Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week's opponent – the Cleveland Browns.
Q. This Turnpike Rivalry might not be what it used to be, but this is still obviously a very important game for the Steelers?
A. I kind of like the state of the rivalry, to be quite honest with you, because it's comfortable for us. They have a good football team, and we respect them. It's a big ballgame for us on a lot of fronts, but more than anything we just want to finish with an exclamation point. That's what this journey, or any journey at this level, is about. We want to finish strong and then move onto the new challenges.
Q. Ben Roethlisberger will start at quarterback. Does Charlie Batch figure in any rotation?
A. There are some scenarios that could unfold over the course of the game that could dictate that, but we'll deal with those in-game. Right now, we're focused on Ben being our starting quarterback and us winning this football game.
Q. In the Thursday night game against Cleveland, the Steelers had red zone difficulties. Why was that?
A. We did. You have to give them credit, first and foremost. They put together a nice goal-line stand, linebacker Chris Gocong made a couple of nice plays. Hopefully we'll rectify that. I know that we're prepared. I feel comfortable with our preparation, but ultimately it will come down to our play.
Q. Colt McCoy is out and will be replaced at quarterback by Seneca Wallace. What kind of a player is Wallace?
A. Mobile. Colt is a mobile guy, but Wallace is scary mobile. We have to do a good job from a rush-lane standpoint. Quite frankly, we didn't do a good enough job of containing Colt McCoy the last time, so that's obviously on our radar. Wallace brings the savvy of a nine-year veteran. There's not much that this profession can present that he hasn't seen. He does a nice job of utilizing his cadence and all the things associated with home-field advantage. He's a pro.
Q. The Browns' running game is a three-headed monster, with Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya. What does each player contribute to that?
A. I think the other guys just supplement Peyton, more than anything. That rotation has developed due to circumstance, and those circumstances have been the health concerns that Peyton Hillis has had. The last few weeks he has been healthy, and that's why he has over 200 yards in those last two games, including 112 vs. Baltimore. This guy is a very deliberate down-hill runner. He's got great pad-level and leg drive. He's a legitimate man to be reckoned with in the running game.
Q. When it comes to the Browns passing attack, is Greg Little a player you have to worry about?
A. There has only been one rookie wide receiver who has been more productive than Little and that has been A.J. Green down in Cincinnati. You can talk about the guys in Atlanta and Seattle who have had great rookie seasons, but there is only one who has caught more balls than Greg Little. That speaks to what he has done and how big a part of their offense he is.
Q. On the defensive side, has Jabaal Sheard picked up right where he left off during his final college season at Pitt?
A. And not only from a pass-rushing standpoint, but he's also doing an awesome job of playing the run and shedding blocks and making tackles and has been very productive in terms of creating turnovers or turnover opportunities for his defense. He has five or six forced fumbles this season, which should put him right at the top of the NFL in that category.
Q. There is another important game going on in Cincinnati, with the Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens. Have you cautioned your team about scoreboard-watching?
A. We've been in this situation so many times, and to be quite honest with you I doubt that the Cleveland Browns are going to provide us with a bunch of scoreboard information. It doesn't benefit them. I've been in stadiums before in similar situations and when you're the road team you're not going to get the type of information you're looking for. We haven't talked a lot about it with that understanding, and more than anything we're focused on what's in our control, and that's the game going on in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Q. The Browns secondary seems solid, both at cornerback and safety. Is that an accurate assessment?
A. The group is led by the young guy, Joe Haden. He's wise beyond his years in terms of football awareness. He makes all the critical plays. He challenges most throws. He's just a good, aware football player. In Sheldon Brown, you're talking about a guy who brings the savvy of 10 years in the National Football League, a guy who always has been sharp above the neck. That's a good place to start.