Head Coach Jay Gruden
On the injury report:
"Injuries: Did not participate – Kendall Reyes, groin; Terrence Garvin had an illness. Limited were [Chris] Baker with his elbow and rib and Trent Williams, glute/hip. And then full was everybody else – [Josh] Doctson, [Morgan] Moses, [David] Bruton, [Matt] Jones and Preston Smith, oblique."
On the status of T Morgan Moses:
"Yeah, he practiced full today. He was good to go. He had a good day today."
On the status of DE Chris Baker:
"I think he'll be ready. You know, we have another day or two to figure it out, but he's a pretty tough guy as we all know and he should be good to go."
On what WR Pierre Garçon's presence means for the passing game:
"Well, Pierre's obviously a big part of our team and we don't really try to listen to what outside people say. We know what type of player he is. He's a heck of a possession guy. Very tough, catching the tough balls across the middle or on the sideline or underneath or what have you, and he can go deep. So, he's a big part of our game plan every week. It's just when you have four or five good ones, you know, somebody each week might get a few less targets then you would anticipate. It's just hard to get them all the ball, but he is a big part of our team."
On WR Josh Doctson:
"He looks fine. I think he might still have a little bit of tenderness there, but you cannot see it too often. So, he's still a work in progress. He's still getting better and better and stronger and more comfortable. He'll get more and more reps as we go on."
On if this team has the same ability to "bounce back" as last year's team:
"I hope so. That's a great challenge… when adversity strikes, how you react, and that's what separates the good teams from the great teams and the bad teams. And we are facing it right now. You never want to lose a game at home. Monday night, we failed. We all failed and how we bounce back is going to be a big part of our success throughout the season because we are going to have our ups and downs, there's no question about it. I think every football team in the NFL is very competitive and very good – good coaching staffs, good quarterbacks, good receivers, good DBs, good everything. All games are going to be close and we're going to have adversity throughout the year but how we bounce back will be very, very important. Luckily last year we bounced back for the most part pretty good. I anticipate this team being strong-minded and have the ability to bounce back."
On if he envisions specific roles for Doctson on offense:
"Could be. I think he'll get more and more regular plays too. We'll try to sub him in there. Somebody's got to come out when he goes in and we'll figure that out and deal with that. We have a very, very good problem and that's a lot of good receivers. And Ryan Grant had a great camp also and he's not getting any reps either. And obviously Jamison [Crowder] can play outside and inside. He's an excellent receiver and an excellent option for us too. You talk about Pierre [Garçon] and DeSean [Jackson] and now Josh. Those are five excellent players and Ross can't even get on the field and he had a good camp. So, we'll have to deal with that and I don't feel bad throwing the ball to any one of those guys. They're all good options for us. They're all going to help us eventually."
On how to fix the penalties and false starts:
"Well, we just keep working our snap count and holding our water. You know, and be limited in some of the snap counts and what have you and our communication has to be better. Our offensive linemen, I think the majority of them were just trying to get a jump on the snap. We weren't going on hard counts where we're going 'set, hut' and the guys were jumping. It was because they were trying to get a jump on the snap and timing the snap as opposed to waiting for the ball to be snapped so we've just got to address that. You know, sometimes our quarterback might have been rolling the snap count too long or what have you and linemen were jumping. It's been addressed and we're just going to keep working. We haven't had any the last two days, so that's a good thing."
On if he is confident that he has pass-rushing talent in the front seven:
"Yeah, I sure hope so. Yeah, we do. We have good players, man. Preston [Smith] and Ryan [Kerrigan] are good rushers and you throw Trent [Murphy] and [Houston] Bates in there, they've shown the ability to rush. Then interior. You've got Bake [Chris Baker] and you've got Kendall [Reyes] and you've got Ricky [Jean Francois]. We added Cullen [Jenkins] obviously. And Kedric [Golston] is more of a run player, he's not going to get many sacks for us, but everybody else, we just have to do the little things a little bit better and we have to get in positions and situations where we can rush. You know, last week we didn't get in many situations where it was all-out rush. Not many third and eights, third and 12s. We got a couple, we didn't get much pressure, but we did get one sack – Kerrigan did. The key is first down we've got to do better, get them a second and long and then obviously try to get them in third down and long to try and make it more one-dimensional where we can rush."
On balancing between keeping QB Kirk Cousins humble and giving him confidence:
"Well, he should have a lot of confidence. He's done a lot of good things at quarterback last year and he should be very confident. So hopefully that's not the issue. I don't think it is. I think the one thing that quarterbacks go through – every quarterback, every year, no matter how old you are – you're going to grow and you're going to learn. Every year something different happens in the NFL defensively. Scheme-wise offensively, there's something different going to happen and that's just part of the deal. Every NFL player is growing every year and once you stop growing, you stop playing. I don't think that's ever an issue for him. He's going to continue to grow, continue to get better and he's very confident, I would think. I would hope."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
On the strategy for Steelers WR Antonio Brown last week:
"Yeah, you know, the strategy was simple. I felt really good – and I still do – with the plan that we had. I want to first of all say that it was a great throw by a great quarterback and a great catch by a great receiver. I would have been a little bit more concerned maybe if we got burned or there was some incredible kind of separation, but it was good solid coverage against a great wideout and he made a play and we didn't. And our plan, we felt comfortable with our plan because we thought a number of our corners had a great offseason. We thought that a number of our corners had a great training camp, so we were confident in our plan and we were confident with Josh [Norman] or Bree [Bashaud Breeland] covering him, we really were. And I am still very confident in Josh and Bree, 100 percent."
On if there could have been more safety help for CB Bashaud Breeland:
"Yeah, we definitely had calls where were doubling him and we had safety help and we had people working over to him, but, you know, when you throw a fade ball up the sideline, it's not necessarily easy for that help safety to get all the way over. So, again, I think it was, especially on the two deep ones, it was two phenomenal throws and a phenomenal catch by two phenomenal players."
On the pros and cons of having a cornerback follow a wide receiver around formations:
"Well, let's talk about the benefits. It's easy for the guy that's doing it. It's hard for the other 10 guys to get lined up. I shouldn't say 10 guys; it's hard for the other three or four DBs to get lined up. If you are coming to cover me, that's easy but him, him and him, I could go anywhere. I could line up at X, I could line up at Z, I could line up at W, I could line up in the backfield, I could line up anywhere. Now if I always told you that I was lining up right here, that'd be simple. You guys could play off of me, but if I don't know, if you don't know where I am going to align, then these guys really have no clue. It's easy for you to get lined up but the other guys, it's difficult and that's why most of the time, people get talked out of it, especially with offenses that move their guy around. And they do a really phenomenal job because people try to do that and they make it difficult just because of all of the different places that he aligns. It is hard for the other guys to get lined up in a timely matter, especially in a no-huddle offense with the tempo."
On why he was so confident in Breeland:
"He had a rock solid camp. I mean, he had a rock solid offseason. What he portrayed for us outside in OTAs and we went down to Richmond, we came back from training camp saying he's playing A ball right now… And again, number one at corner, you have to win the one-on-one and it is very simple. You could be in great position, you could be in great coverage, you either A) make the play or B) you don't. And he did not make the play, but he had pretty darn good coverage. He had pretty darn good position. Again, it was just a guy making a play and he didn't make it. So from a confidence standpoint, I still have confidence in him… Greg Toler got beat. I thought he was going to pick the thing. When he went up, I thought he was going to pick the thing, so again, it was a guy in great position. He did not make the play; the other guy made the play. But I still think Josh, Bree, I have all the confidence in the world in both of them."
On the run defense:
"Again, it's happened before. I think that's the thing that I was most upset about the other night because you walk off the field and you look up at the final score, but until you go back and you revisit the game with it being 7-6 with two minutes left in the first half, with it being a one-score game with seven minutes left in the game, it was 24-16. And I don't know the exact stats, but I think they had 85, 90 yards rushing at that point and that's my point. Where I got upset with the way we played the run the other night, they had 50 yards of rushing their last six runs of the game, which was in the last seven-minute timeframe of the game. But again, we went into that game saying because of the attention that No. 84 [Antonio Brown] got, we were going to be somewhat a little bit light in the box and the run game. It was going to be a little bit give and take and I thought again, until the last six or seven minutes of the game, those last six runs, I thought from a run game standpoint we were OK with what our game plan was. Now, like I said, you give up 50 yards rushing the last five minutes of the game, that sickened me a little bit."
On what went wrong with the Steelers' late runs:
"Oh, yeah, just again, you get in that situation, guys are maybe trying to do a little bit too much. You know, we talk about all the time getting the ball back, but you try to strip the ball just to get the ball back in what offenses call the four-minute drill, we are trying to get the ball back. I think guys just instead of believing in their keys, believing in the call, believing in the defense, they kind of tried to do a little bit too much and it bit us a little bit."
On improving the run defense this week while also accounting for Cowboys WR Dez Bryant:
"Oh, yeah, but again – I sound like a broken record, I think I said this last week – every week is going to be the same thing. Whether it's [No.] 84 [Antonio Brown] in Pittsburgh, it's [No.] 88 [Dez Bryant] in Dallas, it's [No.] 13 [Odell Beckham Jr.] in New York, it's [No.] 18 [A.J. Green] in Cincinnati, you're going to have a guy to deal with, especially when offenses also have good runners, they have good running games. We play against a very accomplished, very good offensive line this week that wants to run the ball. That's life in the National Football League. That's the challenges that we face week-in and week-out. Nothing different this week, as will next week."
On if fatigue was a factor for the defensive line:
"No, I didn't feel that. I think that's a nice thing when you go into a game. Whether you dress five, whether you dress six, the goal is to always try and have a nice rotation, especially with those guys upfront so that they can stay fresh. But I didn't feel that there was a fatigue issue."
On how Breeland reacted to the signing of CB Josh Norman in the offseason:
"As I said, great. I had all the confidence in the world going into that game, as I still do in Bree. I think Bashaud Breeland has an incredibly bright future and he's going to be fine. He's going to come out and play great for us the entire season. Again, I think that it was two great players making great plays."
On if he talked with Breeland about not being the No. 1 cornerback when Norman was signed:
"I didn't get involved with that. I never had a conversation. It wasn't that I didn't talk to Bree, but I don't bring that stuff up. And Bree's been great. I don't play those games with him and get into that stuff. But Bashaud has been phenomenal and he's going to continue to be phenomenal for us."
On the how the defensive line will look when it plays at its peak:
"Well, I think the goal of any defense – and I don't care what level of football you're playing – you win in the trenches. I know you preach that on offense, you preach that on defense. You're only as good as you are upfront. So that's something that we rely on those guys to set the tone from a physical standpoint. As we said, when we are playing a defense, we are playing a coverage, where we are paying a little bit more attention to the wideouts or the coverage, shoot, we've got to rely on those guys to play the run for us. Obviously when the quarterback drops back and throws the ball, then [that] frustrated us a little bit early on, just because the ball was coming out so fast. That's frustrating to defensive lineman, to rushers. We ask every position for certain things and upfront it's to cause disruption, it's to play the run, [be] violent, and to harass and get after the quarterback."
On if he considered changing the game plan for covering Brown during the game:
"During the course of the game? Yeah, I think that's… As I mentioned before, to coordinate that in a game plan is difficult. I've never been able to do that [in-game]. I've never been part to do something like that on the sidelines. Again, it's easy if I tell you go cover [No.] 84 [Antonio Brown]. That's easy. It's him getting lined up, it's him getting lined up, it's him getting lined up. Of course, those are things that are discussed through a course of a game. Absolutely it's discussed, but we squashed it just for that simple purpose… And again, I didn't want to leave someone uncovered. I didn't want to have someone uncovered because we couldn't get lined up because we changed our rules on the sideline. I don't think you can do that. And again, if a guy is just getting absolutely burned, if he's just getting separation, if he's 5-10 yards away from a guy, I think then you [adjust]. But it was pretty tight coverage and it was a great throw and a great catch."