View Full Version : Cowher looking to keep players focused

12-27-2005, 10:16 PM

? 2005 The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH ? Bill Cowher would probably like to switch off every TV set accessible to his players, click off every radio they can hear, swipe the newspapers off their driveways.

The Steelers went into each of their last three games knowing any loss would likely keep them out of the playoffs. They responded by winning all three, outscoring the Bears, Vikings and Browns by a combined 80-12.

That's why Cowher wants the Steelers (10-5) going into Sunday's home game against the Detroit Lions (5-10) with the same mindset, even though they could have their 10th playoff appearance in 14 seasons under him wrapped up by then.

One reason Cowher doesn't want any diversion from this it's-all-up-to-us thinking is it will be the same approach they must take in the playoffs, especially since they can be only the No. 6 team in the AFC and thus would play every game on the road.

"It is an opportunity to utilize this as a home playoff game," Cowher said Tuesday. "There will be no talk whatsoever about any other scenario."

However, there are other scenarios to get the Steelers into the postseason even if they lose to Detroit.

A San Diego victory over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night puts them in, and so would a Cincinnati victory over Kansas City on Sunday _ regardless of what the Steelers do. Those are the very words Cowher doesn't want his players hearing, seeing or speaking.

"I think it's very important you don't get caught up in all the 'what if' scenarios," Cowher said. "I think our football team needs to prepare mentally to play this football game like it's a home playoff game. The fact is if we don't win, we may not go anywhere. If you get caught up, deviate from that focus and start looking at other scenarios, you start cluttering your mind with things that are very, very dangerous."

However, should the Chargers win, Cowher will be faced with exactly the problem the Colts (13-2) have wrestled with since clinching home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Does he rest his key players to keep them healthy or does he let his starters play most of the way to keep them sharp?

Cowher's decision could be influenced by the fact that the Steelers will play the weekend of Jan. 7-8 if they do make the playoffs. Last season, they had a week off between the end of the season and their first playoff game, yet Cowher played his regulars little in a season-ending 29-24 win at Buffalo.

"Whatever happens, and you kind of deal with the circumstances that you are dealt with," Cowher said. "I think, at this point, that is the mindset that we have to have and we will deal with whatever decisions or other choices we have at that time. I am not going to waste any time thinking about that or talking about that."

With the Steelers healthier and playing better than they have all season _ their defense has allowed one touchdown in three games _ Cowher doesn't think there will be a letdown Sunday, regardless of the circumstances.

"To sit there and overlook that opportunity we have, that won't happen," he said. "Trust me."

12-27-2005, 10:22 PM
good, no need to slack off this next game just cause it might not mean a thing. i like that he wants to actually keep everyone sharpe and not sit everyone so they can get rust i mean rest

12-27-2005, 10:29 PM
Cowher should focus on not having a heart attack at his young age. ;) Haha kidding :D

tony hipchest
12-27-2005, 10:52 PM
ben is so young i think resting him for a week actually does more harm than good. let him have fun and keep his rythym

12-27-2005, 11:31 PM
I say put all the players in a hotel room from saturday at 1pm and dont let them out till game time..and dont post the score of any other games. :grin:

12-28-2005, 01:07 AM
I love the attitude of one game at a time. They have been very focused the last couple of weeks. Keep playing with that edge and intensity you have had!

12-28-2005, 06:19 AM
Sounds like the attitude we needed during that 3 game losing streak.

Livinginthe past
12-28-2005, 07:10 AM
Im a big fan of keeping yours players game ready - and the Steelers have certainly benefitted from playing hard the last few weeks.

The other bonus is that they have not been involved in any late 4th Q drama's or over-time games which can be sapping in terms of energy.

Even if the game is meaningless I think the Steelers starters should play somewhere between 2-3 quarters - take them out in the 4th to save stamina.


12-28-2005, 08:38 AM
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^What he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

By halftime, this game could very well be over. I expect lot's of substitutions...Cowher needs to give this team any rest he can.

12-28-2005, 10:02 AM
Keep your game faces on! If the players are half as pumped as I am, thn we should be kicking some butt!

12-28-2005, 11:28 AM
Cowher needs to play the Regulars So They don't fall off track this week. They'll need to be able to come out strong in the Playoffs.

12-28-2005, 02:47 PM
the only player i want him to sit after the third quarter is ben, so he doesn't risk getting a cheap shot while he is handing it off to willie or haynes.