Q: This is quite a challenge this Pittsburgh team, can you describe what you have coming up on Sunday?
TB: This is the biggest challenge all year. They have got the number one ranked defense in the league and there is a good reason for that. They make a lot of plays on defense. From what we have seen the last couple of days they are just very aggressive. They have got a great group of linebackers. I think their secondary compliments what they do very well. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and force you to make bad throws.
Q: When the field goal went in it looked like Antowain [Smith] kind of whopped you on the head? Did you see that?
TB: Yeah that's what I thought too. I kind of looked over at Antowain he had already been running up the tunnel and I am saying, 'God.'
Q: But you didn't get to see it?
TB: No I didn't see it. I don't want to see it. That is the hardest hit I took all day.
Q: What game has got you ready for Pittsburgh more than any other this year?
TB: No they are pretty unique, this team is pretty unique. They are very aggressive and I think that is what makes them…Over the course of the season I think every team has prepared us. We have been in a lot of different situations, but I think with this team they present their own challenge. They have a different scheme then we've played and because of that there are some different preparations that we need to make to be ready.
Q: Is their team speed probably better then most teams that you have faced on defense?
TB: I think everyone is pretty similar in the league. Some teams are exceptionally fast others are still very fast, but this team I think will make some…they have got guys that can do a lot of different things. Guys that can rush the passer, but still do pretty well in pass coverage and I am mostly speaking about their four linebackers who do a great job.
Q: How different is your life at this point then it was a year ago?
TB: It is remarkably different, but that's part of it and it is very exciting. I would much rather be in this position then I was a year ago.
Q: How careful are you to not maybe standout too much from these other guys?
TB: I think that is the main thing. The reason we are here is because there are 53 guys who have dedicated themselves to winning football games and there is a lot of hard work that goes into it over the course of the season and in the preseason and training camp and this is why we play to get to situations like this and games like this.
Q: Do you think there is a point where you are going to have to standup as the quarterback and be more of the public face for the team?
TB: I don't think that is a big deal for me at all. Maybe for you guys it is a big deal, but for me I am trying to get ready to win a football game. Believe me that is the least priority on my list.
Q: Where does your poise come from, don't you know that second year quarterbacks are supposed to be as poised as you are?
TB: I think I have had a lot of experience playing quarterback both on the field and off the field. I played at a big school. I have competed against a lot of great players. I don't know it is a good question. I think maybe it is something that I was born to do.
Q: What will you tell your defense about defending their tight end since you know him probably better than anybody else?
TB: Yeah he is a friend of mine. We played together for four years in college. He had the opportunity to step in when their starter got hurt, but he is a heck of a player. He has caught a few balls this year and his playing pretty well. A good strong blocker, so I am sure I couldn't tell them something they don't already know.
Q: I asked him if you helped make him All-Big Ten and he said, 'Well actually [Brian] Griese through him more passes than you did'?
TB: Yeah, Griese threw him a ton of balls. He is an excellent player and he had a heck of a career at Michigan.
Q: Does the magnitude of this game at all affect you? The magnitude of the other game didn't seem to, how about this game, are you thinking yet that you are one game away from the Super Bowl?
TB: No to tell you the truth it seems almost kind of a normal week. Coach does a good job of keeping us focused, just focused on what we have ahead of us and this week it's Pittsburgh. Last week it was Oakland and I think that is why we have been successful because we are not worried about the magnitude of the game we are just worried about how we are preparing and then when we go out and play how well prepared are we and then I think that takes over from that standpoint.
Q: What do you think about being 9 point underdogs?
TB: Well I mean if we listen to what everyone else said we would be 5-11 again. We haven't listened to people all year and there is no reason to start now.
Q: How different are the playoffs from the regular season?
TB: Well you realize that the stakes are a lot higher. That one game and if you lose you are done and because of that you are never leaving anything left out there on the field. This last week was a good example. There is no fight and there is no quit in these guys and we are going to fight right until the very end.
Q: Did the adversity that you had in college with the other Drew [Henson], did that prepare for this situation, do you think you learned more in college then other people?
TB: Yeah I think so. I had an opportunity in college to compete against guys that were top quality. I think when you get to a stage like this the one thing I learned about that is you focused on what you can do better and you focused on how good of a player I can be and then how that fits into your role on the team and it is not so much about what you want other guys to do it is about what you do and how you can contribute and how you can bring everyone else along with you.
**Q: How has your relationship with [Bill] Belichick changed over the course of the year and how is it any different, if it is, then you have had with say your college coach?BB: It hasn't changed, it hasn't changed at all. I mean it has been the same. He has been preparing us the same every week.
Q: But as you have grown and as you have accomplished more things on the field hasn't it changed possibly in the sense that you feel more confident speaking up, hasn't it changed at all?
TB: I don't think it has. I think it has been pretty much the same. If I wanted to speak up in week one then I did. Maybe it wasn't my duty to do that, but that is the way I felt. At least in those quarterback meetings.
Q: Is it a comfortable relationship for you, I mean he is a guy that has been around for a number of years and it is your first year in a key role?
TB: Yeah I was very comfortable. I think being on the roster you know that your coach is confident that you can go in there and play and because of that you should be comfortable around him.
Q: Have you gotten used to all of this attention?
TB: I think there is a lot that can get in the way of what is really important. This is important, but in terms of getting ready to play on Sunday, it's not. The important thing for me is to make sure I am continuing to lift, continuing to get up to the meetings on time and believe me I catch some grief when I don't.
Q: Can you talk about adapting to the role of being the quarterback of this team that made it to this game where you are one game away, how you have accepted that role and how you've not accepted it in another aspect of things?
TB: Well no matter what your role on the team your responsibility is to be ready to play and I have said that since I took over. My preparation doesn't change because I am the first guy or the fourth guy and because of that you are capable of all the roles, you can do them all well and this situation, this season, for 15 games now I have been the number one guy and it is the same thing every week. The preparation is the same, the focus is the same and then when you get out there you hope to play well and about adapting I mean there is nothing different that clicks in my mind that says, 'Wow this week you have got to do really well because this is a really big game.' You always expect to do well so I don't think it is much of a change in my mind.
Q: What have you learned this year, what sticks out?
TB: I would say to not let certain plays effect you through the course of the game. I think you can make the bad play and still come back and make a lot of good plays and win the game. It seems to come down a lot of times to the team that makes the fewest mistakes. I mean you are not going out play scared, but you don't want to make bad plays, you want to make the most good plays you can while not making any bad plays.
Q: Where there times earlier in the season where you struggled with that and then you kind of picked up and realized you could move on?
TB: Yeah I think a lot of times you want to score every time you are out there and when you don't sometimes you come off frustrated…and you start forcing things saying, 'Well I really want to throw the ball up the field on this play because this is what I think we need.' The fact is that it is not especially when you have a defense like we do that keeps us in every game.
TB: Well they have done a good job on everybody that they have played. I mean they very active. They are kind of built in the same mold. They are very strong guys who are powerful, quick to rush the passer, they run over linemen, they run over running backs, it doesn't matter. It is going to be quite a test for us.
Q: How important will your running backs be?
TB: Very important, very important because they are going to be matched up on those guys. They are going to be ready to go. They have been picking them up all year so we are confident that this week shouldn't be any different.
Q: What would you say the mindset of this team is right now following Saturday night's, whatever kind of win you want to call it?
TB: Well it is called a win. I would say it is a confident group of guys. We have won seven straight and we realize that we are one game away from the goal you set. So at this point everything you have done to this point has prepared us for this and at the same time you realize that, 'Hey there is not much left,' you know and all we have to do is push through this one more week.
Q: Does being an underdog in a pressure packed game like this help?
TB: I mean an underdog, when you say underdog it might be underdog to a lot of fans, but there are not too many underdogs in this locker room.
Q: Do you feel that your offensive line can handle their very physical defense?
TB: Yeah I think so. I think we have got a pretty physical team ourselves so it should be a good match-up. I think we have got a physical offense, a physical defense, up and down the roster guys that really probably play the same style that they do.
Q: Do you expect this to be a smashmouth type of game?
TB: Yeah that is what we anticipate. We anticipate that it is going to be a smashmouth. There is going to be a lot of hitting, a lot of energy and excitement especially playing in Pittsburgh. **