I think you need to respect every opponent. Being the defending world champions, you have to respect them. Even though they lost a game and showed some weaknesses last week, we respect them just like we respect every team. But they are our rivalry. They're our big rival. I don't think there's a person in this locker room that likes the Steelers or roots for the Steelers or hopes they do well. We enjoy playing them. We look forward to the challenge and look forward to this weekend.
Q: With the fact that this was the team that hurt you last year, is there anything to that?CP:
No. It's a game. I've said time and time again, bad things happen some games. Good things happen some games. I don't hold any grudges toward that team or an individual. It's part of the game. I'm not concerned with any of that.
Q: What is the biggest challenge going up against this defense?CP:
There are a lot of challenges. Communicating in that crazy atmosphere, it's going to be loud; the fans are going to be into it. They do a lot of different looks, a lot of different coverages. They scheme very well against what you do offensively. They're a handful. There's not just one thing they do well. They are physical, fast, quick, experienced guys, veteran guys.
Q: Are rivalries important in NFL?CP:
I think so. I think they make it fun. Having a rivalry is for the players, for the fans, and I'm sure the media. People get into it more. Everybody's talking,
'It's Steeler week, it's Steeler week.' I'm not sure if in Pittsburgh they're saying, 'It's Bengal week,' but around here it means a lot to us. Not that any game means more than any other, but this one might a little bit just because they're the defending champs, they knocked us out last year, they're the Steelers and they're in our division. It's a special week, it's fun and it's an exciting game.
Q: With Bill Cowher leading the mock 'We-Dey' cheer last year, does that stick in your craw?CP:
No. Some people have different opinions of that. I don't think much of it. I'm sure they were excited to beat us and move on in the playoffs. Who knows what we're going to be saying if we have a chance to beat them and move on. But it's just part of the game. It's part of the fun of the game.
Q: As impressive as your comeback was from the knee (injury), what about Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident and appendectomy?CP:
He's been through a lot. He's a great player, a great competitor. To be back on the field after all he's been through says a lot for his character.
Q: If Troy Polamalu isn't 100 percent, how big of a difference does that make in his performance?CP:
It doesn't matter whether he's 100 percent or 75 percent. He's still a playmaker. He's a presence on that defense. He's a leader. I heard something about him being injured last game. He didn't look it to me. He's making plays. He's playing fast. He's playing physical. Whether he's 100, 70, 80, or 90 percent, it doesn't matter. He's still going to make his plays.
Q: How big of an impact does Madieu Williams have in comparison with Troy's impact with the Steelers?CP:
They're not very similar in the way they play. But their importance to their team and their defense is very similar. Madieu is a leader. He leads by example. He's an extremely hard worker. He's always in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. I think he plays a little differently than Troy. He doesn't attack as much. He's covering and running around, using his speed and quickness. Madieu is every bit as important to our team as Troy is to his.
Q: The fact that you've won two out of the past three games at Heinz Field, does that give you a reference point and some confidence?CP:
A little bit. The past is the past. We're really not worried about that. We're a different team. They're a different team. But we know we can win there and we
expect to. But the past is the past. We're looking forward to this year and this game.
Q: Do you think this is a different team mentally, a more mature team?CP:
I think the additions, with big Sam Adams, Dexter Jackson, having Rashad Jeanty, are making a difference. We've got two guys who have won Super
Bowls. So I think we're a different team than we were last year. But they're also a different team. That's not saying they're better or worse. It's just different. Every year there's so much turnover in this league. We've had a lot of turnover. I'm sure they have, too.
Q: Do you guys have more resolve this year after some said you "imploded" down the stretch last year?CP:
I don't know about that. We lost a couple of tough ones at the end of the year. But personally I think we're a better team this year and I am hoping that
won't happen this year.
Q: How was your talk with the commissioner?CP:
It was good. He came in and was very respectful of our time, and I think we were respectful of his time. The main thing I took from it is he's an accessible commissioner. He said if there are any questions, if you guys want to talk, here's my e-mail address, call me, and I will get back to you. He seems younger, more energetic. I'm excited to see what he's going to do in this league. From a player's standpoint, you feel like if you do have something you're concerned about, you can get a hold of him. I think that's important and shows a lot about what type of person he is.
Q: He talked about the responsibility of players to the league, the community, etc. Did that hammer it home to some guys?CP:
No question. He talked about that and the importance of staying involved in our communities. I think the NFL has done a phenomenal job in the past and currently does, and I'm sure that's one of his big duties to keep working in that direction and keep doing a better job in that area.
Q: Is there a fraternity among NFL quarterbacks? Do you see Ben (Roethlisberger) in the offseason, and are you on friendly terms?CP:
I've seen him at a couple of different events. You don't see every guy, but occasionally you see different quarterbacks.
Q: Did you ever have (Paul) Tagliabue's email address?CP:
I didn't have it.