Super Bowl News & Notes - 1/27/06

Super Bowl News & Notes - 1/27/06

Seattle's offensive line has a combined 518 regular-season starts, by far the most for any of the conference finalists. Pittsburgh's line is second with 404 combined starts. Running back Shaun Alexander will be counting on that experience to open running lanes in Super Bowl XL.

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
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"Our line is great," Alexander said. "They do their job and they play hard and they love hitting people and they give me a lot of opportunities to make things happen. You can't say enough about those guys."

Seattle will send three of its five linemen to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. Left tackle Walter Jones and left guard Steve Hutchinson are perennial Pro Bowl starters. Center Robbie Tobeck will join them as an injury replacement for Bears center Olin Kreutz. The rest of the line features right guard Chris Gray, who owns the longest regular-season starting streak in franchise history, and talented second-year right tackle Sean Locklear.

Alexander called Locklear "so underrated it's unbelievable."

Seattle's line faces a difficult test from the Steelers' rugged 3-4 defense.

"The best thing about the 3-4 defense is it changes your angles," Alexander said. "It is something that you don't practice everyday. It is something you don't prepare for everyday. It is something that you are just not used to seeing every day.

"Angles, blitzes, all those pickups, they change. You don't have the time to practice like you do with a 4-3."

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Bobby Engram (hip) missed practice again Friday. The team expects him to be ready for the Super Bowl.

--WR Darrell Jackson (knee) practiced on Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday practice. The team expects him to be ready for the Super Bowl.

--DT Rocky Bernard (foot) practiced on Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday practice. The team expects him to be ready for the Super Bowl.

--MLB Lofa Tatupu (concussion) returned to practice Thursday and practiced again on Friday. He appeared to be 100 percent, picking off an impressive interception right before the ball hit the turf on a deflected pass on Thursday.


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PITTSBURGH STEELERS
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Ben Roethlisberger keeps following Dan Marino's path in the NFL, but there's one step he does not want to copy.

Roethlisberger broke Marino's rookie records in 2004 and now has his team in the Super Bowl in his second season, just like Marino. He hopes to take it one step further and win the Super Bowl, something Marino never did.

The starting quarterback of the Steelers and the Hall of Fame native of Pittsburgh have become friends, despite their generational age difference. Marino told Roethlisberger of his experience in his first Super Bowl and how he thought there would be more but that he never got back.

"We talked the other day he called and we communicated a little about that," Roethlisberger said. "He said listen, enjoy this, you're young, you're doing the same thing I did. You think no matter what happens you're going to get back, but it doesn't necessarily happen like that.

"He said on one hand enjoy it, have a good time but take it seriously enough that you want to win it because you never know when it's going to happen again.

"We're going to enjoy these two weeks, we're going to stay loose, we're going to have our fun. Coach gave us a couple of days off so now we're back in here and ready to go to work."

Roethlisberger has shown no signs in the playoffs of the sprained right thumb that has kept him on the Steelers injury report the past eight games. He has completed 68.1 percent of his passes, has thrown for seven touchdowns and run for another, thrown one interception and has a 124.8 passer rating.

The difference has been night and day compared to his two playoff games last season, when he threw five interceptions, three touchdowns and had a 61.3 passer rating.

"I'm playing a little bit better, I feel more comfortable, I'm not quite as tired," Roethlisberger said. "I saw you guys interviewing (rookie) Heath Miller and he looked like he's about ready to fall asleep. That's how I was last year. This year I feel a lot more comfortable, a lot better and I think my play's reflected that."

Roethlisberger has taken just five sacks in three playoff games and has run out of the pocket 12 times for a dozen yards. He said the Seahawks front could give the Steelers protection problems; they had 50 sacks, three more than Pittsburgh.

"They lead the NFL in sacks, they're very fast, very athletic," Roethlisberger said. "It's going to be hard to find those guys and pick them up because they're moving all around. They may not be the biggest guys up front but they're high motor guys. They're always flying around. So it's going to be a challenge for us to identify and make sure we pick up the right guys."

PLAYER NOTES

-- SS Troy Polamalu has made plays all over the place in the playoffs. He's tied for the team lead with 19 tackles, has an interception and was robbed of another, has half of the team's tackles for losses with two and leads with three passes defensed.

-- FB Dan Kreider has one carry for two yards and no receptions in three playoff games.

-- RB Duce Staley likely will not dress for the Super Bowl and it could be his last game in Pittsburgh. He has played little this season, was inactive for most of the games and had only 148 yards rushing.

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