When was Fu hurt?
Has Haynes shown that much
to not force you to make a roster move?
Yeah. Certainly, there’s an
outside chance for Jerome and with two weeks we don’t feel that that’s a
problem. Verron was the back-up again. We actually got him in for a play that
was designed for him the other day. He’s going to be the back-up tailback and
Matt Cushing will learn the fullback position and be the back-up fullback.
Did Plaxico Burress need
to apologize? And should the league suspend James Trapp?
I’m not going to pass
judgment. I’ve talked to the league in regards to this situation and that
conversation needs to stay between the league and myself. We’ve addressed it as
a team and we’ll address it again tomorrow when the players come back. I thought
what Plax did was appropriate. I think there’s a lesson to be learned in
regards to the situation that took place. Again, as a football team, you like
your players to defend one another and I wouldn’t have expected it to be any
differently. But at the same time, we’ve got to use good judgment and be smart
about our actions because there can be an effect that can hinder the team in
terms of our focus on winning football games. We’re going back into another
hostile environment this week. This will be a very big game. There will be a
lot of high emotion. To an extent, it won’t be very different than the game we
just came out of.
Do you expect fines?
Is there a fine line
between defending yourself or your teammates and getting ejected?
Sure there is. Sure there is.
You certainly don’t want to leave a guy out there when a situation takes place.
Certainly you have to make sure you don’t do anything in the heat of the
moment, emotionally, that’s spontaneous. They always say, "It’s the second
guy that gets caught."
Why was he ejected?
Was that before or after
he was stomped?
You said it was
Yes you did.
Did you check in with the
league over the fact the Ravens didn’t list (Chris) Redman on their injured
What were your impressions
of the Browns comeback against the Jets?
Impressive. I think it’s been
a very resilient team. They’ve gone through a lot. They just lost their owner
and I’m sure that was very inspiring to them, as well it should be But they’ve
been very resilient. They’ve come back from a lot of situations and it’s a team
at 4-4 that very easily could’ve been 5-3 or 6-2. Look at the games they lost
to us in overtime and to Kansas City. This team could very easily be 6-2. So
it’s a very resilient team. Like I said, this will be a big, big challenge for
our football team.
Are you concerned about
your team not being able to get motivated for a game?
Not really. We’ve put
ourselves in that situation. You sit back and build up to each game. That’s the
way the game of football in this league is. There’s an emotional letdown after
every game because you’ve thrown everything into it. You enjoy the victory. And
when you come back Wednesday and I’ve given the players off a couple of days,
they can enjoy it. It’s kind of the reward for winning. But when you come back
Wednesday, what you did doesn’t mean a thing.
Our team has
been pretty good about that. It’s a veteran team that understands that,
that there are games that have more significance than others but at the same
time you can’t take anybody lightly in this league. Where you are today,
if you enjoy it too much, two or three weeks from now you’ll say ‘What
happened?’ You see it happening in the league all the time, even as we
speak. We knew coming in we’d be the game on a lot of people’s schedule.
That being the case, you can’t go in there with any kind of letdown.
What was your perspective
when you learned Redman would be out?
Just Jeff Blake from the
standpoint of what he’s always done to us. Cincinnati was going through all the
quarterbacks and they’d always stick Jeff Blake back in against us and it
seemed like we always had a heck of a time defending him. He throws a good deep
ball. He was more mobile than Redman. There was a quick understanding they had
to come to about who the quarterback was. But any time you have a back-up
quarterback, you’re looking at that guy potentially coming in on any one play
anyways. We didn’t change anything dramatically, I think. We didn’t call the
game differently. I just think he’s a veteran guy and he’s seen our defenses
for many years just from being in this division. His experience is the
advantage he gave them over Chris Redman, who really hasn’t played against us
Should you have learned
about it earlier?
Are they required to let
you know if they find out about it Saturday?
Yeah. You are. You guys kind
of got on us a few years ago when Barry Foster got hurt on a Saturday night in
Miami. This may have been before your time, I don’t know. It’s kind of nice to
talk to you guys when I know I’m here before some of you guys. But we really
got reprimanded for not informing the league that he had not worked out that
night. I just know that’s the procedure, particularly when you’re talking about
the high-profile positions. … I’m sure they were as surprised as anybody.
How do you determine
whether a player should be probable for the game?
There’s a lot of players
sore. I don’t have Tommy Maddox down here. You can say, ‘Gosh, he was charted
off on a stretcher.’ I mean, he’s practicing tomorrow. Chris Redman practiced
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And he wasn’t on the injury list. I’ve got a lot
of guys practicing tomorrow that aren’t on this list. Most of the guys I put on
here, the reason they’re on there is because they’re probably not going to
practice and I don’t want people questioning why they’re not practicing. That’s
the basis I use. That’s not the basis everyone else uses. If as guy can
practice, to me, you know he’s going to play.
Is it tough to play the
second half with a big lead?
No. It’s a nice problem to
have. Look at their two touchdown drives. They converted two fourth downs.
We’ve got to get off the field. Those are two situations that could’ve ended in
zero points. They can talk about how they came back in the second half, and
that’s fine. They did. They beat us in the second half. But look at the game.
What was the thought
process when you went for it late instead of kicking the field goal?
We were up 13. If you make a
field goal, it’s still a two-touchdown game. It was a two-touchdown game no
matter what. In that situation, the field goal isn’t going to create a better
situation for you. And if you get the first down, it’s over.
Do you fear a block?
Sure. Like I said, the three
points didn’t seem worth it. We shut down a lot of those third downs in the
fourth quarter where Mike (Mularkey) was not allowed to throw the ball. And he
called a great game. I mean, he’s called a great – I mean, he has scripted the
first halves, those first series, and he’s got people on their heels. He’s done
a great job. At that point in the second half, I was not allowing him to throw
Are defenses defending
Maddox differently as he gets more playing time?
No. I don’t think so. The
other day they played a defense to take away the running game. They had 8 or 9
guys in the box. We threw the ball. That’s going to be the thing. If people
want to take away Plax and Hines (Ward) and start playing a little cover-two,
then we have to be able to run the football. That’s the dilemma you get into.
You want to play a 3-deep defense and bring an eighth defender into the box;
you’d like to think that now you can throw the football. That’s a little bit of
the chess match you have on first and second down. But I don’t see it being
much different. I think we’ve run the ball pretty effectively.
Once you can get up and get a
lead, now you’ve got them on their heels. That’s why at times, when they’re
going to defend the run, we still run it. We probably haven’t been as
effective. … We play the clock games. Right, wrong, at times we do.
How did Chukky Okobi play?
He played very well. He
played very well. Our offensive line played very well, and they’ve been playing
well. I thought Chukky did an excellent job. He did very well. We’ll get a good
test this week if Jeff can’t go, but it’s very encouraging to see him step in
and perform the way he did the other day.
How has the turf performed
at Heinz Field?
When you play on grass fields
in the north, the weather’s going to be a factor. We’re re-sodding it. We’re
going to do everything we can to make the footing as good as it can be. Some of
it was the night time. We practiced right out here Saturday night and we had
guys slipping because of the temperature and the moisture that develops at
night time. The weather has a lot to do with it and I’m very comfortable that we’re
doing everything we need to do to make it as good as possible and that’s
certainly what we’re looking to do.
Have you considered an
You’d have to look down the
road. The game’s always been played in mud and grass. Somehow that seems the
way the game should be played. I’m an old-fashioned guy. It seems like it
should be a very natural game played outside in the elements on the elements.
As long as we’re doing everything we can to make it as good as possible, given
the weather, let’s deal with it. Both teams are playing on it.
Coach, how ’bout those
Our kickoff coverage has been
outstanding. I can’t give them enough credit. Those last two weeks they have
set the tempo. I’ve gone back. Look at the last three weeks. That kickoff
coverage team has set a tempo. You talk about offense having confidence and
defense having confidence, right now you can sense that with our coverage
teams. There’s a confidence that exists right now and they look forward to
kicking off. And Todd (Peterson) did a good job. Todd’s kicked the ball better
the last couple weeks, even in practice I sensed him kicking the ball better.
We’re doing some things
different with the kickoff coverage. We’ve taken Chris Hope and Chidi and kind
of let them try to be disruptors and everyone else is feeding off it. Mike
Logan and John Fiala had great days the other day in our coverage teams.
They’re playing with a lot of energy. (There’s been) the big kickoff return
against Cincinnati; the blocked punt by Joey (Porter); the other day Antwaan
(Randle El) gave us a big kickoff return – still waiting for that big punt
return. There’s a lot of confidence that exists right now. You don’t see a lot
of penalties. That’s the biggest thing, too, with the return games. They’ve
been very instrumental in our wins. That’s been a big plus. Kevin Spencer’s
done an excellent job.
STEELERS PR: Any more
Coach, is there more trash
talking today compared to when you played?