Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Good evening. A lot of things characteristic of preseason football. A lot of things that we could get better at, things we could have done better tonight, that's what preseason and the remainder of the preseason is about. We intend to work on a lot of things in those areas. There's certain things that we will not tolerate even in the preseason, like post-snap penalties; that's Steelers beating Steelers. We're smarter than that, we have to be smarter than that. We're a good team, we desire to be a good team so those things are unacceptable twelve months a year and they are. That was very disappointing, but a lot of things were encouraging. We'll take a look at the tape, a lot of individual efforts, some things that you and I talked about. Nice job kicking off, Antonio Brown did nice job in returning both punts and kicks there initially. You saw that it got to a point in the game where we saw enough of him that we gave him back to Logan. Some encouraging things in a lot of areas and some things where we fall short. In the first half in particular we needed to be sound on our perimeter defensively. We gave up some edges and gave them some explosion plays, simple fits, and leveraging the ball. It created a productive half for them running the football, one that we don't think is acceptable in terms of how we perform offensively. We have some concept plays that blew up on us that were negative plays; those are going to happen at times. I think we could have done some things better to minimize those, we had a reverse play that got blown up, we had a sprint draw that got blown up, we had a crack toss that got blown up, that were all negative plays that potentially derailed drives or put us behind the chains. We gave up a big punt return and we had a couple unblocked guys at the point that could've kept it to a minimal gain. All things that are correctable and must be corrected and we intend to correct. Again, there were some things out there that were disturbing. We'll address those as well.
Q: Are you happy with Roethlisberger in his first game back?
A: You know it was the first time out for him, I thought he did some nice things. He moved good, it was a good start.
Q: What did you say to him before the game? Did you all talk at all?
A: Nothing out of the ordinary. We shake hands and we go to work.
Q: Did he get enough work?
A: For the first time out, he got what he would have gotten had it been last week under normal circumstances and the starters going out and playing for the first time out. That was our intention, we probably got a little bit more than that. He got a decent amount of work, good for him. We'll see where we go from here.
Q: Do you have an idea of how you're going to play him in the third game?
A: I do. But I'm going to look at the tape and analyze it and all the performances of the guys and give the group what we think the group needs. Staying inside the framework that we have all been discussing since we checked in. We want to have a productive training camp and preseason and get the other guys ready to play.
Q: Younger guys like Redman and Brown continuing to pressure you, what do you like about those two guys?
A: That their performances in stadiums are similar to their performances in practices. That's what you look for in the young guys, that the stadiums aren't too big for them and they're starting to prove that. That's what you look for.
Q: Mike, talk about the running game and the improvement from the first game to this one.
A: You know, I did see improvement from a production standpoint, just raw numbers. But raw numbers never tell the story. We had linebackers running through us pretty good in the second half, so we still have some work to do. That's ball, but we have some work to do, in all areas.
Q: Can you talk about the overall quarterback play?
A: We moved the ball, we produced some splash plays, we made some mistakes in game management things and things of that nature that are characteristic of preseason. We'll continue to work, I like where are, but by no means are we satisfied.
Q: What did you see from Jason Worilds?
A: Don't know. I asked him how he felt, he said good with the play finally. We gave him an extensive amount of work. He didn't stand out in any way negatively that got our attention. We'll look at the tape and comb through the minor details and I'm sure we'll find fault in something he did.
Q: You talked about game management problems at the end of the first half.
A: You know we wanted to kill that ball when we got that ball down there to the one, but we ended up stinking it. We had to burn our last timeout, and at that point with fifteen seconds left, you've got issues. Thankfully it's the preseason.
Q: With so much disruption for Ben in the offseason, what do you think is his progression on the field to get to this point tonight?
A: I don't care about the disruption, quite frankly, when it comes to his performance. He's a professional. His job is to play and lead us, and he's done that. He'll continue to do that and we'll deal with all the other things that we have to deal with in the appropriate manner.
Q: What do you think about some of the pressure on him?
Q: Coach on a scale of 1-10, how do you rate tonight's game?
A: You know it is that dry rehearsal if you will, at least in our mentality. Hopefully it is in their mentality, so we can get the work that we desire. It's a road game, it's a night game, it's a lot of things that create adversity that helps you learn about your football team. We look forward to going to Denver and playing under those circumstances and conditions.
Q: Is there anything on the injury front?
A: I didn't get it, let me just rolodex what happened in the game. A lot of minor things of course. Isaac Redman had a rib injury, a cartilage injury of some kind. He came back in the game and played. Maurkice Pouncey got hit on the thigh with probably a thigh bruise, he came back and played. Keenan Lewis had a concussion of some kind, he did not come back in the game. We'll get him tested and see where he is in terms of next week. There were bumps and bruises. I'm sure there will be the normal things that kind of come up after I get out of here and get a laundry list of things. Those are the ones that kind of stand out to me. I think we've been pretty fortunate from that standpoint.
Q: How do you think Pouncey did? I know he got rotated back in.
A: He did some nice things. Again, like in the response to Worilds, some of those line play guys got caught up in the scrum if you will so we'll hesitate to evaluate their performance.
QB Byron Lefwich
Q: What happened on that sixty-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace?
A: Well he did a good job of getting open and I hit him with the ball. They did a great job in coverage and I kind of moved the safety a little bit. I kind of pumped a little bit and once Mike gets even with a person, it's over. I just put it out there and let him run up under and he did a good of that.
Q: The first team offense, in general, looks like you're moving the ball more efficiently than the first preseason game…
A: Yeah, the first preseason game is always hard because, not to give any excuses, this whole game is about preparation during the week and going out there and playing on Sundays. In the preseason, you don't do that. You don't get the opportunity to prepare, scout your teams, your opposing teams, so it makes it tough. It really goes against all of the rules that once the regular season starts – you don't really prepare for that because you're still in training camp mode, installation mode, starting your offense, and doing all of those type of things. So it's really tough. There's not enough time in the day to really do all of that and try to game plan against somebody. As the preseason goes along, we get more and more of an understanding of your opponent and it tends to go smoothly.
Q: Another effective game by Isaac Redman. Do you like what he's doing out there?
A: Yeah, I think he's doing a great job and we've got a lot of good football players on this team. You need that to be successful in this league because you never know what's going to happen to someone.
Q: Was there a play of Ben Roethlisberger that stood out to you
A: Yeah, the one to Spaeth. Just the way he found time and just do what Ben does, that's what Ben does. He decides the way to find time and find the open guy and that was a prime example of that right there.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Disappointed we didn't win, obviously. I think we played hard, we gave up some rushing yards, particularly in the second half in the middle there. That's a concern. Bomar went in there and he got hit a number of times, unfortunately – I'm sure he'll be sore tomorrow, but he showed some toughness, he showed some ability in there. He did a good job with maneuvering the offensive plays around. We each had a turnover. In the second half, we didn't get any turnovers and I think that'll be a key factor and not having anything in point blank range and not having anything we can convert in the short field. It was a physical game. We knew it would be. We've had two good opponents, two outstanding physical teams. I was disappointed we didn't win.
Q: What happened on the play with Hakeem Nicks from your perspective?
A: All I saw, all of the sudden, was a big to do out on the field. I didn't see who threw anything. Hakeem mentioned that he was in position and was blocking and all the sudden…once one person started swinging he swung back and the official decided that was not going to happen again. It's a hard lesson. It's easy to be provoked. It's not easy to walk away. Nobody said it was. But at least you get to line up to play when you do that. That was the first play of the game.
Q: Did Bomar's inexperience hamper any of the play tonight?
A: Oh sure, we had to make sure that it was a plan that he could practice and that he could administer during the course of the game. He hasn't had a lot of play time. But I thought he really studied hard and he was diligent and he worked hard in practice. He got all of his snaps, which is a very good thing.
Q: What did you see on the other side of the ball on defense?
A: There were some decent plays made. A turnover was made. I think we did a pretty good job in the first half-I don't know what the breakdown of the numbers is, but definitely we were very much in the game. Just as I said, one of the goals was to run the ball and stop the run. We didn't run it tremendously, but we did have some yardage…But I was disappointed we didn't stop their run with more efficiency.
Q: What could you tell us about the play of Keith Bulluck and Kenny Phillips?
A: Well they played just the six plays. They were in there driving and went down to the goal line. Both of them did a nice job. We got them out right on the sixth play, but they got their feet under them.
Q: What's Brandon Jacobs' health situation and what did you think of Andre Brown?
A: I thought there were times in the game when Andre did a real good job. There were other occasions when it looked like we probably could have had a little bit more. But as the game went on, he did a good job. He got better and better. Same thing with kickoff returns. That second kickoff return was pretty good. Jacobs, I mean this came out of nowhere. He had a stiff neck last night. They sent him to get an MRI and evidently there was no progress today.
Q: What's your evaluation of (Matt) Dodge?
A: There was a little bit more consistency tonight. There was progress tonight. If you're looking for every ball to be kicked the way we want it to be kicked, it didn't happen. But there was some progress.
Q: The MRI of Jacobs, is there worry it's more than something that he slept wrong on it?
A: No. I think the originally word that I got was he hurt himself doing shrugs in the weight room.
Q: And the MRI didn't show anything worrisome?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: You said you wanted to stop their run better, but what about Osi Umenyiora?
A: Nice job. He did a good job.
Q: And the Antrel Rolle play? Were you happy to see that?
A: Yes. Make tackles go backwards. Osi made a couple of plays. Tuck made a heck of a play that set them back, got a big negative yardage play. We had some good negative yardage plays.
Q: Do you see anything from your young linebackers? Adrian Tracy…
A: Tracy I thought toward the end of the game started to play a little bit better…He seemed to smooth out, play better.
Q: Anything new with Eli after his visit to the doctor yesterday?
A: He's done well. The healing process is well under way. I wasn't kidding. He does heal fast.
Q: Do you expect him on the field this week?
A: I do.
Q: The stitches are going to be taken out?
A: The stitches were taken out.
Q: How did Bradshaw look to you though?
A: He played pretty good when he was in. Made a couple nice runs.
DT Chris Canty
Q: Does playing against several different QBs present a different challenge.
A: Each quarterback presented a few different challenges. I think that we were ready to embrace the challenge of trying to neutralize their quarterbacks. At the end of the day, they were able to make enough plays and win the ballgame. We would like to win the ballgame, but the tape is going to provide some good things for us to learn from.
C Shaun O'Hara
Q: you guys showed some resolve out there.
A: I think that we came into this game really wanting to establish the run, and start fast. I think anybody is really enthused about the way we started, but I think this team really kept playing, and I think that's what it's all about. I thought our guys did a great job of battling through some adversity throughout the game, and I think our defense played pretty well. I think we can definitely run the ball better and I thought Bomar did a good job of stepping in at quarterback, and we knew that it was going to be a good test and a big challenge. I thought he did a pretty good job.
Q: The preseason is really all about getting ready and healthy, do you think the team is getting there?
A: Let's hope so. I think health is certainly one of our biggest enemies right now. We're just trying to get back to good strength, and since day one, we've been battling uphill. The preseason is definitely about us, not so much about Pittsburgh or the Jets. It's about us improving. I think we did a few things better in week two on a short week. I think, really, that we need to make a lot of improvements from the second game to this third game coming up.
Quarterback Rhett Bomar
How do you feel that you fared in this first outing?
You know I thought it went well. There were ups and downs. There were a few throws that I would like to have back, no doubt. It was a great learning experience to get out there. I got comfortable as the game went on. I felt that I was comfortable with our checks, with the blitzes, and the stuff that you have to do as a quarterback at the line. I thought I was making my calls and some of the alerts we had also. Overall we will watch the film and we will see.
Were you comfortable or did the game seem fast to you?
No, I was comfortable with the game. It wasn't too fast. It is exciting to be out there for the whole game and get a lot of reps like that. You just have to try to treat it like any other game honestly. Yeah you are out there with the ones and playing against starters, playing against the Steelers who are starting in the NFL. I tried not to look it at it like that, just think of it as another game and just go out there and play.
You took a couple of big hits, one was a penalty to the lower leg and then another one you tucked and ran, I'm sure your coach is going to tell you to slide next time?
Yeah, you are not the first person that has said that today. I have been told that my whole life. I guess I do need to work on that, get down and slide and things like that. You are trying to make a play, get the first down, and it is kind of hard to slide when you are leaning forward. That is something I do need work on.
A lot of evaluating the receivers is going on right now, how would you evaluate your receivers tonight?
I thought they did great. They made plays when they had to. Steve (Smith) made a great play. Steve is a great player, that is what he does all the time. I thought they did a great job.
Was it a great experience to start tonight?
No doubt. It was great. It was fun to be out there, be out there with the pressure and things flying at you. It was great to be a competitor and I feel like I am a competitor so I am going to go out there and play. It was fun.
Do you have more respect for what Eli Manning goes through now that you have been through a NFL game at that level?
No doubt. Eli is a great player. He has been doing it and he is at that, like Coach likes to say, that mastery level. I am trying to get up there. I am still a young guy, I'm learning. This is only going to help me. Watch the film and learn from your mistakes and things like that. Hopefully one day I can be where he is.
Shaun O'Hara on scoring drive:
On the scoring drive it was a real good ball by Rhett to Steve (Smith). Steve came up with a real big catch. It just seemed to ignite the offense and it got us rolling. We were able to put the ball in the end zone. It was a great run by Ahmad (Bradshaw). It's always tough to judge before you watch the tape on your performance but I know we came into this game saying we wanted to run the ball. Early on I think we had a couple of decent runs. We were trying to get a couple of different runs. We kept changing it up. I felt our zone runs were doing pretty well. I though Rhett did a good job. He prepared all week. The good thing is that early on he knew he was going to get a lot of playing time. He didn't hold back. He jumped in. He grabbed hold of the reins. He handled himself extremely well. We went into the game knowing that we were going to have to protect him. We knew that they were going to give him a lot of exotic looks and try to confuse him. I still think we could have done a better job of protecting him. We wanted to come into this game and not let him get hit him at all. He had to scramble a little too much for us.
Justin Tuck on overall performance on defense:
We tried to get our legs back early on after last week. We were a little bit heavy legged in the beginning. We felt a little more fresh after a while. We kind of hit more of the game plan today. We started opening up a little bit more and it gave us a lot of freedom out there to be able to get some penetration. And lucky for us we made some great plays. We got some tackles for losses. And we will be able to build on this. We have been preaching about turnovers; we want to get more turnovers this season. Corey (Webster) made a great catch on the interception. We got a lot of pressure on Ben (Roethlisberger). We didn't get a sack on him but we flushed him outside and made him throw on the run. And Corey made a great play. That is something that we have been working hard on all training camp. It is starting to come to fruition for us. And hopefully we can take that right into the season and that could be a big difference maker for us.
Corey Webster on interception:
This is something that Coach has been preaching to us all camp. We just want to get our hands on the ball any way we can. The receiver made a double move. And I was able to get back into position. I was able to make a play on the ball. We are just trying to build on last week. I think we did pretty good even though we lost. We can use this as a stepping stone. And that is all we can do right now. We still have to go back to the drawing board and just get better.
Deon Grant on tonight's game:
We lost the game. We put some good things on the film and some bad things on film. They had too many points. Our goal is to keep them under 17 points. They had way too many points. We didn't reach our goals tonight. We did get a pick but we didn't get as many turnovers as we would have liked. We gave up too many points.
Aaron Ross on the punt return:
It felt really good to finally get my hands on the ball again. I have to get the vision back so that I can take it all the way to the house. Overall it was great blocking. I was able to hit the hole and just kept running. I think we did a good job tonight but we have to be tougher against the run. I think they had too many rushing yards. We talk about stopping the run all of the time. I think our defense could be great after that. We have to look at the film and see how we can get better against the run. The DB's had a chance to get their hands on the ball again tonight. We struggled with turnovers last year and that is why we are preaching it this year. Hopefully we can lead the League in turnovers. And that is our goal.
Osi Umenyiora on tonight's performance:
I think we did okay. Obviously there were things that we could have done better. We got a turnover. We played physical. We got some good plays with some tackles for loss of yardage. We need to get back to doing a lot more of that. Coach Fewell does a good job of emphasizing turnovers. We didn't get enough of them last year. So this year we are trying to get as many as possible.
Ahmad Bradshaw on tonight's touchdown run:
We had a zone play going. They stuffed it up the middle pretty good. I believe they had a blitz on. Everybody blocked it up good. And I jumped it to the outside and I was able to sprint to the corner. I think we established the run pretty good tonight, which was one of our goals. Our guys did a great job up front. And Rhett did a good job of controlling the game.
Q: What were the big things corrected today?
A: I think everybody just slowing down and playing within themselves, and we know the game speed picks up but you don't want to play outside yourself and try to make plays that aren't there, so everybody stays in their gap and everybody understands their assignments and we'll be good.
Q: You're in the backfield for a sack, Tuck gets some pressure, Osi makes plays against the run. Is this what the defense should be more about?
A: It's a start, and that's the direction we want to be headed in. We're not going to get too far ahead of ourselves, it was a good start, and we're heading in the direction we want to go to but there are still corrections to be made so we're not going to go too far in either direction saying it was either a bad game or a good game. We made some plays but we also made some mistakes, and we're here to correct them.
Q: What are the positives?
A: I think pressure, and I can't speak for the guys behind me because I'm facing the other way. I think up front we had decent pressure, Osi definitely played the run really well and Tuck played his heart out again, so we're getting everybody on board and we're heading in the right direction but like I said it's preseason and it's just a start.
Q: What was it like seeing Kenny Phillips and Keith Bulluck back there?
A: It's good. I think we have a lot of pieces that we can incorporate and once we get everybody to understand the defense and get everybody playing together as a team, then we'll be really good.
Q: Regarding the defense coming together:
A: Absolutely, but I think that second game of the preseason, that's where we're supposed to be. We're supposed to be able to understand the defense, go out there and play hard, make plays, and I think we did that but also we know there's going to be a lot of corrections that have to be made but we're ready for it.
Q: What corrections in particular need to be made after today?
A: We'll see once we watch the film and get back to it. You take every game and you analyze it, you figure out what mistakes you made and you go forward so I can't say right now what corrections we need to make.
Q: Regarding the week following the Jets game:
A: We understand what we have here. We understand that we can't let offenses do that to us and that's not something we want to put on tape. But like I said we don't want to go too far in one direction, it was the first preseason game, we understand that and we came back and we played with a good amount of energy, got our assignments and everything so like I said it was a pretty good start.
Q: Was Perry Fewell at all concerned after last week?
A: Well I mean coaches are always concerned, you can win by 40 and they'll still have corrections to make so we understand that, too, but yeah we definitely wanted to come out and play a little better.