Opening statement:"Good to see you guys here. I appreciate it. We had the guys back today, and we're fully into preparations for Pittsburgh and getting ready to play. Appreciated the bit of time off, and we're back at it."
What kind of vibe did you get from the guys when they came back? (Joe Platania) "I think the guys are just ready to go. They were excited to get back [and] go to work. We had a good work day today, and they were ready to go."
Is there any way you can interpret this as a fresh start to throw what happened away and win from this point on? (David Ginsburg) "You take everything into account. We have nine games left. We're basically one game down in our division, playing the team that's ahead of us right now. Our goal is certainly going to be to win the division. That's in front of us. It's up to us. We're going to play those teams. No matter what our record would be in that range of what it could be right now, we have to beat the teams in our division to make anything of it anyway. That's what we're looking to do."
**Speaking of the division, the stats say that the AFC North has been one of the best divisions in football over the years. Are you surprised that, based on stats this year, AFC North teams have struggled? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"I haven't really analyzed it. It really doesn't matter to me right now. Our focus is on becoming the best team we can be, playing the best football we can play and winning these close games."
How much were you able to get accomplished with the coaches during the self-scouting process? (Jerry Coleman) "We just go to work on what we're doing. There's a lot that goes into it. We have a lot of people that work hard here. We study ourselves. We study our upcoming opponents. We study the league. It's just really applying what we think we need to apply in terms of where we're going – in terms of what we want to do offensively, defensively [and on] special teams – making some decisions and preparing for this week."
Are you anticipating that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will play? There have been reports that he is throwing and ready to go. (Jerry Coleman) "I haven't read anything today yet about it. I would anticipate that we'll prepare as if he's going to play. The offense doesn't change that much if Landry Jones is in there. Obviously, they're different players. Ben is Ben, and we respect him tremendously. We'll operate under that assumption."
John, I don't know how many details you can give, but is there anyone you would rule out for Sunday? (David Ginsburg) "No. I just don't have any [injury] announcement to make along those lines. I don't know if we have an injury report until Wednesday, probably. I really don't have any updates on that. I'm anticipating some guys being back though."
Did you not get an invite to the World Series? I saw your brother and your dad there last night. (Jerry Coleman)"We're just trying to find a way to win a game right now."
Did you watch the game Sunday?* (Jerry Coleman)* "World Series? I did."
I'm going to go back to football now. There was one game that was a tie and another game that almost was a tie. Do you think teams should keep playing until there is a result? (Jerry Coleman) "I don't care. I was watching girl's lacrosse until 2, and then caught a little bit of some of that stuff at times. It wasn't really … It's not really how I entertain myself right now at this stage. Most of my football is watched on coaches' tape, and I get plenty of that. I don't care about any of that [tie argument]."
Well, if you coach all day and you don't end up with a result … (Jerry Coleman)"I don't care. I want to win. What I care about is winning the game. We want to win the game if we get in that situation. Seriously, that is our focus. We have been in overtime games plenty of times before, and you try to win the game."
You guys were looking at the film and all that stuff over this break. How much would you say the running games deficiency could be blamed on the fact that the offensive line is makeshift, because you did not have T Ronnie Stanley or G Marshal Yanda? (Dave Ginsburg)"It certainly didn't help. We have to get the run game going, and having our offensive line … We already have two young guys in there as it is – a rookie left tackle [Ronnie Stanley] and a rookie left guard [Alex Lewis] – who we feel very good about with both of those guys in their spots. Like I said, I am appreciative of what Alex was able to do at left tackle for those three games [or] four games that he played left tackle. But it is going to be better to have our full complement of guys in there healthy. It should help us in really every area, including the run game."
How delicate of a balance is it when you are going against the opposing defense and they might have a weakness, whether it is run or pass. You want to attack that weakness, but you want to remain balanced. Is there a balancing act in doing that? (Jamison Hensley) "I think there is. The bottom line is that you want to move the ball. The successful offenses … When you talk about it, you don't really ask that question. They are attacking weaknesses. They might be imbalanced. I can think of a couple that sometimes they run it almost every time in a game, sometimes they throw it almost every time in a game. Really, it doesn't come down to that as long as you are successful. When you are not successful, those are the questions that get asked, and that is where the finger gets pointed. The main thing is execution. You have to be good at whatever you do. We do want to be able to run the ball so I don't shy away from that. I think it is important to be able to run the ball well. There are going to be times where the defense is just begging for you to throw it on them. If you do it well, people are going to be happy with you. That is what we need to do – we need to be good at what we do."
We always talk about how difficult it is to win on the road. Now you have two games at home. How important is it to capitalize with that advantage of having the home crowd with you? (Jamison Hensley) "It is going to be important. We need to win these games; I don't care where they are being played. We needed to win the two on the road the last two weeks; we didn't. We need to win these at home. You just need to win, and that is really what it boils down to."
Did you like the timing of the bye with having two games in a five-day period coming up? You are able to get a look at Pittsburgh and also a look at Cleveland as well. *(Luke Jones)* "Yes, I am excited about it. I am excited about playing two games in five days. I am looking forward to it. I think it is a good time for us to do it. I just want to go out there and play well. I want to knock some of this disappointment off. This is something you carry around with you; it is not what you want. It is not the goal. The goal is to win these games and have the kind of record that you think reflects how hard you have worked. We are very determined to do that right now."
I know you always make changes every weekend. Do you see any trade possibilities? I know it is not necessarily your department, but do you expect a quiet trade deadline in this building? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Like you said, it is not my department. We will just see how that plays out with Ozzie [Newsome] and what he is doing."