Saturday, January 17, 2009

Steelers Interviews ~ James Farrior

Several members of the Steelers were available to the media on Friday. Here is what James Farrior had to say (as a side note, in Sporting News Today on Saturday Clinton Portis described Mr. Farrior as "a high-energy guy who probably has slowed down a step or two compared to his wonder years in the NFL"):

Are the Ravens your top rival and why?

I believe so. I believe that the games that we’ve played throughout the years have been such great games and great contests that both teams have grown to dislike each other to a level where they’re our biggest rival. We face those guys twice a year and it’s definitely a game we circle on our schedule every year.

Could you explain what that’s like and how it manifests itself?

It was here before I got here. It was something that was instilled in the Steelers long before I got here and it didn’t change when I got here. I kind of grew into it real fast when I first got here and it has just been growing over the years. I think the main thing is just competition, the level of competition, that we both go through it what makes it a good rivalry.

Do you get the sense that people are glad for another shot at the Ravens?

This is our third time. We thought we’d put dirt on them a couple of times. The first couple games we thought we had them out of there, but they’re a great team and they fought back hard to get themselves in this position. It’s going to be fun facing them for the third time. The ultimate prize in on the line to go to the Super Bowl. It’s going to be a good one this time.

Le’Ron McClain was compared to Jerome Bettis. Do you agree and what are you thoughts on the challenges he poses to you guys?

I would agree to a certain extent. I wouldn’t put him up there in Jerome’s (Bettis) category just yet. He’s got a long way to go. Jerome, he’s a Hall of Fame player. Everybody knows what he is around here. He’s (Le’Ron McClain) a good running back. He’s a tough runner and he’s tough to tackle. For a guy his size he has very good speed and very good vision. We are going to have our hands full with him. He had some success against us the last time. We are going to look to do some things a little differently to try to keep him from getting those yards.

How do you think you might be able to exploit Joe Flacco’s inexperience in general and the fact that he’s never played in a game like this?

I don’t know. We tried it the first two games and it didn’t really work. I don’t know what we are going to do this time. We are going to have to come up with something new. We all have a lot of confidence in Coach LeBeau and what he brings to the defense. We know he’s going to have something good for him. We probably won’t be able to rouse him, but we’re going to make something happen and force him to do some things that he might not want to do.

Earlier this week Derek Mason said “the Ravens are coming so prepare yourself.” Do you have any reaction to that?

Yeah. We’ll be ready. We’ll be waiting when he gets here. We don’t really look at those type of things. Coach Tomlin has done a great job all week of trying to keep us down. We don’t want to give those guys anything to put on the bulletin board. They’ve been talking and we saw the sound bytes and all that that stuff. It doesn’t matter. It’s going to come down to who plays the best. All the words that are being said right now won’t mean a bit when that game starts.

Does that mean if the cameras weren’t here you’d have a different answer?

Yeah, we’ll see at game time.

What is it about the Ravens that you don’t like?

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they are so similar to our team. They are sort of a mirror image of us. They do the same things that we try to do as a football team and that’s control the ball on offense and play great defense. That’s how we’ve been winning football games around here and that’s how they’ve been winning. I mean when you get two bullies going up against each other. It’s about who is the strongest bully.

How do you find the closeness in generations between the coach and players to be an advantage?

I actually played against the guy, but you guys don’t know that. I played against him I think one year. I told him a long time ago if I would have known that he would be the coach that I would have really been going after him. I feel like it’s a good thing that he’s so young in age and that he’s so close to our generation. He can relate to his players better on that level. He’s a couple years older than me. I’m sure we have some things similar that we like to do and things of that nature. I feel like he can talk to the players on the level that we are on. He’s able to get his points across to us and that’s probably the main thing. He’s just able to relate to our generation a lot better than older coaches.

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