What have you been told about the starting job?



What have you been told about the starting job?


Monday Quotebook

<h2 style="margin-left: 3; margin-right: 3">&nbsp;</h2> <h2 style="margin-left: 3; margin-right: 3"><font size="2">TOMMY MADDOX</font><o:p> </o:p> </h2> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 3; margin-right: 3"><i>What have you been told about the starting job? </i><o:p> </o:p> <o:p> </o:p> </p>

Maddox: Nothing. I hadn't really thought about it. Today's the day to watch film, learn from it, come in Wednesday morning and get ready to work. No matter what the decision is, it don't change your approach coming in Wednesday. You get ready to play and see what happens. I'm not real concerned about that. Coach Cowher will make the decision and we'll go from there.

What are your expectations?

Maddox: None. I've been around long enough to know that what's out of your control you don't worry about. Get ready to play, go play as hard as you can and see what happens. Again, I think Coach Cowher has the best interest of the team in his hands.

How hard is it to maintain the approach you had prior to busting out yesterday?

Maddox: I told you all a long time ago I approach it like you're going to play every snap. So with that in mind, if something does happen and you're playing then your approach is the same. You approach it like you're going to play every snap.

The only thing that's changed for me is it's exciting for me to get in and get some action. If something happens down the road, you have that to fall back on. You've been in a game. I said yesterday that starting the Detroit game helps us if a situation like yesterday comes up. So every opportunity you get is a positive and something you can build on when you get in there the next time.

Has adversity early in your career helped you?

Maddox: I think anybody in any profession probably learns more from the times that they're down than the times that they're up. I wouldn't want to go through it again, but the things that I've gone through have definitely helped me. If not football-wise, being a better person, a better man, a better father. All those things are positives to me.

It's funny. Everyone keeps trying to make me an old man. I'm only 31 years old. I've been around a long time because I started when I was 20. I still feel like I've got a lot of football ahead of me and probably my best football's ahead of me.

How much fun has the last 24 hours been?

Maddox: It's fun. But experience also tells me it can be short-lived as well. You don't get too caught up in it that it distracts you from going to work next week and doing the things you've got to do to prepare for the New Orleans Saints.

Do you have a stronger arm than 5 or 6 years ago?  

Maddox: I don't know if it's necessarily stronger. It's a lot quicker. I think some of the things I worked on through the Arena League and having to get rid of the ball so quick, I know it's a lot quicker. I felt like I always had a strong arm. I probably had a slower delivery with it. But in being quicker, I think it's a little more accurate as well.  

Relief pitcher or starter?

Maddox: Like I said yesterday, I feel like a quarterback whether it's playing one quarter or four quarters. Again, that's something probably early in my career I would've worried about and tried to figure out. I told myself I'm not going to do it at this stage. You get wrapped up in thinking about all that stuff and you don't go out there and play as well as you can.

Are your kids old enough to realize what happened yesterday?

Maddox: Yeah. My little girl's going crazy. She's nine and she's been through all this with us. We had her early. Been married 11 years and she's been around for 9 of it. So she's been through the ups and downs, too. She knew exactly what was going on. She was very excited yesterday after the game. My little boy's three. He just knew that he went to a football game. He said, ‘I saw you running around on the field.' So he was pretty excited about that.

Retire now?

Maddox: No, I really do believe that whatever happens this week, next week, down the road, I still feel like my best football's ahead of me. I'm going to play this game until everybody kicks me out and tells me to go home. I just love being around the game. I love playing.


What have you been told about the starting QB?

Stewart: I haven't been told anything. As of right now I think it remains the same, but I think you would have to ask Coach Cowher about that situation. But he hasn't mentioned anything yet.

Does going home to New Orleans make starting even more important to you?

Stewart: No, it's another game. Granted, I'll go home and see my family members and all that good stuff. … It's really no different than any other time. I just that I have an opportunity to see my entire family and spend all my money to make sure everybody gets to come out and enjoy the game.

Do you expect to start and why?

Stewart: Do I expect to start? Of course I do. Why? Because I'm the starter on this football team. Otherwise it would be a situation where Coach Cowher would tell us we're going in another direction, but as far as I know right now I'm still the starter.

Did he talk at all with you today?

Stewart: No. We had our typical meeting, going over everything, the game and things like that. … There was really no conversation about the starting QB.

Do you expect him to make a decision by Wednesday?

Stewart: I think we'll know by then, but he's going to give us the answer. I don't know what's going to happen from here on out, so as far as any questions about the starting job, Coach Cowher would be the best guy to ask.

Is there a sense of urgency since Tommy played so well?

Stewart: No, every week there's a sense of urgency. To have a situation like this come about that causes me to play outside myself or do anything more or uncharacteristic of myself would say the times before I was just taking it for granted and that's not the case. Every time I step on the field there's a sense of urgency. The approach is going to be as strong as it's been, which is always positive.

Do you regret responding to the crowd?

Stewart: No. It may have been a little frustration. Nothing towards them. All they want to see is wins. Responding to the crowd wasn't in a negative way; it was a here-we-go-again kind of thing. Your team is down and you want to come out and do well and they're going to boo, so it wasn't nothing geared toward them, it was frustration on my part.

I mean, they can respond the way they want to. Nothing was going well. I'd boo too if I was a fan.

Hard to keep focus while looking over your shoulder?

Stewart: No. When you're in the game, you don't have time to be worrying about what people are talking about and who's behind you. My job is to take care of the task at hand, do the best I can, and if my best is not good enough, we know what can happen.

It's a good situation, but it's a situation that you never want to be a part of because you never want to get yanked out. But it helped us yesterday. We needed it. We wound up winning so the one thing you do is be happy about it.

How do you draw on your experience?

Stewart: I'm sure when you guys first started writing, you weren't the best in the world. You didn't know what you were talking about, your tongues were tied and you handled it very immaturely, but as you grow with time you have a tendency to learn from the things that happened to you before. That being the case, it's not indicative to what type of quarterback I am, it was just a situation where we needed a spark. Tommy came in and did an excellent job.

If we win with Tommy, I win too. If we lose with me or with Tommy, we all lose. Like I said before this is not the Kordell Stewart show. This is about the Pittsburgh Steelers and we all won yesterday.

FU Update 

Fu has injured ribs and will learn results of x-rays Tuesday. Played with cracked ribs early in 2000 season. Would play with flak jacket. "You just hope you fall the right way."


Got your 100 yards?

Bettis: Finally.  

Why is it taking running game so long to get going?

Bettis: It's been rough. We've been in the situation where we've kind of helped destroy it in the sense that we've kept ourselves out of good drives and the opportunity we get this game we're going against a really stout defensive front seven. They made life miserable in the running game.

They weren't stout the first few games?

Bettis: I would have to assume their philosophy was if their running game doesn't beat us, they didn't feel the passing game won't, and they sold out to stop the run. We hadn't done anything to that point to prove we could throw the ball with success. If I'm the defensive coordinator I'm going to practice run all week because it's the only way they can beat us.

Haven't you seen that many times before?

Bettis: Yeah, but when you're not clicking offensively it makes it harder. We haven't been clicking offensively at all. It's not just the running game, it's the passing game too.

Why so many problems with the line? Was Tylski that good?

Bettis: It's not only that, it's cohesiveness. You can have the same five guys and not be the same from one year to the next year. You've got to get every guy to play the same as he played last year. That's a hard thing to do. You've got injuries and other things factoring into it, so it's an uphill battle. We're nowhere near there yet.

Cowher said he'd freely use his depth. Can you accept that?

Bettis: Oh, that's always been the case. Anywhere you look, if the starter's not playing well you're not going to be in the game. That should be universal everywhere you go.

Are you playing up to a level that one of the other guys should be in there?

Bettis: I can't tell you that. I don't think so but that's not my call. I don't see it. There's nothing I can do different that could maybe keep me in the game and do more. I mean, I'm doing the best I can do.

What is your expectation on who will start at QB?

Bettis: The guy who's going to give us the W. We're 1-2 right now and we need a win, so whoever we can put in there we can count on to get us in great field position to win a football game. That's who should start.

Spread offense in the future?

Bettis: When you get 30 some rushes and 90 yards, that's not good.

Is this a changing team?

Bettis: I don't know if it's changing. You change strengths sometimes to win a football game.

How would you feel in a spread offense?

Bettis: I don't think that's what I do best. I know that for a fact. I'm not a scatback by any means. If we're not pounding the football it's really tough for me to be out there.

Do you worry that that time's coming?

Bettis: Not at all. You've got to figure everybody's not going to be able to stop the running game. And hey, if the passing game comes on they've got to defend the pass and so it'll open up the running game. Hopefully it'll work out one way or the other.


--Jim Wexell





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