Coach Norv TurnerRe: Steelers playing to their level of competition:I just never buy into that. That's sometimes a perception that people have that don't understand this league. I've told our guys, the Steelers played two physical, close-fought, hard-nose games. They were close games. The Baltimore game was a three-point game like ours was when we played Baltimore. I know Cleveland struggled early on but they've been competitive in every game, but the Steelers have beaten teams and won games. They are a talented group in terms of the physical part of the game. We've played Kansas City. We know their capabilities and who they have on their team. You go out and play, compete and fight. You are fortunate to come up with wins the way the Steelers have. That's what you try to accomplish on a week-to-week basis.Are you preparing to face Ben Roethlisberger or Charlie Batch?We are going to see. Hopefully we will get some reports as the week goes on. We have to prepare. First of all, you prepare for the offense they use and the players involved. There are differences between the quarterbacks. We have the tape of the last game with Charlie, and we are obviously very familiar with Ben. At some point during the week, we are hoping to have a little bit of an idea.What are the differences in facing Ben instead of Charlie?We know what Ben is capable of. One, he keeps plays alive. He's such a great competitor. He knows how to pull games out and pull plays out. And he throws the ball down the field awfully well.Re: The Steelers defense:We played them in 2009, early in the year. You put the depth chart up now, and I think nine of their guys are the same guys [from 2009]. They have guys that have played 10 years, 11 years, nine years, six years, 11 years and so on. They are the same guys that we played against. Ziggy Hood was a rookie back then and a backup. He certainly is a dominant player. When you have that kind of continuity and have young players like they have that have come in and played, like Jason Worilds, and they have the continuity in their coaching staff, starting with Coach Tomlin and then their defensive staff. It is well documented. There is a reason they are as good as they are.Re: Troy Polamalu being back:I've been really impressed with what Will Allen has done. I think when you get a veteran like him and he can give you the production he is giving, I think that says a lot for him and what the coaching staff has done with him. Troy is a playmaker. You know he is going to show up some place you don't expect him to. He has the ability of diagnosing and having an idea of what the offense is doing. He has made some pretty remarkable plays against us.
Quarterback Philip Rivers
What do you know about the young cornerbacks, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown, who are going to be filling in for Ike Taylor?
Not a ton, obviously. I know it's still a confident group of guys that stepped up in the game. Allen stepped up and played in Baltimore, and they won. They've dealt with some injuries but if you look at this roster and look at this defense, it's amazing the continuity they've had. They've dealt with injuries over the years like all teams, but just the continuity of familiar faces and the same guys that were there when we played there in 2008-09. It's been a heck of a group and they still are.
Do you think that is a matchup you guys can take advantage of?
It's the number-one defense in the league. We're battling right now to score points. We haven't scored very many points and that's not a great combination when you're going against this Pittsburgh defense but we're going to have a heck of a week of preparation and try to go get a win in Pittsburgh, which hasn't been done since 1995 in the AFC Championship Game. It's a heck of a challenge but when you're sitting at 4-8, it's one that you get excited about, the opportunity to go play the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a slight to say we're a hungry for a win. It's been a rough stretch.
Why is it so difficult for teams coming from the west to play in the east?
I don't know if it's so much coming east. I think it's the Pittsburgh Steelers. I know there are some numbers there that support West Coast teams coming east, but it's not that we've been great everywhere but Pittsburgh. I think that would be not giving credit where it's due. You're playing a football team, not the time zone or the weather. They're a heck of a team and that's really the biggest challenge.
Re: Thoughts on the quarterbacks from the 2004 Draft class:
I think over the 8-9 year period, it's been a pretty good group. That goes without saying, with [Ben] Roethlisberger and Eli [Manning] and their Super Bowls and what they've done. Matt Schaub has had a heck of a career, going from Atlanta to Houston and obviously they've been awesome the past few years. We've stumbled here the past couple years. I haven't played as well but you know you're always going to be grouped together, and it's a heck of a group.
Re: Being sacked 36 times this season and the injuries on the offensive line:
It's part of the position but our guys up front have fought like crazy. We've been in games where we haven't ran it as well as we would have liked to and we put a lot of pressure on those guys up front when we're throwing it, and we've gone against some really good pass rushes. I thought our guys have done an admirable job and have given us a chance to complete balls and be successful in the passing game. We've been in every game. We just haven't been able to close games out down the stretch. That'll be a challenge again this week. We'll have some new guys in there in new positions up front and we're going against a formidable group, to say the least, in the Steelers' front seven. But, we'll be ready for the challenge, and we need to win a football game. It's a tough place to go do it but we're going to do all we can to get it done.
Re: Roethlisberger's ability to play hurt and if you expect him to play Sunday:
I think Ben's a tough guy and a heck of a player. We were in the same draft class and I haven't had a chance to be around him a whole lot and don't know him a whole lot. But this year at the Pro Bowl I had a chance to be around him a little bit and he's an awesome player. He's a fun guy to watch play and he's tough. He's had some unfortunate injuries, a lot of them he's played right through. It's probably killed him to have to sit out these couple weeks. Whether we'll see him Sunday or not, I guess we'll find that out, but he's a tough guy. He hangs in there until the last second and has helped his team win a bunch of games.
What would you say the chances are that Roethlisberger plays?
That's way down on my list of concerns this week. We've got plenty of things that we've got to do to worry about that Pittsburgh Steelers' defense, but you hope he gets healthy and gets back as soon as he can.