STEELERS vs. RAVENS AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SUNDAY, JANUARY 18, 2009 KICKOFF IS AT 6:30 P.M. HEINZ FIELD
*Head Coach Mike Tomlin Wednesday, Jan. 14 *
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
How was the first practice of the week?
I thought it was a good start to our work week. We laid the foundation for our plan in all three phases. Guys were getting acclimated. It was a lot of teaching. It was business as usual. It was a normal Wednesday for us.
Can you give an injury update?
It's the same status we had the other day when I talked to you guys. We held Justin (Hartwig) back today. We held Troy (Polamalu) back as well. I had my usual guys that I don't let practice on Wednesday – Aaron Smith, Hines Ward, Deshea (Townsend) and Willie Parker.
If Justin Hartwig can't go on Sunday, is Darnell Stapleton the backup center and Trai Essex the backup guard?
Do you recall your championship game experience in Tampa and what can you take from that approach-wise?
I recall it very vividly, but it's very different. It's a different team, different coaches and different players. I think every situation is unique and I try not to let past experiences dictate my actions in regards to this group of men. That was something that was special. That was something that was unique to that group. I think I'll have the same feelings about this group if we are successful.
The players who have the ball in their hands, will they be more cautious than ever with the ball because of the way the Ravens create turnovers?
I think they are capable of being more ball conscious, more careful. I hope that I have done a good enough job to this point where it's something they do innately. That's where I am at mentally in regards to coaching it. It's not going to stop us from stating the obvious, that this team is very good at getting the ball. It's very important in January football, the turnover ratio usually determines the winner. At the same time, you would like to think at this point it is something that is innate.
Home field hasn't played much of a factor in the first few games. What can you attribute that to?
I think that is today's NFL. I refer to this as the ultimate parity league. I don't think there is much difference between a one seed or a six seed. I think they are all good teams. I think the teams that are great are the ones that come out of this thing. That's just where it is from my perspective. Everybody is capable of winning. That is what makes it more exciting than it's ever been.