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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 12/24


Head Coach John Harbaugh

On how S Ed Reed is doing after returning to practice today after missing yesterday:"It was just a precautionary [measure]. He's a little bit tight, and we just felt like we'd give him a chance to recover a little bit and rest up. We do that with some guys this time of the year."

On whether he feels good about TE Todd Heap having some involvement this weekend:"[I] feel good about it. We'll wait and see how it feels, I think… What we've done is we've checked it out after every practice the next day and see how it responds, but so far, so good."

On looking for the 12th win this season and hoping to have momentum carry over into the playoffs:"We just want to keep… 12 and then 13, then right on through. So, one week at a time. This is going to be a big challenge; we do have a lot, potentially, on the line. But even if we didn't, we want to win. We want to get to 12."

On LB Ray Lewis not having as many people talking to him during the game with the absence of WR Chad Ochocinco:"I really haven't thought too much about that talking part of it, but they have good receivers. They have good, young guys that showed up pretty well last week, and we're going to have to cover whoever they put out there. But I really like their talented young guys, and Carson [Palmer] seems comfortable with them."

On whether it matters who they face first in the playoffs or if they'll just be ready to know a few hours after the game Sunday:"Well, yeah, you get focused in. We've done all the preliminary work on the possibilities of who we might play, and it'll be nice to get honed in then on who it is."

On whether LS Kevin Houser is ready to play this Sunday after this week of practice:"Yeah, he looked fine. He stepped right in. He's a guy that understands the protections already – just kind of had to learn the calls and get a feel for how our guards work in there. It's usually the center and the two guards and the personal protector who work together on the protections, and he seems really comfortable."

On whether stopping the run is a top priority for the defense with a powerful back like RB Cedric Benson:"Well, if you don't stop the run against the Bengals, they'll keep running it. And they'll keep running it anyway. They're very committed to the run game. They do it as well as anybody in the league. You have to stop the run against Cincinnati."

On whether he ever thought about the possibility of not showing the Pittsburgh score on the scoreboard during the game:"I didn't know I had that kind of power. (laughter) *That's good to know. *(laughter) No, you know what? I could see why you might do that, but we'll let them be up there. Our guys, I'm not worried about our players one bit. I know our guys will be focused, and they're going to play the game."

On how much better the league is this year with possibly two 12-win Wild Card teams in the AFC: "I don't know. It's a good question. It sure seems like – just from a won-lost perspective – there are some teams that are up in that 12-, 13-, 11-win category more than ever, both sides, both conferences. Yet, I look at teams like the team we're playing this week and Cleveland last week... You line up and you play them, and they're very good and very dangerous and very physical. It just seems like maybe some teams found a way to win consistently this year, and some other teams just couldn't quite get over the hump. But, I still think the league is really good top to bottom."

On whether there is any way he can help the Browns this week by giving them information about the Steelers:"They don't need our help. They know Pittsburgh inside and out. Pittsburgh knows them inside and out – just like all the teams in our division. They wouldn't need any help from us."

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