STEELERS vs. CARDINALS SUPER BOWL XLIII SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2009 KICKOFF IS AT 6:00 P.M. TELEVISED ON NBC RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
*ARIZONA HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT Monday, January 19 *
"Good morning, everyone. Obviously, we are excited that we are going to the Super Bowl. The latest injury update right now is Travis LaBoy did something to his bicep. We are not sure if it is a strain or potentially a tear. We are getting an MRI on that and we will have more information a little bit later. Other than that, we came out of the game fairly well. We will see as the week progresses. There are a couple of guys that have a few nicks that we are getting checked out as well."
On what the last 24 hours has been like for him:
"Pretty exciting. Just the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl is something you work so hard for starting back in March during your offseason programs. Especially this year with all of the ups and downs that we have had, the idea that we won the NFC Championship, especially at home in front of our fans, and now that we have the opportunity to go to Tampa, is very exciting."
On playing the "no respect" card and how it played in the teams' favor:
"I think that it is not a surprise that we would be an underdog. This is a very good football team that we are going against; one that a number of the members of this organization are familiar with. I think that is going to continue. The same way we have been working. The same way we have been focusing. Obviously, there is not going to be a lot of people singing our praises. That will hopefully keep us focused."
On his personal feelings playing the Steelers after his years there and not getting the Head Coaching job with them:
"As I said last night, there is obviously a strong place in my heart for a lot of the people, coaches, players, and obviously Mr. Rooney with that organization. A big part of the reason why I am here is because of my opportunity to work with that team. I am excited that we are in the Super Bowl, first and foremost. If I had to be happy that another team made it, obviously it would have been the Steelers because of knowing so many people in the organization. There is going to be a lot of excitement for this game. There will be a lot of our friends who will be down there. It will make for a good two weeks."
On if he has any hard feelings for the Steelers:
"Why would I have any hard feelings? I don't see why you wouldn't want an NFL job. I had a great opportunity here. There were a lot of things that I thought were in place that would help us have an opportunity to win. I think we have shown that, and I am excited about that."
On if he felt like he was close to getting the Steelers' Head Coaching job:
"They still had a week or so to go, at least, of interviews before they were going to make a decision with that job. I had an opportunity here that I felt was a good opportunity. I had to make the decision—waiting to see if I could get that job or having the one here. Like I said, I thought that there were a number of good things about this situation. I felt that I could be successful here, and I was very excited about the opportunity. The one thing I learned is that if you have an opportunity, you have to be very careful about passing things up because you never know if you will get another one."
On what the week leading up to his decision to come to the Cardinals was like:
"I took the job here on Saturday, and I don't think they hired their coach until the following weekend. Once I had accepted the offer here, I didn't have any other thoughts about the Steelers, except other than gratitude for what they had given me the opportunity to do."
On what it meant to get Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Russ Grimm to come along to the Cardinals:
"I was very excited to get Russ here. He is an outstanding football coach, one that I have a tremendous amount of history with, both as a player and a coach. We have had great success together. A lot of the things we do here, I know we think a lot alike. I think he has been a great part of why we have had success, especially with what he has done with our offensive line."
On the emotions during the game, specifically Anquan Boldin and Todd Haley arguing on the sidelines:
"That's a normal thing that happens. It happened in the first quarter with Todd and Kurt [Warner] on the sidelines. It happened with a couple of our defensive players and defensive coaches. It's an emotional game. Yesterday's game was one of the most emotional you'll play in. It was the Conference Championship. Those things happen. But what we have been able to do this year is move on and play. That's part of it. These guys are highly intense competitors. Our coaches are as well. I think that there is a fine line you walk but we've obviously been able to still succeed."
On if the timing of that argument impacted the game-winning drive:
"Obviously it didn't affect us being successful on the drive. I didn't think that it was an issue to be honest with you."
On if this is something that needs to be dealt with further:
"From my understanding it's over with. Like I said, those things happen on the field, those things happen in games all the time. This is a highly competitive business. There are a lot of emotional swings that go into this game. We're never going to always agree on things. But we've always been able to move past that and continue to be focused on our goal. I know for a fact that I've had knock-down, drag-out fights with other coaches sitting in the room putting together a plan. But those are the guys you go to battle with because you know they have your back and you know that you are able to go through those things together."
On Adrian Wilson saying that this is something that needs to be taken care of before Tampa:
"I don't know that it is a situation. I don't get that feeling. I respect Adrian for what he's done for us and what he means to this team. (With) leaders like Adrian and Kurt [Warner] among others on this team, especially where we are, it won't be an issue."
On Anquan Boldin not participating in the post-game celebration:
"That's not for me to regret. I think everybody has ways of dealing with success or being happy. I can't speak for Anquan on that."
On his relationship with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger when he coached at Pittsburgh:
"That was a very good relationship with Ben. I certainly respect the player that he's grown into. I hope that our time together contributed a little bit to that. He was always very good with me and worked very hard. I was very lucky to have him as a quarterback especially my first year as a coordinator and what we were able to do."
On if he had a feeling that this was unbelievable after the Steelers won:
"Did you expect anything different? I mean when we actually won the game how could it have not been the Steelers? That was what I expected. It's just a shame there won't be many story lines this week because of these two matchups."
On who has the advantage between him and Ben Roethlisberger knowing one another:
"I don't know if there is an advantage. He's playing pretty good football right now. He does a lot of things very well and it's going to be a tough issue facing him. He's grown up as most players do when they have played a lot. He's had a lot of success and he will be a very difficult player to face."
On his relationship with Steeler's Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau:
"I don't like Dick LeBeau very much [laughing]. I mean this guy hasn't been in the league very long—no, probably as special of a relationship as you can have. I love Dick LeBeau and once again he's not one of those guys I'm excited about facing in the Super Bowl because of what he does and what he's meant to this game."
On if knowing the Steelers makes him overconfident:
"Well I hope it can't hurt us that we know a little bit about them. Hopefully it will only help us. That team has changed from the two years since we were there and they had a very difficult schedule and played a lot of good football this year. So we know it's going to be a challenge. I think knowing the personnel for the most part is a little bit easier because you don't have to spend as much time doing that but we have two weeks to prepare so it's not like we're in a time crunch."
On Cardinals' offensive coordinator Todd Haley:
"Well I think Todd has done an outstanding job here during the time he's worked with us. I look back to what Coach Cowher did for me when I was a coordinator and that was an opportunity to grow as a coach. I always felt like if I had that opportunity I was going to do the same. I feel like that's what we've done with Todd but you have to give him credit because he has worked hard to be good at his job. Part of being successful means you get attention and it's well deserved. Hopefully we'll have one more game where it continues to be a good thing."
On the importance of being a balanced team:
"Well it's obviously been important to our success because we've been moving the ball and scoring a lot of points and that's something that is critical, with the exception of the third quarter in yesterday's game. We've always stressed the fact that we wanted to be a balanced football team. Earlier in the season we were skewed more towards the pass because we felt we needed to do that in order to win our division. We were hot and we were using that but credit to our offensive line, credit to Russ [Grimm] and a lot of our other staff who knew that it was going to be important later in the season to run the football. That's certainly helped us be more versatile. It's helped the play action game where we've made some big plays and it's also helped us at the end of the game when we've had some critical situations where we needed to run the ball and (have) been successful. That's been a big difference."
On if Pittsburgh is the best defense in the league:
"Well it appears so from their statistics. I haven't really studied them in depth yet but from what I've seen it certainly appears that way. They are the number one defense in the league in just about every category. I know there are a lot of players that were there when I was there, but that's another couple years they've been able to gel under that system and they've really been playing well."
On how the Steelers' secondary matches up:
"I couldn't tell you that until I really look at them. I know that Ike Taylor is a good young cornerback that has grown up considerably and been playing well for them. I know they've had some injuries with the other side between Deshea [Townsend] and B-Mac [Bryant McFadden] but once again I haven't studied them enough to tell you that."
On what the next couple weeks look like:
"I think that knowing what it's going to be like, knowing the schedules, knowing what you have to do to prepare will certainly help us. There are a number of coaches on this staff that have done the same thing. So as far as being able to give the players a heads up on what the week is going to be like; what you have look forward to, what you have to be careful about, how you have to keep your focus, that's the big thing. It's funny because we talked about that trip to the East coast where we stayed out there. That's what it's going to be very similar to. Fortunately for us, we're better when we go through something a second time it seems like. Hopefully that will help us out because it is going to be very similar to that week that we were in Washington."
On Pittsburgh's offense and how it's different from two years ago:
"They don't run as much two-back as they did when we were there. They haven't run as much full-back. A lot of the plays that I've seen, once again I haven't really studied them much other than what I've seen on TV, there's some similarity in some of the plays that they've done but obviously they've changed a few things. Ben [Roethlisberger] has done a great job of handling the offense and changing some things at the line and getting in and out of plays. You can see some of those things on film. There are some similarities, but they have changed just like we have changed a little bit offensively from some of the things we were doing in Pittsburgh."
On doing better when faced with adversity rather than success:
"I think that's the mark of a team with a lot of young players that are playing for the first time that don't understand what it takes consistency wise to win games. Usually when you have a team that's been successful you have a core group of veterans that understand how you have to work in order to maintain that success. When you have a team like the Cardinals who haven't had a great deal of success, you don't have that core group that understands that. When you work so hard to attain something, to win the division, when you accomplish that you get a feeling of phew, okay, we made it, we got there. What you have to do to keep your focus and continue with the same work ethic is not always easy to do and that's part of the reason we struggled at the end of the year. Adversity makes you stronger and obviously that worked out for us because at the end of the year we're playing a lot better football."
On getting those experienced players:
"Whenever you come into a team you're going to make changes and you want to get players that you feel are going to help develop the chemistry, especially ones that have the experience and have been there before. Rod Graves and his staff have worked well at doing that and getting some of these free agents in here that have been instrumental in us having some leadership, having some success, like Bryan Robinson and Travis LaBoy, some of those guys, (they are) the ones that jump out at you."
On if they are going to stick with the strategies they have been doing:
"I think what we do is we game plan for our opponents. We put a lot of time into that and trying to figure out ways to attack them. Our plans are going to evolve on a weekly basis because we are certainly trying to situate our strengths as well as take care of what they do. Yesterday's game was a perfect example. We got a pretty good package in to handle their blitzes, we worked hard on it during the week and it paid off for us in some critical situations."