STEELERS at RAVENS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2009 KICKOFF 8:20 P.M. M&T BANK STADIUM
STEELERS QUOTES - Below RAVENS QUOTES - Click on the Link
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
(opening statement) "I just told the guys, 'I appreciate your spirit,' the energy with which they fought. Don't talk to me about moral victories and things of that nature. That would be disrespectful to those guys in the locker room. We didn't get the job done. We came up short. We accept responsibility for that. We will not go gently. We will unleash Hell here in December because we have to. We won't go in a shell. We'll go into attack mode, because that's what's required. But we came up short tonight. Tough environment. It's a good football team – I'd like to compliment [the Ravens]. They made the plays necessary to win, and we came up just short. So be it. We take responsibility for that – me out front. We'll move forward."
(on his decision not to play QB Ben Roethlisberger) "Dr. Maroon, on Saturday morning, suggested that we don't play him, and it's quite simply this: He passed neurological tests throughout the week that we gave him repeatedly. He had headaches with exertion, which is a symptom of post-concussion deals. It persisted throughout the week. We didn't feel comfortable allowing him to play. [Dr. Maroon] made that suggestion on Saturday. We respect his expert medical opinion. We did make the moves that we did in regards to that."
(on why Roethlisberger was suited up) "Because, quite frankly, we spent so much time and energy throughout the week preparing both him to play and Dennis [Dixon] to play. We had no time to give a Hines Ward or somebody like that snaps as a 'getcha out of the game' quarterback. So, if disaster happened and two quarterbacks went down in the football game, we were going to have to put him on the field and absolutely hand the ball off every single play. It's not an ideal thought, it's a nasty thought, but we thought our time was better spent preparing for the potential of Ben playing indefinitely than the potential for Dennis to play. We didn't give Hines Ward a snap or a disaster quarterback snap this week. Calculated risk taking, that's part of it. We would have been uncomfortable if that course of events happened, but we would have absolutely handed the ball off every single time to finish the game had he had to go in."
(on QB Dennis Dixon's performance) "I like his demeanor throughout it all. He made some plays. [I] thought he represented himself relatively well, but we came up short."
(on what the Steelers had to change bringing Dixon into the offense) "We limited his exposure, probably the best way to say it. Particularly early, we wanted to run the ball, get the ball on the perimeter, let him find some rhythm, settle in. And if it meant running the ball third and down when we were in minus territory, we were willing to do it. We want to pick our spots because we understand the potential for what happened at the end of the game. It happened. That's a great defense. They have great continuity, a young quarterback, they'll bait you. You've got to be aware of where Ed Reed is at all times, and so forth. We weren't going to play scared by any stretch. We were just going to limit his exposure and hold our bullets to the appropriate time to win the football game."
(on the rest of their schedule) "Everybody that's around us has the same problems that we have. I just acknowledge that we're going to be in attack mode."
(on WR Hines Ward saying the locker room was divided on whether or not Roethlisberger should play) "I'm not worried about a problem in the locker room. Of course, in that instance maybe Hines was uninformed. I didn't give him the detailed explanation that went down into the decision making in terms of what Dr. Maroon suggested. In response to that, I will give him that information. I will give our football team that information. At the time that the information came down, I was more concerned about getting Dennis ready to play, and I proceeded with the assumption that our men understood what kind of competitive setting it is. If they don't, I'll tell them."
(on if he questions Roethlisberger's toughness) "Absolutely not. You've been in the same stadiums as I have for the past two and a half years. I do not."
(on if he thought that he should have won with 17 points scored) "I don't care whether it's 40-39 or 3-2, we play the game, we play to win. I try not to envision how a game is going to unfold. I acknowledge that we had to shorten the field, get turnovers, pick our spots with Dennis, run the ball effectively. I acknowledge all those things, but I didn't put a point total on it. One thing I did acknowledge, if and when they got in the red zone, in order for us to win we had to make them kick field goals, and we weren't able to do that tonight. So in that area, there was a failure. But, I never precede a point total in mind."
(on if it came down to putting Roethlisberger in, if it would be OK with the doctors) "They would have had to have been. I had no other options. I didn't have time nor energy to provide snaps for a disaster quarterback. I had enough issues."
(on if Dixon was prepared for Ravens LB/DE Paul Kruger to drop off his coverage, creating the interception) "Dennis is a young quarterback. Obviously he wasn't prepared for it. That's the kind of experience you get with snaps. The guy had interior coverage, [and] fell off his coverage like a savvy defender does. A defense that's got great continuity and will understand the big picture… He made a play."
(on why they didn't go back to the design run with Dixon) "We did. We didn't get the opportunity. We wanted to pick our spots, like I said earlier. The defense understood the talent, his skill set. They know that he can run, and often times they were brining multiple people off the right side of our formation. In the event that we ran boots and nakeds, they saw we ran boots several times in the game, and he had to pull up. So, we just couldn't call it repeatedly, because they're professionals, too, and they prepare."
(on if Roethlisberger's injury will cause future problems) "Not at this point, but we'll proceed appropriately."
(on whether they're going to bring in a veteran quarterback in case Roethlisberger isn't ready next week) "I potentially will. To be honest with you, I hadn't pondered that. At this point, I couldn't see past tonight."
(on Ravens RB Ray Rice's performance) "This guy, he's top 10 in the league in rushing, top 10 in the league in receiving. He's their leading receiver. He's a quality player. It goes through him. We had a great deal of respect for him in preparation for this game, and he got us at critical times anyway. Hat's off to him."
WR Santonio Holmes
(On the loss) "We had it in our hands and let it slip away. We definitely can't do that, we've got to come together as a team and continue to keep fighting until the end of the game."
(On QB Dennis Dixon's game) "I think he played pretty good, you know for a first-time guy playing against one of the tougher defenses in the NFL. I mean he went out and had fun. Yeah, he made a couple of mistakes, but who doesn't against one of the top defenses in the NFL?"
(On QB Ben Roethlisberger's undetermined playing status) "I have no say-so on what he should have done. We would have liked for him to play. If he had the opportunity he should have played for us, but he didn't. And we didn't get the job done."
WR Hines Ward
(On QB Dennis Dixon's game) "I was proud of him. He stood strong all to the end. And he did the best he could do. We were really negated by some of the game plans because he really wasn't familiar with a lot of stuff. We just tried to keep things very basic. As far as I'm concerned, he played his tail off. He should walk around with his head held high because he gave us his best. He'll continue to grow. It was a very positive sign to see him go out there, under the circumstances, against a great defense in hostile territory Sunday night. Hats off to Dennis."
(On his comments concerning QB Ben Roethlisberger playing) "You really don't want to mess around with concussions. Guys have concussions and still play. But you have to look at the whole big picture. When the health comes into question, you got to look at the long-term effect. When I said that, I really wasn't saying in a negative towards Ben. You have to be concerned about it because we don't know what the future may hold considering all the research on concussions. I wish we would have had him out there. But we didn't, and we fell short."
(On finding out late that Roethlisberger was out) "That's where the frustrating part is. A lot of guys didn't find out until Saturday. It was very shocking to a lot of guys on this team. That was the more frustrating about anything going in to it. A lot of guys didn't find out about it until Saturday morning."
(On the game) "I felt like we had a chance of winning it at the end. We just fell short. Hats off to Baltimore. They did a great job. We knew it was going to be a close game down here anyways. It's always tough playing Baltimore here. Unfortunately, we fell short – they won the game. It just hurts, three games in a row, we're not accustomed to that around here. We just have to find a way to get back on the right track."
LB LaMarr Woodley
(On the defense) "We didn't get off the field on critical downs. We can't give up the big homerun hits. The passes down the field, long run… We have to eliminate those problems.
(On the defense needing to step up because of the quarterback situation) "Not at all. We trust in Dennis [Dixon]. We didn't draft that guy for no reason. When he came out of Oregon, he almost won the Heisman. So we knew what kind of player he was. He put enough points up on the board to give us a chance to win. We just allowed their offense to move the ball down the field on us."
C Justin Hartwig
(On the offense) "Yeah, I like the way we came out and ran the ball. I was encouraged by that. I thought it was a really physical game. We paired down the offense a little bit for Dennis [Dixon]. He made some big plays with what we did. Obviously, the bottom line is, we didn't make enough plays to win. That's the unfortunate part."
(On QB Dennis Dixon's play, particularly the runs) "That's one part of his game that's a big attribute, his ability to get outside the pocket and scramble and get up the field. He did a good job on a few of those keepers and was able to get some yardage."
(On the slow start) "Was I surprised? Not really, typically we go into a game with Ben as our quarterback, we're throwing the ball a lot and racking up a lot of yardage and moving the ball up and down the field. We had a different game plan tonight. We tried to run the ball. We were running the clock quite a bit. Our plan wasn't to necessarily throw the ball down the field and put up huge points. We wanted to manage the game and that was our game plan."
LB James Harrison
(on having the chance to win and what happened) "They made a play and we didn't. That's all it came down to. Their defense played better and they got the win."
(on giving up plays late in games) "As far as I see it, they made a play and we didn't."
(on the performance of QB Dennis Dixon) "Dennis [Dixon] played great. He came in and he did what we asked him to do and he kept us in position to win the game and when it came down to the end, we didn't close it out."
(on if he feels the season is over) "I don't feel it's over yet. There's a lot of things that could have happened. We're going out to try to win games and let everything else fall as it will."
QB Dennis Dixon
(on he felt the game went) "I feel it went very well. As far as the offense, as far as a whole, we came up short. Things were clicking early and we kind of sputtered toward the second quarter but overall, I like our offense."
(on what he saw in the interception in overtime) "It was a situation where they were disguising the blitz.Throughout the whole game, I basically tried to trust my instinct and the guy made a good play. It was just unfortunate."
(on how the tough this loss was after receiving a good field position) "It's tough, especially when you're in that situation. It's drills like that that we practice and we just fell up short. We put our defense in a bad situation and it's kind of hard to win the game when you do that."
(on if the system gave him a comfort zone) "I'm just happy to be in this organization. I think the actual package, our offensive coordinator does a excellent job in preparing whoever's going to be the quarterback."
(on when he found he would be the starter) "Throughout the week I had an idea but I didn't find out until Saturday morning."
(on if that helped with the nerves) "Kind of, but then again, it was great preparation throughout the week as far as getting ready for the Ravens. I'm just happy to get reps throughout the week."
(on how his nerves were during the game) "I would be crazy to say that I didn't have nerves. I think the first couple of series that I had a couple of nerves, but it's all about playing football and that's something I've been doing for awhile and I'm just happy I had the opportunity to do it. The crowd noise, the hostile environment, I've been there, done that. It's all about getting on the bike and doing it again. I'm just happy to be in this organization and have the chance to put my team in a good situation."
QB Ben Roethlisberger
(on the way Dennis Dixon played) "We are so proud of the way he played. He did everything that Coach asked him to do – and more. He played with the fire and the intensity we've seen from him in practice every day. He played his heart out. The Ravens found out what we've known all along. He's a very good quarterback."
(on the Ravens' overtime win) "It was a typical Ravens-Steelers game, a real slugfest. Unfortunately, we came up a little short."
(on his availability) "I wanted to go out there and play tonight. But the doctors told me it wasn't a good decision. Then, the coaches told me the same thing. So, I wasn't playing."
RB Rashard Mendenhall
(on the emphasis on the running game) "All week long, we knew that we were going to have a big game running the ball and that's how we prepared. It was our plan to help the young guy (Dennis Dixon) out as much as we could. We just couldn't get a big play."
(on how Dennis Dixon played) "He played just like we thought he would. He was calm and cool and he showed everyone what he could do. It helps us knowing we have two quarterbacks."
(on the Ravens-Steelers rivalry) "It's always a physical game when the Steelers play the Ravens. This one was no different. As a running back, you take your lumps play after play and hope that you can break a long run. We came up short tonight. They made more big plays than we did."
S Ryan Clark*
(on the difference in the game) "I thought we made enough plays to win the game. But they made more significant plays and that's why they won."
(on how Dennis Dixon played) "'I am extremely proud of how well he played. It's hard for me to understand why he wasn't drafted a lot sooner than he was. He has a lot of talent and he could have won the Heisman Trophy. I am disappointed that we didn't make some more plays on defense to get him a win in his first NFL start."
(on Ben Roethlisberger's injury) "I respect his decision. He has to take care of himself, and I understand that. We had confidence that Dennis [Dixon] could lead us to a win."