View Full Version : Steelers Notebook: Disagreement on issue of pressure

01-17-2009, 01:59 AM
Steelers Notebook: Disagreement on issue of pressure
Saturday, January 17, 2009


Backup quarterback Byron Leftwichnever has experienced the pressure of an AFC championship game in his four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and last season with the Atlanta Falcons.

But he said he couldn't imagine any game having more pressure than a Super Bowl.

"I couldn't possibly see any situation putting more pressure on you than the Super Bowl," Leftwich said. "That's all you ever dreamed of, everybody in this league -- when they were 5 or 6 years old, they dreamed of being in the Super Bowl. They didn't dream of being in the AFC championship game. Nothing even comes close to having the opportunity to be world champions.'

Some of Leftwich's teammates who are playing in their third AFC championship game in the past five years disagree.

"Unless you win this one, you're not going anywhere," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "The Super Bowl, there's a lot of pressure, but you're excited you're there and it's the last game. There's not a game after that, so you can just go play. Unless you win this one, all is for naught."

"It's more pressure to get into the Super Bowl, no doubt about it," said inside linebacker Larry Foote. "Look at the year we lost, when we were 15-1 (2004); it's so hard to get to this point right here. It's 60 minutes to get to a Super Bowl.

"When we played in the Super Bowl, we weren't that nervous. [Linebackers] coach [Keith] Butler, he played 10 years in this league and was in only one AFC championship game. This is three for me. It's hard to get there, but you got to take advantage of this opportunity."
Ch-ch-change of mind

Coach Mike Tomlin decided not to have the Steelers practice outside yesterday, as planned, and it wasn't because of the near-zero temperature.

The outdoor practice field was frozen, forcing the Steelers to practice inside for the third time this week. To make it as cold as possible, Tomlin had the doors to the indoor facility opened during practice, making the temperature close to 32 degrees.

"Generally, at the end of each week, we like to put the finishing touches on the week in a game-like atmosphere," Tomlin said. "I didn't feel like the fields were very safe because of a sheet of ice and I didn't want to get anyone injured."
Injury updates

As expected, center Justin Hartwig (knee) returned to practice and worked with the first-team offense for the first time this week. He will start against the Ravens tomorrow.

Also, All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu (calf) practiced for the second day in a row and will start against the Ravens. Polamalu said his injury, which occurred in pregame warm-ups against the Chargers, did not prevent him running as normal, though it was apparent he did not, or could not, accelerate to chase Darren Sproles on a 62-yard catch-and-run for touchdown.

"I am sure that he went through some discomfort, but it is that time of year where, if a guy can go, they are going to go," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "The same thing would be true with Baltimore. If Troy is on the field, we are not limited at all. If he is not, that changes what we do a little bit because he is a very special guy."

Tomlin said he is not concerned about the health of either player because Hartwig and Polamalu each finished the game against the Chargers despite their injuries.

"This is as healthy as we've been all year," Tomlin said. "I'm not concerned with either one of those guys."
Big Ben much healthier

Willie Parker isn't the only member of the offense who is as healthy as he has been since the season opener.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who separated his shoulder in the season opener against the Houston Texans, has regained the strength in his throwing arm and is able to cut loose with deep passes again.

"I had the receivers tell me the same thing," Roethlisberger said, referring to the game against the Chargers. "[My arm] just felt good out there. We missed a couple of deep balls. We probably left about 150 yards of passing out there. We are close and, hopefully, it stays alive."
New experience

Tomlin and Baltimore's John Harbaugh have coached 48 regular-season games, the second-fewest combined total for coaches in a conference championship game in the Super Bowl era. The fewest is 42 by Oakland's John Madden and Baltimore's Don McCafferty in 1970.
First published on January 17, 2009 at 12:00 am

01-17-2009, 02:47 AM
Not that we are going to lose, but I would rather lose the SuperBowl than to lose to the Ratbirds in the AFCCG. No worse feeling than to lose to those turds and send them to the big dance. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN!

01-17-2009, 06:22 AM
Glad Byron's riding the pine with those nerves.....