Saturday, January 17, 2009

Steelers Interviews ~ Ben Roethlisberger

Mike Tomlin, Hines Ward, James Farrior and Ben Roethlisberger were available to the media on Friday. Here is a transcript of Mr. Roethlisberger's sessions.

This is your third AFC Championship game. Do you have an appreciation for how hard it is to get here?

It’s a great honor. It’s a tough thing to do. All of the hard work you put in during the offseason, you have to be a special team. I have been blessed enough to do this, it’s my third time in five years. It’s a great thing.

Both you and Joe (Flacco) will be facing the two best defenses in football right now. What advantage do you have based on the experience of playing in games of this magnitude?

I remember my first championship game, throwing six or seven picks it seemed and losing the game. It’s not easy. I kind of know what to expect and what not to expect. I am not saying it will benefit me, but I hope it does. I hope our defense gets after him.

With the way your defense plays, do you feel like no matter what the offense does it gets overlooked by those on the outside?

That’s fine. That’s what the Steelers have always been about, even in the 70s. It’s been about the defense. It’s about our defense right now. We just make plays and do things when we have to on offense. That’s why we are the Pittsburgh Steelers and we are a complete football team. The offense compliments the defense; the defense compliments the offense and the same thing with special teams.

Are the Ravens your top rival right now and why?

Yes because we are playing them this week. It’s going to be a tough battle and it always is when we play. That’s why it’s the big rival this week.

Overall though are they the team that is your biggest rival?

Yes, right now.

Baltimore has some injuries. Are you preparing for Terrell Suggs and Samari Rolle to play and if they don’t or aren’t at full strength, what are your thoughts?

We are preparing for their defense to be at full-strength as I think you should do. We will go at it and approach it that way. If for some reason they are not out there, which we expect them to be out there, if they are not we will keep playing the way we planned on playing with the game plan and go from there.

In what ways does the Ravens defense challenge your intestinal fortitude?

The Baltimore Ravens defense is a spectacular defense. They do a lot of crazy things, show you a lot of different looks and it really challenges you mentally as well as physically. They will get to you regardless. They will get to you and hit you. You have to get yourself up and get ready for the next play because the next play might be a different blitz you have never seen.

How aware are you right now that there is such a spotlight on what you are saying and the comments you make can get right back to the Ravens?

We know that. But when I talk about how good their defense is, I am speaking the truth, speaking about how complicated they are. They are ranked where they are for a reason. They have given us fits for a reason. I am not just blowing smoke. I am talking the truth.

The last time you saw the Ravens on the field was the 12-play, 92-yard yard drive that ended with the Santonio Holmes touchdown. What did you learn from that, being it was the greatest success you had against them this season?

That was a gut-check for us, an opportunity that we knew we had to make. We had to make plays, everybody from the linemen, to myself, to the running backs, tight ends to the receivers. We know at crunch time we had to do it and we got it done. It tested and challenged our will and our desire to win.

Coach (Mike) Tomlin just mentioned that both teams like to impose their will. What’s the best way to do that?

They are going to be coming after us with heat. We know that. For us it’s not turning the ball over, winning the time of possession battle and scoring more points than them.

Will you roll out more this week to give yourself more time?

The key to getting out of the pocket, and nakeds and boots and sprint-outs, is moving the pocket. If you have an athletic defense that throws a lot of different looks at you, if you move the pocket and get outside, it helps buy some time. It gives you an option to run the ball as well as a quarterback. I’m sure will see some of it if necessary.

You won a Super Bowl with Bill Cowher and you are going for another one with Mike Tomlin. Can you talk about the similarities between the two coaches?

Well, we are not going for a Super Bowl yet. We have a big game this week that is more important right now. It’s the most important game this week. They are both great coaches. I feel honored to have played for Coach Cowher. I really learned a lot from him, a guy that has been in the league for a long time, very well-respected around the league. Now Coach Tomlin, as a new guy coming in kind of brings a new energy and excitement to this team and it’s really been fun.

When you played at Miami of Ohio, who was your big rival, your Baltimore Ravens and how different is it on this level?

It was probably Cincinnati just because they were so close and we always played them. It was always a battle. We always went toe-to-toe and it was always a slug-fest. When you get to this level it’s completely different because guys are bigger, faster, stronger and hit a lot harder. It’s a little different in the rivalry, but very similar.

You have been through a lot, from the motorcycle accident to a coach change, How satisfied are you to get to this level?

I am just proud of the way our whole group has played. You won’t hear me talk about myself. I am more proud of the way our offensive line has performed. Everybody talked about how bad they are - kind of pieced together, giving up sacks. But they found a way to get it done when they had to. I am just really proud of them right now.

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