Post-Game Interviews

<p><b>BILL COWHER:</b></p> <p>We got through the game pretty clean. I think (Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala) had a stinger but he should be fine, and I think Matt Cushing had one near the end, so I think those are the only significant injuries that we really had.

That's the best news about it. And I think we came out and played well in the first half up until there were four minutes to go. We kind of went into a lull there on defense. But I thought it was a good performance.

Chris Hoke?

Yeah, he got hit in the ribs at the end. I don't know much.

(Antwaan) Randle El OK?

Yeah.

Happy with running game?

I thought we ran the ball very well. We kind of got a hat on a hat. The line did a good job of doing that. We ran well. It was good to see again.

Did you like the way Kordell (Stewart) performed?

Yeah, I thought he did a good job. He converted some third downs. He made some plays with his feet. He had a couple check downs, which was good to see. I thought he saw the field pretty good tonight. I thought he played a very solid game. It was good to see. It was good for him to run the ball a little bit and get on the corner. From here on out, that's going to be him.

Do you like your team?

I like the fact we've gotten a little bit better each week. I do. That's what we've done. I think we've taken strides each week. I like where we are.

Looks like your flag-throwing technique is ready for the season.

Yeah, I've been working on that. I have to ice my shoulder down here when we get done. Yeah, we got both of them right. Lot of red flags out there tonight. They were big plays. We got the first down with Kordell and certainly the long pass. We got off the field the next play, so those were big plays.

A lot of people touched the ball on your 98-yard drive. You had a nice mix going on.

We were very efficient. A big key was we were very good on third down in that first half. When you don't complete a third down, and you go out, it's hard to get any rhythm, then all of the sudden you make some third-down completions, keep the drive going, you can get into a flow like that. That 98-yard drive was an impressive drive. We made some plays when we had to make some plays. Like I said, I think there's more than one person on this football team right now that you have to be able to account for, and that's good to know. Hopefully, we're going to have some more people coming back next week healthy to be able to add to what we've established to this point.

Can a drive like that carry into the season?

We're going to New England. We know what it's like to play on the road and it's going to be hostile. Like I said, I feel the last couple of weeks we've moved the ball. We've been very efficient. We have not turned the football over. You can go back to the second game, the Washington game, the second half was when we did a poor job of turning it over, and we've protected the football very well. We're going to play solid football. We're going to be in close games. That's just the way we play the game. Like I said, we've gotten better each week and I like where we are heading into the season.

Are you giving the players off until Monday?

They'll be in (Friday).

Will Hines Ward practice Monday?

We'll see. I'm not sure.

Will Monday be a regular day Bill?

No. It will be a very short workout.

What is it like to have a group of receivers like this?

Well, it's a very deep group. There's a mix of experience, youth, there's size, there's speed. There's a little bit of everything. And they have a great respect for one another. I like the way they work with one another. It's a very unselfish group of guys and a very confident group of guys right now. When you look at Hines and Plax (Burress), they have developed themselves and worked very hard to become very established receivers. And they're very confident receivers right now. It's good to know you have those guys to come to. Antwaan's making plays. Then you have a guy, Terance Mathis, who you know that's there, a very established guy who's helped develop those guys. It's a good group.

The second touchdown drive, is that the best the O-line has been in the same drive?

I thought the line did a nice job all night, not just the second drive. I think that first line, up until they went out, I thought they performed very well.

Any further update on Kendrell Bell?

I'm hoping to get him on the practice field Monday. We'll know about Hines, Kendrell, Kendall (Simmons) and Clark Haggans. I'm hoping all four will be on the field on Monday. That's where we are. We have three more days to run them, but that's what they're scheduled to do. Hines we may hold out of contact until Wednesday. We have the extra day. Monday's the double extra day. Wednesday's the extra day.

When will you cut?

We'll probably make some (Friday). We have until Sunday. We'll see what other options we have.

Todd Peterson kicked another one out of bounds. Does he need work on his directional kicking?

Yes, he does.

Could you comment on Lee Mays?

Lee's been very solid. He does a nice job with the return game. He's a very solid football player.

 

CHRIS FUAMATU-MA'AFALA

I'm just trying to build from last year. I had a couple carries at the end and I'm just trying to build from there.

Fu, did that little corner say something about your mother?

No. He hit me. I put my head down, but at the last minute. I saw a flash. I didn't even get a chance to deliver. I just braced and this guy just came full speed. I know Corey, too, and we had a little laugh about that afterwards.

Running game on track?

Oh, yeah. There was more room to run. They're getting their calls right. They're getting together with their double teams. Once the line is in synch, it makes our job easy.

Are you ready for a good year?


I feel confident from last year. Being able to start a couple of games and just getting a feel, watching film, watching my mistakes from last year. It's all helping out and it's paying off right now. I'm a different runner. I'm trying to make moves. I'm not just trying to run people over any more.

I know a cornerback who might disagree.

That's the first time I've ever been wobbled by a hit when I had the ball. I've been rocked before on kickoffs, but never when I'd had the ball. It hurt my pride.

 

ALAN FANECA

Is the running game getting there?

Yeah. I think so. We ran the ball and there was a point to run the ball more than in the past. So we got it going.

Who made the point?

There wasn't anything said. You could just tell after a half that we were running the ball more and there was focus on getting Jerome (Bettis) moving.

So it wasn't just us in the media who felt the running game needed help?

I don't know if it needed help. In the preseason you're practicing things. You're working on different techniques. You're not going into every preseason game like you would the Patriots. You're not game-planning. You say, ‘We're going to practice this. We're going to work on this because we need to get better on this.' Maybe the running game got left behind in the work on that.

Comment on you knocking two guys out with one block on the touchdown run.

Just luck.

You know, Alan, this modesty stuff isn't good for your marketing.

My marketing? O


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