Defensive quotebook

<b>DESHEA TOWNSEND</b><br> <i> How did the Oakland offense differ from last year?</i> <br>A lot more vertical. The routes they wanted were deep. The thing about Gannon is he knows where his check downs are and that makes him tough. They stretch the field so much and then you hit the check down, that's 10 yards right there. It's a good offense.

Were there some communication problems on some deep patterns?
No, it was just the moves they made. You might see a double move when they have a little time. It's still our job to cover. It wasn't anything about communication. They just made some plays.

Did you blitz significantly more today than last year?
I don't know about significantly, but we did.

Were you blitzing on the last touchdown pass?
It was just a bump and trail, not a blitz I don't think.

Was Whitted your man?
Yeah, he was my man in the slot, but he ran a good route for the coverage we had. It was a two-man situation but it was a good play by them.

Were you expecting deep help?
I was. It's still our job to make a play out there.

What about the two-point conversion?
It was an all-out blitz and they ran a route where they picked a guy.

What happened on the touchdown pass to Gabriel before the half?
It was cover-2, so it was my obligation to get a good jam on the receiver, which I did. The free safety was supposed to be on top in case he gets behind me. I'm more of a curl-flat player and I've got to break to the flat so I had to come off that when they gave the pump fake. I wouldn't say it was my fault but it was partially my fault because I could've squeezed it a little more.

Do you mean jammed him a little more?
I could've squeezed, or carried the receiver.

How do you know when to let your man go to the safety?
Whenever I get a threat to the flat in cover-2. If I get a threat to the flat I've got to come off right away.

Did you have a threat?
Yeah, I had a flat tight end. They pumped to the tight end and I went up top.

How was the speed of the game and how did you handle it?
I think I did OK because we had a good week of preparation and that helped me out a lot, and preseason helped me out a lot, so I wasn't too worried about the speed. I was just concentrating on getting my job done when I was out there.

Did you fit in? I mean, do you feel you can play in this league?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just feed off the energy of the crowd and feed off the energy of my teammates when I'm out there on the field, so as long as they're playing well, I'm going to play well. And even if they're not playing well I'm going to try to pick them up.

How many plays were you in before the touchdown by Gabriel?
I don't know. It was several.

Don't you think the defense played well today?
Aw, man, we gave up too many big plays. We let people get behind us. And when they got behind us, we weren't getting any pressure. We've got to tighten up.

Didn't you get a lot of pressure today?
Yeah, we got a lot of pressure, but the times that we didn't get it, we got hit deep, you know what I mean? So we've got to get pressure all of the time I guess.

You almost had a sack, but you grabbed the face mask anyway, right?
I didn't grab his face mask.

You didn't?
No, man. Come on now. I just pushed it a little bit.

You could've had the sack. Was he too big and strong for you?
Nah, man. (Laughter).

What about the block Gannon threw on you during that reverse?
Man I didn't even see him. He tied my legs up. I was right there and I was surprised the ball came back, then he just dove at my legs. It surprised me and tied me up. That's all you need against a linemen on a reverse.

What were you thinking when you saw the reverse coming right at you?
I was looking for the tackle in the backfield.

Was it too hot out there?
Man we had a good rotation going. Kimo came in at nose a couple times. It was good. It was hot out but I personally like to play in the heat. I feel more loose. When it gets cold, that's when it gets tough on me.

Were you surprised by the play of Larry Foote?
There's no question whether Foote can play. He got the opportunity and made the most of it. Same with Clark. Everybody knew that.

What was the best defensive play of the day?
Probably James' interception.

What did you think about Foote's game?
Larry played excellent. He did a good job today. He showed in the preseason what he could do and we felt comfortable that if Kendrell couldn't play he was going to get the job done.

Your interception was nice. Was your return better?
I had some good blocking. I was a running back in high school, so I've got a few moves with me.

Surprised the pass came to you?
Well he was getting pressured, and he was trying to throw the ball away to avoid the sack all day so luckily I was in the right spot at the right time.

Did the defense keep the offense in the game?
I think the offense and defense did a good job of complementing each other.

What happened on the conversion pass to Whitted? Did you cut in front of him to cover someone else?
I don't know whose man that was. I was covering the back and he flared out. That's why I was going that way.

Why were you jawing with Wheatley on the first play?
Well he went to Michigan, is from the Detroit area and we seen on film he likes to trash talk so, you know, we like to trash talk too.

You weren't the quiet back-up coming in were you?
Oh no. Wheatley the type of guy, he try to intimidate the defense so we let him know early that ain't gonna be the deal today.

Can you push for a starting job?
That's the coach's decision. Since I've been in this league I've always had confidence in myself. I'm going to be a starter in this league one day. I don't know when, but that's my goals.

How would you describe the defensive effort today?
I think we played good. We made some mistakes you know. Coming in I knew we'd make some mistakes, and a couple of them were key big mistakes, but tomorrow we'll go to the drawing board, erase them and come out next week.

How do you explain the consistent pressure on Gannon?
We were just flying around. Coach LeBeau called a great game. Clark Haggans was out there. He's a high-motor guy. Anytime he's out on the field he's going to put some pressure on, with Joey Porter, so we've got two great outside linebackers putting pressure on him.

What was the best call LeBeau made today?
I can't tell you that. There were a lot of them. He freed me up on one, a perfect call, put me right in the backfield. It was in the fourth quarter.

Is putting a lot of pressure on quarterbacks your goal? (Huh?)
Well the media said we couldn't get no pressure on them. You hyped us all preseason. You said we had no pressure, no turnovers, so we had to put our focus towards that I guess. I thought that once the regular season come around that the pressure and the turnovers would be there and to start off the season we got the pressure and the turnovers.

Was it a result of LeBeau's tactics?
That has a lot to do with it, but at the same time it's different from preseason to game time. In a game, you game-plan. Preseason, we're just out there running our plays and just trying to execute our defense. Now when you put a whole week, like the coaches does, into game-planning for somebody, he's going to put us in situations to make plays. We were in situations to make plays and guys got the fumbles, the sacks, the interceptions and it made for a good day for us.

Does the way Clark played today make you wonder why they tried to sign Marcus Washington in the off-season?
I've known the guy for eight, nine years now. I've always known what he can do. Like I told him when he first came in, it's only a matter of time before me and you be like it was back in college. It's a tough situation. You've got to find out who you're going to double-team. If you double-team me, and leave Clark one-on-one, he's going to do what he did today. And there's going to be times when they'll double-team Clark and I'll have to step up. I knew what Clark could do since we were in college.

OK, so where did Larry Foote come from?
He was our ace in the hole. (Laughter). No, it's just a tough situation here, man. We have a lot of good linebackers here and you wish we could play a 3-5 or something because Foote is definitely a guy who should be on the field. He knows what he's doing; he has the defense in hand; he's got a good gasp (sic) for it; and he's a playmaker. He was out there stuffing the run all day long and he just happens to be behind another good one in Kendrell.


Man, you had a monster today.
Aw, I don't know about that.

Yeah, I know about that.
No, just Johnny on the spot.

Tell me about the return. When you watched the replay were you worried it was a pass?
I didn't even look. I was too tired to even look at the screen. I mean, I saw Clark hit him and the ball bounced pretty much right to me. I picked it up and I didn't hear no whistle. I didn't know if he was throwing it or not, so I scooped the ball up and I still didn't hear no whistle so I started running. I figured I'd make them have to blow the whistle and make the call. Twenty yards into it I was tired. I could feel the monkey getting on the back. At that point I just didn't want to turn the ball back to them. You know how a lot of guys tend to turn the ball back over.

So you weren't looking to pitch?
No. For a second I thought about it but then there was just too much going on. I'm not used to holding that ball, so I figured I'd just hold onto it.

Were guys yelling for a pitch?
No. If they did I didn't hear it. I don't think I heard anything. I heard myself saying run, run, run. That's probably about it.

When was the last time you ran the ball?
In high school. I was a tight end.

How do you explain the defensive effort today?
We had some letdowns, gave up some big plays. We can't afford to give those up. They put them back in the game, but I think overall we played well.

Was LeBeau's play-calling different from preseason? From last season?
I really couldn't tell you. I take it play-by-play. Once I watch the game I could tell you more.

At any point in the run did you think you were going to score?
When I first turned that corner I looked up and nobody was there but then I seen people coming out of the corner and I said I'm not scoring. Then I got tired and there was no way.

What was Porter telling you during the run?
He was telling me to run here, cutback there, but hey my vision got pretty narrow once I picked that ball up.

What about Haggans?
Clark's been waiting in the wings awhile. Clark's always been a good player and he's just now got his opportunity and he's showing what he can do.

It was fun. I was ready to just get out there with the guys and just run around and play football. It was an exciting game. There was a lot of emotion being the opening game.

Did you feel you were going to have a good game from looking at film?
No. The way I see it if you take what the coaches say seriously and do everything they ask you to do after examining the other team we should be successful. I know we let them back in the game a couple times. There were some times we could've put the clamp down and went for the jugular, and we can't let a team hang around like this.

Did missing camp affect you at all?
Oh yeah definitely. I made a lot of mistakes today. There were some mistakes I made that Gannon could've took advantage of but he missed them. When we go into Baltimore they're going to see that on film and I've got to get it corrected this week and move on from there.

How's the hand?
The hand feels great. It's healing fine. I just had it x-rayed and everything's fine.

What about them trying to buy Marcus Washington to play your position? What kind of affect did that have on you?
I was a free agent. I know the Steelers had to do everything they could to help their team. I always wanted to play in Pittsburgh and you know it's not up to me if I'm here or not and I'm just thankful to be here and playing alongside Joey. That's the way I see it.

Was it important to play well in your first game as Gildon's replacement?
It's always important to play well. Collectively as a defense it's always important to play well period, all 11 guys on the field. I didn't think going into this game was going to make or break how the coaches feel about the decision they made to keep me. It's a long journey and this was just the first step and we've got many weeks to come.

What about the fumble you caused? What were your thoughts during the replay?
Well I knew clearly it was a fumble because I know the ball was off his hand before he carried through with his throwing motion. I knew it was a fumble. I wasn't worried about it.

Were you guys more aggressive today than maybe last year?
Well, when we came out we were intense. Then we had a lull there in the third quarter and when we had that lull that's when we should've picked it up and went for the jugular vein. You notice a difference. We're playing and communicating well and over the weeks we're just going to get better at it. I'm looking forward to the season.

How much of it is due to LeBeau?
It's the same 3-4 and we're blitzing the same amount as last year. There's just more of an emphasis on getting to the quarterback and causing havoc.

There are a lot of things that I personally need to work on and that I'm disappointed definitely with my own performance, but a win's a win.

Why are you disappointed?
Well I gave up a touchdown and missed a sack on a touchdown, but I can learn from those mistakes. And we won. That's the most important thing.

Gabriel was your responsibility before the half?
Definitely. Yeah.

Could you take me through the play?
We were in a cover-2 and he ran a post and I bit on the post corner.

How about the rest of the game?
We won. That's all that matters.

Did the defense keep the offense in the game?
It went both ways. We helped each other out and they came up big at the end, but throughout the whole game we were playing off each other.

What about the concept that the young secondary will go through growing pains?
I wouldn't agree with that. If you look around the league, I guarantee every secondary gave up a big play like that. But what separates us from other defenses is we've got to learn from them and we don't give those up. If we don't give those up we'll definitely be a championship ballclub.

So once the secondary gets more experience those plays will happen less frequently, right?
Well yeah you could say that for every secondary though.

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