.... For those of you that missed it like I did...

Coach Mike Tomlin: Good afternoon. A lot of reasons for us to be excited this week. Monday Night Football road game in a tough environment in Denver versus a very good football team of course. Excited to come back and get back in the cycle of competing, coming off a rested bye week as a football team. Really anxious to get back to work and really, thatís whatís going to be needed as we prepare for this game. When you look at Denver and what theyíre capable of doing or how they do what it is that they do, theyíre very efficient offensively. I think it starts at the quarterback position with Kyle Orton. This guy doesnít throw interceptions. Heís thrown one this year, he doesnít get sacked, heís only been sacked 11 times. He does a nice job of taking care of the football and spreading it around to a variety of people. Their screen game is rock solid as well is their misdirection passing. Brandon Marshall is the leading target. We know the physical skill set of this guy and the matchup issues that this guy creates. Heís big, strong and fast, he can drop his weight, heís very tough to get on the ground after he catches the football. Along with him, savvy veteran [Brandon] Stokley, Eddie Royal of course is an emerging young guy who plays similarly to how Wes Welker played in New England for Coach [Josh] McDaniels, they do a nice job of featuring him in some matchup areas, getting him against linebackers and working in tight spaces. He does a nice job of that. Their running game is handled by a quality first rounder in [Knowshon] Moreno and [Correll] Buckhalter who they picked up in free agency. Theyíve got a rock solid offense. Defensively, right now statistically they have the number one defense statistically in the NFL. The tape bears that out. They put a bunch of pressure on the quarterback, theyíve got 23 sacks, [Elvis] Dumervil has got 10 alone himself but theyíve got some other quality men theyíve picked up in the off season. Darrell Reid has three sacks, Vonnie Holiday had a big sack the other week for them up front. In the back end theyíve added Brian Dawkins who not only provides top quality leadership, but really is playing at a high level when you watch the tape, makes significant plays, particularly on off downs, youíve got to be conscious of where he is. Thatís one of the things that theyíre excelling at as a unit. Their third down defense is really awesome and really thatís a part of playing good defense as they spend quite a bit of time on the sideline because they do a nice job of getting themselves off the field on third down. Eddie Royal is equally or more dangerous in the return game as he is offensively. He single-handedly dominated a football game there for them a few weeks back. So for those reasons and for many others, weíre preparing with an edge this week as I assure they are. Weíre a quality football team thatís kind of been through the things that theyíve been through and coming off of a performance that theyíre coming off of, we can fully expect that theyíre going to be preparing with an edge as well. Very tough to beat in their place, theyíve beat some top quality opponents already this year in Denver. Dallas and New England for example, in both of those games I think they were behind 10-0, this team has shown a great deal of resolve and resiliency theyíve found ways to win football games, they won late against Cincinnati. Thatís what 6-1 or winning football teams do. Weíve got a lot of respect for whatís waiting for us in Denver, with that being said we got a lot of work ahead of us this week. Looking at some of our injury situations or health situations like we talked about yesterday with Ryan Clark, heís received medical clearance to participate in this game from a team of doctors. We still have yet to determine if weíre going to allow him to do that, he has yet to determine whether or not he is willing to do that. What weíre going to do is just continue to prepare this week with he and others and make that decision at an appropriate time. What we donít want to do is come to a decision too early in the week and then have second thoughts later in the week. Weíre going to make the decision once, and then weíre going to play football. Regardless whether or not Ryan [Clark] participates in this game, the standard will be the same for not only our secondary but for our football team. Also, guys that are dealing with situations, Ramon Foster has some back discomfort, it may limit him at the early part of this week. Travis Kirschke has a calf strain which he sustained in the Vikings game, heís questionable. Lawrence Timmons has an ankle sprain which he sustained in the Vikings game, other than that, weíre doing pretty good. Itís exciting to get into the thick of this thing, to move into November, to play top quality opponents, to cut to the chase if you will to find out if we can play football. Thatís really what weíre in the process of doing right now, playing teams like the Vikings and now preparing to play a team like the Denver Broncos, itís a good thing, itís something that really stokes your fire, but that being said, weíve got some work to do.

What did Baltimore do to beat the Denver Broncos?
The story of the game is less about Denver and more about Baltimore. Baltimore started out 3-0, they had dropped three games. We know that thatís a prideful group, thatís a talented group, well coached, great players. They went to the bye week, they were scolded if you will, they came out fighting. Not a surprise from my standpoint, just like it wonít be a surprise from my standpoint if we get Denverís best absolute shot because theyíre a quality team thatís well coached coming off a sub-par performance.

Do you worry about losing your edge because of the bye week?
I donít. Iíve never been a part of a bye week that didnít come at an appropriate time. It seems like itís always on time and when itís over, youíre ready to get back at it and such is the case this time.

You gave the team an off week during the bye week, is it because the bye week was later this year?
It was a function that added some other things. Weíre a veteran group, itís been well documented we had a short off season, etcetera, etcetera. Iím always going to try and do whatís appropriate for the 53 men that we work with and Iím really not going to subscribe to any theory or approach in terms how to deal with each individual decision that we make. Weíre just going to try and do whatís best for the team at that appropriate time, thatís what I thought was appropriate for this group of men last week.

What did you do with the rookies during the bye week?
No we did some fundamental development, we got some individual instruction, we went out and worked on elements of their game, technical things that they need to improve in, we hit some weights, we got some classroom instruction. Itís still about growing and developing, not only individually those young men but as a football team and the more individualized time we can give a young football player, I think the better weíre going to be for it. Weíve got some young guys that are contributing mightily to our efforts at this point and I would imagine that thatís going to increase so weíve got to continue to keep those guys game ready.

Percentage-wise, youíve been running low, is it because of the way that the seasonís going?
Itís really how the seasonís unfolded, weíre just trying to do whatís required for us to win at the same time weíre interested in maintaining some semblance of balance so people can respect all the elements of our games and ways we can attack them.

Whatís Willieís [Parker] status?
Donít know yet, hadnít talk to he or the training staff in regards to him but again, heís just a little under the weather, he should be fine.

Youíve had a lot of success in prime time games and coming off the bye week, is this doubly good for you?
If you like challenges, this one has just about everything youíre looking for. Youíve got a great team in their venue, Monday Night Football, itís going to be awesome, all we need is Howard Cosell.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore both play physical. Do you think Denver doesnít react well to physical teams?
No I donít want to paint with a broad brush in regards to that or what happened in Baltimore, I just think the Denver Broncos ran into a buzz saw. Any team that wouldíve come into Baltimore this past Sunday wouldíve had a heck-of-a time winning that football game. Baltimore is a veteran savvy football team thatís well coached who had come off a streak of a couple games that they didnít believe was satisfactory and had a chance to gather themselves, fine-tune some things, get an edge to themselves, come off a bye week at their place. It was going to be tough sledding if the All-Madden team came into Baltimore last weekend.

Talk about how halftime breaks can affect teams.
Thereís a flow in every football game and if youíre a good team it doesnít affect you very much other than the fact that you spring into action. You donít react to those situations you respond to them. What I mean is respond with a thoughtful approach. Thereís going to be ups and downs in a football game, teams that usually win find a way to push through those things and give themselves a chance in the end and then the moments not too big for them. Thatís what Denverís done for the vast majority of the season, Dallas, New England, Cincinnati, high quality wins versus top quality teams, they donít blink in the significant moments at the end of football games and theyíre a 6-1 team because of it. Again, what happened last week is what happened last week. As we prepare and as I look at them, I look at the total picture and I think thatís the prudent thing to do. More importantly, when I look at what happened to them last week, if anything, your sense of urgency picks up because you know theyíre the professionals that they are that they look to bounce back from that performance.

Itís been said that Denver doesnít try a lot of deep shots. Is that what the tape shows, and if so, without Ryan potentially, if he canít go-how much will that ease your burden in that regard?
Iím not concerned about whether or not Ryan doesnít go at this point. That decision hasnít been made. They choose to attack people how they choose to attack people. They spread the ball around, I think efficiency is their motto. The stats bear that out. They donít turn the ball over, they donít get sacked, theyíre playing great defense, thereís a formula for winning. And one that theyíve won quite a bit with.

Is that the biggest strength of Orton, that heís efficient and doesnít make mistakes?
I really think so. If you really have to pinpoint what heís doing extremely well, heís not throwing interceptions and heís not getting sacked. And when you donít do that, coupled with a great defense, youíre going to be about 6-1.

Is their offensive line-do they do anything special since heís not getting sacked?
Theyíre very athletic; theyíre a very athletic group. Their left tackle, a young guy, [Ryan] Clady, is one of the best in the world. Ben Hamilton is a good player. They have some top-quality linemen who are athletic people, who get after it and hustle, are pretty good at spacing the screen game, really good in the misdirection passing game. They do a lot of things well, and theyíre built to do what it is that theyíre doing.

With Travis and some of the health issues heís had, do you have to limit or monitor the number of snaps as you move forward? If so, how does that impact things?
We hadnít worried about limiting his snaps in football games. At times, weíre very conscious about limiting his snaps during the course of the work week. But when we step into a stadium, we come to play. And if heís good to play, he plays.

Is [Elvis] Dumervil doing more than winning one-on-one battles with his folks?
He is, and I think the scheme of what Coach Nolan is doing over there is very helpful to him. Heís one of those unique body types. Heís moving around some, attacking different people, dropping into coverage and so forth. Of course, theyíre playing a 3-4 scheme now, theyíre playing some 4-2 stuff and sub-package ball. Itís tough to get a beat on where he is, heís got 10 sacks. Sometimes heís coming off the right side, sometimes heís coming off the left side. Sometimes heís gaming. Heís getting it done in a variety of ways.

Is he comparable to anybody?
Nothing really comes to mind at this point. I know heís a very skilled tactician in terms of how he approaches his rush. His hand usage is very good, heís a good leverage player, heís extremely quick.

Do you guys go into a game with a set amount of no-huddle offense scheduled to run? What goes into the decision making in terms of how much to run the no-huddle?
We really donít go in with a set schedule of how much no-huddle weíre going to run. We might go in with a set schedule of when weíre going to run it the first time, initially. Really, itís a feel of the flow of the game, how the afternoon is unfolding, what the physical matchups are-the normal decision-making that goes into game planning, if you will, and then game plan adjusting as you proceed through a football game.

Is Ben [Roethlisberger] as good, from what youíve seen, on buying time and being able to make plays? Is that something that not just anybody can do? It seems easy to say that he can run around and buy time, but you have to know what youíre doing, is that correct?
Itís definitely a strength of his game, physical strength and mental strength. He has a lot of physical attributes that lend themselves to those things. Heís a big guy, a strong guy, heís surprisingly mobile. Heís a competitor. Heís pretty good in that area, but also good in other areas.

You mentioned about schemes defensively, with Dumervil. When you take a look at McDaniels, a lot of folks may be surprised with [Kyle] Ortonís numbers based on what he did in Chicago. Are you seeing him fit into what McDaniels did in New England?
It looks very similar to New England to me, at this point. When I talk about some of the things that Eddie Royal is doing, itís very similar to how Wes Walker attacks people. They personnel you, they formation you, their wide receiver screen game is very good, their running back screen game is very complex and developed, their misdirection passing, and when necessary, theyíre very capable of taking shots downfield. It really looks a lot like New England, of course, other than the fact that they donít have Tom Brady playing quarterback. They have Kyle Orton.

How much, if any, improvement have you seen in Ziggy [Hood] in the weeks since Aaron Smith got hurt, and could he take on an even more increased role if Travis [Kirschke] canít go?
Itís less about in the weeks since Aaron Smith got hurt, and itís more about the development and growth of a young guy. He comes in every day with a mindset to get better. Heís a very hard and diligent worker. Heís showing improvement on the practice field. Heís a tough guy to block on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which means that at some point, heís going to be a tough guy to block on Sundays. Weíll see when that happens.

Do the two TD returns against you prompt any changes in your kickoff coverage?
Not necessarily any changes, but an emphasis. And the emphasis is geared around fundamentals, always has been, always will be. When things arenít going well, when somethingís broken, thatís how I know to fix it. To get back to the minute details in terms of how schemes are built, or adjusted and played; thatís what weíre doing. Weíre looking at putting together the best combination of people, maybe moving some people around, maybe inserting some people, removing some people. Thatís what you do when youíre not having success. It doesnít necessarily mean that itís any better than the original plan; if it was, youíd have probably done it the first time. But when youíre not having success, you make changes. And thatís what weíre in the process of doing.

How big a part is Andre Frazier on those teams?
Heís a big part of not only those teams but all of our special teams units. But you guys know that weíre not in the business of making excuses. Iím not going to take part in that.

How fine a line is it when you have returns for touchdowns against you? Is it usually one breakdown, or does it happen all at once?
Youíd be surprised at how close each individual kick is to going to the house. Thatís just the National Football League. We have a young man who we believe is an exciting return man, heís had a few that were close. Weíve had some that have been close against us, weíve had some that have gone the distance. Thereís a fine margin for error in the National Football League, not only on kickoff coverage units but every time that ball is snapped and put in play.

Has the League wanted or offered any communication on Ryanís status over the past week or so?
I havenít communicated with anybody in New York with regards to that, no.

Even with the injury report?
Hadnít thought about it. Really, donít have to list anything until Thursday. Thatís a few ticks down my road. You guys know Iím a ďone foot in front of the otherĒ kind of guy. Iíll worry about that about Wednesday night.

You mentioned your kick returner and Logan being close. Is he on the verge of doing a little bit more with the punt return game as well?
Again, weíve had some moments of encouragement, some things that are close. But until we do, weíre just a unit in development and heís a man in development in that area.

With the success of the no-huddle, what would be the potential drawbacks of going to it too much?
Of course, when youíre in the no-huddle, you donít have your full arsenal in terms of ways that you can attack people. You have a sufficient amount of plays, but you have a limited number of formations, shifts, audibles, and so forth. A lot of times, game environment has a lot to do with it; weather, crowd, game location, etc. Thereís a lot of things, a myriad of things that go into the decision as to whether to execute no-huddle or how much of it to execute. Itís just a part of what we do, just like wildcat is a part of what some other people do. Itís an element of our game, not something that we get overly enamored with. Itís a toolbox. Every now and then, we pull it out.

Some coaches have gone into Denver earlier, some have gone in later, trying to combat altitude. Do you have any changes in your travel plan?
None. Weíre going to refuse to acknowledge that thatís going to be a variable in the outcome of the game. We acknowledge that it exists, but weíre not going to acknowledge that itís significant enough to determine the outcome of the game. Weíre going to go play, and let that determine the outcome.

It seems like thereís a lot of franchises right now that are having trouble even winning a game. I wondered, with this franchise, what is it about ownership is it that youíve noticed that lends itself to such stability and consistency?
Itís tough to win games, I can acknowledge that. Every week, itís a grind. Weíve got quality ownership. I think thatís no secret; the stability, the vision, the singular focus. Itís easy to come to work here. Really, I donít have a comment with regards with how they are to other owners. Donít know a lot of other owners, havenít worked with a lot of other owners. A good place to be is Pittsburgh, Pa.