Q: Have you beaten Pittsburgh at home since you've been here?CP: "I don't believe so. They play pretty well here, and they play pretty well there."
Q: Does that bother you at all?CP: "It bothers me that we haven't beaten them (at home), and we're just trying to get a win in a division game. It's a big game for both teams. We're both in the same spot at 1-1 right now. We both need a win."
Q: Are you still a little rusty?CP: "I'm going to get more and comfortable as I play and practice. I feel it from game one to game two, and hopefully I'll continue to feel it as the year goes on. The more you play, the more comfortable and confident you get."
Q: How much is that physical and how much is mental, with preparing, reading defenses and making adjustments?CP: "It's 50-50. The physical stuff comes down to fundamentals -- the footwork, and the quarterback position. The other half is seeing things unfold, seeing disguises, reading blitzes and getting into the checks and making those mental adjustments in the game."
Q: Regarding the interception you threw against Green Bay that was returned for a TD, is that one of those mistakes you wouldn't tend to make if you were further along?CP: "I definitely should have seen that. I just didn't see the player. There was somebody in my vision in between the linemen and defensive linemen in front of me. Looking back at it, I should have seen it. I wouldn't attribute that to rust. I just have to see that guy."
Q: Are you happy that Troy (Polamalu) isn't playing?CP: "I'm definitely not happy for Troy, because he's a friend. You don't want to see somebody get injured and go through the physical pain. I know the mental stress he's going through, because he wants to play and be on the field. But just for me and for this game, I'm absolutely glad he's not going to be out there. We need to win this game, and our chances are better when Troy is not on the football field. That goes for whoever plays against the Steelers. When your best player is not on the field, you're not at full strength. In no way am I excited to see Troy hurt, because I know what kind of physical pain and mental pain he's going through. It's a big division game, and he expects to be on the field, and wants to make plays for his teammates. It looks like he'll be unable to do that."
Q: How much does their defense change without him? CP: "It's not so much different as far as the schemes are concerned, but there are a couple things they're not able to do without him out there. Just his presence out there. He's a guy like Ed Reed, that every time you're snapping the ball, especially when it's a pass, you see where he is. Sometimes he's going to be out of position to break on plays or he's reading a play. Sometimes he's going to put himself in a position to make tackles. He made a number of tackles in that first game. It seemed like every play, the ball went to him and he made a play. You need to see where he is and see what's going on, but I don't think their schemes will drastically change."
Q: How much more important is the run game this week against a defense like the Steelers? CP: "Huge. It's big every week, especially in division games, because in the division, it comes down to taking care of the ball and time of possession. When you run the ball effectively, you're definitely going to have a better time of possession. That's something that's big in this game and the Baltimore game."
Q: Once you clean up the penalties, how good can you be?CP: "I don't know. We have a lot of new guys, but we're very confident. If we don't shoot ourselves in the foot or beat ourselves, we feel we can play with anybody, and beat anybody. That's definitely easier said than done. It's easier to say, 'Well, if we didn't have those penalties or we didn't have those turnovers.' But you have to go out and do it. You can't say, 'We would have had this many yards or this many points,' because we don't have that many yards and didn't have that many points. We had 13 penalties and two turnovers. It's something we have to clean up. We'll work on it in the walk-through today, and we'll continue to work on it all week and all year."
Q: Is this sort of a "measuring up" game?CP: "Yeah, everybody knows it's a big game. Every division game, and you combine that with your first division home game, and you combine that with they're the defending champs. It's a recipe for a big game."
Q: Is it a confidence boost for the offensive line to be performing well, and to be able to help Cedric Benson's performance against Green Bay?CP: "Yeah, I think our guys understand how to play with each other, and they understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. They may not have a ton of games under their belt, but they've worked a lot together, they have a number of reps, they watch film together and do a number of things together. I don't think they needed a game to say, 'OK we can run the ball.' We knew as a unit we could run the ball, we just needed to do it. We need to do it this week. The run game's going to be a huge factor in who wins this game. If they run the ball better, there's a good chance they win the game. If we run the ball better, there's a good chance we win the game."
Q: You are clean-shaven now? Are you being a little superstitious?CP: "It's not a superstition. My wife's been on me for about six weeks now, so it was time to do it."
Q: A lot of locals in Cincinnati strongly dislike, or loathe, the Steelers. Do you feel the same way?CP: "I wouldn't use those words in describing their team, but I understand the rivalry. There's so many different ones -- there's the Cleveland-Cincinnati rivalry, there's the Baltimore one, it's in-division games. But because they're the defending champs, it makes it a really big deal to go out and win the game. It's going to take a big effort. I definitely wouldn't use those same words, but I can understand those words being used by people in this city, because they've seen that team and that organization be extremely successful, and I don't know how many years. I understand it, but I wouldn't use those words."
Q: When you play the Steelers at home, now, does it make you think of the playoff game in 2005?CP: "No. As a player, you get asked questions like that, but the only thing we're thinking about is Wednesday's practice, Thursday's practice, Friday's practice, and then game day. You don't have time to focus on the extra things that get thrown on there, and the Keith Rivers thing that happened last year. You just have to focus on this game and this win."
Q: How difficult is it, physically, to play three straight division games in three straight weeks?CP: "It's extremely difficult on your body because of the physical play in division games. I don't know why, but for whatever reason, it's a much more physical game when you're playing a team you know, a team you're used to playing and a team you can get an edge on in the playoff run. It's a big deal for us, it's definitely difficult, but whoever comes out of this stretch can kind of control their own destiny. If you come out of it 3-0, you have a really good edge, because you have two more home games against division opponents and you expect to win those. It's going to be difficult, it's a long road, but the good thing is we have a bye a couple of weeks after that to get a rest. But it's going to be a very physical three weeks, and a very rewarding three weeks if it turns out the way we expect it to."
Q: Is it just as much, if not more, taxing mentally?CP: "Mentally, it's not much different until you throw Baltimore into the loop as an opposing defense. Playing against that defense, there's always something you have to iron out, a lot of wrinkles they throw in the game plan. I haven't seen them play this year, but I assume it's similar to what they've done in the past. Physically, I don't know that we've done this before. It's going to be a grueling three weeks and pounding three weeks, but this team is up for it."
Q: Are there similarities between Green Bay's 3-4 defense and Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense?CP: "There's a little bit of carryover, but it's a completely different team. Two different teams can play a similar scheme, but it really comes down to the players. (There are) different builds on different players, different styles of players, playing similar positions doing similar things, but different players. There's a little bit of carryover, but it really comes down to a different team and different unit."