Steel Quotes - Bill Cowher Press Conference

<b>BILL COWHER<o:p> </o:p> </b> <p>OK. Get your pens and pencils ready. We're making two roster moves today. We have released Dan O'Leary and we have signed Mike Jones, the inside linebacker. We have placed, also, Todd Peterson on injured reserve and we will sign a kicker to be determined. That is not his name. And we also have, in regards to this week, the following players out:

Tommy Maddox (Dr. Maroon will come up following me and will discuss his condition with you so I'll refrain from making any comments in regards to that); Jeff Hartings is out with a knee (there's a chance he'll get scoped Wednesday and at that point we'll have a better sense of what the time frame may be; Hank Poteat is out with a knee; James Farrior is out with a knee, MCL sprain; Mike Logan is out with a groin. And the following player is doubtful and that's Larry Foote with a calf. We have two players questionable: Fu (Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala) with his pec and Chidi (Iwuoma) with his knee. And we have two players probable: John Allred with a concussion and Jerome (Bettis) with his knee. That's our situation. There may be other moves made through the course of the week, depending upon the health of some of these guys, and we will probably have a kicker by the end of the day.

[Dr. Joseph Maroon talked at length about Maddox's injury following Cowher's press conference. In summation, Maddox's prognosis is "excellent" and Maroon feels Maddox could practice next week. Maroon feels that psychological problems are the bigger concern and that only Maddox can decide if he should return.]


Who are the kickers?

We're going to work them out today. Joe O'Donnell, (Michael) Husted, and then we had two young kids come in. We'll work them all out this afternoon. That's where I'm going from here.


Are you going to Heinz Field?

I think that's where we're heading. What a great thing to do on a day off, isn't it?


Did you sign the linebacker because Farrior's out?

Correct. We've got Farrior and Foote probably both out, so we're very short at that position.


Has it helped that Mike played here?

Yeah, it's very helpful. He was here all last year. He knows the system. He was with the Raiders earlier. He was just released about three weeks ago so he's in playing condition. It will be a welcome sight. Our depth at that position has been hindered a little bit. John (Fiala) will go as the buck with Kendrell (Bell), and then Mike will back both of those guys up.


Will you put Mike in the dime?

No, I don't think so. I think Joey (Porter) has done a pretty good job.


Will you sign another quarterback?

No. Based on the information we've got, I don't think we're going to do that. Going into this game, Antwaan (Randle El) will be our third quarterback if we get to that. We'll have a small package for him.


Will he practice as a quarterback or be the scout guy?

A little bit. Sure will. Hey, 3 for 4 this year.


Any changes in your third-down package?

I'd like to change the results, absolutely. No, it's hard to say. You almost get to a point where you start pressing and trying to make the perfect call. The players start to press and make sure they're covering everything. And I give credit to Tennessee. They hit a run against us on a third down and long, and hit a pass, went down the field. He scrambled one other time. The first thing we have to correct, we've got to make the makeable field goals. That zaps your team of momentum. What's a makeable field goal? Inside of 40 yards at this level [phone rings]. There's our fifth kicker. Been getting a lot of calls from kickers these days. But making makeable field goals, turning the football over on offense. We have the second-most turnovers in the National Football League. And then certainly our situational football on defense. Third down, the red zone recently. You've got to hold teams to field goals. Those are things that were strengths of our football team in the past. We've been able to overcome a lot of those, even before last week. During the course of some of those wins, they were prevalent. They certainly come to the forefront when you don't win football games. Those are the three areas we have to address. I think our football team understands that. You can talk about it all you want, but we've got to execute, get off the field, not turn the ball over and make makeable kicks.


Will Farrior be out awhile?

No. I'm hoping most of these guys will be back in a period of time, one to two weeks. There's nothing at this point that looks like it's long term. We're dealing with it on a week-to-week basis, so this week obviously we'll have to have some people step up. They're going to have to perform.


Is Jeff's injury the same injury he had before?

Yeah. It's re-occurring. We're going to get another opinion today. According to schedule, Dr. (Jim) Bradley will do a scope to see what he can find. If there's anything at all wrong with his knee, we'll know more at this point.


You have two dime guys out. Will you bring in DBs?

There's a chance that could happen.


Would you consider going with the nickel based on performance and the injury situation?

Performance-wise, we're going to explore not so much who we're doing it with, but what we're doing. And both. Injuries will always play a factor into anybody you put on the field. At this point, that's going to play more a factor than performance.


Did Todd Peterson know he had cracked ribs when he kicked?

Well, nobody knew it at the time. He hurt them on the kickoff that he made the tackle on. Then he went in and they checked him and tried to block it, but they couldn't because he didn't know where it was with the pain he had. He played with that. I know he was hurting, as I stated after the game.


Coach, what were the problems with the running game the other day and how will Kordell Stewart affect that?

Well, I don't know how much Kordell's going to affect the running game. Certainly the other day they did a good job. They penetrated, blew some things up. They brought eight guys into the box. They did a good job. They beat us physically up front. Give them credit.


Bill, are you more inclined to go back to Jerome now, or at least give him some more opportunities?

I think so. Hopefully he'll get through this week the same we he got through last week. We'll get him more involved, along with Amos (Zereoue), yeah.

I'd like to see how they get through the week. If they both go through the week well, we may go with Jerome starting and come back in with Amos, but let's see how they get through the week.


Bill, Jason Gildon said ‘we're doing a lot of things differently.' Is that happening?

When you talk to players after the game a lot of times, there is a lot of frustration. You'd have to talk to him more specifically. I don't comment on what players talk about. We went over the whole game with the football team. I wanted them to experience the same feeling I had when I watched them. It was not a good feeling. We didn't play very good. It was important that they watched it and they discussed it. If they had anything they wanted to comment on, they had the opportunity. You know, right now is not the time to question what you're doing. Now's the time we have to step up and start answering and be a part of the solution, not be part of the problem. That's the thing our football team has to understand, and I think they do. We've identified the things we'd like to correct and talking about it won't get it done. We have to go out there and get it done on the field. Let that be our talking.


Why did you say after the game that the team was tired?

I don't know if I was referring to anything. When I say a tired team, I'm referring to the emotions of the last few weeks. (We had) the big game up in Cleveland for first place, and Baltimore before that for first place. Come back and play a five-quarter game against Atlanta. That took a lot out of us. People were still talking about that Thursday. Then you go down into a place we knew would be tough. Through the course of the week last week we tried to take care of it, but we had, offensively, over 90 snaps two consecutive games, five quarters of playing on defense, last week chasing around a quarterback and we had to do it again this week.


[Do these guys use any of the answers to the endless questions they ask? Someone please stop Ellis Cannon.]


Did Kordell's performance indicate that he spent his time as a backup pretty well?

Yeah. I think you sensed it all along. He's been very supportive of Tommy. He's prepared himself every week. You could see on the practice field his focus when he came in. What he did the other day was good to see and was great for his confidence, but did it surprise you? No, because he had been preparing. He's handled this thing like a true professional. He hasn't always, I'm sure, liked to sit on the sideline based on where he's been, but he's been very supportive, very unselfish; and that mindset has allowed him to step in, as he did the other day, to perform the way he did, and I would expect him to perform at that level this Sunday.


Do you expect to see more empty sets the rest of the year and how did you do against them Sunday?

Well, we did good at times and didn't do very well a lot of times as well. We sacked him on fourth down and 2. Other times they were able to hit some passes. We missed some tackles. Do we expect to see it? Sure. Cincinnati has it in their repertoire. How much we'll see of it, I don't know. But like anything else in this business, until you show an ability to stop it you'd better prepare for it because I'm sure we're going to see it. Now, how much? That remains to be seen. They've got a good group of receivers. They like to spread it out and give the ball to Corey Dillon. At times they'll put Lorenzo Neal in there and they'll get the two-back set.


Would you like your fans to support your quarterback?
Yeah and I think they will. They'll support our team as long as we're playing well. … We've left I don't know how many points on the board at the end of the half again last week. It's like the sixth straight week that we've either missed a field goal or turned the ball over at the end of the half. There's a lot of momentum you carry into a locker room in how you finish a half. Obviously the start of a game is big, but I really think how you go into a halftime and how you come out is a very, very important time in a football game when you can re-establish a mindset on that field about who's in control of the game.

We've some chances to put some people away at the end of the first half, or at the beginning of the third quarter, and that's what's led to a lot of these games, being as they may, how they unfolded.


Coach, I'm another newswoman who's here for some free publicity, like a lot of these pseudo-sports journalists, so tell us, please, how has Tommy's injury impacted the rest of the team?

Well, the impact was felt Sunday when the unknown was there. All the information we've received to this point, which I have also shared with the team on Monday, has been very positive. I think you look around the league, some very unfortunate injuries that have ended people's careers and maybe affected their lives. I don't' think that will be the case with Tommy. Again, I'll defer to Dr. Maroon. But I think on Sunday, when you see a player laying there as Tommy was, you obviously think all the worse things. It puts things in perspective.


--Jim Wexell



Steel City Insider Top Stories