I think that's a very normal thing that happens. I think what was said leading up to this game probably prompted more people to get involved
in some of the talking which took place opposite where Joey was stretching. When Joey came down, what took place is
documented. The bottom line is that he threw a punch, as did
William Green and both players were ejected as they should be.
We certainly don't condone that, but at the same time we have to
realize with our football team that you can't compromise our
ability to win football games. Joey realizes that. I talked to him,
will address the team tomorrow. I don't want Joey to lose his
emotion. He's an emotional leader for our football team.
Certainly there's a fine line that you have to be able to walk.
Throwing punches is crossing that line. There's no justification
for that. You throw a punch, you're going to get thrown out of the
football game. That's the way it's going to be, that's the way it
should be. Hopefully it's a lesson that's been learned by
everybody involved. He will be fined by the league and we're
going to put it behind us and we're getting ready to play against
the Cincinnati Bengals.
In regards to our health. Chad (Scott) is out. He's coming along
right on schedule, it should be a couple of more weeks. We have
six guys questionable: Verron (Haynes) with a toe; Duce (Staley)
with his hamstring; Jay Riemersma with a groin; Kimo (von
Oelhoffen) with a back; Matt Cushing with a wrist; Dan Krieder
with a shoulder. We have four guys who are probable: Kendrell Bell with a groin; Jerome (Bettis) with his knee; Travis Kirschke
with his back; and Brett Keisel with a hamstring. We''ve got to get
a good week of work. We're playing a team that has won three of
their past four games in Cincinnati and it's a very big divisional
game playing at their place. They're coming off of two impressive
wins and it's a big game for our football team and a very big
challenge for us as well.
Coach, what have they done better, how have they improved?
First of all, Carson Palmer is a better quarterback than he was
when we first played them. His comfort level, his experience, you
can just see him anticipating things better. They're moving Chad Johnson around. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is filling in for Peter Warrick. He's fitting in with Kelley Washington coming in off the
bench and those are three quality receivers. The offensive line is
playing well. Rudi Johnson is the only guy who's had 100 yards
against us this year. He's a load. You look at them defensively,
and they're leading the league in takeaways. That's not just in
the AFC. They've got 24 takeaways. They've got great team
speed and the two corners are playing excellent - Deltha O'Neal
and Tory James. They're stripping the ball. They've beaten some
quality teams. They've beaten Denver, which I think is one of the
top teams in the AFC, in that Monday night game. And they lost a
tough one to Cleveland. But they turned around and beat a tough
Washington team. This is a big stretch for them and a big
challenge for us.
You said Joey (Porter) would be fined by the league. Will the
team take any action?
No. We'll talk about the situation.
Any concerns teams will target him or go after him?
I don't want Joey to change who he is. He plays the game with a
lot of emotion and a lot of people feed off that. At the same time,
it's a fine line and you have to be able to walk it when you have
that type of personality and demeanor. Certainly, where we are
and with the recognition that has come, we have the target on
our chest and anybody that can get us to lose our focus and be a
distraction, they're going to do what they can to do it. Certainly
there's a responsibility to learn from that and I think we will, just
because of what took place.
Will you make a roster change or will you wait to see where you
are as the week goes on.
I've got to see where we're at.
How about a third quarterback?
We've signed Brian (St. Pierre) back to the practice squad.
You said a fine is possible, is there a suspension as well?
There will be a fine and it's behind us.
Coach, how did Kendrell (Bell) come out of the game. He got a
lot of reps Sunday. Might he start?
We'll see. He's got a groin, but I don't anticipate making any
Did he get hurt when they blocked him?
He finished the game. I'm sure that didn't feel real good.
Did he tweak it during the game?
I really don't know. John (Norwig) came up and told me. He's
probable right now and we'll go from there.
Aaron Smith has played very well. Does he see a lot of double
I'll say this, Aaron Smith has played more than just pretty well.
Aaron Smith is one of the best defensive ends in the game. You
watch this guy. He never comes off the field. It takes two guys to
block him. And if there's one guy, he's usually two or three yards
in the backfield. And the guy can rush the quarterback. He's
made a lot of plays for us. He is having a big-time year.
(For the 1,000th time) Does anything Ben (Roethlisbeger) does
He's playing very well. I guess you look at his rating the other day
and I think one of the best throws he made was on the
interception to Hines (Ward). Hines' foot got tripped up. That was
really a fine read and good decision. He got ready to throw a
couple of more and his feet came flying out from underneath
him. They had chances to be plays. Willie (Parker) dropped the
one. He's making good decisions, he really is. And when he
does something, he usually has a pretty good reason for doing
it. We're going to get one of those games where we're going to
have to throw more than we have and I feel very comfortable
doing it. I think our football team does. We have not asked him to
throw it a lot. But if we had to, I'd have no problem doing it.
(My last question wasn't inane enough) How important is it to
have depth at the quarterback position?
It is. Certainly it's been well documented. I don't know what the
numbers are, but there low. Not many quarterbacks can make it
through a whole year of starting. So obviously that speaks
volumes about having a guy with some experience and having at
least two quality guys. We've been fortunate to get through and
get Tommy (Maddox) back and have some experience. Brian (St.
Pierre) is fine, but he doesn't have the experience. Now, we do
have a couple of experienced guys.
Is there a bit of an edge for Troy (Polamalu)? He seems to be
very familiar with Carson (Palmer).
No. He's not really playing against Carson, he's playing against
their offense. It's not just one guy. I think if you're talking about
corner playing against a receiver, maybe, where it becomes
one-on-one matchups. This situation, it's not just him against
Carson. We're playing an offense that's pretty balanced and it's
got some weapons.
What has improved your secondary, not just from last year, but
from the opener when the Raiders hit you for a couple of big
We've played well. We've eliminated the big play. The other day,
you look at it, I keep saying situational football is so big. If you
can win the turnover-takeaway, obviously that's big. Even though
we lost it the week before - we were minus 1 - we were really
good on third down. We were really good in the red zone. When
you look at those stats, they have a lot to do with how you get into
a rythm. We get down there two times last week and score two
touchdowns. They get down there and have to kick a field goal.
So instead of it being a one-score game, it was a two-score
game, 14-3 instead of 14-7. That's big, that's huge. Our
secondary has done a good job. Guys have stepped in when
they've had t step in, and they're communicating very well. You
don't see a lot of missed assignments. And they're playing very
Troy makes a lot of plays a safety would make, but he also plays
like a linebacker and his interception was like a corner.
Troy moves around a lot. We have a lot of different packages that
utilize him. He's back there at safety on first and second down.
Sometimes he's up there at linebacker for Larry Foote. Some
third down packages, he's back there as a safety. We've got him
blitzing, we've got him covering. He's a very instinctive guy. He's
been able to sort through where we're moving him around and
handle all of that responsibility. He can handle a lot. He can do
that in a role that he's comfortable and he's got a great feel for
the game. The last interception he made against Kelly Holcomb,
he baited him into throwing the ball. This kid's a pretty good
Did James Harrison surprise you or did you think he had that in
Surprised from the standpoint that he found out about 10
minutes before the game that he was going to start. I think it was
good that he didn't have time to think about it. But I'm going to
you, James Harrison is a good football player. We play him
inside, we play him outside. He's been a big part of the kicking
game. He's taken a very professional approach from the time he
came here last year until now. He prepares, pays attention to
detail, the little things. It's important to him. He's a very
guy. You talk to anyone on the team, pound for pound, he may
be one of the strongest guys on the team. This guy, he's an
explosive hitter who can run. He did a great job the other day, he
Is he the backup now?
He has been. Obviously because of the situation we've had.
He's a great special teams player. You can only keep so many
linebackers on game day. Clint Kriewaldt is your captain. (Larry)
Foote has been starting. With Alonzo (Jackson) and James,
James is a much better special teams player. That's why he's
been out there. And he did a good job the other day. You talk
about the backs situation and the tight end and defensive line.
You don't want to go in with two less there. Getting 45 guys is not
an easy thing to do. Sometimes it does come down to the health
of some of these guys on game day.
Shouldn't (Harrison) have been signed by somebody else before
I'm glad he wasn't. I'm glad he's with us.
If Clark (Haggans) doesn't hurt his hand, (Harrison) probably
isn't signed here.
There's a good chance that's probably a true statement. Life
works in funny ways. If I don't get cut in Philadelphia, who knows
if I ever get to enjoy coaching. I'd never have gotten my degree.
On that one kickoff play after they hit that big kickoff, you put
(Harrison) back out there. He was off the field on the first one.
Yeah, he was off. But they've hit a couple the last couple of
weeks, so we've got to sure that up. We got a couple of more
penalties on the returns. We've got to get that cleaned up too.
Those guys have been covering very well. Jeff (Reed) had some
good kicks. Even the one they hit, Jeff Reed did a great job of
slowing him up and we had enough team speed that we caught
him and held them to a field goal. That was huge. We had
Ricardo (Colclough) and Ike (Taylor) out there and they both took
great angles to keep him in bounds. It turned out it saved us four
points. I thought that was one of the biggest stands in the game.
You lose Joey Porter before the game and kick it off and they
return it to your 19-yard line. That was not what you'd call a fast
Jerome (Bettis) has 62 carries in the last two games, that's
more than he's had almost than any other two-game stretch in
his career. Do you worry about how many carries he had if he
has to play again this week?
No. He wore down. I think we'll give him off tomorrow. We'll
reward him with that.
What does it say when he had a 100-yard game and his longest
carry was seven yards?
It says we were grinding. Cleveland played hard and we knew
they would. We knew going in we'd have to hit a couple of big
plays, which we were able to do. The drive we hit, the 93-yard
drive was big. We were down 3-0 and we were able to go down
methodically. Their defense has been a good defense. They
haven't given up a lot of big plays. Even when you say in the
running game, we didn't have a run of more than seven yards,
they've got good team speed. The safeties showed up. They
were active. We didn't have many foolish penalties and for the
most part, we were very good on third downs, over 50 percent
when it mattered. I think that had a lot to do with the game.
Talking about the Bengals offense moving Chad Johnson
around, is that an indication that Palmer is getting it?
I don't know if it's an indication of Palmer. They're taking a
premiere player and trying to utilize him and sometimes use him
as a decoy. It's just a growing part to do with their offense. Who's
Are they likely to commit to the run because they've got Johnson?
They ran the ball well against us the first time, so I have no
reason to believe they won't come in and think they can't do it
again. I would expect them to come in - I know I said it last week
- but I would expect them to come in running the ball. Given what
happened our last game, I think this team definitely will come in
trying to run the ball and we'd better be prepared to stop it.
How did Willie Parker play?
Willie played well. He's got a dimension that's unique from the
other backs. He can get to the corner faster than the other guys
who were in there before him. We're more tackle to tackle with
the other guys and he gets in there and it's stretched. I wish he'd
stay in bounds, but he gets going so fast he can't slow down. He
did a good job. Dante (Brown) got in there and got a big third
down. Willie handled all of the protection on third down and I
know he dropped the one ball, but he's got good hands. He just
tried to run with the ball before he had it. We've got some good
backs and we had some tough decisions that had to be made. It
was a nice problem to have. We've had to use them all. You can
never have enough depth at that position.
Can you imagine anybody in the league playing the middle better
than James Farrior right now?
I don't know of anyone better. His production as a guy that can
have impact tackles, run sideline to sideline, who can go back in
coverage, who sets the defense. He doesn't come off the field. I
know there are some good linebackers out there. Ray Lewis,
Zach Thomas are good linebackers, but James Farrior's pretty
You're banged up at both tight end and fullback. How does the
run game compensate?
Three wide package. It's hard to say. Some of these guys we'll
see at the end of the week. We'll get Matt Kranchick some work,
that's why he's here. And we've still got Jerame (Tuman). We'll
see where we are at the fullback situation. We've got J.T. (Wall)
on the practice squad, so we've got options.
You maintained last year and at the start of this year that this
team wasn't that far away. What did you know that a lot of us
I don't think there are many teams that far away. We got done
with the Baltimore game and everybody wanted to talk about next
year. Eight weeks later we're the best team in football with the
same guys? How does that happen? I don't know if we're that
much better than the teams we're playing. We're doing some of
the little things it takes to win football games. If you turn the
football over, you will not win games. If you're not efficient on
third downs, if you're not efficient in the red zone, you won't win
games. You're going to lose a bunch of close games. You start
losing close games and you start questioning yourself and the
things you're doing. We're playing with confidence, but there's a
fine line that exists in the NFL. We're not that much better than
the teams we're playing and I think we're doing the things you
need to do to win football games as a team. Guys are stepping
up. Guys are playing unselfishly. Guys are playing aware and
smart. We recognize we aren't that much better. We recognize
we have to prepare. We recogize we can't just show up and win
because we're the Pittsburgh Steelers. The guys have stayed