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Interview Transcripts: Thursday (9/26)


Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan

On if DT Haloti Ngata is underrated in the same way that NT Kelly Gregg was thought to be:"I don't know. I think people know more about Haloti than Kelly, you know, being a first-round pick and the size and all that. He's got that prototype size, and it's easy to look out there and look at the biggest dude out there. I think he's not under the radar as much as Kelly was and is."

On if he was shocked to see Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger sacked so many times by the Eagles:"No. I mean shoot, to be honest with you, in this league things happen. It's just one of those games. Our focus is going to be about us and playing our style of football. If we do that, then we'll be successful."

On Roethlisberger being a threat with his ability to improvise:"Yeah, we saw that last year. We saw that last year, so we'll see what happens."

On the status of CB Samari Rolle:"Samari's in great shape. Whether he can play or not, I'm not sure. We're hoping he can. But if not, then Corey Ivy and Frank Walker have done an outstanding job. So we're confident, if Samari can't go, in those two guys."

On the status of CBs Derrick Martin and Fabian Washington:"Derrick did a nice job for us on special teams last week. Don't really anticipate him playing that much on defense, but he's there in case we need him, that's for sure. Fabian's progressing, I think. That'd be great to get him back also."

On if he's optimistic that Washington will suit up for Monday's game:"I hope so. That would be a bonus."

On the importance of the reps that S Jim Leonhard and DT Justin Bannan got with the first team at training camp:"It's great because the guys are familiar with them. Justin, of course, has been here, and everybody knows Justin. But when Jim Leonhard had those opportunities, I think you're right, that was big for us. You know, you never want to see that happen [injuries to starters], but we feel great about the depth that we have this year, in particular at safety. We think we have two great players – we've got five guys we know – that we feel comfortable with, who can step in there and play for us."

On the defense's expectation of Steelers rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall:"Again, we're not even, our focus really isn't on who's back there. The reason we're good at stopping the run is because we focus on what we can affect – our fronts, our techniques, the way we get to the football, the way we attack blocking patterns. I think that's our focus. The focus really isn't on the opponent."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

Opening Statement: "Obviously, our guys have got a lot of preparation left to go for this game. We're excited to play, and we know we've got a heck of an opponent coming up Monday night. Questions?"

On what makes the game against Pittsburgh on Monday night stand out as special:"This is, for me personally and for a lot of the guys here, this is a division game. That's what it's all about, no matter where you're playing. You're playing in the division, you're playing on the road and then you add Monday night to it, it makes a special opportunity."

On how impressed he has been with QB Joe Flacco's progression and ability to deal with adversity:"It's still early and he's still growing every snap he takes. He's better today than he was two days ago. So, we've just got to continue to have everybody contribute on offense. I think that's the one thing we continue to remind him: He's not out there by himself. He's our leader, he's the guy that calls the shots, but at the same time he's got an offensive line that he's working with, he's got a group of backs that are doing everything they can to protect him. We've got receivers and tight ends that are really playing extremely hard. You [tell him to] just remember to be aggressive, but take care of the football and just continue to grow one play at a time. I know he's excited to play, and we're all excited just watching him continue to grow. This will be a part of his development – but it's more about our team. It's more about allowing our defense to help us win, our special teams, and keeping all three phases in mind."

On how RB Willis McGahee's eye injury is and if he was surprised that there was no fine imposed by the NFL:"He's doing fine from what I can tell. His eye doesn't look great, but I think he's doing [OK]. He was OK in meetings today. As far as the league, I'm not really aware what that would be all about. I don't know that anything was done intentionally. He's getting ready to play; that's the important thing."

On whether he sees any similarities between Flacco and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:"There probably are some similarities, but all these guys are unique. They all have their own style. It's probably a little early to tell, but obviously they are two, big, strong guys, big arms guys, that are bright and they're winners. But Joe is Joe. I always say it's going to be fun to watch him continue to grow and develop."

On how helpful practicing against the Ravens No. 1 defense has been for the offense in preparing to play the Steelers:"There are some similarities. Obviously, we zone pressure a lot. It's just the talent level that we go against on a day-to-day basis that really helps us on Sundays. There aren't many surprises we get on Sunday because of the speed and the physicalness we go against in practice. Now, the other thing that's been a real plus for us, too, is our look squads. The job we get out of our look squads – just because of the way Rex [Ryan] and all our defensive coaches approach things – is a real plus [with] the speed and intensity we get. And, they really take a lot of pride in giving us exactly what we need. Hopefully, we're doing the same thing on offense, but that's a real plus. They take a lot of pride in making sure we get the exact look we need out of them as it relates to Pittsburgh's defense."

On what it took for the offensive line to come together and click so well in the past few weeks:"I don't know that we have put it all together yet. I think we've been fortunate late in the game to score, for the most part, [and that] has given us the opportunity to be patient with the line. That doesn't happen a lot in the National Football League. It's hard to be patient with the run. But when you're up 28-10, you can be a little more patient and it allows you to call more runs. The backs get a little more in the groove. So, it's a collective effort. Are we anywhere close to where we want to be? Absolutely not. We're still growing as a unit and we're really growing almost minute by minute on the offensive line."

On how difficult it is to predict where S Troy Polamalu will be from snap to snap:"We've gotten out of trying to figure that one out. We know he's going to be there, and he'll be somewhere between 531/3 and 100 [yards on the field] and we can recognize him. So, it's no use trying to figure out where's he's supposed to be or where he should be or where he is. Bottom line, he'll be there."

On whether he expects to consistently use the no huddle offense each week or does it depend on the matchup:"It does. It varies almost minute to minute and it goes from week to week, then it can be quarter to quarter and half to half, and many times it's minute to minute. It's a feel thing. And the clock. The crews spot the ball a little differently, so I'm getting a little bit of a feel early in the game how the officials are spotting the ball and how the clock is getting started. Believe it or not, officiating crews are different, and so no-huddle sometimes plays into that. But, it's strictly a feel thing."

On if there is anything he will do differently to prepare Flacco for his first game on the road:"You watch quarterbacks over the years and you develop a feel for certain places, because the clock – there's no standard place the clock has to be in the NFL – [and] the scoreboards are different. A lot of little things you just have to go in and check. Other than that, we'll do everything we can do to prepare."

On if he expects Le'Ron McClain to be able to play against the Steelers:"He's full go. He was great in meetings this morning and he will be ready to play."

Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On if he has experienced players being fatigued from playing on special teams in addition to offense or defense:"I hope not. [Is there concern] about college guys getting tired of playing special teams? I don't think that's the case. I haven't run into that. Nobody's tapped out yet on special teams, so I don't anticipate that to happen."

On the wind affect for the kickers like Matt Stover at Heinz Field:"I think the fact that Matt Stover has got the numbers he has in field goal percentage really speak to his skill level. These kinds of conditions in places he's played over his career, and ranking where he's ranked at field goal percentage in the career, is remarkable. The numbers are remarkable in itself, and where he's kicked really adds to the effect of that."

On his concern with Stover's 1-for-3 start:"I'm certainly concerned. I mean, we want to make every field goal we attempt. I realize that's not possible very often, [but] every once in a while it happens. I'd be more concerned if I didn't watch him every day in practice, and see him come out here every day and work on his skills and practice well. He's kicked well through training camp, and I think what we've seen so far is two kicks that he didn't make. He has analyzed them like Matt does. He's gone through them; he knows what happened. The good news is he knows how to fix it."

On if Stover's short memory and ability to analyze mistakes have contributed to him lasting so long in the league:"I think the 'short memory' expression comes from the game. I think guys that have short memories during games – it's a real valuable asset. But, if they have a short memory after the game, that doesn't necessarily serve them well. I think what Matt has done, he's been able to push that aside during the course of the game, and after the game he figures out what's going on and he sets about to correct it."

On if WR/RS Yamon Figurs will resume his return duties:"I don't know at this point in time."

On who else could take Figurs' place:"We'll wait and see what happens on Monday."

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