Q&A: Troy Polamalu
Posted Sep 17, 2008
PITTSBURGH Ė Troy Polamalu is back. After a 2007 season plagued by injuries, the strong safety has once again become a difference maker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yesterday, Polamalu was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his role in the Steelersí 10-6 win over the Cleveland Browns. His interception at the goal line just before the half saved points in a low-scoring game and stopped the momentum from turning to the home team. Hereís how the soft-spoken Polamalu responded to reportersí questions on Wednesday:
Q: Do you feel like you had a Player-of-the-Week kind of game?
A: No. I didnít think so. Itís obviously an honor, but everything happens so fast, from week to week. Are we talking about Houston? Cleveland? Philly? Everything moves along so fast that itís really tough to dwell on these types of things. So maybe at the end of the season you might think about it, if you even have time then. But I donít know.
Q: Youíre making more splash plays than last year, arenít you?
A: Yeah, coach has said that. But you guys, even though youíre around the team a lot, you only see a small part of what goes on. Youíre not in our meeting rooms. Coaches are doing a good job of preparing us. Weíre doing a good job of taking care of our bodies during the week. There are a lot of things that go into what you see on Sundays and you only see a small part of it. The mental part of the preparation is very important.
Q: What were you trying to accomplish when you dove over center?
A: I donít know. Actually, I just saw that they were in a hurry-up situation and I expected them to do a quarterback sneak. We didnít have a defense called so I figured, you know, try something.
Q: Did it work?
A: No. It didnít work. Actually, nobody had a responsibility because there wasnít a defense called.
Q: Does that happen often?
A: No, it doesnít.
Q: Did the dive have anything to do with the clock winding down to the two-minute warning?
A: No, Iím not that smart. Charlie (Batch) actually asked me that, and I said, ĎCharlie, I might run with that.í But then Iíd be lying.
Q: After signing that big contract last year, did you start feeling the need to make big plays?
A: Not really, quite honestly. On this defense, Iíve played a lot of different roles. But this is kind of a defense thatís more built around linebackers. The defensive line is awesome and doesnít get the credit it deserves, but the big splash plays come from our linebackers, and rightly so because thatís the design, so I donít think so, no.
Q: You guys have four interceptions in two games after 11 all last season. Whatís the difference?
A: Well, we have 14 games to go, so we need to get seven before you stop complaining.
Q: Howís the extra 10 pounds helping you this season?
A: I feel pretty good. I donít think itís affected me consciously at all. The body feels good and there are a lot of different factors in that: I didnít play all preseason, didnít go to camp.
Q: Are you taking a different approach mentally? Are you letting the game come to you more?
A: Yeah, I think so. But I donít have as big of a role as I did. In our sub-packages, Iím on the back end a lot more. But Coach (Dick) LeBeauís going to change things up, obviously, as time progresses.
Q: It obviously suits you. Do you like it that way?
A: Yeah, I do. I do like it. I think itís good for the defense.
Q: Will you have to keep your eye on Brian Westbrook this game?
A: Yeah. They use him in a lot of different areas. Heís treated as a wide receiver when heís outside of the core of their offense and when heís in the backfield heís a running back. Thatís how talented he is. But Donovan (McNabb) is just on fire right now. Heís hitting big plays down the field to a lot of different receivers, so you canít really focus on just one guy when you have an awesome quarterback like that.
Q: I know you donít watch a lot of football, but did you watch this past Monday Night game?
A: No. Saw the score, saw the film, heard the breakdown. But thereís a lot of emotion taken out when you canít hear the crowd or the announcers.
Q: What did you do instead?
A: My wife is pregnant, so I was just running to the refrigerator and back, or something like that.