Steel Quotes - Tommy Maddox

<b>TOMMY MADDOX</b><p> <i>How are you feeling?</i><p> We'll see how it goes. I'm excited about being out there, being able to play. The team knows that we're all in this together. We're all going to go out there and try to beat the Saints.

Did the coach tell you yesterday when you would have that private meeting?

Yes, he told me yesterday afternoon. And he wanted to tell the team this morning before everyone else knew. The main thing is that Kordell and I have a really good relationship. We will always have a really good relationship. I'm going to help him. He's going to help me. And we're going to go try to win a few games in a row.

Were you suprised when Bill made you the starter?

I can't say I was suprised. I think it always. . . maybe it caught me off guard, maybe not off guard, but until you hear it come out of his mouth, you don't know what's going to happen. I wasn't suprised. I was prepared for it.

How much different will it be for you running a so-called "conventional" offense?

That's what we do most of the time. It's funny. I come into one game and run a two-minute offense and everybody thinks I can't run a regular offense. That's what we practice every day. I'm looking forward to starting a game 0-0 and seeing what happens.

If you have some success throwing the ball early, will that help open up the running game?

I hope so. Being in there, I want to help the team any way I can. If we have to start throwing the ball, maybe they'll look at that and we can start running the ball a little more. We're going to keep them guessing, just like we've always done and we're going to do whatever it takes to win. Whether it's running the ball or throwing the ball, somebody's got to make plays and we've got to win the game.

Did (Cowher) explain why you were his choice and, having been a backup yourself, does that give you a better understanding of how Kordell feels?

Being a quarterback, you know how the other guy feels. You never want to see anybody go through that, especially somebody you consider a friend. I know how Kordell feels. I talked to him a long time this morning. I just wanted to make sure he and I were still on great terms and we are. We had a great talk. I understand a little of where he's coming from because I've been there. It's tough because we've got to pick it up and go. You've just got to keep playing.

Did (Cowher) explain the rationale behind it?

I don't think he owes anybody an explanation. He's the head coach. He makes the decisions. He told me I'm going to start this week and to go out there and keep doing the things I've been doing. There wasn't a whole lot of explanation.

What about your last start in the NFL? Do you remember who it was against and what you did?

Yes. It was against the Buffalo Bills the year they went to the Super Bowl and lost to Dallas. I played against a lot of good defenses back in those days. I played against Dallas and Buffalo back to back.

What's been the reaction of your teammates?

You'd have to ask them. I've been around here going on my second year. So I have a good relationship with everybody and feel good about their reaction to me. Obviously, I had to go into the game the other day and feel comfortable with everybody that was in the game and continue to lead as the quarterback. But you'd have to ask them. Hopefully, it will be positive.

Did (Cowher) tell you this is do or die or that he could change back after one game?

He didn't say and really, I don't know if there is ever a commitment. At the quarterback position you have to go out there and you have to play well and put your team in a position to win. I'm not really worried about the commitment, I'm just excited about the opportunity to go out there and play.

Backup quarterbacks have a winning streak in the Super Bowl.

Somebody else already told me that this morning. But that's a long, long way from here. I'm looking to be 1-0 against the Saints. We'll worry about things down the road. Like I said, there are 53 guys in here and we've got to go out and play the Saints.

It's got to be exciting for you that this is taking place for you down there where you're from.

I was born in Louisiana. I've got a lot of family there and in Texas and Mississippi. So this is about as close as I'll get to playing close to home. It's nice to be able to go down there to play, but I still have to play. This being a road game against a team that's playing very well, it's a tough situation. But you've got to like that. You've got to like the opportunity to play. You've got to beat everybody, whether it be at home or on the road.

How much pressure do you feel to get things righted because the team is struggling?

I really don't feel that much pressure. There's a lot of football in life. Playing football is not really pressure. I'm excited about it and I think we do have things righted.

--Dale Lolley

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