Former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, now the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, hasnt publicly expressed his thoughts on facing his former team on Monday night.
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
But Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can sense something extra is stirring in Haley, who was let go by the Chiefs last December.
He wants to win every game, as we all do, Roethlisberger said on Wednesday morning. But without him saying it, you can see it anytime youve got a guy on your team who used to play for another team, theres always a little incentive that you want to win for that guy.
We havent practiced yet, but throughout meetings and stuff, you can kind of see it a little bit. I dont think hes admitted it yet.
Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, said the Steelers havent seen much of the yelling and screaming that marked Haleys time in Kansas City during 2009-11.
He knew coming here that this team is a veteran group, Roethlisberger said of the Steelers, 5-3. The Steelers in general have always done it a certain way for a long time, and he just wanted to come in and continue that tradition, and thats what hes been doing.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin toned down the rhetoric.
Its not Todd vs. the Chiefs, and I think Todd understands that, Tomlin said. Hes been in this business a long time. Weve got a job to do this weekend.
No bad blood
A survey of the Chiefs locker room didnt reveal any animosity toward Haley as they prepared to face their former coach.
We bumped heads just like any other coach, safety Eric Berry said. Football is a passionate game, and a lot of emotions go back and forth, but at the end of the day, I felt like he had my best interests. Football is competitive, but there still is a lot of respect for him.
Berry doesnt expect Haley to try to roll up the score just because its against the Chiefs.
I expect that from everybody, Berry said. This is the NFL. Everybody, every week is a juggernaut bout. I expect a lot of stuff from any offensive coordinator to try to win games and put up points.
Gibbs influence on defense
Gary Gibbs, elevated from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, is putting an emphasis on creating turnovers. The Chiefs have given the ball away a league-most 29 times, and the defense has taken the ball just nine times for a league-worst minus-20 differential.
Only three teams, Pittsburgh and Dallas with eight, and Indianapolis, three, have fewer takeaways than the Chiefs.
A lot of people put a lot of pressure on our offense, said Berry, who had an interception last week at San Diego, but we havent been causing (many) turnovers. We can help them out in a lot of different situations as well, giving them a short field and opportunities to score.
Ziggy Hoods role
Former Missouri defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, the Steelers first-round draft pick in 2009, has started all eight games for Pittsburgh and had two quarterback pressures last week against the Giants and blocked an extra point against Washington on Oct. 28, the first by the Steelers since 2003.
Ziggy comes to work every day, Tomlin said. Some people dread some of the things that come along with being a football player a professional athlete I think Ziggy embraces it. He genuinely enjoys practicing, training, working out. Its a winning edge for him.
No trap game
The Steelers, 5-3, are riding high after last weeks road win against the Giants and will face AFC North rival Baltimore, 6-2, on Nov. 18. So it would seem the Steelers could have a letdown against the Chiefs, 1-7.
Not so, said Roethlisberger, whose team has played just three home games this season.
Were excited to finally get to come home, Roethlisberger said. It feels like we never play at home anymore. Were on the road so much. Were excited to come home and play in front of our fans. We want to put on a great game for them. Thats the way Im approaching it. A lot of the guys are excited to come home and play in front of our fans.
Chiefs defensive end Glenn Dorsey (calf) and quarterback Brady Quinn (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday. Quinn has been ruled out for Mondays game. Tight end Steve Manari (ankle) said he participated fully in practice.
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