Offensive Coordinator Bruce AriansRe: Antonio Brown winning the team MVP:It's a great testimony for his hard work. I don't know of anyone that worked harder than him. He came back in fabulous shape. He had a great training camp. It just led to a really good season for him. It's an awesome record that he got, all-purpose yardage. I am really proud of him.Are you surprised he won it?No. I think he earned the respect of all his teammates. We have a lot of guys that can win that award. For Brown, it's great for a young player like that.Will Trai Essex be back at left guard?We'll see. We are going to swing guys and see how we do.Will Chris Kemoeatu be in the mix?Yes. He was last week. We were going to swing him last week but with the injury to Doug Legursky, he ended up playing the whole game. He played really well. He looked healthy again.How has Ben Roethlisberger done this week in practice?Really well. He moved around good today, even better than yesterday. Being on the grass helped, off the turf. It was good to be outside in the cold, get the blood flowing. It was real good.Do you have a plan this week to use Roethlisberger?We just want to go win the game. It's like game one for us. Go win the thing and we'll sit back and see what happens.Will you keep an eye on the Ravens' score?No. Only our score and the Browns' score, that's the only one that matters. If we don't win, it doesn't matter what happens in the other game. We have to be ready to go. I think our guys had two good days of practices and meetings. They know what is at stake.Would you like to see Roethlisberger get some reps so he isn't rusty heading into the postseason?I think he's veteran enough to do it. I'd like to have everyone out there because of the value of the game. He's one of our best players out there. I want him out there but not at the risk of injuring himself. If he can't move around and get out of the way, then there's no sense of getting him out there. We will play him if he's healthy and ready to go.Are you more confident that he's progressing after seeing him today?Much more.Are you watching Roethlisberger to see if he changes his mechanics because of injury?That's my number one thing. The balls he threw in San Francisco were because of his foot. And the overthrow was because of his foot. He missed one deep. I think he has a better feel for it now. His mechanics are better. We talked a lot yesterday about just doing little drills, see how it feels. He feels much better.Is there anything else he can do?No, because if you can't get up on your toes, then you can't play. It's all about leverage, especially when talking about his plant foot, and being able to twist and turn and put all your weight on it. It's like a golf swing. If you brace and sit on your back foot, you will hit it high and right. You aren't going to hit through the ball. Throwing a football is like hitting a golf ball. You have to get on the left side and hit it. He is feeling more comfortable at doing that.
**Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau
Your run defense does not seem as dominant as last year, but was last year's number was so high that it is almost impossible to reach?
Every play really is different, every game is different, every season is different. We just focus on playing one down at a time, one year you are going to this or do that. I think we have done a good job against the run. We had done better jobs in the past, but total defense we have played pretty good.
Does that have to get better heading into the playoffs?
You are talking about the long side of the table here, we are leading the league in total defense. You are talking about one little part of the defense. If we have to get better, then 31 other teams have to get better too. Yeah, we always want to get better at anything we do. You can pick out this little thing or that little thing. Team defense has been okay. We need to get better every week.
You worry about the whole rather than the individual parts?
I worry about everything all of the time, that's what they pay me for.
State of your defensive line and have the young guys progressed as you thought they would?
Yeah, that's a wonderful aspect of our defense, because we needed those guys to come along. We needed youth in that area. I think everyone knew that, and their football has gotten better and better. I am very pleased with all of those guys, and Coach Mitchell, and the progress they have made, and they have been a significant factor in us being in the playoffs.
How have some of the younger guys, William Gay and Keenan Lewis, bolstered your top ranked pass defense this year?
I think Coach Carnell Lake has done a tremendous job in that area, and Cortez Allen, and Curtis Brown have both come along, two young corners that we drafted. No question that we have had an infusion of youth in our defense, and it has been a positive thing for all of us.
Re: Ike Taylor's play this year:
Ike has played the same way I would say for the past six or seven years. He is solid every week. He usually draws the toughest opponent to cover, and he usually delivers. Corners at that position, you don't stop every pass, every down. That is just the way it is. But he surely does get his percentage and more.
Two touchdowns against all of the guys he has covered is a pretty good number?
You have to remember we put him on the opponents' leading receiver, on the average he almost always draws that guy. So if we are doing okay on defense, Ike is doing okay.**