Wednesday Practice Transcript - 11/02


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "We have a personnel move we made. We're bringing back Edgar Jones. He's been here before and knows us – our defense, knows our special teams. So, he'll be practicing with us today."

What position will he playing, since he's played a few? (Joe Platania)"He'll be on defense. He'll be playing outside linebacker."

It's Pittsburgh week. Does it start to feel normal, or is it always the same video you're looking at when you're preparing for the Steelers? (Nestor Aparicio)"Well, yeah, they've always got that thing on the one side of the helmet that's the Steeler logo. And they always wear black and gold, so it's very similar that way. We're excited about it. It's a big week, it's a big game, and we're looking forward to playing."

It's Pittsburgh week. I know that you've told the guys that they could say whatever they want, but they haven't been saying [much]. Lately the trash talk has ramped down. Is it the respect between the two teams? Do you have a theory? (Dave Ginsburg)"I have no theories. No. We're just getting ready to play. Our guys are who they are. They do a great job of preparing and getting ready to play the football game, and they'll play with all their hearts. They'll pour it all out there. So, that's what you think about as a coach."

Did you not tell them not to say anything that might be on the bulletin board? (Dave Ginsburg)"No, that doesn't matter. There's no more motivation. You can't motivate them any more; they can't motivate us any more. You've got two mature football teams. They've been in this game before. So, that stuff is way over-evaluated. It doesn't mean much."

How significant is [LaMarr] Woodley's loss affecting your game plan directly? (Stan Saunders)"I don't know that he's out. Is he out? Has he been declared out yet?"

How does the uncertainty with both Woodley and [James] Harrison adjust how you guys prepare going into this week?* (Dan Kolko) *"I don't think it changes anything. They play the same defense. If they're not in there, they'll put other guys in there. They'll be playing the same positions; they'll just have different numbers. We'll have to block them just as well. And they'll be very good players. If it's those guys wearing those numbers, we'll have to block those guys. And, that's really how you look at it. So, they'll play who they'll play."

Do you feel the Steelers are a different team at home, as sometimes people say you guys are? They perform very well at home. They haven't lost just like you guys haven't. (Jerry Coleman)"I think they're a very good team on the road or at home. If you look at them historically, they've been able to win on the road more than most teams in the National Football League – like we have. And they win more at home than most teams in this league – like we have. To me, it's just an indicator of a real good football team."

What kind of challenge is it going against Mike Wallace, not only with his speed, but it seems like his development as a receiver? (Jamison Hensley)"Mike was a great pick up for them, out of Ole Miss. Phil Kreidler, one of their scouts, found him down there. And, he's played better, I think beyond expectations, if you look at it. He's fast, he's a route-runner, he's got good hands, [and] he's a game breaker-type guy."

Is it a situation where you are always going to have to put at least two guys on him because when he gets single coverage he can usually beat guys easily? (Jamison Hensley)"I'm not familiar with that stat. You show me the cutup on that, and I'll understand what you're talking about better. Yeah, he's had big plays. You know you've got to cover him. You've got to cover all their guys. Emmanuel Sanders is pretty good. Hines Ward's not too bad. Heath Miller's pretty good. [Rashard] Mendenhall's a very good receiver. So, we've got to cover all their guys."

Do you think 35-7 plays into their motivation at all, trying to get a bit of revenge, or is it just basically two AFC North teams fighting for first place? *(Dave Ginsburg) *"I don't know what their motivation is. I wouldn't want to speculate on it. That's for them to answer."

Ben Roethlisberger has been on a good streak for them. What have you seen from him the last four games during their winning streak? (Ryan Mink)"I think Ben's playing as well as he's played in the last four weeks as he's played his whole career. He's playing at that level. I think you see them playing their style, the last four weeks, that you're used to seeing over the last few years. So, he's doing that very well."

Other than being a divisional matchup, why do you think these teams use words like "we don't like each other,"? What do you think the reason for that is? (Amber Theoharis)"I don't know. I really don't have time to think about it, to be honest with you. I'd like to give you some kind of an answer that would be real deep and articulate…"

Could it be that when you are similar to somebody, sometimes you don't like them, like similarity breeds contempt? (Amber Theoharis)"I don't know. It's a big sociological question. Maybe it's psychological, I don't know. And I just really don't care about it. We've got to get ready to play a football game."

Aside from Steeler week, it's the halfway point of the season. Is it time to amp it up, and are you where you want to be at the halfway point, as far as consistency, maybe, on both sides of the ball? (Stan Saunders)"Well, we're not where we ever want to be – until we finish with a championship. That's when we can say we're where we want to be. So, you're always striving to get better. And our objective is to be better today after practice than we were today going into practice. That will be the same goal tomorrow. Our objective is to be a better team Sunday than we were last Sunday. And that's easier said than done, but we're capable of doing that. So, we are intent on getting better throughout the course of the season, improving as we go."

A lot has been made of the increase in sacks from last year and people are pointing to blitzing more. Is that simplifying it too much? Can you talk about some of the other facts that you think have led to the defense getting to the quarterback a lot more? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Well, it's part of it. The fact that we've covered well has helped us. It's freed us up to blitz a little bit more. We were blitzing a lot at the end of last year. We've carried that over this year. Our man coverage has been tighter and better, for the most part, than it was a year ago. I also think we've had more one-on-one wins. Our pass rushers have done a better job of winning some one-on-one battles. That's all those guys. You look at the young guys along with Terrell Suggs, all those guys have done a good job in one-on-one situations of beating the man over them."

Over the years, the Ravens have had longstanding success with the defense. As far as the Steelers, what sets them apart defensively? (Jamison Hensley)"Defensively? First of all, really good players. That's the No. 1 thing. They've got players that really fit the style and the scheme that they play. They have a great coach. Their head coach supplements the defensive coordinator very well – two defensive coaches. [They have] a very creative scheme. And, over the years, they've made those game-wrecking plays. That's what they've always done, and that's the key to great defense."

Given the offensive success you had in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, how much do you balance taking elements from that game plan and knowing the Steelers are looking at the same exact tape you are and they will be focusing on the things you were trying to do? (Luke Jones)"How much do we do it? Well, you take it into account. I don't how much we balance it, but it's part of the balance, for sure. And, it's important. It's a game of they know what we know, and they know that, but we know that, too. So, where does that stop? In the end, you look at what you're doing well, you look at what they're doing well, and you try to apply what you're doing well to what they're doing well and see who plays better. That's really [it]; it's that simple."

You said the punt return touchdown you gave up last week was just a matter of tackling. Is there more of an emphasis on punt return defense, special teams defense, this week, or will you chalk that up to one bad play? (Bo Smolka)"Well, we're not overlooking it. But, we couldn't emphasize it any more than we already do. We emphasize it every week. We spend a lot of time at it and we work at it real hard, and sometimes they get you. And, he [Patrick Peterson] is a very good returner. He's capable of making any group look bad, but so is Antonio Brown. To me, he's dynamic. He's as good as it gets in this league right now, and that's going to be a major, major challenge for us, because he's a guy who can break a game wide open – either punt return or kickoff."

QB Joe Flacco

On if he is hoping Steelers' LBs LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison won't play on Sunday: "It is what it is. Those guys have been playing well, really, either way. They are going to come in with a good defense with whoever is lined up over there."

On how the absence of Woodley and Harrison can change things: "[James] Harrison had been out for a little while. Obviously, with both of them out, it might change a little bit. But, like I said, they put guys in there and they play well no matter what."

On what version of "Ravens football" we can expect to see on Sunday: "A good one. We are going to go in there with a game plan – one that we can be successful with – things that we do well, and we are going to go execute it to the best of our ability. That's going to be the key. We have to go in there, and we have to play the way we know how to play. We can't go out there and make mistakes, not execute things, [and] look like crap like we have for a little bit the last couple of weeks. We have to go in there and just play the football we know how to; which was most of this season and the second half of last game."

On if the Steelers look familiar because of how often the Ravens prepare for them: "This will be, I think, my 10th time playing these guys. So, you definitely become familiar with the kind of scheme that they run and things like that; the guys on [that] side of the ball. Each week is a different preparation. You try to take it for what it is. This week, it's the Steelers – it happens to be the Steelers. It's a team we know. I wouldn't say it seems like we are always preparing for them, but we have played them a lot. We have played them a couple of times in the playoffs to add on to the regular season games. We both feel like we know each other well. It's just a matter of going out there and playing good football."

On if Heinz Field is the most hostile environment he has played in: "I don't know. A lot of environments are pretty hostile when you allow the team you are playing to have success. Like I said, that goes for whatever stadium you are playing in. If you allow the home team to have success, then the environment becomes pretty hostile. These guys are a pretty good team, so it's usually a pretty tight game, and the crowd can usually get into it pretty good."

On his feelings of the song "Renegade," which is played frequently at Heinz Field: "I like it. It definitely works well for them. I'm not going to lie, when they put it on, I wouldn't say it doesn't get us fired up, too. It really is a pretty cool song that they have going in there. Obviously, it works pretty well for them, so we'd like to put an end to that."

On how much confidence he can gain from his performance in Week 1 against Pittsburgh: "We have to look back at it and see what we did well, and see what we can carry over to this game plan. I think last week, really, was more important for our confidence heading into this week, than that week was. We always feel like we can play with these guys and go give them a good matchup and go beat them. It's just going to be a matter of, like I said, going out there and doing it. I think we all have the confidence in ourselves. I think, like I said, last week was a big step for that. If we don't recover in the second half, then I might be worrying about some of the guys and our confidence as an offensive unit. But, the way we rallied and stuck behind each other, I think that will help us out big time this week."

On Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin predicting that the Ravens would beat the Cardinals, despite the Cardinals lead at halftime: "I don't know. I think we've all had that experience where we've been watching a football game and it's been a team that has, over the years, and throughout the year, been a good football team, against a team that isn't a bad football team, but doesn't really know how to win yet, I would say. I think we've all been in a situation where we've seen that kind of thing and said, 'You know, they're going to win this game anyway.' Or whether it's been New England – really New England, Pittsburgh over the last couple years – teams like that, you always say, 'You know, they're going to come back and win it; no matter what.' We're one of those teams. We know how to win football games, and we can win them in a lot of different ways. We like to get out ahead of you and be able to control the game the rest of the way, but we have the ability to win the game in a lot of different ways. I think people have confidence in… We have confidence in ourselves, obviously, but people around the League understand that we are a good football team. They're probably hoping for us to lose, but they're like, 'Man, you know what, I'm hoping for them to lose. But they're probably going to win this game just because we're hoping they lose.'"

On whether he is concerned that the Steelers are going to switch up their game plan: "No, you've got to be ready for that. I think their corners become more and more comfortable each year with getting up there and pressing our guys and playing that kind of style. It's really a matter of execution. You can see how much different it is when people are able to get a little pressure on the quarterback, and their first and second options aren't open. It makes things a lot more difficult to play offensive football. That's why it's up to us to beat that coverage as quickly as we can, and for us to hold up, up front. Then it's my job to deliver the football. But, that's why you can see how important those things are. That's why we have to do a good job of being physical right back with those guys."

On whether playing up-tempo makes it harder for defenses to disguise what they are trying to do: "I don't know. I think good defenses are going to be good at disguising no matter what. I think when you up-tempo them a little bit, you tend to get them on their heels. They have to think on their feet and they have to get some calls in that aren't quite as complicated. So, it can limit what they do."

On WR Anquan Boldin's physicality, and if a defense jamming the receivers would play to his strengths: "Last week, Anquan did a really good job when they came up and got in his face. Hopefully, we can get more of that out of him. I think in the past, when we have struggled this year, it's been when teams have come up and kind of been a little bit more physical with us at the line and taking away one guy; taking away this guy here. I think Anquan will be a guy that will be successful at it. We have to make sure that we can create ways of getting that matchup that we want, and be able to connect on a couple of those; being able to get into some formations that are going to back them off a little bit, so that we don't have to deal with it every play."

On the Steelers injuries at linebacker and how it's changing their offensive scheme: "It does change for the offensive line up front. And the passing game it will change our protection scheme a little bit; who's the back on? Who's our line on? And different things about what makes me hot, what doesn't make me hot. So, it'll change the protection up a little bit, but we see that… So many teams out there, in this League, go from 3-4 to 4-3 and back- and-forth in their nickel packages and base packages. So you're used to dealing with that kind of stuff anyway, so we should be prepared for it."

On whether he's ever seen the Steelers do anything other than 3-4: "In their base look they're always a 3-4, and we treat them as such. In nickel we can treat them a couple different ways. In base, like I said, they've always been a 3-4. So, if they come out and do something different, it'll be different, but we should be able to react to it."

On his confidence in WR Torrey Smith given that he dropped one pass and caught the next one: "What one that he dropped?* (Reporter: The interception) *Oh, what are you going to do? You drop the ball. Things weren't going our way right there. I never blinked. I hope he never blinked. It's really not that big of a deal, that that stuff happens. I don't know what it did for us because I never thought about it."

LB Ray Lewis

On whether there is added emphasis on penalties in a game that has more emotion involved: "I mean, I think that, definitely. You get into a game like this [and] a 15-yard, or any type of penalty like that, can be huge. A change of field position could be devastating at times in whatever quarter it comes in. So, you've always got to be conscientious of those things and play the best you can play. Not really focus on them, but just try [not] to make the bonehead plays."

On whether the Steelers try to entice guys to commit penalties: "I think we both kind of get into that. (laughter) I just think… The thing that probably pisses a person off, one way or another, is if it's after the whistle, or if it's in the back or something like that. Then it's totally different. But if you're playing between the whistles and you're getting at each other, then get at it."

On what growth he has seen in LB Jameel McClain this season: "I think his biggest growth is off the field. You know, the countless times he keeps telling me, 'Let's get this film in, let's get this film in.' But the things that we come back and we talk about day-in and day-out, that's where I think his greatest progression is starting. And you see it when we're out on the field. We're really communicating with each other. I'm letting him know what I see and how we're going to play it and different things like that. It's a great privilege to play beside him, and know that he dissects everything that I give him right now. He's playing great football right now."

On whether it's strange to be facing the Steelers twice in the first half of the season: "One thing we know – and the same thing they know – is at the end of the year, we're going to be the same two teams there seeing each other, one way or another. From that standpoint, we get them out of the way early; we get them out of the way early. That's the beauty of, I think, their season and our season – because then you go ahead and do what you have to do – just like us, we have to do what we have to do. But to get them out of the way in the first half of the season, why not get it on?"

On whether he expects to see a different Steelers team than he saw in the season opener: "Absolutely. But, at the same time, I expect to see a different team out of us, too. We're not the same ball club either. Yeah, they're clicking on all cylinders on offense, [but] we're clicking on all cylinders on defense, too. Guess what? That proves for a good game. But, when you watch the film, you just watch the plays that they were making, and how they made plays. They were taking it away from New England and… Just so many plays. They were just wide-open making plays; Heath Miller catching the ball. We try to really limit people and take away those types of things. So, hopefully we can do that this week."

On what he thinks is the key to getting more sacks: "I think you have to credit your back end for really plastering and playing real tight coverage. In our back end we do a great job of communicating on the standard routes. Most quarterbacks, when you take away that first option, you pretty much get them in trouble. So, in that first game we were able to really confuse Ben [Roethlisberger] [and] take away his first and second option. But, always with him… He is one of the greatest warriors the way he plays the game. He's going to get out of the pocket and make a play. So, that's one of the things we have to limit. We have to limit his mobility of getting out of the play, because he's not going to beat you running, per say, but he'll do enough to really get you out of your game plan. I think overall we've been doing a great job."

On whether this rivalry is based on defense: "Anybody can write about anything, but numbers will never lie. That's why you go into this game with the No. 1 and No. 2 defenses in football; it's the way it's going to always be, simply because of the way it's built. Both of these organizations believe in defense, and that's been their investment year, after year, after year. It's defense. Every time you go into this game, in one way or another, the defense is going to make plays. And that's what we understand. We understand how great that defense is, and we come in with the same type of mentality on our defense. So, we kind of put a chip on our shoulders as well."

On whether he misses the trash talking between the two teams: "You always have to wonder where those comments come from when they come. (Reporter: Shannon Sharpe, for one) Absolutely. That's why I say you always have to know where it comes from. (laughter) It doesn't matter who says what. It doesn't matter how they say it. The whistle has to be blown Sunday night. We know what they bring and they know what we bring. So, here we go at another rivalry."

On what he has seen in CB Cary Williams this season: "I think his practice is really carrying over into his playing on the field. I challenge him every day personally – and that's totally between me and him – but I challenge him in little things, personally. No matter what it is, on and off the field. I think his carryover of what he's doing in practice, and how he's carrying himself, is carrying over on the field. He's really playing to the defense. He's really trusting who he is on the defense, and really, he's trusting his ability. To me, Cary is probably a doggone good corner in this league that a lot of people overlook. He plays the game the right way, and I think he's maturing to really understand it more."

On the Steelers possible plans to make big strikes on Sunday: "Big strikes against us? We've got Ed Reed; that might be a problem. I tell you what, man… We know the way the game comes down against them. It's no secret. We know the way they play; they know the way we play. We know they're going to try to get 17 [WR Mike Wallace] on a deep ball behind us. There [are] no secrets with us. Whether they try or not, we're prepared for it. Whatever they try – run the ball, whatever it is – we're packing our defense when we come to play."

RB Ray Rice

On the importance of both teams avoiding penalties, particularly in an emotional game like this: "I am sure emotions will be running high, especially being there. Playing there is obviously different. I'm sure they say the same thing about playing here at M&T Bank [Stadium]. So, the emotions will be running high early. We've got to control ourselves and try to stay away from the unwanted penalties. If we get a penalty for being aggressive, that's a little different, but the self-inflicted wounds – offsides and pushing after the play, that kind of stuff – you really don't want to get into that kind of battle. It's already hard enough to execute there, and to let penalties get in the way of a drive, it really can hurt you."

On whether the Steelers try to incite him more than any other team: "I think they do what everybody else does, honestly. They're at home; they're going to play fired up. At the same time, we're going to protect our guys – do a little pushing and stuff after the play. It's part of the game. Emotions run high, but it's a rivalry game. After the first couple of snaps you try to get all that stuff out of the way so the rest of the game you can just play football. I haven't been one of those guys, but I actually got into one of the scuffles in the first game. So, I know what the rivalry is all about. That's really not my character, but at the same time, like you said, we're going to protect ourselves at all times."

On what is so difficult about playing in Pittsburgh: "They're home. They've got their little thing going. They've got their song. I don't even know how to sing it, whatever it is. But, they've got their song and their terrible towel. It's a tough place to play. Their fans do a great job of making it loud on third down. They do what they're supposed to do. Anybody will tell you that. If anybody tells you that the 12th man doesn't play a job in playing there, they're kidding you. Same thing when we're home. Our defense feeds off our crowd noise. So, the quarterback can't hear certain things or they go offsides or being late off the ball – that stuff matters in a game."

On which version of Ravens football will show up on Sunday: "Hopefully not a one-dimensional Ravens team. We showed our ability to play out of the gun. At the same time, I always said, in the gun we take one of our most physical players off the field in Vonta Leach. I don't think our offense is meant to be one-dimensional, but at the same time, if you get a tempo going, get something going, it's hard to shy away from it. But, at the same time, we know what kind of team we try to be. So, I'm looking forward to going out there and having a more complete offense. Obviously, in last week's situation and the week before against Jacksonville, we were playing from behind and we had a hard time executing. But, at the same time, the last quarters of the Cardinals game showed that if we do execute, then we can be a well-balanced offense."

On how much he thinks the Steelers will emphasize their run defense in this game after the Ravens ran the ball well on them in Week 1: "They're going to do everything in their power to stop everything that we've done. Not only did we run the ball the first time, we passed it efficiently as well. They're similar to our defense. They're going to go into the game saying we're going to stop the run first. And, that's a great way for a defense to attack any game plan. But, at the same time, it's like the tale of two worlds. Our teams are so similar. It really comes down to… We already know the game is going to be physical, and you turn on the film last week – and I know everybody's saying who is going to be out, I'm not worried about that – because [Mike] Tomlin always does a great job of having the next man ready. Obviously, stopping the run will be something they'll plan on doing, and I'm sure we'll do the same as we approach the game."

On whether it changes the offensive game plan knowing that some of Pittsburgh's linebackers might not be able to play this weekend: "That doesn't change anything with the Steelers. Look at last week: [James] Farrior didn't play last week when they played against the New England Patriots. [LaMarr] Woodley got the hamstring, and [James] Harrison didn't play. It didn't change their approach when they played New England, so I don't think their coach will change anything when they play us. They're going to still be a physical defense, and they have leaders out there. One thing about the NFL, it's always the next man up. It's easy to try to pinpoint the guys who are going to be out, because they're big-name guys, they're proven in this league. But anybody can tell you that the next man's waiting for an opportunity. So, those guys will be fired up, and what better way to come out and try to make a name [for] yourself [than] against the Ravens? I don't think their coach will change things."

On not expecting nickel and dime coverage for 80 percent of the game: "No, I'm expecting it to be the same. I'm expecting coach [Dick] LeBeau to coach their defense the same way."

On what it feels like possibly going into this game as an underdog for the first time this season: "I don't see us as the underdog. The feeling is they are a divisional opponent, they're a rivalry opponent, and we know what this game means. If we win, we've swept them for the season. We don't have to worry about Pittsburgh no more the rest of the year. We control our own destiny. So, underdog, whatever it is, really is… Coming out of this game, we know what it means. It's going to have that playoff-type atmosphere right now."

On if one of the reasons these teams don't like each other so much is because they are so similar: "No, I think the reason for the dislike is that every year, in order to get where we want to go, there's always Pittsburgh. And we want to win one of those trophies as well, too. It's that feeling. Every year our road to success has to go through Pittsburgh – no matter how you want to slice it. I've been seeing them for the past [four years]. This is my fourth year, and we've seen them two to three times a year. It's so familiar. You can't go into a game and try to trick them. It's not about tricking. That's why the rivalry has become so great, because everybody expects cold, hard – I wouldn't say clean – but cold, hard, physical football. It is not one of those games where you can game-plan and say we're going to do this and do that. It is [about] whoever comes out and executes the best."

OLB Terrell Suggs

On where his T-shirt and message for the Steelers are: "Where is my T-shirt? Where is my message? I am going to have to do it in play, you know? Fast and physical. We have been declared war upon... We are the enemy of the state, but who better than us?"

On playing in Pittsburgh: "This is my Madison Square Garden. I love playing in this stadium. I love the way the people treat me, the welcoming they give me with the 'No. 1's.' Think of it. (laughter) I love it. We're going on the road in probably the toughest stadium to play in in the NFL. We are expecting a physical football game. This is football. I guarantee you the NFL, the world, will stop for this game, and everybody wants to see it. We will be ready, and we will act accordingly."

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger being the AFC Offensive Player of the Week and if he still "owns his butt": "Congratulations. (laughter) We're going to find out on Sunday. You all know the numbers. There is nobody who can do it better than me."

On containing the Steelers' offense: "They are clicking. It's all explosive, but [we are a] fundamentally sound defense building a defensive wall up front. It's going to be a task, but who better men for the job than us?"

On if Roethlisberger's "posterior" still belongs to him: "Yeah. (laughter) (Reporter: "His soul still belongs to God, right?") Everybody's soul belongs to God. But, it's going to be fun. I'm pretty sure they have something in store to make sure I don't have a day, but like I said, I love being the bad guy. Whatever they are going to do, we will act accordingly."

On what makes the matchup he has with Roethlisberger so big: "I think the game – the whole emotion of the game… Look at all of you. All of you came out… I didn't see half of you last week when we were playing the Cardinals, but you sure came out for this one. Just the whole atmosphere of the game, M&T [Bank Stadium] and Heinz Field, their fans and our fans, just what this game means to both teams' [cities] and to the football world. Like I said, there is the Super Bowl, then there is Ravens-Steelers. Everybody will be watching this game. I am looking right at you [No.] 86 [Steelers WR Hines Ward]. I need you to play. I need you to play. Please put on that 86, and that smile and all those things you do. We need all that for this game."

On if this game is different because of the way the Ravens won in Week 1: "We think their piss is going to be a little hot. They are definitely going to have some 'let's get after them' to their game. But, in hindsight, who knocked us out of the playoffs last year? In 2008, a certain team beat us to go to the Super Bowl and danced all over the field, held up the AFC Championship trophy. We had to sit by and watch that. It's a little salt on the wounds on both sides. Ray Rice says, 'So we aren't going to have to see them again.' I disagree. We are definitely going to have to see these guys again. But, every team has that. Peyton Manning had to go through New England. King James [Miami Heat forward LeBron James] has to go through Boston. [Michael] Jordan had to go through the Pistons. We are definitely going to have to see them again, especially to achieve what we want to achieve."

On Steelers WR Hines Ward not playing last week vs. New England: "I think he took the time off for this game. But, go ahead."

On if he thinks the Steelers will throw the ball a lot, like they did vs. New England: "I don't know. I don't know. I could say that, and then they go out there and do the total opposite. When the ball is kicked off, we'll see what the game plan is by how they approach it. I am expecting traditional Steelers, or Ravens-Steelers – smash-mouth, powers, punches, jokers – not so much in the passing game until they have to throw it. That first drive, I am expecting it to be very physical. It's a fight. There is no other way to describe it. This is a heavyweight fight, just like it was in Week 1. But, like I said, who better for the job than us – the bad guy?"

On if S Bernard Pollard is a good addition to the Ravens-Steelers rivalry: "He's a great addition to this rivalry. We had a great safety in Dawan Landry, who is not with us anymore, but we have Bernard [Pollard]. It's kind of like he filled the void, and he brought a little bit more to it. Dawan Landry, he was smart, but Bernard Pollard, he is smart as well, is physical, and he complements our defense a lot so, definitely."

On if he likes the way Roethlisberger plays, standing in the pocket: "He doesn't stand in the pocket! He is at his best when he is playing pickup football. He is breaking tackles, now he is throwing this. Then, he gets loose, he shakes off two or three guys, and then he throws a shot deep. I think that's when he is his best, but he is also a great pocket passer. But, we have some guys here, particularly myself, to make sure he doesn't have one of those type of days."

On if he takes pride in the competition between the Ravens' defense and the Steelers' defense: "Definitely. It's definitely a swinging contest. A couple of years they have had the edge on us, I think because they were a more veteran team. They had a lot more veterans than us. I think, this year, it has kind of evened out. We get to see."

On if this is a game where you make a statement with the very first hit: "No, you make the statement throughout the game, because, as you can clearly see, you can lose games in the… You can totally get your butt whooped in the first half and come out and totally beat a team in the second half. I guess whoever shows the most poise and the most professionalism throughout the game [makes a statement]."

On the No.1 reason that he doesn't like the Steelers: "You just asked Ray [Rice] that same question. I think it is because we are so similar. If you compare, you can go everywhere, it's the similarity – it's a tremendous similarity, their style of play, our style of play. I always said it: We are the two most physical teams in the NFL, and we are the only two teams that can play each other like that. When other teams try to come and do that, it doesn't fare so well. We are so similar. They are our enemy, but even enemies can show respect. We do respect those guys over there. They are a good football team, but so are we."

On how important coverage in the secondary has been: "I think that's crucial. I think that's the only way you get a lot of sacks, is if your back end holds up and they are covering guys – they are going beyond the call of duty just to make the quarterback hold the ball."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content