Steelers-Cardinals Quotebook

The youngsters played well in the Steelers' 20-10 win over the Cardinals in Thursday night's preseason opener. Here are quotes from several of them:

Joe Burnett, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: What do you think? Is this anything close to how you envisioned your debut at Heinz Field?

A: Actually, I've been thinking about this a long time. I thank God for allowing me to be here today with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I did, I've been thinking about this moment and it's been building up, building up, building up to the game, and I thank God for the opportunity.

Q: On the interception, what did you see? What did you do?

A: It was a great call by the coach. I read a three-step (QB drop) and I expected three-step and as soon as he got to that third step I put my eyes on the wide receiver and saw that he was chopping down, so that was the signal for me to go. I went, the quarterback threw it, and I picked it.

Q: What do you mean that it was a great call by the coach?

A: Coach put us into coverage where I had quarters (zone) and safety help, so I knew I could break down a little bit more and focus on the quarterback's drop. I got my pre-snap read, I knew I had a safety over the top, and coach told me he likes to throw off his third step, so it was the perfect call for that.

Q: Why didn't you score?

A: Being a rookie, you've got to play 13 positions out there, so my legs were gone. They were out of order from playing defense, returning punts, playing gunner, I guess.

Q: What about the punt you dropped?

A: I actually fumbled a punt. I caught the punt and ran into one of my guys. I have a short memory, though. I'm a cornerback so I have to have a short memory, and I put that one behind me.

Limas Sweed, WR

A: ... I caught a ball -- just like in practice -- at its highest point and made a play. That's something I work on, being a bigger guy, is catching the ball at its highest point.

Q: You had a good game, why aren't you smiling?

A: I'm just looking forward. It was an alright performance. I can get better. Like coach said, take it as a positive thing, nice first step, but keep coming.

Q: Did you have any mental errors?

A: Not really. There were some points I could do better, technique-wise.

Mike Wallace, WR

Q: How do you feel you played?

A: I think I did all right. I'm hoping to slow it down next week and clean up some of the mental errors. I didn't have too many, but a couple things I felt I could've done better out there.

Q: What are you going to do about the QBs underthrowing you on the deep routes?

A: I've just got to come back and fight for it and make the play. We'll watch the film and make it work.

Q: How bad did you beat that cornerback?

A: I couldn't even tell you. I just felt like I got up on his cushion and then I was open. I was just looking back for the ball. I don't even know where the corner was.

Q: What are you thinking when you're alone in the end zone like that?

A: Come down. Come on, ball, come on down.

Q: That was a highly anticipated kickoff return. Did you feel bad about downing it in the end zone?

A: Yeah. The ball was five yards in the end zone. Rashard (Mendenhall) kept me in the end zone. He told me to stay there. I have to do whatever he tells me to do.

Aaron Smith, DE

Q: What did you see from Ziggy Hood tonight?

A: From an effort standpoint, I liked what I saw. But to get specific, I can't say I caught all the game.

Q: Did you see his sack?

A: I did see that.

Q: Is that when he danced? Tomlin said something to him about his dance.

A: Yeah, he did a little shake and shuffle.

Q: Was it any good?

A: We'll see.

Q: Do you remember your first preseason game? Or were you still holding out?

A: No, I was here. I remember that I was so tired. I walked off the field, got to the sideline and fell on my knees and told God that if he took me right now I wouldn't mind one bit.

Q: Ziggy did a little better than that, didn't he?

A: I think so. But go ask him if he asked the Lord to take his life.

Ziggy Hood, DE

Q: How did you do?

A: I think I had a good game. There are some little things I have to work on. I'll watch film on Saturday and take it from there.

Q: Your first NFL game, what was that like for you?

A: It was very emotional to run out of the tunnel and see all those fans going crazy for you and playing on the big stage.

Q: The fans are pretty crazy in the preseason, aren't they?

A: They were going nuts out there. Without the fans, I know it wouldn't be the Steelers. I think they provide us energy that some teams just don't hear.

Q: What did you do well?

A: I think I did what the coaches expected of me. I knew my plays and was at the point of attack.

Q: Does your sack dance need work?

A: I think that's the last sack dance. I got it out of the way and now it's strictly business.

Q: Were you caught up in the spirit of the moment?

A: Well, it's your first sack. I know it doesn't really count because it's in the preseason, but it's your first one ever in the NFL and you get a little excited. You had to do it.

Q: Aaron said that in his first preseason game he was so out of shape that he asked God to take his life. Did you feel like that at all?

A: Ah, no, I didn't feel like that. I feel I'm in decent shape, but I will say it was kind of getting to me. I think I'm strong, though, and I kept after it.

Q: Did you match your expectations?

A: I had a lot of goals set: playing tough, knowing my plays, know what I had to do. When it came down to it, I think I hung in there pretty well.

Dennis Dixon, QB

Q: You're not the first quarterback to underthrow Mike Wallace this camp. What do you all have to do to hit this guy?

A: I have to say, as a quarterback, you have to get rid of the ball quicker with Mike Wallace. As soon as it came off my hand I knew it came off wrong, and I'm kind of mad at myself. I can make that throw. I will make that throw. It's not a matter of arm strength, it's timing. I need to throw it out there and let him go make that catch.

Q: How early are you going to have to throw it?

A: You can't throw off a five-step drop. You really have to throw off three steps. He can get behind the defense really fast and you've got to get that ball out there.

Q: How did you play out there?

A: If I had to grade myself, I'd give myself a B. As far as the tempo, getting the guys in and out of the tunnel, I have to improve that before the next game. All in all, with my reads and things like that, I did fairly well. I had a couple of good throws out there.


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