Opening comments …
“It was a great win for our team today. To see the fans and the support we had here today was really moving, not only for me, but for everyone in the locker room. The game was typical for us and was something we were concerned with coming out of the bye with the quality of execution early on. The positive thing was that we played hard and we played fast, just not with the quality of execution. We also had a little rust. The guys didn’t blink and they continued. We didn’t change anything we were doing; we just have to do it a little better. We were able to get some plays and go on to get a great victory here in a hostile environment against a division opponent on the road. We don’t take those for granted. We’re glad to get a win and we’ll put it with the rest of them. We realize some of the challenges that lie ahead for us and we’ll start tomorrow readying ourselves for those.”
Can you talk about how Mewelde Moore has stepped up and stepped in?
“We just gave him a game ball in there. He’s become the locker room favorite and we make no bones about why we feel the way do about each other. It’s based on deeds. This guy is delivering time and time again with his legs, with his hands. He’s just doing a nice job. He’s a pro; he prepares himself. He’s doing a nice job for us.”
Can you talk about how you were able to keep the running game on schedule which opened some things up in the second half with long passes and things like that?
“First and foremost, we were controlling the line of scrimmage. We were running some of our interior zone plays, and on some of those double teams, we were getting pretty good pushes, even as we were shooting ourselves in the foot a bit in the first half. I thought we were controlling the line of scrimmage and our hat goes off to the offensive line for what they did today. Whoever we handed the ball to today had a chance because of that surge. We had some guys who had quality performances. I think Ben (Roethlisberger) had quality time and had quality looks down the field. Max Starks stepped in at left tackle and, based on how we moved the ball and protected, I can say he did a good job. Darnell Stapleton took a nice step. I think that group is coming together and they had a nice performance today.”
What does it mean to get another win within your division?
“We cherish all of our wins, and division games are extremely important. We have a lot of respect for what this rivalry is and the support we get when we come down here and play. The guys did a nice job and they were sensitive to that.”
Your linebackers were very active again today and had some big sacks. Can you talk about their play?
“The fun thing about those guys right now is they’re competing against one another. James Harrison is the bus driver, and if he gets a play off, he’s going to let 56 hear about it, or 94 hear about it, or 51. That’s how they’re playing. The biggest competition is in your backyard, and that’s how they approach it. We have a good group there. They’re not a selfish group. They work, but they drive each other, and that’s awesome.”
Where are Bryant McFadden and Troy Polamalu
“Troy got dinged. We’ll see where he is. I don’t want to make any judgments with regard to that. Bryant has an arm injury. We’re in the process of getting that looked at right now. Hopefully it’s not anything long term, but if it is, we’ll accept it. That’s the nature of football, and the next men have to be ready to step up, whoever they are — whether it’s William Gay, whether it’s Anthony Madison … we have to keep marching. We’re no different than any other team. Cincinnati sustained a few injuries today. We can’t let that be an excuse. There are too many guys ready to perform like Mewelde Moore out there, and that’s what we embrace.”
Where would you say your offense is in terms of developing its full personality?
“I don’t want to put any ceiling on us with my thoughts of what we’re capable of. We just try to come out every week and be better, get better and be more efficient. We left a few scoring opportunities out there in the first half. We had an opportunity to get a first down and messed up a third-and-one. We just barely moved ourselves out of field goal range with a few penalties. We’re just trying to be the very best we can be, and I think any judging at this point is putting a mental ceiling on what we’re capable of. We’re going to keep working and seek perfection.”
Ben (Roethlisberger) has been sacked a lot this season. Does today show an improvement in your pass protection?
“We’re not trying to paint with a broad brush based on today’s performance. We’re glad to win today. We have to prepare to play next week. We’ll judge it when we’re done and through the course of the season. No question we had a nice game today and guys did a nice job protecting Ben. We have some new and different faces in there working, and they answered the challenge.”
The schedule gets considerably more difficult in the weeks ahead. Is that tough to talk to the team about or do you take it as it comes?
“What I’ve told the guys is that if we continue to play the way we’re playing and keep our focus, we’ll see everybody, but we can only see one of them at a time, once a week. That’s how we’re going to approach it. We have a formidable opponent coming up next week and we respect them and what they’ve done. All we’re going to do is prepare ourselves to play.”