HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICKRe: System for sustaining success every year as opposed to other teams you've coached:
I really don't know how to talk about anywhere else. I've been here for 10 years. I am only just familiar with what we do. I just try to make decisions every year about our football team and the direction that we are in. I try to balance the short term and the long term. There's nothing more important than this week, this game and this year. But there is a season next year, so you can't be oblivious to that. You just try to the best we can there. I don't think there's any set thing one way or the other. Every situation is different whether it's personnel or scheme, or on the coaching staff. Those things you just have to react to year-to-year based on the situation and circumstances that are in place at that particular time.
Re: Success this season:
I think we've been in a few close games and have been fortunate in those games to be able to come out on top and in overtime. We had a close game against Baltimore and San Diego, and the Buffalo game came down to the wire. We were fortunate to be able to execute plays in those games. Each game is its own entity. I don't think there's necessarily a common trend in every game. Each one is different and distinct. In the end it comes down to players stepping out and making plays at the right time, taking care of the ball, keeping them out of the endzone, finishing drives in the right area and all those kinds of things. We made a few more than our opponents have on downs.
How good is this Steelers team?
They are good. They are good in every area. They usually are. They are impressive on special teams. Emmanuel Sanders has done a good job for them. We know Antwaan Randle El is dangerous. They have good specialists. They can change position in the punting game. They have a lot of good, physical coverage players. They have some fast players. They've done a good job defensively there. They are at the top of the league like they always are. They are good against the run. They don't give up many points in the red area. They are a tough, physical and hard-tackling group. And offensively they have a lot of weapons with Ben Roethlisberger back and the running game with Mewelde Moore and Rashard Mendenhall of course. Isaac Redman has given them some plays there too particularly in short yardage. They use all their personnel well at tight end, running back and wide receiver. They both have catches, and Mendenhall has the majority of the carries, and he's been productive. He's already got 700 yards halfway through the season. They got a big offensive line. They do a solid job all the way around. They're well coached. They don't beat themselves. They make you go out there and execute against them. They are a real physical football team that takes advantage and capitalizes on their opponents mistakes. They are good.
What have you seen from Roethlisberger since his return?
He looks good like he always does, real good on the deep ball, strong in the pocket. He's a tough guy to get down. He can spread the ball around. He uses all his receivers and tight ends. He does a good job at the screen game. He scrambles to keep plays alive. He's a tough, quality quarterback.
Re: Hines Ward:
He is a special player. He certainly does a lot of things for the Steelers offensively. He catches the ball; he blocks and is an important part in their running game. The running game is always good. He is the key role in it in terms of blocking. He cuts off all the guys on the back side. They use him in formations. He converts for them in the red area; he converts for them on third-down plays. He looks good in the play-action game. He's a strong runner after the catch. I know he's got a couple of touchdowns like in the Miami game, plays like that where he breaks tackles and gets into the endzone like in the Cleveland game. He's good after the catch. He does a good job of getting open. He's a good physical player. He's had a great career and still is a tough guy to handle.
Re: Ward's blocking:
I definitely put him up in the upper echelon of blocking wide receivers.
Re: Steelers losing offensive linemen to injury:
I heard about Max Starks. I hadn't heard anything about Chris Kemoeatu from what you just said there. It's that time of the year. It's the middle of the season. You got guys that are banged up. Everybody has got them on the injury list. Some will play, some won't. I think that's the NFL in November. That's probably what every team in the league is going through at somewhere on their roster. Guys that are banged up and on the reserve/injured list, it's unfortunate but it's part of the game. Everybody goes through it.
WIDE RECEIVER WES WELKERGoing to put on a kicking display this weekend?
Hopefully not. Hopefully our kickers stay healthy. But if they need me I am always there.
Is there a unique way that things are done there that allows you to have the success that you have had through the years?
I think it's good that we have the same system in place year in and year out. Guys are familiar with what we are doing coming into the year. Try to bring other guys along. Also having the same coaches I think helps in the long run.
Was the culture there noticeably different when you signed there from where you had been?
I can't say. Every team is a little bit different but there is definitely something unique about being here. The attention to detail and long hours and things like that are what pay off in the end.
What kinds of challenges does the Steelers defense present to you guys?
I think they do what they do and they do it really well. They are a tough and aggressive football team and they fly around with the football, you never know what is coming next and they are coming from all angles. You have to make sure you are on your toes, focused and ready for anything they throw at you.
Have you noticed teams defending you differently without Randy Moss?
There have been a few different things but for the most part there are only so many things they can do. I feel like I have seen it all so I don't know if it is really anything new.
Is there the expectation to win there, is that one of the reasons why it is unique?
Yeah, absolutely. Winning is the goal not matter what. That is what we are after and what we are trying to do.
Have you followed Hines Ward much and what are your thoughts on him as a fellow wide receiver?
He is definitely a very tough guy, instinctive guy and does a good job at finding a way to get open and has been doing a great job at it for years now.