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B.J. Raji Press Conf. Transcript - Jan. 24


So what was the talk in the locker room after the game going to the Super Bowl, and your big play, and the dance, and ball security and all that other fun stuff about that play?
It really kind of happened so quickly that once the game ended, I felt like I was living the dream.  Everything slowed down for me.  I go in the locker room, and the postgame, the stage is set up.  So I'm like, man, this is really happening.  I'm turning around and people are handing out the NFC Championship hats and T shirts.  I'm like, man, this is coming true.  It's just a blessing.

Were you one of the guys that showed up to training camp with the cowboy hat for that luncheon?
I wasn't.  I think that was the offensive lineman and A Rod.  But I think the D line has something up our sleeve for this trip.

Oh, yeah?

Can you describe such a sign of confidence?  Where's the confidence come from that this team has?
I think we always have the confidence.  But going back to the cliche of what coaches say, you're only as good as the record says you are.  So we didn't want to get too overconfident. We knew we were a good team.  We knew with the right system in place that we always have, we knew if we got an opportunity to get in the playoffs, we would show up.

What kind of feedback have you gotten on the dance?
Oh man, I've gotten so much stuff from great dance, to need a new teacher, to need some lessons?  I got a whole slew of things.

What was the percentage one way or the other?
I don't know.  I got 170 text messages after the game.  I haven't read half of them yet.  It's just been a crazy couple days.

Roethlisberger's a big guy.  Will you have any problems bringing him down?
Like I said, he's a very big guy.  We played him last year and we had trouble bringing him down.  I think we missed about four or five sacks on him just because he eluded us.  Like you said, hopefully I can get him down.  I'd like to think so.

How much do you watch Casey Hampton?
You know what, I've watched him because we run the same type of defense.  A lot of times we have to get front side on the A gap when we're running 3-4.  But I felt we're different type of players.  I felt like he's more of a run-stopper defensive end.  I like watching guys like Wilford that add a little bit in the pass rush. He's a very strong guy, very nimble.  Not to say Casey's not nimble, because he is.  I just feel like we have different games.

Where have you found so much energy this year with all the snaps you've personally played this year?
I feel like I've had pretty good energy throughout the season.  I just feel like we've been coming down the stretch with some big games.  Obviously there was more attention on those games. But I'm trying to do a good job with my wins, going hard in practice.  Because usually generally I've found when you go hard in practice, the games become a little bit easier.

What did you think of the reception at the airport yesterday?  Did that ever happen in any other city?
You know what, I didn't know it would be, … I heard 3,000 people.  I didn't know it would be that many, but I knew it would be some because the Packer fans are simply nothing short of amazing. But we were leaving the tunnel and we hit the double doors, and I heard one guy scream my name, and then I didn't hear anything for about the next five or 10 minutes just walking through the airport.  It was an unbelievable feeling.  I'm just happy that we could bring some joy to the city.

How much work do you need to get done here?
We need to get the bulk of our work done.  Obviously the Steelers are a great franchise, and we kind of ended … we played them last year and we didn't like the way the game ended. And this is the biggest game of the year, by far. I feel like if we get a lot of stuff done here, down in Dallas it will be a little bit of a spectacle.  So we have to balance our time wisely.  But usually if you get the bulk of the work done here, you shouldn't have a problem.

What are the strengths of their offense?
They like to run the ball.  They have a very physical offensive line.  Their running backs are very physical.  They have speed at the receiver position.  They have a crafty guy like Hines that's been playing for years and obviously they've got a two time winning Super Bowl champion quarterback that's as tough to bring down as there is in the league.

What's that say about a coach that he can get into the 18th game of the year and pull something out that no one's seen yet?
I mean, Dom is just … I've never seen enough … I'm only in my second year in the league, but I've been around some good coaches.  I've never seen a guy that can just create such great defenses in a short period of time. We'll practice on Wednesday, and Dom will have something to look at.  And we'll come back on Thursday in meetings, and Dom will have three or four new defenses that are completely different.  I mean, he's a great defensive mind.  I'm just happy to have him on our team.

What do you think about the Steelers and the whole organization, what kind of things come to mind?
Just to be honest is greatness, just a storied franchise with great players.  Countless amounts of Hall of Famers, very physical stout defense.  It's a very blue collar city and blue collar team.  They have great success.

Would you make an argument about getting more touches on the ball as a fullback?
You know what, I'm more worried about winning.  If coach feels he's giving me the ball to win, I'm very ecstatic about that.  If coach feels he needs me to block so he can run play action stuff or run the ball, I'm fine with that as well.  As long as we win, I'm happy.

Did you give yourself the Freezer nickname or where did that come from?
No, actually, I was mic'd up for the Atlanta game, and one of the trainers came to me and said you look like the Fridge out there.  And I was just playing around, I'm the Freezer.  I was making a joke, just making light of the situation and having a good time with it.  So I guess, in retrospect, I came up with the name.

Are you okay with it sticking?
Yeah, that's fine.  I don't mind.

Yesterday, Sam's two picks, did that epitomize what this team's been about all year long that somebody's stepping up in a hole vacated by injury?
Yeah, Sam's a young, great player.  I've got to give credit to first of all, our guys upstairs, general managers and scouts.  Those guys do a fantastic job.  Especially getting first-rounders like myself, Clay, Aaron, Bulaga, but also doing a great job with getting guys that kind of slip through the cracks like Tramon, like Shields, players like that, like Bishop.  People that are great football players, but for whatever reason, they slip. I just feel that trick was down to us, and now we understand that we're brought here.  We understand the tradition here, and want to play to the best of our abilities.

You talked earlier about Dom being creative defensively.  You dropping back in coverage and a corner blitzing.  Do you feel that's what set your defense apart a little bit?  How much of that is him putting you in situations you haven't been in before that you can adjust to?
Dom's a big match up guy, so a lot of times you guys might see us playing more sub packages than 3-4.  It's just because he feels that we have a better match up with this particular defense this week. And this week we kind of mixed and matched a little bit. We knew they would try to run the ball. In our last game we played Chicago they had some success when we were in the sub package with the run game, so Dom wanted to kind of cool that down a little bit.  We got gassed out a little bit late in the game, but we were able to overcome that.

B.J., Trgovac's name has come up for a couple of defensive coordinator jobs.  What kind coach has he been?
He's been a life-changer for me.  He's had so much experience with the young, high draft picks.  He knows when to back off, he knows when to get on you.  Versus last year, some of the conversations we've had this year, we would never discuss that last year.  He knew I wasn't ready last year for taking on the role of a starting nose tackle in a 3-4 defense and some of the things we're doing schematically. So I felt like he's kind of grown with me.  He's kind of laid off a little bit and let me grow.  But he's also a good coach, so he's going to get on me when he sees it's necessary.

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