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Old 02-05-2011, 01:58 AM   #1
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Default Harris: Steelers' Mitchell tells Packers to bring it Read more: Harris: Steelers' Mi

FORT WORTH, Texas Steelers assistant head coach John Mitchell could be excused if he had graciously passed on the question. Said thanks, but no thanks. Praised Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the next Bart Starr.

But Mitchell, as no-nonsense at they come, isn't built that way. When I asked Mitchell, who coaches the defensive line, about the hazards of facing the Packers' dreaded five-receiver attack, Mount Mitchell erupted in breaking every known rule of etiquette for Super Bowl XLV:

1. Never say anything inflammatory about your opponent.

2. Never, ever, tell the truth.

3. When in doubt, refer back to No. 2.

This is not news to Mitchell, whose second-ranked defense has been treated this week like the Cleveland Browns' instead of a unit appearing in its second Super Bowl in three years.

"Green Bay's going to do what got them here,'' Mitchell said. "They throw the ball a lot. They sprinkle in the run. But their quarterback likes to throw the ball downfield. We like to bring pressure, so we're going to bring pressure. Let him throw it. We'll see how far he can throw it downfield. We're going to see how quick we can get to him. It's going to be simple.

"They're going to put five wides out there. A lot of people ask me, 'Are you going to take (nose tackle) Casey Hampton off the field?' No, we're not going to take Casey off the field. We're going to leave him out there. If they're going to try to get Casey off the field, where they don't want to run the ball, it's going to be a big mistake.

"We feel like we can stop the run and make them throw. If he's going to throw 50 times, make him throw 60 times. We feel like our chances of getting to him will be pretty good. The more he throws it, the more chances he's going to take.

"We're not going to change one thing. That's all I've been hearing: 'They're going to run the spread. They're going to have this many receivers.' I hope they do.''

Why did Mitchell do it? At the Super Bowl, of all places? I don't know. I suspect that Mitchell had fielded one question too many about the futility of stopping the Packers offense, and he decided to speak his mind. Politically correct, he was not.

Maybe Mitchell, 59, was acting his age.

It's true that the older you get, the less you care what people think. As the Steelers' longest-tenured coach (17 seasons), Mitchell knew what he was saying, knew how it could be interpreted on the eve of Super Bowl XLV, but he said it anyway.

Mitchell prefers being the squeaky wheel to silence. He believes in the Steelers, believes in his defense, believes in his players.

"We've got a lot of players who haven't been here before. We've got a lot of veteran players who have been here before. They've taken the reins,'' Mitchell said. "That's what a lot of people overlook. That makes my job easier. That makes Mike Tomlin's job easier. We've got veteran leadership. We have enough players who know how to prepare for a game this big.

"People say, 'When you come to the Super Bowl, you've got 90 percent of your work done.' No. I'm starting from ground zero. We're going to work just as hard this week as if we were in Pittsburgh probably even harder. This is a regular-season week. Our preparation is going to be for a regular-season game. Just like if we were playing them on the road or at home.''

Of course, the stakes are much higher Sunday.

Many of the Steelers have been here before three times in six years. Green Bay hasn't; only two Packers have played in a Super Bowl.

Experience can take the Steelers only so far. At some point, talent and resolve will play a major role. However, knowing what to expect before you get there is half the battle.

"If you forget what got you here and the reason that you're here, you'll have trouble this week,'' Mitchell said. "We have enough guys who know what it takes to get here.''

The Steelers don't need a road map. Their pedigree is legit. Green Bay, on the other hand, might want to consider a GPS.

Read more: Harris: Steelers' Mitchell tells Packers to bring it - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1D4LmRhpc
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harris: Steelers' Mitchell tells Packers to bring it Read more: Harris: Steelers

I'm glad they feel confident about the spread and feel ready. Tomlin said they had answers too. I hope they are right.

I don't see how Hampton will get to play much this game though. No matter what he said, Hampton is coming out and Gay in.
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