Inside the Steelers' locker room


Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 6 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin*
*Opening Statement:
Tremendous effort from everyone in the room. Obviously, we needed contributions from everyone. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but the state that we're in, we're not expecting perfection. We just need to do what's required for us to win and stand and fight. Guys did that. The units complemented each other. The defense held its role until we could get some things going. It was just a really good effort by a lot of people. Some injuries, obviously, to speak of. Kelvin Beachum has an ACL. That is what it is. Mike Vick had a hamstring injury. I don't know the extent of that. Stephon Tuitt has a knee sprain that is being evaluated. All the others are bumps and bruises associated with playing. Just a tip of the cap to everyone in the room, in terms of what they were willing to do for us to secure the victory today. It required a tremendous effort. Obviously, Arizona is a great football team, well coached. We had an opportunity to rise up in a big way and we did. Hopefully, experiences like this galvanize the group and we're able to grow from it moving forward. We have new weeks and new challenges waiting.

Did you find a quarterback today?
You know, we have some options here. We'll deal with those at the appropriate time. We're just going to enjoy the efforts of all parties involved right now.

Re: On Landry Jones:
Landry probably played more preseason snaps than anybody in the history of the National Football League this year. We played in five preseason games. We had injuries at the position and Landry took advantage of it. He got better and it was displayed today. We're thankful for that, because it helped us secure the victory and we're happy for him. He had the opportunity to contribute in a big way. I know that's something that he's been working tirelessly for. You don't always have control over the opportunity, but when given the opportunity, you need to be prepared. I give him credit for that, he was prepared.

Before Mike got hurt, was there any conversation of possibly putting Landry in?

Re: On the team's resilience:
It says it was enough today. I'm not trying to paint with a broad brush. We're six games into this thing. We appreciate those efforts, but it was just simply enough today. We're not going to sit on the comfort of that moving forward. We're going to put together formulas that are capable of helping us win next week and face those challenges.

Re: On setting the tone with multiple turnovers again:
We're just trying to do what's required to get out of the stadium. Sometimes you're going to get turnovers, sometimes you're not. We can't anticipate victory when we do. We can't anticipate failure when we don't. We just have to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us. Guys did that and it helped us secure the victory. I would like to see us convert some of those short fields into points. We had the same thing last week. Had a short field and got no points out of it. We had a short field this week and got no points out of it. If we really complement each other, we are able to get some point sways when we get that consistency.


Re: On Martavis Bryant:*
Martavis did what we know he can do and it's good to have him back. We'll just continue to work and get him up to speed, so he can be everything he needs to be and everything we want him to be.

Does your offensive game plan change with Landry compared to Vick?
Awe just highlight plays within the skillset of the guys. Our offense is our offense. It's not like we change books. We highlighted getting Mike in the perimeter a little bit, getting him some run pass options. He's able to do some things with that. Not so much with Landry. Just natural football one-on-one things. I'm not trying to make more out of it than what it is.

Re: On Chris Boswell:
He's doing a solid job.

With a player like Antonio Brown, do you have to talk to him about the number of catches and targets he gets?
He realizes he's seen everything he's going to see in professional football, from an individual accolades standpoint. He's got to get a ring. That's what he and I have been talking about through some of this. It's uncomfortable for him, no doubt. He's got a great rapport with Ben Roethlisberger, Ben's not playing. What do we have to do to win the game? When you're hunting what he's hunting, his career will be defined by how many Lombardi's he's contributed to our stash.

Re: On adjustments at halftime:
We didn't really make any. We just did some things a little better than we had in the first half. I thought we had some opportunities in the first half, we just weren't maximizing them. We didn't have enough detail in our execution. We talked about that. We talked about not changing. We talked about increasing the quality of our work. I think that was the difference in terms of our performance and being able to get off the field more consistently in the second half, defensively.

Re: On Alejandro Villanueva:
I didn't see much, because I have a level of confidence in him. I wasn't watching him with direct eyes. I was watching the offense. The offense appeared to move in the same fashion it was prior to him getting in. He's a driven, hardworking guy. I'm not surprised when those guys meet expectations.

Re: On the offense looking more comfortable around Landry than Mike:
I just thought the offense heated up in the latter part of the game, not taking anything away from Landry. A week ago we heated up late in the game. We heated up late in the game this week. We did what was required for us to win.

Re: On the defensive field position:
We have no control over where we take the field, we have all the control of how we get off the field. We focus on things in our control. We have to get of the field. Great defenses get to the sideline, regardless of circumstance.

Re: On more splash plays from the defense this year:
I'm not ready to paint with a broad brush. It was enough today. I'm appreciative of the efforts and we'll just keep working.

Re: On deciding who the starting quarterback is next week:
As quick as I can, but I don't know what that means. I want complete clarity, but I don't always get what I want. We'll go day-by-day and do what we think is appropriate.

Re: On having three available quarterbacks next week:
I don't know much of anything right now, in terms of availability. I think health and availability trumps all. When I get that information, you guys will get it.

Do you know the level of seriousness of Mike's injury?
I do not.

Is Beachum done for the year?
I explained that he has an ACL injury. Yes.


QB Landry Jones*
*Were you happy to get into the game again today?

Oh my goodness, yes. It has been a long road since those days in Oklahoma. I'm just so thankful and just blessed to get in there and finally play the game again.

Could you walk us through your week and your preparation for leading up to this game?
I'm just trying to practice like the starters. In practice, I don't get very many reps. Mike got a lot of the reps and he was going to go in and play, and then you just kind of have to get in it in the back and go through it.

Do you feel like you've proven a lot of critics wrong out there today?
I don't know. I went out there and played in the way that I am capable of playing. I obviously will look at the tape, but I missed some throws, made some throws, but there is always room for improvement. Like I said before, I'm just so happy and blessed and I want to give God the glory right now because without him, I don't know where I would be at right now and pushing through those couple of years that I didn't get to play.

You guys were backed up and looked like you ran the ball and ran the clock out, but he had you passing. Were there any surprises there? What went into the calls?
They had timeouts and stuff like that still left, so we needed to get a few first downs to get them to use their time outs and Todd Haley did a great job of calling the game all night long and see some things out there and put us in a good position to execute and win the game.

So you thought that you had a nice little ten-yard gain, there?
Yeah, I thought that it was going to be a first down and then Martavis Bryant made and unbelievable play with his feet and got in the end zone.

What did you see on the first touchdown play?
It was just a curl flat with a corner over the top. My read was the corner. He sat down on Markus Wheaton when he ran the curl. I just put it to the back of the endzone and let Bryant go up for it.

What does the ability to win with a third-string quarterback and fourth kicker say about this team?
It is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it. The guys are resilient, and it's next man up. Whoever is next, they go in there. They play hard. They play the way they're capable of. Today we showed the world what type of team we are. I don't know what the Cardinal's statistics are. They might be the number one or two offense in the league and our defense held them to 13 points.

What difference does Bryant make?
It just gives you another threat on the field. All four of the wide receivers that we're playing with right now can all stretch the field. Bryant just gives us another guy out there that they have to worry about.

Re: Steelers' confidence in you throwing the ball instead of just handing it off:
It just instills a lot of confidence in me for what the coaches think about me. I'm just so thankful they gave me a shot. They just didn't hand the ball left and right off the bat. They let me get out there and throw. They trust me with the ball.

What was your comfort level going through progressions?
Like I said, just during the week you watch tape and prepare yourself. During the flow of the game, we got what they were doing defensively. Fortunate enough for me, I got to sit and watch and really think about what would happen if I went in there, where I would be going with the ball.

What's it like being a part of this quarterback situation? You don't know what's going to happen next week because of all the injuries.
I just still can't believe I got in the game and to play. I'm still kind of reeling from it. Next week will be next week. Today, I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to go back home and hangout.

Re: Next week's game:
I don't know. If Ben's not back, we'll see what happens in the week.

Did you ever doubt you would ever get a snap here?
There were times. It's hard. From playing every snap in college, then coming to the NFL, I haven't gotten to play in my first two and a half years here.

What kept you working hard and positive during that time?
Definitely my faith. Without God, I don't know where I would have been. I don't know what type of situation. There's so much in the Bible that talks about perseverance, to have joy and perseverance. I try to take that to heart and make the word become a part of me.

There's no telling for sure what will happen to Michael Vick, but there's a very good chance that you could be at the help of this team in the foreseen future. Have you given some thought to this might be my team for a while?
No. I'm still thinking about that touchdown pass that I threw to Martavis Bryant. Like I said earlier, I don't know what next week will hold for me. I'm very thankful that I got in today and play.

Did you get any advice from Ben Roethlisberger or anyone else in the huddle?
Yeah, all the guys were great. I walked to the huddle and they were all encouraging me. When I came back to the sideline, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, and Bruce Gradkowski told me to trust myself and do your thing out there.


S Mike Mitchell*
*General comment

They have the best offense in the league, statistically. That's a very good football team. To hold them to 13 points was huge. No one has been able to do that all year. We knew it was going to be a challenge. We don't have everybody that we need to have, but we have a really tight-knit group and we always have a next man up mentality. So I was really proud of the guys [with] the way that we played as a team. It was a great team win for us.

Coming in to this game, did you feel like the defense had to make the plays in order for you to win?
We're not going to get into any of that. We just all do our part to win games whether it's offense, defense or special teams. Our offense did a good job putting up points when they needed to, and [on] defense – I'm so proud of my guys. Like I said, that's the No. 1 offense in the league. To hold them to 13 points, come on man.

Re: Red zone defense
That's something we practice every day, being in the red zone. We call it seven shots in practice. We compete against our offense, which I think is the best offense in the league. We compete against them every day. So when we get down there, we find comfort in there. We know that they have to finish. That's something that, when we get down there, a lot of teams might get tight. We don't panic. We just relax and we know that someone is going to step up and make a play.

On your interception, did you think he was going to throw that?
I knew he was going to throw it. That was a play that we had seen on film. They want to influence the safety in the post with the over route and they are going to bend it out and hit [John Brown]. The play was able to come back to my memory. And when I saw him come in, I was like, there's the over. I was able to weave with it. He thought I was going to take the over. I just used my instincts. I just trusted it.

K Chris Boswell
You made it look pretty easy today. Were you nervous at all?
No. I don't really think too much when I kick. I just kick the ball the same, no matter where you are.

Did the wind play much into it?
I didn't really pay too much attention to the wind. I knew if I hit a good ball – end-over-end – that the wind wouldn't affect it too much. So as long as I got good contact and good rotation, I just picked my spot.

How much confidence does this give you?
It gives me a good amount of confidence. Next week is a new week. I can't just expect to ride this forever. I have to get back to work.


WR Martavis Bryant*
*Was your touchdown designed to be a 10-15-yard gain?

It's funny because last year we called the same play. And I dropped it. It would have been a touchdown as well. I just made sure I finished the catch with my eyes, then just used my vision to do what I do and go out and make plays.

Can you talk about that final touchdown?
It was a five-yard slant. It was a great ball by Landry [Jones]. Once I caught it, I just looked up field and saw who all was blocking for me and see what was the best possible play I could make. I just took advantage of it.

DE Cameron Heyward
How gritty is this team?
As gritty as we need to be. This is one step, but we embrace the fight. We embrace the challenge. This is why, during camp, it was physical. This is why guys were out during camp. It's a start. But we embrace every challenge we get.

How important is it to get contributions from teammates who don't usually get the chance?
You know, we always say, 'You are only one play away from being a starter.' You really have to approach your job like, 'I could be in there.' You commend them for stepping in. Whether it was [Kelvin Beachum] going down and Al [Villanueva] going in, or Mike [Vick] going down and Landry [Jones] going in. Or L.T. [Walton] going in for [Stephon] Tuitt. It doesn't matter who is in there. We expect them to perform and I thought we did a good job today.

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