained about 10 pounds back. [I'm at] 200."
On if it was more scary or frustrating:"Going about it, I tried not to think about myself in the whole situation. I was thinking about everybody else. It was totally a blast for me, while I was lying in my hospital bed, how many people came to visit. That meant everything to me, and that helped me get through the illness."
On if he ever thinks about how close he was to starting:"I do, but that is a whole other thought process. I won't even go down that road. The cure for me now is winning. That's what we're doing, and I feel tremendous about the situation and being a part of this special team."
On QB Kyle Boller being placed on IR and having QB Casey Bramlet and QB Todd Bouman in Baltimore:"The management is doing an incredible job of filling in 'soulful' guys. Casey and Todd are two guys that I've only known for a couple of weeks, but it feels like we've been together since training camp and OTAs started. They've never tried to plug in and say, 'My role is this, my role is that.' It's pretty much the same feeling that it was before, but I totally miss Kyle. It was sad to see what he had to go through with his shoulder, and when a guy like that leaves, you miss his presence. Kyle did tremendous things for us around here off the field that sometimes you guys maybe didn't see. His toughness is bar-none the best that I've been around. I'm missing him. But, Joe [Flacco] is doing an incredible job now, en route to getting where we want to be."
On what he's seen in Flacco's progression:"I told him a long time ago, 'When you get the chance to make plays, make the plays that you know how to make.' He's exceeded that. He's doing a tremendous job with the offense and getting us to where we need to be. We've put him in situations where, supposedly, a rookie quarterback would not be able to handle it. He's done an incredible job. I'm rooting for him, because as of now, our success relies on him, and that's the way it's supposed to be."
On if he is still feeling weak at all:"No. I can't say that. It's sort of like when you first start working out again. You're mind tells you that you want to do more, but your body is not letting you. There are still areas that I can get better at when my health was at its peak. But, it's just a battle and a road that I'm going to continue to fight [down]. That's the way it's supposed to be."
On if his personal football goal is to get the top backup spot:"I'm just working hard. Honestly, that's the last thing I'm thinking about. My health is what's most important now. When you're lying in a hospital bed watching the sequel of *Predator *or *Terminator III *all day, you just want to get back to doing something."
LB Terrell Suggs
On if he feels DT Justin Bannan is starting to blossom and come into his own this season:"Starting to blossom? Where have you been? Bannan has always been productive. He's always been playing really good. He's just been in the shadow of Haloti [Ngata] and Kelly Gregg. Those three defensive tackles are really big for us. They are really key on the defense. You all saw when we didn't have them in preseason – we were getting gashed by everybody. He's always been very productive and a very good player, and I think you all are just starting to notice it."
On whether he was surprised to see QB Ben Roethlisberger sacked so many times in the game against Philadelphia:"Was I surprised to see Roethlisberger on the ground? That many times? If a team's doing different stuff it can happen. There have been some games that we've gotten there. It just depends on the scheme you're running that game. I think they just got a clue on where Pittsburgh was having their extra guys stay in and they just went the other way. I don't think Pittsburgh is worried about their protection at this point. They just gave up a lot more sacks than they like to."
On preparing to play rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall:"I like to think every back is dangerous, like a Barry Sanders-type guy. I think if you don't show up and you don't play football, he's going to explode and it's going to be on you guys. I just always think the worst thing is going to happen. So, in my preparation, I just try to prepare to just stop that."
On whether the team is using its only game on Monday night as an inspiration to play well:"Not at all. This is a conference game, a divisional opponent. We're approaching it like we approached last week. Any time you get to line up against somebody in your division, it's big. We're just excited for the opportunity to get up on the line and play again."
On whether the Ravens are looking for revenge for the loss to the Steelers last season on Monday night:"Not really. If you all remember, we actually did play them again later in that year. I'm not sure if you all know that. But we played them later again that year and we beat them, so it's not really a revenge game. Like I said, it's just another opportunity to line up. We're going to play a divisional opponent. You've always got to be ready to play a divisional opponent. It's definitely going to be a fun game."
On if the defense can learn anything from the way the Eagles pressured Roethlisberger:"I don't think you can learn anything, for the simple fact that this is the NFL. Very seldom are teams going to make the same mistake twice. I know they had to – on the plane ride home when they were watching it – say, 'This is what we can't do anymore; we definitely can't do that any more throughout this year.' You've got to protect your quarterback. It was a good game to watch. It was nice – 15-6, a nice little defensive game. But I don't think there is anything we can take from it because they've seen it once now and now they're on to it. Boom, they're fixing it."
On whether the Ravens' defense is similar to the Eagles' defense:"I see how one can argue that, but I think that we're a unique defense within ourselves. We don't necessarily need pressure. We can line up and just play smash-mouth football. I don't know. I'll let you all decide that."
On whether the Ravens and Steelers truly dislike each other:"I don't know. You think so? I like those guys, man. It's pretty much just left on the field. It's decided on the temperament of the game. Nobody knows this, but in the offseason me and Max Starks work out together in the same gym. And, Hines Ward and [I] are in Vegas all the time together. So I don't think it's more of a like/dislike. It's more the temperament of the game."
On if Ward has ever told him how LB Bart Scott threatened to kill him once:"Yeah. I was actually there."
On whether Ward ever brings it up with him:"Bart usually doesn't go [to Vegas]. I remember it. Bart's the 'Mad Backer.' Bart has a split personality, especially when he's on the field. Bart's a really lovable guy, he's very fun in the locker room and on the practice field. But, it's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: When he gets on the field, even I can't talk to him."
On who wins more in Vegas:"We're more betting against Vegas, so we both lose."
PITTSBURGH STEELERS CONFERENCE CALL
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
On the success the Ravens have had this season:"I think, more than anything, is that they're 2-0 and they're playing to their strengths. They're dominating time of possession, 37 minutes to 23 on average, over the first two games. They've run the ball 90 times in two games. That's more than we've run it in three games, and we run it more than most. The punter [Sam Koch] is doing a nice job; he's a 44-yard dead average. And they're playing great defense. They've got the No. 1 defense in the world. So, you put those things together, and they're playing their brand of football, and they're 2-0."
On if the biggest rivalry the Steelers have is with the Ravens:"Well, you know we've got some big rivalries in this division. We think the Cleveland one is pretty big, too, but I'd be hard-pressed to pick one over the other."
On what makes it a great rivalry:"I think it's the people involved. That's a dynamic group over there, led by some strong-willed people. I believe that we have the same here, and I think it creates for an interesting matchup."
On if the war of words between players is good or bad for the game:"I think more than anything, people pay attention to the war of words and they miss the game. The people that you're talking about [Bart Scott and Hines Ward] play the game with great passion, they play it the way it's supposed to be played, and they're great competitors. I tend to focus on that, whether I'm talking about Hines or Bart Scott, or whoever else is involved in it. I mean, these guys play, and they play with great emotion, and I appreciate that element of it."
On the Steelers' offensive line play against the Eagles:"I think to say anything other than the fact that Philly did a nice job would be a discredit to them. That needs to be said first, but from our standpoint there were a lot of things we could have done better, both players and coaches, and we acknowledge that. We're about the business of making those corrections this week, and all we can do is swallow it whole and prepare for our next opportunity to perform, which is Monday night."
On Steelers rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall:"He's a very talented guy. You know, that's a daunting task, getting your first opportunity for significant playing time versus that defense. Everybody knows what they're capable of. But no question, he's capable and ready. If you look around the league, there's a lot of his peers getting their opportunities, and he hadn't gotten his primarily because he plays behind a guy like Willie Parker. So he gets his this week, and we're looking forward to him hopefully taking advantage of it."
On if Mendenhall starting changes his game plan:"No, it does not."
WR Hines Ward
On if the Ravens' defense looks more rejuvenated than it did last season:"Yes, they do. They're healthy. The two starting corners [Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle] are playing, and they're playing well. All around, everybody's just swarming to the ball. That's why they're ranked pretty high in total defense, just because all the guys are out there are healthy and out on the field."
On if the Ravens are the Steelers' biggest rival:"Yes. There's no question about it. I mean, for the past couple of years it's either been Baltimore or Pittsburgh winning the division, and it's just been that natural respect for one another. But there's no love lost between each other. The rivalry itself is just based off of the way we play against each other. It's always been a physical game, and regardless of records or whatnot, we know going into the game it's always going to be a tough one."
On rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall:"He's a promising rookie. Just like any rookie, he's excited to get his opportunity. And yes, that's unfortunate what happened to Willie [Parker], but in this business when one guy goes down, the next man has to go in there. We can't lose a beat, so the expectation level is going to stay the same with Rashard in there. We've just got to go out and make sure we execute better than we did last week."
On if their game plan will change this week:"No, not necessarily. Our offense is not built predicated on one guy. We're going to run what we run and what we do best. We're going to try to run and set up play action, and see if that works. And if not, we're going to make plays in the passing game."
On if the "bad blood" between the teams is exaggerated or real:"Every game film I watch, you can just see… When Baltimore played Cleveland last week, they were just more physical than Cleveland, from the whole, from top to the bottom. The secondary was being physical with their receivers. The D-line and the linebackers were being physical. Ray Lewis was still going out there knocking people's heads off. All in all, we know it's going to be a physical game. We're not going out there to try to hurt each other, you know, end somebody's career. But, at the same time we know you've got to strap up your helmet and get ready to put on a physical game."
On if he remembers the threat he received from LB Bart Scott last season:"Yeah, he threatened to kill me after the game. I got a big laugh out of it."
On if he's excited to see Scott in Monday's game:"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. He's a great ballplayer, and any time you get competitive, it's always great to go out there and compete. I'll go out there and smile at him a couple of times on the field."
On if it's hard to not take what Scott says personally:"No, not really. I mean, out on the field you're going to have a war of words. Guys are going to talk about your mother, talk about anything to try to get up under your skin. We played with one of the best of them in the league – Joey Porter. It's just words: 'Words don't hurt me,' or whatever. I'm pretty sure if I see Bart out in the street, outside of football, I'm pretty sure he's not going to kill me."
On if he has any special message for Scott:"Tell him I said, 'Hello.'"
On the difficulty of a quarterback making his first road start at Heinz Field:"It's going to be very difficult. Between the two teams, we're similar in many ways. We try to run the ball, we have great defense, Baltimore has a great defense [and] special teams is about the same. The difference is in the quarterback play. Ben [Roethlisberger] has proven that he's been a winner, and the young quarterback in Baltimore [Joe Flacco], he's 2-0 right now. So, this is going to be his first challenge coming into hostile territory on primetime. I'm pretty sure, defensively, we're going to try to contain him, and try to put it in his hands to try to win the ball game. We've just got to go out there and execute. If we go out there and execute, and not turn the ball over, then it's going to be a great game to watch."