The Pittsburgh Steelers arrived in Dallas on Monday morning, checked into their hotel, then met with the media for the first of several sessions throughout the week. All of it leads up to their Sunday showdown in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers. I'll be part of this media scrum starting Wednesday morning, but I thought I'd pass along the transcribed quotes of various members of the Steelers from the team's Monday press conference.
Other Monday Press Conference Transcriptions:
- Brett Keisel (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- James Farrior (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike Tomlin (on BTSC)
- Hines Ward (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS PRESS CONFERENCE
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley
(On being in the Super Bowl for a second time) "I'm just trying to keep my day to day the same. This is my second time here, so I'm not caught up in all the hype and the different things that are going on around the city. I'm just going to be focused around the hotel, going out, and maybe going to the movies. A lot of the guys on the team, it's their third time around. I'm still following those veteran guys that have been around for a while, following their leadership and making sure I do things the right way so we can go out here and have a successful game."
(On this being Tomlin's team) "He's been with this team for four years now. We've all been together for four years now. He knows everyone on this team very well. He had a chance to go out and draft a few of his guys so now he can call it his team."
(On Tomlin's youth) "The way he acts, the way he handles things, how he treats the players. He's always coming to meetings fired up and has a smile on his face. If you have coaches like that, it just brings excitement to the facility."
(On how Tomlin's coaching has changed in the past four years)
"It went from a real tough, hard training camp the first time, to kind of lightening it up on us. His first year was my first year. Throughout that season, we were in full pads hitting every day. Next year, we won the Super Bowl and he kind of took it easy on us - not banging as much throughout the week."
(On competition for sacks between himself and James Harrison) "We always have competition between us two, but at the end of the day it helps the team out. It's not nothing where we're kind of angry at each other. We just always talk and say, ‘who's going to get to the quarterback first?' At the end of the day, we end up leading the league in sacks so it works out perfect for us."
(On learning from veteran leaders like Harrison) "The way James [Harrison] approaches every day - the way he practices, the way he works out, his attitude - a lot of time people who don't know James sometimes see him and think that he's this mean tough guy who doesn't talk to anybody, but deep down inside James is a real good guy. He really cares about his team. Even in practice, whether we're talking about different moves we use on different guys, when we're studying film, he's always willing to help me."
(On blitzing Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) "You have to be smart when you blitz a guy like Aaron Rodgers. We've been watching film and he's been doing a good job of getting outside the pocket. Whether it's shaking off defensive backs that are coming in, linebackers, or defensive ends, you have to take a perfect angle at him. When you get to him you have to wrap him up because, as you can see, he can beat you with his legs."
(On Packers LB Clay Matthews fitting into Pittsburgh scheme) "Yeah, just the way he plays... Hard-nosed football, aggressive, always getting after the guy. He would have fit in that system real well. He's proven it right there in Green Bay."
(On Steelers tradition of great linebackers) "Those guys took me underneath their wing, but I definitely feel like I have to prove myself because I was a defensive end in college and moved to outside linebacker here in the league. I grew up a Pittsburgh fan, probably since the seventh grade. When you think about Pittsburgh, you know about the linebackers and the defense. Being drafted by them, you want to be a part of that great legacy. Every day when I'm in the hallway at the facility, I see the great linebackers on the wall, and when I'm done playing I want to be a part of it and have my picture up there and be remembered as one of the great linebackers in Pittsburgh."
(On feeling overshadowed by Harrison and Polamalu) "Not at all. It's not about being overshadowed by certain guys, it's about winning. When you have a lot of stars on your team, sometimes it works out perfect, because on our defense you can't just focus on one guy. You have James Harrison on the left side, Troy Polamalu in the backfield, Farrior in the middle, me on the other outside, Lawrence Timmons... So having a bunch of stars sometimes actually works out for the best."
(On Green Bay's offense) "They can run the ball and throw the ball. Having Aaron Rodgers back there is like having an extra running back in the backfield. You have to respect the things that he can do, because he can beat you. He can beat you by throwing the ball and by running the ball. Even the run game is excellent too with the running backs back there."
(On Dick Lebeau) "I don't have a lot of funny stories. Every day, Coach Lebeau would come into the meeting room with something different. I really got a chance to know what type of guy he was when we watched him get inducted into the Hall of Fame. His whole speech wasn't about himself, it was about the team. He talked about how much he enjoyed and loved the Pittsburgh Steelers. That really made guys want to go out there and play for him this year."
(On sack streak in playoff games) "One streak ended at another team, because I had two in every playoff game and that ended. But now the other streak is still going with having one sack in every playoff game. It's good, because that means that you're around. I was telling somebody, ‘if I didn't get a sack we would have still won the game.' That's the most important thing to me. It's not all about just having the records. It's about going out there and winning. When you're winning Super Bowls that's what people remember more than sacks."
(On fellow LB James Harrison being fined throughout the season) "We were a little upset, but at the end of the day it's football. It comes with the territory. It wasn't going to stop the way James goes out there and plays football. But then again, it sends a message across the league for other guys that are on the opposite team playing against us. They're worried that James Harrison maybe knocking them out when they come across the middle. Now they're thinking twice, so it kind of works in our favor as well."
(On the Steeler's defense) "When you have a defense that can go out there and put points on the board and keep your offense off the field, it's always great. The defense is not only doing their job, but it's doing what the offense does too. When a guy gets an interception at practice on our defense they tell everybody, ‘turn around and block somebody,' because you never know your block could be the key block. As you've seen in 2008, we won a Super Bowl when James Harrison got the interception. We had every guy turning around and blocking somebody. That touchdown helped win the game."
(On playing the Packers last season) "I went back and looked at the film. They hit us with a few big plays down the field. I think their first touchdown was a 50-yard pass. It was an ugly game, but we came out on top with a Mike Wallace catch at the end."
(On the difference between the Steeler's defense and other defenses) "I think the Pittsburgh Steeler's 3-4 defense, the defense that we run, is by far the hardest defense in the league. A lot of people try to compare us to other outside linebackers, but it's totally different. When you see me and James Harrison, we're dropping back in coverage, we're covering other receivers, we're covering backs out of the backfield, we're not rushing every play. We're doing more than just dropping back in the flats, we're actually covering receivers out in the field. When you play in this defense here, you're asked to do more."
(On the versatility of his position) "It's perfect for me, because it's almost like a standup defensive end. Like I said, in college I was a defensive end. Rushing the pass was something that I've always done. My biggest thing was dropping back in coverage. I'm doing pretty good now with three interceptions in my career. I can't complain about it."
(On Flozell Adams) "I didn't know much about Flozell. He was a big scary looking guy. I knew from the previous year, after we had played Dallas, that the whole offensive line was 330 pounds plus. I knew he was going to be a big man and he was going to come here and help us this year. He has done that. Every time I'm coming to the sideline after I get off the field, Flozell's always coaching me up - telling me certain moves to use against the offensive tackle."
(On LB Troy Polamalu being leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year) "Game changing plays. You look at all the plays that Troy has made. They're game-changing plays."
(On Steeler fans) "I know our fans are going to be here. No matter where we're at, we travel well. I know the Steeler Nation is going to be here. It's going to be loud, and there's going to be a lot of black and gold in the stadium."
(On Twitter) "Different guys want to say different things. Some guys they'll go around and speak what's on their mind. Some guys just go on their and do stuff for the fans. I just had a Super Bowl contest. I just picked the winner for two Super Bowl tickets. Everybody is handling Twitter in a different way."
(On Woodley's Twitter response to Packers team photo) "That was nothing. Just being funny. They're paying attention and it's not bad. Sometimes bad press is good press. You've brought me a few more followers, so I appreciate that."