STEELERS-LIONS POST-GAME QUOTES
Coach Mike Tomlin: Good start for us. I stress that it’s just a start. We’re not going to judge it emotionally. We are going to get back in the morning and look at the tape. Technically, from an assignment standpoint, energy, all elements, it’s going to be an awesome evaluation for us as a staff looking at the growth and development of these men and how they’re coming together. I like the overall energy and the effort. Probably the most impressive thing about the outing was we played relatively penalty free. Part of us being a good team starts with us not beating ourselves. I think we had pre-snap and post-snap penalties at an absolute minimum, and that was one of the things we wanted to do tonight. We knew we weren’t going to play perfect; you never do the first time out. But we thought if we played penalty free and showed awareness in terms of situational football, the unwritten rules of the game, I thought it would be a good performance. I think for the most part I think we were able to do some of those things.
Why did you choose not to play Ben?
We framed this thing at the very beginning that we were interested in this guy having a productive camp and preseason. We wanted to get clarity. The quarterback position, we acknowledged, because
When he does play will it be with the first team?
We are not going to lock ourselves into anything just based on our discussions and our decision making tonight. I’m not interested in sending
What were your impressions of the offensive line?
As on outfit I thought we shot ourselves in the foot. And that usually happens at the start of the preseason. We got to do a better job holding on to the football. I really think in order to give a good assessment of those guys, we shot ourselves in the foot some, but that’s part of it. We will continue to work and get better. We saw some four down, and that’s always new. We expect the offseason and training camp playing versus a three down team. It’s great getting some of that in the preseason because we know what September holds for us in terms of the Tennessee Titans and Buccaneers and so forth. So it was some good work for us.
What were your impressions of
He played similarly to how he’s played in training camp. He’s been very consistently; he has a personality, he is a downhill guy, he’s patient, he has good vision, he finds holes, he finishes plays. So it’s very encouraging.
How do you determine the preseason captains?
They are the captains from a year ago.
Do you have another vote at some point?
At the end of the preseason, between the fourth preseason game and our opener we will vote on captains for 2010. As a general role for the preseason I always have the captains from a year ago represent us until we get to that point.
How do you think Maurkice (Pouncey) did?
I have to look at the tape to get a legitimate evaluation of his play. He did play both positions (center, guard) and we are pleased that he was able to handle that. That is an indication that things are going well for him. Well will get a look at the tape to see how he performed the minute details at both positions.
He is a guy that is capable of doing some other things and we quite simply want to highlight it. The more that he can do provides flexibility for us from a personnel stand point. It really gets critical when we start talking about game day hats in September once the regular season starts. We just want to cast a big net with some of those guys. He is a good short area quickness guy and he has good vision and he understands blocking. We utilize his talents in that way.
RE: Dennis Dixon
I thought he did a nice job. He moved the offense relatively well. I liked his composure and it was a good start for him.
It looks like
On the touchdown did you know that you had enough left in the tank to turn the corner and make it in?
I only played two quarters, so I was well-rested and my legs felt fresh. I knew that I just had to make the corner.
You seemed just as happy with the catch that you made late in the game?
I’m a rookie, I just embrace it. This is my first time in a Steelers uniform. It was great to be at Heinz Field and enjoy the atmosphere.
Next game do you expect more special teams?
Yeah, I would love to do that. I was hoping for a kick return today, but our defense did a great job. It’s good playing for the Steelers with a great defense.
Did you know going in that you would get the first reps?
I kind of knew. It felt good putting that black and gold back on. To be back out there and see a different uniform, it was nice.
After the first couple series what do you need to work on?Everything, everything as a whole. We weren’t clicking very well tonight. That happens in the first pre-season game. Good thing we got three more, I hope they don’t cut it down to two. You need all four.
What were you trying to get out of this game as a player?
We just wanted to get a feel of going against another team. We’ve been practicing against each other for the past two weeks. It just feels good to get out here with our home crowd, getting that feeling of being home and getting the season started. It’s nice to hit somebody in a different color uniform.
How did you like being back on the field for the first time?
It was great, it was awesome. This is the best city to play in. Steelers fans are great and they keep us going.
Re: Coming off a season where you missed the playoffs.
We have a little chip on our shoulder, but we’re going to stay focused. We didn’t make the playoffs last year and our defense didn’t feel that we played as good as we could have. The defense has a little chip on our shoulder, and we’re going to show it this year.
How did it feel coming out onto the field after your injury?
It was good to get out there and knock some dust off. It was nice hitting somebody other than my teammates.
How would you rate the defense’s performance as a whole?
That’s hard to say, what did we play, six or seven plays. I think that we did well, I’m sure that there will be plenty of things that we have to work on and clean up. It was a good start I think.
What did you expect to get out of this game?
Just to come out here and start fast and set the tempo. You know you are only going to play a limited amount of time. You have to take advantage of that time that you have.
Re: Getting a break from camp to come out and play a game.
It’s good to get out there and play against somebody else to see what you’ve learned in camp and apply it to a real life game situation. We didn’t get to play a lot, but we got to run some different coverages, some things that we’ve been working on. It went well.
What do you think that you have to work on before next week’s game against the Giants.
Just continue to get better and continue to do what we do well. Coach LeBeau is an amazing coach and has a lot of new wrinkles in for us this year. We need to sharpen those things as we go back to camp.
Re: On missing the playoffs last year coming off a Super Bowl win. Do you come into the season with a chip on your shoulder?
I think defensively we do. I think a lot of the games that we lost last year was because we didn’t finish strong. We’ve really been focusing at OTA’s and mini camp and carrying on to training camp. We want to do better this pre-season at completing games.
What do you say to all those people that are saying the defense is getting too old?
You have to watch us play. The defense is going to keep playing hard. It’s not about what we say in interviews it’s about what we do on the field. We’ll have to come out and show those guys that they’re wrong.
Coach Jim Schwartz: We got some hardcore fans in Detroit and people that stayed up until the end of this one.
Are you glad they finished the game?
When you play a game you play a game to finish it in the win. It was a tough situation being down for about an hour and having to warm back up again. There was no doubt that they were going to play the rest of the game. It was just a matter of going back out there and doing it. I’ve had that same situation for almost 3 hours one time and we went out and played. So there was no question that we were going to go back out and play, we just wanted to make sure the players were warmed back up and we did a good job of keeping them abreast of what time we were possibly going to go back out. It’s a tough situation we put in, but I thought they pushed through it.
You said you wanted to see a continuation of what you see in practice. Did you?
I thought we did some good things early in the game. We had some penalties that took some of that away which was disappointing to see. But, you can’t finish the game the way that we did in the second and third quarters in particular and feel happy about it. Unfortunately, some of the guys that made mistakes there or had penalties or missed tackles or did things like that have also done some of those things in practice. You want to see players reinforce what they’re doing, good things in practice. Unfortunately for some of our guys, they reinforced some of the negatives that have occurred and they need to pick it up because they’re running out of time.
How did the rookies do?
They went out there and played their first ball in the NFL. I thought our defensive line played very well early. I don’t know if there was just one time where we were hitting the quarterback and getting really good pressure just from the four man pass rush and that was a big part of that. I thought we did a good job on the run in most cases too. Jahvid [Best] had some really good runs, a couple runs that looked like they were going to be lost yardage plays that he stuck up in there and ended up with zero, and sometimes that’s a good run. He also had one that he had a free runner and he made him miss and I think made about five yards. Those are really big plays for us. We got a little speedy there, they brought a blitz on one and matt was probably a little bit quick and didn’t get a really handle on the pass and popped it up in the air. That was probably the only disappointing part of the offense early. That and the penalty that took Calvin’s [Johnson] big play away.
Re: Jordan Dizon’s injury
It looks like a really serious knee injury. We’re waiting to see what it is, but it didn’t look good at that time and we’ll pray for the best. It looks pretty significant.
That is a position you cannot afford to lose.
We need to get DeAndre Levy back pretty soon. He’s pretty close to getting back on the field. So that would help to get him back out. If the knee injury is what we think it is, we’ll probably be making a move there too.
Re: Defensive line in their first game
The plan is that they carry us defensively. We used most of our resources to improve in that area and we returned a lot of players from last year also. I think they moved up to their early expectations. We still got a long way to go. We still have 3 preseason games and 16 games to play, so let’s not start talking about how they are going to be after one performance. But there were good signs there.
Stafford made some reads in the red zone. Could he have done that last year at this time?
That’s pretty basic. I think the thing I like about what Matt [Stafford] did is that probably his worst pass, the one he had intercepted, he sped up a little bit on Jahvid and got it before his head really turned around. Really his worst pass was the first fade to Calvin. It really didn’t give him a chance. The thing I liked about it is he came right back with it and they played the same technique and he saw right away that he had done the play before and put it right on Calvin. They were taking a deep fade away and sort of just bodied him and the fade stopped, and I think that was a good sign from Matt. Matt had good command, I thought we protected him really well and he just looked calm and very efficient out there.
How it feel your first time out?
It felt good. First time I’ve been out on the field since Cincinnati and I felt good. I felt like I was in the flow of the game. We got put in a tough spot there early from the first drive there from the minus two or three yard line. Didn’t convert on that third down, but that next drive we came out and moved it decent, had that penalty called it back that play, and it brought it up the same corner blitz and knew we were going to get one of, and I think that ball kind of snuck up on Jahvid (Best) in the back field and I think if I put it right on his chest too it’s a completion. Other than that we came out on the next drive, so that’s what you got to keep playing the game and we did a great job of executing. The guy caught the ball, ran with it after the catch, made a couple nice runs. I felt real comfortable out there.
RE: You seem determined to go to Calvin in the redzone. Is that something you’re going to stress this year?
Yeah, I mean, why not? He’s a mismatched for everybody and the first one I threw to him, I didn’t throw a great ball, but they’re just overplaying the fade on it big time. I’m trying to play on top, and if they’re just going to do that then I’m just going to keep throwing them to the back shoulders. It’s tough for guys to defend him, especially their not committing anyone over the top, they’re blitzing both safeties in the V-gaps. If they’re going to do that then we got to put it up to the big guy.
RE: How did you guys spend the time during the hour delay?
Hung out and talked with the linemen. We just tried to keep our head in the game, and make the time pass by quickly.
How are things different in your second training camp?
Going pretty good – I’m getting the hang of things. First game, it’s time to go back and look at some tape and get it straight before the season. It’s different because of the fact that you’ve been in it. You’re familiar with the plays, and familiar with the guys. You can react faster.
How would you rate your first year?
I think the first year was a learning process. Just something to build on for this year.
Re: Competition among the receivers.
There’s definitely a lot of knowledge. With guys like Dennis Northcutt playing for 11 years, there’s a lot of things that they can teach me. I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can.
Are special teams where you’re going to make your mark?
Yeah, I hope so, on kicks and punts. I just have to see how it goes.
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Re: Assessing the defensive performance
There are a lot of things we can work on. We went to the sideline and there are a lot of things we can improve on and find ways to get there faster.
Re: Ndamukong Suh
With the people we have up front, I think you have to account for everybody. Obviously Suh is going to get attention because of what he did in college and where he was drafted – because of the player he is and he’s going to be.