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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 12/3


Head Coach John Harbaugh

On FB Le'Ron McClain looking spry in practice: "He's spry. (laughter) I think that's appropriate."

On whether he is encouraged about McClain playing Sunday: "About our fullback? I have no idea. We'll see. I don't know. Thanks for asking though."

On whether McClain will be a game-time decision Sunday: "I'm not even… What do you want to talk about with injuries? I've got nothing for you."

On the pass protection being called into question: "We'll see. We'll see. We'll see. I know you've probably got a lot of information on pass protection. You probably know the insides and outs of all our pass protections, so I can see why you probably can have some kind of an educated question along those lines, I'm sure."

On how the pass protection will hold up Sunday: "It'll be fine."

On WR Derrick Mason's illness: "I don't know what it is. He's fine. He practiced today."

On whether he wonders if Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger can play on a reportedly broken foot: "No, I don't wonder. I don't think about it. I don't care."

On whether he doesn't believe Roethlisberger's foot is broken: "I could care less. He's going to line up and play quarterback. Is there anything besides injuries you guys want to talk about? Do you want to talk about something important, like the game?"

On how excited he is for Sunday's game: "Yeah, I'm excited. I think we all are. My wife is out in the community, and my daughter, and friends and stuff. I know everybody is really excited for the game, as they should be. This is what being a part of the NFL – being a fan, being a coach, being a player – you know, this is what it's all about. Every game is important. Every game is big, but they don't get any bigger than this, at least at this time of year, first week in December. Hopefully, we can win this and make them even bigger over the next couple of weeks. The bottom line is that you have to go out and play a football game. It's about execution. It's about making good coaching decisions. It's about guys lining up and competing. It'll be hard-fought, back and forth. They'll make plays. We'll make plays. We'll just see who comes out on top."

On how Roethlisberger's ability to stay on his feet affects the secondary:"I think he changes the dynamic of the game, no doubt about it. He extends the play. Sometimes we consider it to be two plays. You've got to defend the first play, [and] then you've got to defend Ben on the second play. And not just him, it's the receivers; they are really tied together well. They really start into their scramble package rules almost before [Roethlisberger] starts to scramble. They know the dynamic. They understand his timing really well, and they start working those routes before he breaks out. They're in position, they create separation that way, and [Roethlisberger] is deadly accurate on the move. That's been his M.O. That's how they've won a bunch of games, so that's how we have to defend him. I think we understand that, but it's easier said than done."

On whether Roethlisberger is a rare QB because he can keep plays alive:"He's one of the best that you're going to see as far as doing that and making plays. He looks to throw when he runs around, but he can run. If he's got a lot of room, he'll run and make plays, too. That's something he does really well."

On how he practices to prepare for Roethlisberger's ability to scramble:"Our quarterbacks can run around and throw on the run, but we work on it. It's always hard to emulate a person exactly because you don't have that person there, no matter who you're playing. I think our quarterbacks have both done a good job. We're pretty blessed. Marc Bulger, obviously, is a tremendous quarterback, and Hunter [Cantwell] does a nice job, too. [When] you've got Marc Bulger going back there against your defense, it gives you some great looks."

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