FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Bitterness and nastiness have been replaced by praise and compliments.
Sounds different, too.
"We've moved on," Cromartie said. "We're getting ready for Pittsburgh now."
"You look at our backgrounds, we're similar," Ryan said Monday, adding that Tomlin is one of his favorite coaches. "We're defensive guys. We both have incredible opportunities, we know that. I just want to win a Super Bowl like he has."
"Bill Belichick had dominated me the time before," Ryan said. "He did. I was just like, 'Man, that's not going to happen. No way is that going to happen to me again.' I'm not in his class, not even close, but I knew one thing: He was going to get my best shot. There was no question, and at the end of the day, it never mattered because of our players."
"For myself, I've been here three years in a row," said Ryan, whose defense helped lead Baltimore to the AFC Championship Game in 2008. "I don't know if I can handle not winning it. I need to win this game."
Going into the playoff opener against Indianapolis, Ryan said he badly wanted to beat Peyton Manning, but would be even more motivated against Pittsburgh because the Steelers have caused him more grief than any other team. He beat them just a few weeks ago 22-17, but now the stakes are much higher this time around.
Not enough to take any cheap shots at Tomlin or any of his players, though.
"Give me someone you want me to call out," Ryan jokingly said, when asked why he wouldn't use his past failures against Pittsburgh as motivation. "I guess Hines Ward and Casey Hampton. Those would be the two early targets."
"He'll just stand there and then make plays down the field," Ryan said. "I've never seen a guy take the hits he can take and also make people miss the way he does and be as accurate on the run."
Plus Roethlisberger is big -- 6-foot-5, 240 pounds -- and Ryan's type of player.
"No question," Ryan said. "I would've made him a defensive end when he came out, but obviously, he has the heart. He's tough, everything you look for, a competitor. He's anybody's kind of quarterback."
"I love Ben, man," said Cromartie, the same guy who called Brady an expletive last week. "Ben's a competitor."
One of the worst losses Ryan was a part of actually helped build his respect for Tomlin and the Steelers. It was Nov. 5, 2007, and Ryan was Baltimore's defensive coordinator and Tomlin in his first season as Pittsburgh's coach. The Steelers raced out to a 35-7 halftime lead against the Ravens in a 38-7 rout at Heinz Field.
"They ran the ball every single snap in the second half," Ryan said, embellishing a bit. "The one thing was, we can stop the run. They got like, a yard a carry. It was just like batting practice, but he wasn't trying to rub our nose in it. He said, 'We're just going to try to run the ball every snap.' I think he had respect for us."
"Bart came over and said, 'Come on back in because we don't play to the scoreboard," Ryan recalled. "We're going to play as hard as we can, anyway.' Tomlin looks over and goes, 'Bart, you want him? You want a piece of him?' (Bart) goes, 'Yeah, I want a piece of him."'
"That's one of my favorite stories, and it told me a lot about Mike Tomlin," Ryan said. "He said, 'Hey, all right, you're running your mouth. Go get him then. Let's see what happens.' Then, he was like, 'Oh, I probably shouldn't have done that.'
"He's that kind of guy. He's a man's man and his team plays like that."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press