DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
On what sets Steelers S Troy Polamalu and Ravens S Ed Reed apart as two of the best safeties in the NFL:"One thing I think about these two safeties is they have unbelievable hands. These are two guys that just have a great ability to catch the football, and that gives them a chance to make plays on the ball downfield. They make great catches, so they get turnovers. They're both hitters, they both are very instinctive, they both know the game inside-and-out – all those things that everybody talks about. I think they both have great hands, so they make plays on the ball."
On whether Steelers LBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley do something different against the Ravens each time they meet or if he knows what to expect:"You kind of know their game; you understand the way they rush the passer. They both have an array of pass-rush moves, but they start with power. When you start with power and explosiveness, they both have a tremendous take-off, they time up the snap – those kinds of things. That makes it tough on tackles as far as the pass rush. They both can play the run very well. They're both very strong, heavy-handed guys. But, there's always something different. They put them in some different spot; they bring them in from some different place every single game. We'll have to see what the plan is this week."
On whether it is a challenge as coaches to figure out a different way to play the Steelers since they meet so often:"There's plenty of options. I think pretty much, for the most part, teams are who they are right now, schematically. But, it's different. You find something, some changeup, something that they may expect you to do that you put a little wrinkle in there. It's probably a little more subtle than some of the other teams that you might play. There's definitely some game-planning going on."
On why CB Lardarius Webb has had success against WR Mike Wallace: "Lardarius can run, for one thing, and Mike can run, so that helps. Lardarius is very athletic. I think he's getting more and more healthy with the knee. That's helped him. He's playing with really good technique. He's been very disciplined. So, if he can continue to grow and play that way, he should be fine."
On whether he had any contact with S Ed Reed: "Yeah, Ed was here. Ed got back and he practiced. He went through the meetings today. He got back for the meetings. He was in good spirits. He seemed like he was doing pretty well."
On whether it bothers him that he has not beaten the Steelers when QB Ben Roethlisberger has played: "Yeah, it bothers me a lot. I'd rather we [had] won. We want to win those games. Obviously, he's a really good quarterback. We've had a history here, for whatever reason, in the last three years… I'd like to see what the stats are… Maybe one of you guys can do a study on this: How many Pro Bowl quarterbacks have we played compared to people around the league? It seems like we get them all the time, and probably because you see Ben, you [also] see Carson Palmer in our division a lot. You see [Tom] Brady and all those guys, so it seems like we see great quarterbacks a lot. We've beaten our fair share, but we haven't beaten him, so it's our turn."
On the parallels he sees between the Ravens and Steelers organizations with the way they are built: "Two first-class organizations from the top down. You think back historically, you've got the Rooneys and you've got Art Modell. I think that's the roots of the National Football League right there. And I know the Rooneys and the Modells are just great friends and basically pioneered so many things in this league and built the league. That's probably where it starts. Then, that's the momentum that carries it through. Obviously, that's still part of the Steelers and it's still part of the Ravens. Steve Bisciotti sets the tone here now, and I think he's built on Art Modell's legacy and added his personality and his principles to it, which have made us even stronger. Ozzie Newsome, obviously… So, strong organizations start at the top."
On whether it would be fitting for it to snow during the game on Saturday with this old-school, physical rivalry:"Yeah, it would be fitting. It would be fitting. We would welcome a lot of snow. [I'm] pretty sure they'll get the field cleared off, but we don't really care. I'm pretty sure they won't be canceling the game in Pittsburgh, *(laughter) *if the governor has anything to say about it, for sure. So we're looking forward [to it]. We play at 4:30; we'll be there."
On whether this is one of the most important "post-snap read" defenses that QB Joe Flacco will face this season because of all the different things it can do:"Yeah, [that's] probably a great way to say it. They're going to change after the snap, and you're going to have a tough time [identifying] the pressure before it gets there, which side it's coming [from], whether it's coming right, left or middle and who's coming. They change up the identification principles all the time and the coverages change behind the pressures. It's hard to be sure whether it's man, zone, single-high, two-high. It's just hard to determine that, and Joe's going to have to be very sharp."
On what he can attribute the road playoff success to over the past few seasons:"Road playoff victories? Yeah, I'd say that starts with defense. That's probably the most important thing. If you can go on the road… Lou Holtz, I guess it's been said over the years, 'If you're going to go on the road, pack your defense.' (laughter) That's a great line, isn't it? And we've always packed our defense, and that's where it starts. And obviously, our offense did a great job in this last game and gave us a little bit of a cushion there in the second half. So, when we've won, we've played well on the road. That's the main thing. And when we haven't won, we haven't closed people out. We've been in close games – well, Indianapolis last year I guess got away from us at the end – but that's probably the key."