We talked about it from last week and discussed what we would do and had a plan going in. Again, you've got to get off the field on third down. They were going to throw the ball quick, they were not going to get hit with the blitz, they completed some passes underneath and we had opportunities on third down to get off the field. It's a repetitive thing. I feel like I'm up here saying the same thing I said last week, but it's the truth. We tackled pretty good outside of Charlie Garner's run and the shovel pass in the first half. Again, they had 17 points at halftime. It was 17-10. They kicked a field goal and we had a big play by Joey. It seems every time we make a play and get back into a game, we shoot ourselves in the foot. We gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and proceeded to fumble the ball the next three possessions. The three areas you have to control are turnovers, third down, and big plays. The big plays didn't hurt us in this game. We had a few ourselves. But we lost the turnover battle and we lost third down.
Q: Was that passing ratio too much for the defense?
A: We didn't get off the field. That's the best way of handling it. We've created a situation that teams are going to incorporate. We've faced two good quarterbacks. They've been very accurate and have done a good job of executing it. Until we show we can stop it, we're going to see it.
Q: Not everybody's capable of doing it, right?
A: We'll find out. I'll admit. I did not think they'd come out just zinging it. I thought they'd come in and try to run the football, which they've done very well. Obviously, we knew from the first series that would be their plan. We talked about what we would do in case they did it or anyone else would do it. Again, they hit the big draw for the touchdown. We went with pressure. We went back to back in coverage. We were matching people. They hit some passes and we had some opportunities. We right now are not seizing the opportunities. You can't do that in this business and, again, we've got to get those things rectified or it's going to be a long year. We're not a very good football team right now.
Q: Did you guys blitz more than last week?
A: Oh, we blitzed much more than we did last week.
Q: Was it effective?
A: At times. Again, he was throwing it quick. We were able to get some pressure. We got a pretty good rush with four-man pressure. Again, we had chances on third down to get off the field. We just didn't get off the field.
Q: The coverage was tight.
A: He made some very good throws. But above it all, you get into a situation where you're fighting and scrapping. We made them kick field goals. Joey's interception gave us a lift. It's 20-17 and the momentum's clearly on our side, and we go out and they return the kickoff for a touchdown. Those are the types of plays, and that's the time of game where you have to seize control of the game. You can't let it stop with a fumble, a return for a touchdown. The kicking game up until that play had made some plays for us - the blocked punt we converted into a field goal. We had pretty good field position on our returns most of the night. We did a pretty good job outside of the one play, but you can't have the one breakdown and that's what we're having now. First and goal at the one for two consecutive weeks and you come away with nothing?
Q: What about injuries?
A: The only injury we have right now is Mike Schneck. He dislocated his elbow. It's going to be a significant injury for awhile.
Q: His replacement?
A: John Allred.
Q: What do you do?
A: I'm sure the head coach will have some ideas. I'll meet with Coach Cowher tomorrow and come up with the answers, but the bottom line, and it's his theory that he said to the media before, and he's told the players this, if teams see you have a problem with something - and the video will go around the next four, five, six weeks - until you show the ability to stop it, they're going to continue doing it.
Q: Wouldn't any team have a problem stopping that kind of accuracy?
A: Absolutely. The bottom line is they isolate you and make you make plays.
Q: Is this just against you guys or is this new age football?
A: I think it's new age football. I don't know, maybe it's directed at the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I think it is new age. It's full court press basketball. I tuned into some games this afternoon and it's not uncommon. I watched Cleveland, our next opponent, line up and do the same thing. I don't know about the no-huddle part of it. I do know the spread part of it. They spread out Cincinnati and threw it all over the park. Every year there's something that's new and fresh. This is obviously what the trend is. Everybody on our schedule will do it.
Q: You blitzed more. What other changes did you try tonight?
A: Mix in and out based on down and distance and personnel grouping. We changed up the times we used packages. We don't have an extensive nickel package. All of our blitzes are put together out of dime.
Q: Would personnel changes help?
A: We will. I'm sure we will. We're going to do a number of things. We've got a bye week here. We've dug ourselves a hole, but the season's not over. We will make changes. There will be some things that we do from a scheme and/or personnel standpoint to put our thumb, so to speak, in the dike.
Q: Blitzing Chad Scott a dilemma?
A: That's a true statement.
Q: Your biggest dilemma at this point?
A: The biggest dilemma is making sure that the guys keep their chins up, keep fighting and keep battling. Generally, when you give up 500 and some yards, you're giving up 50 or 60 points like in college football. They're taking time to score. It's taking them 11, 12, 13 plays to get the thing down the field. When we get to third-down scenarios, we have to get off the field. We have to tackle. The one guy, Garner, made about 7 of the 11 guys on the field miss.
We'll go back to the basics and see what we can get corrected, see what kind of new defense we can come up with and try to stop teams because it's obvious teams have something going on us right now.
Q: They seemed to have an answer for whatever defense you used.
A: Yeah. They did a good job coaching. Their coaches put them in the right position and were calling good plays. Obviously they've got a bunch of older guys over there, crafty guys who can make plays.
Q: Do you expect to see this from around the league?
A: Right now I would say so. Why not try it, even if you do have a young quarterback? You put him in the gun, give him a chance to see the rush and throw the football and make some plays.
Q: How tired was the secondary?
A: I never really felt that from the guys. Everybody was out there fighting to the end. You've got to take your hat off to the guys. Obviously we didn't make every play out there, but we've got a bunch of fighters. I mean, we've been through the tough times, the 7-9, 6-10 seasons, so we know how to fight out there.
Q: How much was Rich Gannon a factor:?
A: When a quarterback has time, a guy like that who knows where to put the ball - he's looking at the position we're on and throwing to the opposite side. He does a lot of great things. He's definitely a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Q: What would you do?
A: Honestly, I think we should blitz them more. You've got to put fear in the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly. But the coaches, that's there job, so I'll leave it up to them.
Q: Tough blitzing Chad so much?
A: Yeah, but you've got to do what you've got to do. He's one of the best football players on the football field so we've got to use him any way we can.
Q: Is this a snowball effect?
A: No. You guys have been covering the Steelers a long time. They don't start well. Last year we bounced back from a devastating loss and I look for this team to do the same thing this year.
Q: How much of your blitz package were you not able to use?
A: I don't know if we really truly expected them to come out and do that. We knew they had a good running game and we kind of game-planned for it. We'll re-evaluate it and we'll be able to get some packages where we can apply pressure and still do our zone stuff. Leave it up to Tim Lewis. He'll figure out a way to do it.
I don't know if we were totally surprised, but it caught us a little off-guard that they went so far away from their game plan.
Q: Will Cleveland do it?
A: Everyone will do it. It's a copycat league, but like I said we'll counter with something.
Q: What's the answer Mike?
A: Tim Lewis. He'll counter with something, and I believe that. I truly believe that. I believe that we'll be able to apply some pressure somehow someway. We have a bye week. We'll get in there and figure something out.
Q: Can Kendrell Bell make all that much of a difference?
A: He is a difference maker. It would be nice to have him back. Not to take anything away from Larry Foote because he's a rookie and he's doing a helluva job for us, but Kendrell is a difference maker. You know that.