Steelers' Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians spoke to the Pittsburgh media after Thursday practice. Here is that transcript:
How'd Ben look today?
"A little better. He got some of it [practice]. He's moving around… OK. Not as good as he was, but OK."
If you see Ben struggling will Charlie go in?
"We'll just see how it goes there. That's not something you decide on Thursday. That'd be a spur of the moment situation, how we both feel about it. You can't make that decision on Thursday."
Was it something specific that Ben did during the [Cleveland] game?
"No, 'cause he was good in the fourth quarter, he moved around, made some great throws on third downs. Adrenaline does a lot for you in a ballgame that you don't have on Monday. When you wake up, the adrenaline is not there. I'm sure it happened during the game sometime, he thought in the third quarter, but adrenaline gets you through ballgames especially tight ones like that."
Any regrets on playing him in San Francisco?
"None at all."
What have you learned watching him with the ankle, anything you've changed?
"Well obviously he's not as mobile as he was. We make a lot of plays outside the pocket that aren't happening. But the biggest thing is the ball will go higher on him. But nothing out of the ordinary."
Is there anything beyond the injury to Ben that's causing struggles offensively?
"I think field position has a lot to do with that. We're gaining yards but we're not scoring in the red-zone. Our red-zone offense has really slipped on us. The other night the clock ran out, we had two more downs but we only had five-seconds. There were times that situationally if we could play better in the red-zone we'll score more points."
Are you worried about Pouncey being able to play?
"Yeah. Yeah I am. See what happens with the response of his ankle tomorrow."
Did Pouncey have a setback in Cleveland?
Was it yesterday?
"Yeah. With this things you never know, it could be weather related, it can be anything. He didn't sting it in practice it just got sore. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
On Denver's defense giving up more points of late
"They obviously miss Brian Dawkins, leadership wise. They have outstanding speed on defense. Outstanding pass rushers. Solid cover corners. And a young group of safeties trying to take Brian's place. There have been some mistakes that they've cleaned up. But, I think they'll be more than ready for us. They're an outstanding group."
Does Dawkins' presence in the lineup affect how much they blitz?
"No, they just blitz the next 'cat' they're kind of like us, 'next man standing,' 'next guy in line.' The young kids have played pretty well for them. They have made some mistakes that are obvious on film but they play pretty hard and fast. [Dawkins] is a special 'cat' because he's a linebacker when he's blitzing, but the young guys will be fine. They've got everything, every package in the book. 2-deep, 3-deep, 0-coverage, they're an outstanding front."
Any concerns about Redman holding onto the ball?
"No, gosh no. He had two fumbles but he's been great all year and I have all the confidence in the world in him as a runner, as a pass receiver and a blocker."
When will Redman get rest in the game since he's also the third-down back?
"He'll get rest when we're on defense. There's no time for rest now, man, this is the playoffs"
What's your confidence in John Clay:
"John Clay is a young guy earning more time. He's earning our trust and as he plays well in the game we'll play him a little bit more. He can handle the blocking part of it, it's the assignment part of it the young guys struggle with sometimes. But he's been more than ready the last two weeks and when we've had to have him in there we've done OK."
Will Chad Spann get in only in emergency?
"Yeah, Chad, we might use him in a special situation but we don't want to throw him out there too fast."
Have you faced a lot of teams that press, man-coverage like the Broncos:
"Oh, yeah, many many. The Browns are probably the best at it. And the Browns do a great job of holding and grabbing and pulling on receivers within the five-yard frame. They were a really great warm up for these guys we're going to play."
How important is it for your receivers to be able to beat that?
"If we can't beat it we won't win."
Does press-man take out or make harder the screen game for your receivers?
"It does. It takes it out some. They don't play it all the time. They mix it in and out, but that part of it there are other answer to that too. We'll use what we have to to get the ball out to those guys."
Can you remember a year when you'd dealt with all this injuries?
"Close to it last year. Last year was more IR guys. This year it's week-to-week, day-to-day who can and who can't. You just go with the flow, man, you just take what's there and go with it."