JOHN HARBAUGH MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement: "Great to see everybody. Thanks for coming out. Haven't seen you for a while; that's a good thing. *(laughter) *Just had a practice; it was good to see everybody back. Our guys did a great job over the weekend. A lot of guys stayed in town – most everybody stayed in town. Some guys had rehab, some guys worked out, things like that. So, it's been positive for us. From an injury perspective, we look good. We anticipate everybody playing in the game. Jameel [McClain] and Brendon [Ayanbadejo] are working through their knee issues, but they should be good. We'll see how they practice. The concussion guys haven't been cleared yet, but we anticipate them being cleared tomorrow. And, Anquan [Boldin] … What we did today was a very light, kind of walk-through practice, but he looks fine. He's been running on it, so he should be 100-percent."
Houston will have Andre Johnson back for Sunday's game. When you look at your younger players, do you see anyone who could possibly evolve into an Andre Johnson-type receiver as their careers progress? *(Joe Platania) *"If you're saying [evolve] into one of the best receivers in football, if not the best receiver in football, we sure hope so. He's different. Everybody's different. Everybody's got their own style and their own way. But, if you look at Torrey [Smith] and the other young guys, they've got a chance to be as good as anybody. And, it's going to be fun to see how they progress."
Can you talk about the impact you feel Wade Phillips has had on the Texans' defense? *(Stan Charles) *"Obviously, their defense has gone from one of the bottom defenses in the league to one of the top defenses in the league, and the biggest variable is Wade Phillips. Although, they also did a great job with personnel. They added a number of guys in the secondary, drafted really well on defense, and have drafted really well on defense over the last couple of years. They are a young, very talented defense, especially the front seven. But, Wade is a great coach and he's done a great job."
Torrey Smith has been a great addition to the receiving corps. Have you talked to him about his importance to the team, especially starting in the playoffs this season? *(Barry Barnes) *"Well, I think Torrey understands that. We've talked about a lot of things. Probably more than anything, I've complimented him on the job he's done. His work ethic is as good as anybody's. He's come a long way, but he's got a long way to go. He's a factor. He's going to be a threat in this upcoming game. He's becoming a heck of a receiver."
With T.J. Yates playing, do you see much of a change in the Texans' offensive package since you faced them in Week 6? *(Gerry Sandusky) *"They're running their offense. It's the same package that they ran early. T.J. Yates has got his imprint on it, but he looks very similar to the two other guys running it. And that's a credit to their coaches and the system that they run. It's a great system. Obviously, it's been successful for a number of years offensively, so he's plugged in real well."
What sets Arian Foster apart from other running backs? Also, can you talk about [referee] Tony Corrente finding out he had cancer in an examination after a collision with Matt Birk and Michael Oher? (Aaron Wilson)"Arian Foster has been [great for Houston]. It's been interesting in that system, how they've been able to plug backs in, but it is a certain type of back. And, it's a big, fast, downhill, one-cut kind of runner who makes quick decisions. And, that's what he does. When you stand on the sideline, [we saw it] when we played them earlier, you are impressed with his athleticism. His speed, he accelerates, he runs really hard. So, he's a premier back in a really good running system with a really good offensive line. As far as Tony Corrente … I didn't know the story, and we were out there before the Bengals game, actually doing Gerry's [Sandusky, WBAL] show before the game, and there was a gentleman standing there who had a hat on and I didn't recognize him. He wasn't in his referee uniform, for one thing, but he really didn't look the same because I think he's going through chemo. He said, 'I'd like to talk to you.' And, I'm thinking, 'OK, who is this?' So I go over and talk to him, and he [says], 'Tony Corrente.' I was kind of floored [when I realized that]. Then he told the story about how in the Pittsburgh game he got in the middle of a scuffle, as you know. He got between Matt Birk and Michael Oher and two Pittsburgh guys and got knocked to the ground. He had to go to the doctor because he was coughing up blood, and that's how he discovered he had throat cancer. He said probably, if not for that circumstance, they would have never discovered it. So, he got a little emotional and felt like the Lord works in mysterious ways. It was just a stunning story. So, he wanted to talk to those two guys. We grabbed them and brought them over, and they had a great conversation."**
After watching the Wild Card games this week, does it really bring home the advantages of having a bye the first weekend of the playoffs? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"Well yeah, it certainly hammered home how difficult it is to play in that [situation] – to go on the road especially. All four home teams, obviously, won, which hasn't always been the case. We managed to overcome that three times, and it really hammers home how difficult that is."
Sunday's game is sold out and everyone in Baltimore is very excited for a home playoff game. Have you worried that the crowd noise could make it difficult for the team to communicate? *(Barry Barnes) *"It's always loud in our place. It's always sold out. And, it will be loud as heck, and I'm sure for a playoff game, hopefully, to a new level. But our defense has to deal with that part of it. We want the crowd to be loud for the opposing offense, and our defense has to learn to communicate and deal with that crowd noise. So, we do work on that during the week."
How does Ray Lewis look after a week off? (A.J. Perez) "He looks great."
Are there any concerns about Ray Lewis' toe injury? *(A.J. Perez) *"No. He's 100-percent. Any report to the contrary is absolutely untrue. His toe is 100-percent. It has been for a couple of weeks."
**How much more challenging is it to face the Texans considering the adjustments they have made since the Ravens played them in Week 6 of the regular season? *(Gary Graves) *"It's not that much different. Teams evolve. But, they're the same team in terms of what they like to do. They're good at what they do; that's why they've gotten as far as they have. That's why they are as successful as they are. Of course, there will be wrinkles here and there. But, it's going to be our players running our system, against their players running their system. And, whichever team plays the best on Sunday is going to win the game. So, there's an element of game-planning to it, but more than anything, it's [that] any two teams probably know each other fairly well at this point."
Do you see any similarities between you [and Houston], in terms of not necessarily needing a lot of offense to win the games and being reliant on defensive incentives, especially in Houston's case? (Gary Graves)"I also see all the points they put up, and they've put up a number of points. It's been an offensive team over the past three or four years. They've really shored up their defense. To me, they can win in any one of the three phases. But I believe that about us, too. We can win in any one of the three phases. So, it's two teams that are similarly built that way."
It happened that you knew your opponent on Saturday. Did you still watch the Steelers and Broncos with the same eye that you would watch them if you didn't [know your opponent]? (Peter Schmuck)"Probably not. You know, you have one eye on the TV screen and another eye on the computer screen, so you're trying to do two things at once. But you certainly get your attention drawn to that game and what's going on live during the course of the game. (Reporter: "What was your reaction to the ending?") Wow! Just like everybody else – just trying to figure out what coverage they wanted to be in. Hey man, that's football. That's what makes the NFL great, games like that. So, congratulations to the Broncos."
A year ago, a little bit less than a year ago, you had that bitter defeat in Pittsburgh. We all witnessed you, we talked to the players. How much of that fuels what you're going through right now? (Stan Charles)"It's true. Everything fuels what you're going through. Every shared experience fuels who you become, what you become – the disappointments as much as the triumphs. That was a big disappointment last year. Now we go into a Divisional game, this one at home, with just as much at stake. There's certainly motivation there."
There was a report that Cam Cameron was in Houston to watch the game in person in the stadium. Can you talk about the decision to have him go there, and what is the benefit to having him there as compared to watching it on TV? (Dan Kolko)"That's something Cam has done; he's done that quite a few times over the years when we've had bye weeks. That's something he likes to do. It gives him a feel – watching the game live, scouting the game live. It's not so much X's and O's as it is a feel for the tempo and things like that. That's something he likes to do, and he's done that over the years."
You go back to training camp with the lockout shortening … Everybody thought the defense would have an edge. But then you throw the lack of two-a-days in there. But with all the 5,000-yard passers this year and everything else, do you think it was actually the defense that was at the disadvantage? (A.J. Perez)"It might be a fair thought. It's hard to say; I don't know. [There were] a lot of unintended things that you will probably never go through again. The secondary has had a tough time. You look at … We thought protection was going to be an issue, and it probably was early on. I'm not sure the secondary has ever recovered. Our guys have done a great job. I'm proud of our defense. But, there's a lot of cohesiveness that goes in the back end back there that maybe has been exploited. But you've got to give those guys credit. Three guys, right, were over 5,000 yards this year? Aren't two of them still playing? So, that's a credit. It's just a very impressive accomplishment."
You've talked about Torrey Smith earlier, and some of the young guys like Torrey and Jimmy Smith and Pernell McPhee, who are rookies going through this the first time. What have you seen from them, and what advice do you have for them as they go through the process of being in the playoffs for the first time? (Garrett Downing) "The biggest advice to me is, 'Listen to the vets and watch the vets.' [If] you're going through this for the first time, you see what Matt Birk does. If you're on the offensive line, do what Matt Birk does. If you're a linebacker, do what Ray [Lewis] does. If you're a defensive back, do what Ed [Reed] does. That's the biggest advice we can give them. Our guys are great mentors, and our young guys are great students. So, our leadership will carry us and help carry those guys."
With Arian Foster in the running game, do you think that facing such a strong running attack it's more important to get out to a lead? Because when the Texans had that lead at halftime, they clearly relied on Foster in the second half. (Ryan Mink)"You have to get a lead at some point in time. You better get a lead before the end of the game. That will be the goal. Then, when the game is over, have the lead. That's the idea. However, it goes is how it goes. My point is, it's not going to be won in the first five minutes. If we get out to a lead, we're going to have to play the next 55 minutes. If they get out to a lead, they're going to have to play the next 55 minutes. Any football game is like that – especially playoff football. It takes a whole game. (Reporter: "We're going to quote you on that.") *I'll stand behind that." *(laughter)
Quick question on Brendon Ayanbadejo: Was it both the quad and the knee that goes hand in hand? Or, is it just one or the other? (Aaron Wilson)"It's just one or the other. It's more the quad."
What makes Houston's zone-stretch running style so tough to defend? (Dan Kolko)"You got a chalkboard here somewhere? (laughter) It challenges the whole width of the front, basically. It gets the front moving, and it challenges them to expand with it; move with the front, stay square, maintain gap control and control the blocker. What they try to do is basically expand the area that you have to cover horizontally and then find a crease. A back like Arian Foster finds the crease a lot of times. So, it's not like it's running in one hole. It can basically run anywhere from the tight end to the backside tackle."
C Matt Birk
On if he appreciates making the playoffs more as a veteran:"As you get a little bit older and you go through a lot more, you certainly don't take it for granted. Everybody's goal is the same when you start the season. I think one of the great things about football is the delayed gratification. You really work an entire year to reach that goal, to get to the Super Bowl. Obviously, making the playoffs is the first step. Two out of my first three years in the league I went to the NFC Championship game. At that time, I probably didn't know what it meant or just how precious is was, and I haven't been back since. So, we have this opportunity in front of us to be in the playoffs and be in the second round now. Like I said, you certainly don't take it for granted, and as you get closer to the end, it just becomes that much more precious."
On if he feels physically rested after the bye weekend:"I think physically, and mentally, too, just to get a little break and time away, just to kind of reset everything and come back rejuvenated … It's funny, even watching the games yesterday, the last couple years, obviously, we've played in the first couple rounds. You're fighting for your life until the last week of the regular season, and then you get in and you scramble and go on the road to play somewhere. Just to be able to take a step back and just watch and take it all in – watch some of the pregame and the game – you become a fan, and it just gets you that much more excited to get back to work today and get back to work on Wednesday and really start hitting it and preparing and just being able to be a part of the NFL playoffs."
On if the offensive line was given watches by RB Ray Rice:"Yeah. It's like no watch I've ever had before. It actually has hands on it. (laughter) That's right. That was just off the cuff. We did. Ray got us a little something. We should probably be buying him something. He probably makes us look better than we are. [I] certainly appreciate it. I really have never owned a watch before. I don't know what I am going to do with it. Wear it, yeah, maybe I'll wear it."
On what kind of watch it is:"Casio? Is that a good one? (laughter) No. Is it Breitling? I don't know. Breitling? Did I say that right? See, there you go. I'm sure my wife will like it."
On if there is pressure on QB Joe Flacco to be the sparkplug for the offense:"I don't think so. Obviously, Joe is a big part of what we do. He is our quarterback, he is our leader, but we've got other guys, and we pride ourselves on being pretty balanced on offense. It's really not all on him – it's not all on anybody. We're a team. It's what we've talked about from Day One. Everybody just has to pitch in and do their part. We don't need anybody to be Superman out there. We just need everybody to do their job and take care of their business. Obviously, the playoffs in the NFL, especially in the playoffs, it's all about guys stepping up and making big plays. We have a number of guys, I think offensively, that have done that throughout the year. Hopefully, we can have guys continue to do that."
On running the ball a little more than other playoff teams and that being something you saw more of years ago than today:"Everybody's got a different formula for winning. Certainly, this year is obviously the year of the quarterback with the numbers that some guys are putting up. But look at a team like Denver who's doing it, I guess, unconventionally. So, there's a lot of ways to win a football game. There's no one set formula. I think the great thing about the playoffs is teams have played all year – 16 games, 17 games – they've gotten to the playoffs by having success doing whatever they're doing. And I don't think teams are going to change a whole lot once they get to this point. A new wrinkle here or there, but pretty much it's going to come down to teams doing what got them here, and then it comes down to the players, it comes down to execution. So, it's kind of, 'May the best team win.'"
On the cohesiveness of the offensive line and how it has evolved this season:"Well, from where we were a week before the start of the season, we've come a long way. [We had] a couple pieces missing there during training camp, but I feel like we've gotten better as the season has gone on – certainly just the comfort level, chemistry, cohesion, whatever you want to call it. I think the biggest thing is we have five guys, really six guys, that have played a lot of football, kind of understand the game and have played long enough to where things have slowed down a little bit for them. So, when they go into a game, or go into practice, or go into a meeting, it's about detailing their assignment instead of learning their assignment. And then we're able to develop some chemistry pretty quickly, but it's always a work in progress. Every week is a new challenge. You're playing different defenses, with different guys that like to do different things, different moves. So, every week is a work in progress. It's never, ever a finished product, and I think we understand that up front. We're not the prettiest group of guys, maybe necessarily, but the one thing we do is we work hard. And we'll come in here Wednesday in meetings and practice, and we'll work."
On how he thinks T Bryant McKinnie has done this year:"I think he's done great. Bryant … Same old Bryant, as far as I was concerned. I think I played with him for six, seven years in Minnesota. Obviously, Bryant … Physically, there aren't a lot of guys walking down the street with his physical skill set. And Bryant's great; he's funny, because obviously, I knew him from before, but he comes in here and we're here a couple days, a week, two weeks, and guys are like, 'Man, that guy just doesn't talk. Is he upset? Is he mad that he's here?' I said, 'No, he just doesn't talk.' Like I said, I played with him for a long time, [and] that's how he is. But he's an enjoyable guy – kind of one of those guys when he does say something, it's normally pretty clever, unlike myself. And he just came in here and kept his mouth shut like he always does and has worked. And I think to sing his praise a little bit … He's been a top-flight left tackle in this league for a long time, but I think maybe because of his personality and just how he is, he probably doesn't get all of the recognition that he deserves. But that's probably all right with him."
On what he's seen from Houston's front seven:"Hard-playing bunch. Obviously, we played them already this year, and I think they were No. 2 in overall defense in the NFL. So, you go through a whole season ranked No. 2, that's not a fluke. There's a reason. But, they have their system, they have their scheme, they play hard. [Brian] Cushing is a guy – somebody's [recorder just stopped] – it's all right; you're not going to miss anything. *(laughter) *But, Cushing is a guy who … He does a lot of things well. Certainly, he plays the 'Mike' linebacker, but he blitzes, hits different gaps, really good at the feet on one-on-one blocks. You know, some linebackers, once they're blocked, they stay blocked. He's very slippery, and it's their whole defense. They do a nice job of getting after the run and the pass, and like I said, it's no fluke."
On what kind of pride the offensive line takes when one of their own, G Marshal Yanda, is named All-Pro:"I was just happy for the guy. I came here … Marshal's still rehabbing from a devastating knee injury and … Marshal's just a hell of a guy – high-character. He was rehabbing, just kept his mouth shut, kept working, working, working, and did whatever they asked of him. You know, [he] got thrown in there at right tackle, then got thrown in at right guard, then wasn't starting, then was starting. Marshal is just a football player. Playing next to Marshal makes me a better football player, and just being around him, being his teammate makes me a better player, because of his work ethic and what he represents. He'll probably tell you I'm holding him back a little bit, but that's all right. We're just all happy for him, because he obviously deserved it."
On his thoughts about the referee Tony Corrente story and how he discovered he had cancer:"Mind-blowing is a good word. You know, the guy says half-jokingly, but half-serious, that we saved his life. It's kind of like, 'Well, no.' But I thought … One, for him to seek out Mike [Oher] and I before the game and tell us the story, I just came back to that you never know how God is going to use you. And here Mike and I just thought we were probably just being tough guys, getting in a little scuffle after a play, but everything happens for a reason. And the one thing that I know I'll take with me for the rest of my life, when Tony told that story and just how it relates to him, he said, 'You know, your whole life, you're always trying to see your glass as half full.' And once this whole thing happened, he said he realized that his glass was all-the-way full. And I just thought that was awesome, and certainly talking to him, it was a very humbling experience. I don't know him that personally, but he sure seems like a heck of a guy, and I went home that night and woke up my wife and told her, and it didn't really sink in [for her] until the next day after she woke up again. But, she thought it was pretty cool, and my family and I have prayed for him and his recovery, and I'm just glad I could be a part of it. I mean, I didn't do anything; I'm just glad I was a part of it."
On how often he gets into those little scuffles after the whistle:"Not for me. I pride myself on being a good guy. I mean, once in a while, once in a while. I don't even remember. I couldn't have told you if Tony was the referee that day or not. I don't remember him going down [or] any of that. So, that was Week 1, and then Week 17, the last week of the season, this guy tells you this unbelievable story in your locker room right before you go out [to play]. I thought the funniest thing was that in that game, Tony called Mike for holding. How about a free pass? *(laughter) *That's the NFL, huh? You saved a guy's life, come on!" *(laughter) *
On not personally playing against RB Arian Foster, but if there is a group competitiveness to propel RB Ray Rice to out-perform him:"Not competitiveness. We've watched a lot of film, especially in preseason, on the Texans and the way they run the ball, because they do the zone-scheme probably the best of anybody, and they've been doing it for a long time. So, I actually went up to their center, Chris Myers, after the game and I was asking him questions about techniques. I think he's a heck of a player, and I think their line does a heck of a job. Certainly, he's a great back, and he does things on his own and makes yards on his own, but that line does a heck of a job. So, I wouldn't call it competitiveness. I certainly look up to those guys as a group because of what they've been able to do for a long period of time – the level of play and how they execute the schemes. But certainly, whoever's back runs the ball better, that's probably going to be the team that wins, because both offenses are similar in that way and how they're constructed."
DE Cory Redding
On being in the playoffs for the second year in a row:"It feels great. To have the opportunity to play in the playoffs two years in a row, having the chance to continue to fight for what you have always been dreaming of when you were a little kid – hoisting up that [Lombardi] Trophy – it's a privilege and an honor. Right now, myself and everybody included in that locker room, [I'm] telling everyone to just take every day, soak everything in and don't take this thing for granted, because we don't know when the next time we're going to be here. It's a tough league, and right now, we're just enjoying the moment and preparing as hard as we can to get ready for this game."
On if he won a state championship in high school:"No. We were close; state semifinals and we lost to a San Antonio team, but we were one game away. Andre Gurode and myself were on the that varsity team, and we often talk about that game because that's about the closest we've got to a championship, in high school. [We were] a few plays away from making a big bowl game in college. This is a good shot."
On what the team did well to contain Texans RB Arian Foster the first time they played:"Everybody was disciplined in their gaps. If someone got out of their gap, the linebacker covered them, or the defender really hustled to get back in his gap leverage. When you are playing a zone team, like coach [John] Harbaugh said, they try to get you running sideways. You have to stay disciplined, hold your gap and control your man. Whenever the ball decides to cut, come off the guy aggressively, [be] able to cut back and keep your base and then make a tackle. That's what everybody did. Everybody really flowed well to the ball. We stayed in our gap leverages and guys were staying square. As long as you can do that, you have a good chance against this scheme."
On if stopping Foster gives them a pretty good chance of winning the game:"That's the objective – first and foremost is to stop the run. You can't let him get going. And then No. 2, get guys, get eyes on No. 80 [WR Andre Johnson]. Guys on the back end really control not letting the ball get over our heads. Then No. 3, get after [QB T.J.] Yates, period. You have to stop the run, control the pass and get after the passer. That's the formula for winning every single week. That's been our formula from Week 1 up to this week, and it hasn't changed."
On how good the Texans' offensive line is and if it reminds him of any he has played in the past:"No. This unit is good because they work well together. In the zone scheme, if you look at them from behind, it's almost like every one of them is on a string. If they are going to the left, everybody is stepping with their left foot and they are running to the left. If they are going to the right, everybody steps with their right foot and they are moving to their right. It's like everybody is on sequence. Everybody is running and flowing together. As long as they do that, they have real good days. That's why they work so well together, because they practice upbeat, they've got good chemistry, and those guys are competitive. That's basically how I see them."
On if the defensive line's job is to disrupt that motion:"Of course. Of course. You have to break that line up, get penetration, knock them back, use your hands, get off your blockers and make tackles."
On having the first-round bye and not playing this past weekend:"We did what we had to do to get that first-week bye. We came out of the back stretch 3-1, and that was our main focus. Guys are fighting on the field with big gashes down their legs and almost bruised ribs, messed up knees and toes and ankles and hands, and yet we still fought our way. Everybody got in that game, that Cincinnati game, and just played because we knew we were fighting for a week off. That was the biggest thing. We got that accomplished. We got control in the AFC North accomplished, and now it's time to rest, recover and get ready for the second season and winning Game One. That was the mindset for the guys. It was a big accomplishment."
On if he feels a considerable difference physically after having the bye week:"Awesome. I was just talking to some of our coaches and talking about how good I feel. I lost a few pounds working real hard, and just really reflecting on myself, watching how I played, things that I can correct from the last game to this game – meaning the Houston game – things that I messed up on, how I can correct my footwork, correct my hands, my eyes and my technique so I can come out and play that much better than I did in Week 6, or whenever we saw them, and do a better job."
On how the crowd noise factor can affect a young quarterback:"The noise factor is major, especially when you are at home. When 'The Bank' [M&T Bank Stadium] is going to be rocking, everybody out there is going to screaming loud; it's going to be crazy. [Yates] is going to be having a hard trying to make his checks. He is going to have hard times really trying to let the guys know when a blitz is coming, because it is going to be noisy, and we want that. The defense really feeds on that energy, but for a young quarterback coming into a hostile environment and really having troubles with communicating, it's going to play into our hands. We are just going to sit back and let the crowd do their thing and do our job."
On the similarities and differences between Texans QBs T.J. Yates and Matt Schaub:"The two look the same to me. This guy coming out of college really studied Schaub and practiced with him, I believe, and got a lot of his mannerisms and the things that he does on the field. It almost looks like he is wearing No. 8. That's the good thing about football: Everybody is a competitor. You never know who you are going to face, but when they get out there, they are going to compete. Schaub is out, and Yates is in, and he is doing a phenomenal job right now. So, we just have to get after the passer. Once we eliminate the things we need to eliminate, and when it's time to pin our ears back and go, we're going to hunt."
On if this is one of the final playoff runs this defense has:"Nobody is talking about retirement. There's a sense of urgency every year. Regardless if you have 16 years in the league or you're in your first year in the league, it's a sense of urgency, because you never know when you're going to have the opportunity to be in this position again. That's the biggest thing that we emphasize to everybody in the locker room, whether they are 16 years in the league or rookies. Seize every moment. Control the opportunity you are in. Never take this for granted, because we have some guys that have been in the league six years, been to the playoffs six straight times. We have guys like myself who have been in the league nine years, and only tasted the playoffs twice. So, you never know when you are going to get this opportunity again. Don't take this for granted. Go out there and do what you got to do so we can win. It's a sense of urgency regardless of how many years you have here. Nobody is talking about retirement. Everybody in that locker room is still thinking about playing 20 years."
On playing his hometown team:"My phone has been blowing up the last few hours. I had to put that thing away. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be exciting. Everybody at home will get a chance to see me play, national TV, playing against my home team. It wasn't the Texans; it was the Oilers I grew up watching, the days of Warren Moon and Earl Campbell and all of those guys do their thing and Billy 'White Shoes' [Johnson]. It was real fun just to see those guys play. This is Texas. This is H-town. They have a lot of pride, and we know they are going to come in here ready to fight. I am getting text messages and calls now, but it's exciting. It's exciting to play my team from back home, and you definitely, definitely want to do good when you are playing against someone that you are familiar with, or a city that you are familiar with."
On yesterday's Broncos-Steelers game:"That was my first time [as] a fan for a while. I was sitting on the couch trying to be all calm and just not trying to get emotionally attached to the game. By the time the overtime hit and that big pass came out and he was going down the field, I'm not going to lie, I did jump off my couch. It was kind of exciting, one, just see that team overcome what they had to overcome and, two, those guys did what they had to do to win. Cincinnati is out, Pittsburgh is out, and a few other teams lost; Atlanta lost this weekend. So, it's been a tough deal and letting us know that we just have to go out there and let everything hang out. You can't go out there and play cautious. Just go get it, man. Go get it."
On the possibility of hosting the AFC Championship game:"That would be sweet. That would be sweet to have the AFC Championship here, pending the Broncos go up there and handle their business with the Patriots. If that's not the case, then we have to go on the road with the mindset to win, no if, ands or buts about it. If they go up there and handle their business and get one against the Pats, then hey, we're back at 'The Bank.' Open that thing up, and let's have the AFC Championship game here, which is going to be exciting of course. We don't know how the scenario is going to work out, but it all looks good regardless of which way it's going to go."