STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
MT: Really tough game versus a good team in a hostile environment. I thought it was a little bit closer than maybe the score might have indicated there. We have to finish a few instances better. We have to finish drives better offensively. We have to finish drives better defensively. Sometimes they go down the field, we have to be able to stand up in the red zone when the field gets short and make them settle for three. Little things like that are the difference in the outcome of games like that. Obviously we had a turnover there. We have to be better; we will. I thought we got a little frazzled at times from a communication standpoint when they changed the pace. We have to be better than that. Some of the young people have to grow up in a hurry. But largely I just think it comes down to finishing and making plays and situational football. They were a little better on third-down than we were, they were a little bit better in the red zone than we were. That's the outcome. That's the case when you play good people. You have to play good situational ball. They were better than we were tonight. On the injury front, [Sean] Spence has a hamstring and Will Allen is being evaluated for a potential concussion, but I don't have any other information on that. Questions?
Q: On New England's first touchdown, the last two plays, it looked like there were several breakdowns. What happened down there?
MT: I can't specifically –
Q: The 10-men?
MT: I can't specifically tell you what happened. I think we had an injury during the course of the drive and we were getting into some sub-packages and didn't do a good job of getting the proper personnel on the grass.
Q: There was an ESPN report that your radio went out, your communication?
MT: That's always the case.
Q: Are you saying that every time you play here –
MT: I said what I said.
Q: What exactly happened?
MT: We were listening to the Patriots' radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets.
Q: Coach-to-coach or coach-to-quarterback?
Q: The fact that there are miscommunications in a regular-season game, how frustrating is that?
MT: It's not. It's part of it. Hopefully we'll be better and be better really soon. I like the effort of the guys tonight. We played a good team tonight. They executed at a high level. They changed the pace. They have continuity and veteran players. We understand that. We have to continue to grow.
Q: Is there anything you can do when that happens? Do you alert the official? Did they shut their headphones?
MT: We let the league officials on-site handle it, is what we did.
Q: Did you get satisfaction?
Q: DeAngelo Williams seemed to give you what you needed. Is that what you thought you were getting out of him?
MT: Yeah, he's been like that though since he's been here. He ran in a similar manner in the preseason, although in limited exposure. We're not surprised by what he did tonight. As a matter of fact, we expect it.
Q: I assume you're never surprised by Antonio Brown. He always finds a way no matter what the coverage is.
MT: He is who he is.
Q: What was your approach going in on Rob Gronkowski?
MT: Obviously it wasn't successful. He's a really talented player and a dominant player, particularly in situational ball. He delivered for them big tonight. I don't want to take anything away from him and his efforts.
Q: The four-tight end sets they came out with, how tough of a look in the low red zone is that for a defense?
MT: It's not. It's standard goal-line ball.
Q: Any concerns with Josh Scobee?
Q: You mentioned the frequency communication problems here. Is that something you've experienced in any other place?
MT: Guys, I'm answering questions regarding what happened in that stadium right there. So, if anybody has any more questions about what happened tonight, I'll be happy to address it.
Q: That's a very serious thing that you're indicating.
MT: I'm not indicating nothing. I'm telling you what happened.
Q: So you're saying there are always problems here?
MT: Guys, let's talk about what happened in that stadium tonight, please.
Q: Did you say anything to Bill Belichick about it?
MT: No. No, shoot, that guy is coaching his team, I'm coaching mine.
Q: When they line up on the two-tight end stuff with Scott Chandler and Gronkowski, you played it two different ways. Is it personnel? Do you have to have different personnel in coverages?
MT: We got out-executed in those instances I think you're referring to.
RUNNING BACK DeANGELO WILLIAMS
Q: DeAngelo, can you assess how the offense played tonight?
DW: I think we played well, but left a lot of plays out on the field. We actually didn't have the outcome we were seeking in a win. And it's obvious that we left plays out there. Couple of those field goals and not only that, some of the penalties kind of hurt us and stalled the drives. But I think we moved the ball well, we just didn't execute as well as we wanted to. Or needed to.
Q: How tough were those field goals, when you don't get those six points early in the game?
DW: It's obviously tough when you don't get the points, whether it be field goals or missed opportunities in the red zone. Or not finishing in the red zone, it obviously hurt our team, especially like the New England Patriots that try to score at will. And we were fighting from behind and I think we played well from behind. And I saw a lot of good stuff out of this team out here today.
Q: You looked really comfortable today, DeAngelo. What did you think about your first game here?
DW: It was not bad, but I was not happy with the outcome. I was just a product of great blocking from the offensive line and they just told me, you know, you got to make that first guy miss that tackle or not let one guy bring you down. That was my whole mindset going out there, not one guy was going to bring me down.
Q: When you get behind like you guys did, do you have to change anything that you do offensively?
DW: I mean it depends, it's situational ball from that standpoint. I think we played it well, with the exception of not having the outcome that we would have liked. You know, they kept giving us too high [safeties] and giving us running situations. I think that's where a lot of our success came, in the running game. I mean, a lot of people are scared to pressure Ben [Roethlisberger], the quarterback he is, and what he brings to the table.
Q: DeAngelo, how good did it feel to get that many touches and be able to break a couple?
DW: It felt good, it felt good. Being that last season wasn't the ideal season that I wanted to have and then having one team give up on you and another team give you an opportunity. I think I am truly one of those guys that 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'.
Kelvin Beachum, Tackle
(On what happened on the false start near the goal line)
"I feel like they went across the line of scrimmage, but, the referees said they didn't, so I guess they didn't."
(On whether the Patriots did anything different on defense)
"No, it was something we already saw and we knew it was coming. We prepared for it we just didn't execute our game plan."
Ramon Foster, Guard
(On goal-line play)
"We got to get in right there, it's the small details that's gotten us. It's the situation stuff that we got to be better at. They did a good job of executing that stuff, we just got to be more in tune to what we are doing. That close to the goal line we got to get in. It wasn't the snap count, we knew they shifted. We just have to be on point, on the road there is no excuse for anything like that. We just got to be on point with that, and know what they are going to do."
(On DeAngelo Williams)
"He's a guy that's played in the league as a first rounder, he knows how to run the ball. We did our job up front, and I'm sure the fantasy guys wish they had started him tonight."
(On the false start)
"That is something they do, it's legal as long as they don't cross the line of scrimmage. They shift, in a situation like that where it is load, they are at home. We are on the silent count, that's a football thing."
Cameron Heyward, Defensive End
(On the game)
"We've got to learn from this. We've got 11 days to think about it and we'll move on from there."
(On the miscommunication during the game)
"We have some young guys. We have to work on our timing and move forward. The score was 28–21 and we had some opportunities out there that we didn't capitalize on. We know where the ball is going, but you have to do your job first. We'll look at this tomorrow and grow from it."
(On how tough it was to go down the field and see the kicker miss two field goals)
"We don't worry about that. If we do that we are in the wrong business. We can sit up here and say he missed some field goals but on defense we let them drive it down the field. Coach always says it's not always how you get on the field, it's how you get off. We knew the ball was going to come out quick, but that is no excuse."
Mike Mitchell, Safety
(On Rob Gronkowski)
"Obviously he is a great player; he did a good job today. There were some plays that we let him have. I thought we a good week of preparations, I thought we were prepared, I thought we were better prepared for the tempo. There were a couple times we didn't communicate well enough, didn't get lined up, and they were able to get us."
(On the fumble on the goal line)
"That stuff happens, you know it's football. The ball didn't bounce our way that time, and that's how it goes."
Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback
(On overall assessment of week one)
"There are no excuses. I think guys stepped up great tonight. I thought [Sammie] Coates did a great job and [Darrius Heyward-Bey] and DeAngelo [Williams] ran the ball awesome. [The Patriots] were a better football team."
(On moving the ball well, but having to settle for field goal opportunities)
"Yeah, you know there were a couple situations [where] we got down to the one [yard line] and we had some… we had a false start on one and one we didn't get it in, so it is frustrating. We have to go back and figure out why. Is it something they did or is it something we did?"
(On getting upset about one false start call and ruling…)
"In my years of playing, a defensive guy can't bark stuff or move in the middle of a cadence. I agree that the refs said that we didn't go in the neutral zone and I agree with him. I wasn't arguing that part. I was arguing the fact that he shifted in the middle of a cadence and I thought that there was a rule against it. Maybe there's not – maybe it's a written rule – I don't really know. So, that's what I was upset about. They do that. We saw it on film that the Patriots do that. They shift and slide and do stuff on the goal line knowing that it's an itchy trigger-finger type of down."
(On the first drive pass attempt to Antonio Brown)
"From when I came off the sideline coach Haley told me was that, they only rushed three guys on that particular play and he had no idea why. It's not like there was any crazy situation and when they only rush three and drop everybody else it doesn't leave you many options."
(On DeAngelo Williams' hands)
"Awesome. I thought he stepped up and did some great things for his first time out there with a lot of outside question marks, but we believed in him the whole time. We were confident in what he could do."
(On what needs to be improved after tonight's game)
"Everything. We need to get better. This is a small step in a long journey. We need to stay together and get better and I think we will do that."
(On the late pass that was picked)
"It wasn't late. I just threw it as far as I could against the wind and it just didn't get there far enough. Not a strong enough arm."
Josh Scobee, Kicker
(On the missed field goals)
"The first one really came off funny; I haven't seen a ball rotate like that in a while. It looked like it just shot straight out right, so that one was a little crazy. Obviously you got to make that one, I mean 44 yards out I expect to make it, they expect to me to make it. I just have to go look at it on film and correct it. On the second, the wind in that direction was going right to left, so I tried to plant it just inside the up-right, and started it a little too far right and it never moved. I tried to play the wind and it doesn't do what you thought it was going to do."
(On whether he is comfortable with the team)
"Yeah, it's a strange situation with what transpired a couple weeks ago, but that happens all the time in the NFL, you just have to adjust."
Ryan Shazier, Linebacker
(On the missed opportunities)
"It was very frustrating, we feel like we could have done better today."
(On Rob Gronkowski)
"They are a good team and they know how to get him open and sometimes he was just in the right place at the right time. Sometimes we just had a break down in coverage and he got the better of us."
Lawrence Timmons, Linebacker
(On whether he was noticing any issues with calls coming through to his helmet)
"It's tough out there because it's so loud out there. It could be easier, but, it is what it is. It was so loud out there and I was screaming the play to guys next to me and they couldn't hear."
(On whether he was experiencing communication issues on the field)
"I was talking to them fine."
(On what he could take away from the game)
"I'm not making excuses, but we are young, we know we are on the brink of something."
(On if he thinks they can match up against Gronkowski if they play them again)
"I feel with the coaching we'll see what we can do. I just think we had some lapses there and if we stay more detailed we would have had a chance to stop him more."
(On how frustrating it was to have issues with getting the right guys on the field)
"It's tough especially because you are trying to get the initial things. It's the first game of the year and you're playing the champions and it's a loud environment. We didn't start off the way we wanted, but we finished strong. It's something to build on."