Offensive Coordinator Bruce AriansWill Ben Roethlisberger play this Saturday?The decision will be last minute. We will see what Coach Tomlin says and we'll go with it. We always have plans for both quarterbacks, so it's no problem.
Ben didn't do much today. Is he at the point where he doesn't need the reps?It's the same defense we've seen a number of times this year with a similar game plan. It's just a matter of getting him as healthy as he possibly can, so he can have some mobility.
Re: Maurkice Pouncey:He's in the same boat. It will probably go right to the wire. The Rams play a straight 4-3, so he doesn't need many reps either. They both will be game-time decisions.
Re: Mike Wallace struggling as of late:He is open. He's dropped some and we've missed him every game. There's a 50-yard play every game that we could have made – that we made early in the season. We've missed those chunks of yards. They've either gone off his fingertips or we overthrew him. We had him wide open the other night to take the lead. That was one of the throws that Ben's foot actually worked, and he overthrew him. We just have to keep throwing it deep. We will hit him.
Do you have to settle Wallace down so he doesn't get too worked up?Mike is an excitable guy but it's in a very positive way. It's gotten to where he doesn't have to go deep to make a big play. He's learning to play in the short areas with a lot more running after the catch than I ever thought he would for a fast guy. He's been really making plays in the red zone for us, which is a great asset for a speed guy. If we just get the speed plays back in, we will be where we need to be.
Is he seeing more double-teams?Yes and no. There are some but Antonio Brown has taken some of them away. They played cover-two the other night, because they knew at the end we weren't going to run it. That was part of our running game doing well, especially in the no-huddle phase. But with penalties and turnovers, you are not going to beat anybody. When you miss opportunities in big games, they don't come back around. We thought we'd have him deep a couple more times in that game but it just didn't happen.
Is Emmanuel Sanders in the same boat as Pouncey and Roethlisberger?No. He's too young as far as needing more reps. He is going to have to practice to be able to play.
Do you trust that Roethlisberger tells you exactly how he feels?Totally. I asked him to come out last week. He said no. he wasn't any worse for wear when he started the game. When there are seconds on the clock, we are trying to win. That's just the way I play. I don't play to give up. I never have and I never will.
Is Roethlisberger better this Thursday compared to last Thursday?I haven't really seen anything that would tell me that. I wish I could. He's walking a little better.
If you went with him last week considering he couldn't get worse, then why wouldn't you go with him this week?I will see what Coach Tomlin says.
Are you more optimistic he could do more things under center this week?I haven't seen him do anything other than walk around the building. I really can't make that judgment. If we get some things done tomorrow then maybe but until I see him actually – last week I saw him do some things on Saturday that surprised me. The plane ride didn't help us with his swelling.
How big is it that you don't have to travel this week?It's huge for all the guys that have injuries. When you get on that plane, you swell like crazy. You work all night to get the swelling out. It's hard on them.
Is that a bit of a setback?It does set you back when you have to do that, for anybody that's injured. That's one of the reasons why we left Maurkice at home, so he wouldn't get a setback just by flying.
Would Roethlisberger have to practice tomorrow to play?I will let Coach Tomlin have that one.
Was Roethlisberger a game-time decision last week?We went out and worked it out. If you notice, he doesn't warm up outside anymore. He's usually in the tunnel. We went outside and worked out, and we did a lot more than we normally do. We needed to see what he could do after flying. We felt like he was good to go.
Re: Hines Ward possibly playing his last game at home.Having been his position coach, it means the world to have him and what he does for our young guys. Nobody has a crystal ball. Nobody knows what the future will bring. I don't even want to speculate. I don't even think about him not being around. We'd miss him way too much. When those times come, they will come. It's not this week.
Re: John Clay possibly being activated:We've gone with two running backs before. It depends on other injuries. Hopefully we can get three running backs up there somehow.
*Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeauRe: Carnell Lake and his impact this year. How is he different from Ray Horton as far as style? *Well, each of those guys are their own men, they are different in their personality. But they are both similar in that they both played a long time in the National Football League. They both played in this system. They are both very knowledgeable of this system. Both of them actually played corner and safety in the NFL. So they are uniquely compatible, really. I think Carnell has done a great job in his first year, especially with our young players that have come along and contributed significantly for us, and Keenan Lewis has really come into his own this year. I attribute a lot of that into Carnell Lake's coaching. He has done a great job with those guys.
Re: Cortez Allen coming in and making some plays. It's been a rarity to see a guy contribute that early. Is that all Carnell or is that Cortez?Yes, it's those two together. No question about it. Curtis Brown has impressed us. He has done a nice job and has made a significant impact on special teams. Looking down the road we think he has a really good future, and Carnell has done a really nice job with all of those guys, and all of the secondary.
In terms of William Gay, it looked like last year he took a step back. But this year he looks like he took two steps forward, what do you see from him?Will has been a really steady corner for us all along. The corner position gives the appearance of up and down because there is a lot of space out there, and you are very isolated. There is no corner, no matter who you are, that doesn't go through some uneasy afternoons. But I think overall, the whole time that he has been here, he has been a significant contributor to us, and I think you are absolutely correct about his season this year, he is having a fine season.
How do you stop Steven Jackson?You have to do it like any good back. You have to have really good gap integrity with your defensive front. The secondary has to step up there and force, and then several of the tackles are going to have to be made by corners and safeties, and he is a big back so they have to be willing to do that. The truth of the matter is, he is going to get some yards. He has had 1,000 yards for seven or eight straight years. He is the leading rusher ever from the St. Louis Rams. They have had some great backs in their history. So we respect this guy. But what we have to do is no different from what we have to do when we play any good back, we have to play great football.
Year after year, even with the team like they are this year, 2-12, Jackson is still running hard, playing through injuries, doing all he can to try and get a win.NFL players are competitors. The record is not going to factor into it. I know sometimes it may seem like that. But competitors, when you blow the whistle, they are going to go and they are going to go maximum speed and maximum effort. A great player isn't going to give you anything less than their best.
Will LaMarr Woodley play on Saturday?I'm hoping that we will have him for a significant amount of snaps like we did in San Francisco. He played up into the 40s, which was great. That will be Coach Tomlin and the medical teams' decision.
He didn't have a setback, right? He was just fatigued.He was just getting a little bit uncomfortable and we told him, when you start feeling that, we want you out. But to be honest with you, he went further than I hoped. So if we can just continue to build on that and build his stamina, he played well.