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Ben Roethlisberger Conference Call Transcript - 10/26/2011
Q: Looking at the film of this Patriots defense, what do you see over the last four games or so?
BR: It looked like they started to try and do some different combinations in the secondary coverage-wise and in and out and things doing some confusing type things. It seems that they started to kind of get back to just running basic stuff in the secondary. But I think that their front seven is where it starts and that’s where they get after the quarterback.
Q: Do you see them having more success when they try to do all sorts of interesting things or when they just stay basic?
BR: It depends. I think they’ve done a little bit of both. If you look at them, traditionally, I think they’ve had success doing both and I think they’ve done that this year as well. I think people get caught up in the numbers, but to me, they’re a really good defense that you have to identify and know where people are at.
Q: Much like Tom Brady, you've been in the same system with the same coach and most of the same guys around you for a while now. What does that do for a quarterback’s piece of mind to have that continuity and consistency?
BR: It’s great. I’ve always said that I felt bad for someone like Alex Smith out in San Francisco, who I think in about five years had four coordinators, or whatever the ridiculous number was. I think that’s really hard for a quarterback. Any time that you can get familiarity with a coach, with a coordinator, with a play caller, whoever it is, I think it definitely makes it a lot easier on you.
Q: I saw that you had some tests on your knee after the game. How's your health and how is everything feeling?
BR: Good. It came out with positive results on the tests, so typical Week 7 body, but it’s good.
Q: Typical Week 7 body? So how much pain are you in and how normal is that?
BR: Well, you know, you ask any player in the NFL how much their body hurts, they’re all going to tell you ‘a little bit,’ but nothing that’s going to stop me or hinder my play.
Q: One thing that Mike Tomlin said about Hines Ward was, ‘We’ll save a seat for him on the bus’ and I think the same could be said for you. Is that a team mentality or is that just you guys individually as far as you deal with pain and injuries? Where does that come from?
BR: You know, I think it’s just - any player in the NFL plays the game in pain. It doesn’t matter what game it is or what position you play. You have to deal with it and it’s one of those things that comes along with playing this sport.
Q: Can you pinpoint two or three areas of the Patriots defense that give you the biggest challenges?
BR: I think they do a good job. They switch from a 3-4 front to a 4-3 a lot to even a 3-3, so they mix it up on you. And then I think if you get into certain passing situations, they like to bring their linebackers from the outside. To me it’s about identifying and being able pick up those blitzes, because if you can’t, then you're not going to be able to get the ball off. And also, when you put the big guy [Vince Wilfork] in the middle - he never seems to leave the field - but he makes plays in the run game, and you wouldn’t think, but in the passing game as well now.
Q: When you're identifying matchups, is staying away from Wilfork Island one of the main things for a quarter back?
BR: Well, you definitely have to be aware. That's going to be a heck of a job for whether that’s our center, or our guard. He seems to move around. I even saw him blitz off the edge one time - I think it was against Oakland, they kind of ran a mixer look and he rushed against the tackle. Whoever is against him, he is one of the premier guys in this league and I’ve got to be aware of him in the passing game as well now.
Q: It might sound a little strange, but is there a way a player could thrive off of being hurt and actually play better?
BR: I don’t know. I think that to every man his own, but I know that when I'm injured, I don’t want to let my guys down, so that makes me go out and maybe play a little harder.
Q: After the first couple weeks, you guys had a bad loss and all that and there was a lot of talk about your defense being too old and that maybe the team’s time as a whole had passed. It seems like things have changed in the last couple of weeks. Has anything changed internally? Did you guys talk about all that or just stay the course?
BR: No, just stay the course. We’re too old - quote unquote old - to really let that bother us or get to us. Most of us have been around and kind of understand what goes with the territory of this league and a team and we just kind of, like you said, stayed the course.
Q: Can you talk about the evolution of your team from a running team to more of a passing team?
BR: I think it’s the evolution of the NFL and of offenses. We may be a little bit more behind the times than most teams, but when you’ve got weapons on the outside, you’ve got to utilize them. We still feel like we have some great abilities to run the ball and we have to do that and we do do that. As the league evolves and you’ve got to keep up with teams like New England scoring 60 points a game, it’s part of the evolution.
Q: What does having a guy like Mike Wallace do for you in terms of your options and his speed and just what he’s able to do?
BR: He's a fun guy to play football with. He’s just got a contagious smile and he’s fast and he’s fun to throw it to and when you throw him the ball and he gets it in his hands and he’s behind defenders, you know no one is going to catch him. He does some great things for opening up other guys on our offense as well.
Q: Was there ever a quarterback that you looked up to in terms of never coming off the field - maybe Brett Favre or someone? Was that a mentality you developed or how did that come about?
BR: Growing up, I was a [Joe] Montana, [John] Elway, [Jim] Kelly type guy. I wore seven because of Elway and I consider him one of the tough guys, so that’s kind of one of the guys I really tried to mold my toughness after.
Q: When you're scrambling around to look downfield, can you sense how hard it is for secondaries to cover for that long and is that kind of an added strength for you?
BR: Yeah, sometimes. And when you do it right and you have receivers that understand the game and understand you and you guys are on the same page, it’s definitely a weapon. I think DBs get frustrated and they start holding and they try and grab and do different things. Because it’s a hard thing, first off, just to cover a wide receiver in this league on a three, five or seven-step drop. You start adding a couple seconds and receivers moving all over the place [and] it’s incredibly difficult.