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Post-Game Notes & Quotes

Redskins vs Steelers Complete Game Notes

August 12, 2011

Game Notes: Washington Redskins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Reserve cornerback Kevin Barnes registered his first sack as a professional in the first quarter on Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Barnes also finished with five tackles to lead the team.

Starting quarterback Rex Grossman completed four of five passes for 53 yards on Washington’s opening drive of the game. Grossman finished 19-for 26, for 207 yards and one touchdown.

Reserve wide receiver Terrence Austin caught a 38-yard pass from Rex Grossman to set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Grossman to Santana Moss.

Washington converted a second quarter fourth-and-1 play with a 6-yard pass completion from Rex Grossman to Anthony Armstrong, the only fourth down conversion by either team in the game.

Starting running back Tim Hightower had 10 carries for 44 yards in his Redskins debut.

Second-year wide receiver/returner Brandon Banks returned a kickoff 58 yards and a punt 19 yards, both the longest in the game by either team.

Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens orchestrated a 14-play, 82-yard scoring drive to open the second half of the game. The drive culminated in a 32-yard field from kicker Graham Gano. Clemens finished 9-of-17 for 105 yards.

Washington committed just three penalties and had no turnovers in the game.

Washington controlled the time of possession in the game, 39:25 to 20:35.

Rookie running back Evan Royster carried the ball 15 times for 66 yard in his Redskins debut.

The game’s attendance was 68,320.

Graham Gano was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals (including a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter) and made his only extra point attempt.

Washington’s offense earned 27 first downs, while the defense held Pittsburgh to only 12 in the game.

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On Rex Grossman’s performance:

“I thought Rex had a good game. I thought he played well. I thought he managed the game well. I was pleased with the way he managed the two-minute offense right at the end of the half. Still like to get in the end zone a few more times, but overall, pleased with the effort.”

On keeping the starters in so long:

“Our game plan was to keep the starters in except for London [Fletcher] and [DeAngelo] Hall to get people used to our system. You know a lot of people haven’t played our system. We got two new safeties that are completely new. You got a new nose tackle, a new defensive end. Obviously, with London not in there we just felt we needed a little bit of practice time, and we didn’t hit a lot over the last how many days we’ve been in camp. We’ve had two practices in pads. I felt we needed to tackle, and I was pleased with the effort.”

On Tim Hightower’s and Evan Royster’s performances:

“Normally, with running backs, you can’t evaluate them until you put them in a game situation, and I felt very good about Hightower. We traded for him, and he didn’t disappoint me today. You can see he is a strong runner. I thought he had an excellent game for the first game getting used to our system. I thought Royster did a good job coming in and making some plays.”

On Ryan Kerrigan’s performance:

“You know, it’s like all rookies, there’s some good, some bad, there’s learning experience. By no means is it perfect, but I was pleased with the effort. I think he is going to keep getting better. Just like a lot of our young players, they quit looking at the ball, they get caught up in the game, they don’t do the basics like they should, but that is typical for young players coming in. But, the effort was there, not only with Kerrigan but with a lot of our young players.”

On the new kickoff rule:

“There’s going to be a lot of touchbacks. Sixteen of 35, I think, yesterday. Today, obviously, there was all touchbacks except for our side so a lot less returns. It all depends on what you want. We talked about the reason for putting it in was all the collisions and concussions. With that in mind, we are going to eliminate a lot of those penalties, and we are not going to have as many returns; that’s obvious.”

On competition between Shayne Graham and Graham Gano:

“I hate to say something right after a game. I’ll sit back here for a day and share with you guys once we make a decision on what we are going to do. Obviously, you look for opportunities in this game, and [Shayne Graham] didn’t take advantage of those opportunities and Graham [Gano] did take advantage of those opportunities today.”

On Brandon Banks’ 58-yard return:

“He has the ability depending on the height of the kick. He breaks one tackle; he has the ability to go the distance. I was pleased with his judgment there, and he made a big play. Too bad we couldn’t take advantage of that field position.”

On the second string taking advantage of opportunities:

“It’s really hard to tell to be honest with you right now. I was pleased with the overall effort. I thought we played hard; we eliminated a lot of mistakes. I thought some guys made some plays. I will be able to go back tomorrow and take about six hours to look at every play, defensively, offensively, and special teams.”

On if quarterback John Beck could have played:

“He could have played, but it would have been a risk. His groin’s a little tight. We felt that if he would go full speed he would pull it. If it was in a regular season game, would you have taken the chance? I’m not sure.”

On if Beck will start in Indianapolis:

“I would like to get him healthy and give him an opportunity to play in Indianapolis.”

On Grossman’s performance:

“I thought Rex did a very good job. He managed the game well. I thought he showed a lot of poise in the pocket. I was happy with the two minute drive right at the end. He utilized the clock well, and made some good throws.”

On weather Grossman’s performance makes an argument for him to start:

“We have said from day one this is going to be an ongoing process up until game time. We’ll keep on doing that. We’ll give everyone a chance and see what they do in practice, see what they do in games, and we’ll make a decision.”

On why Phillip Buchanon didn’t play:

“We wanted to take a look at some of the other players. I know what Phillip can do. He has proven to me what he can do so we had a chance to look at some of the younger players.”

On the offensive line’s performance:

“We are a better football team. With the addition of [Chris] Chester, [new center] Will Montgomery, just our players being used to the system. You expect it to be that much better. Hopefully, we can keep on improving.”

On absence of Chris Cooley during Wednesday’s walk through:

“He was seeing a specialist, one of our doctors, and still pretty sore. He’ll miss, I believe, a couple of weeks. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that he’ll be back. When will it be? I can’t tell you for sure.”

If the MRI revealed anything in Cooley’s knee:

“It’s sore. We just have to wait and see. He’s had it drained a few times, and that’s not good. He’s a tough player, and he wants to get back quick. We have to give him a break, and hopefully, he can get that knee responding well.”

Quarterback Rex Grossman

On today's game:

“I feel good about it for the most part. Anytime you start the season backed up on the one-yard line and get it all the way down to the 10, that's a good start. We got into a rhythm and pretty much played consistent throughout the first half.”

On his performance:

“I expected to play well, but football is such a team sport and everyone played well tonight. Our offensive line really set the tone with Tim Hightower. All of those guys did a great job playing physical and creating holes and obviously pass protection as well as they did.”

On the wide receivers:

“I thought it went really well. Our offensive line did a great job giving us time. I knew Santana [Moss] for the last year. He is, in my opinion, a quarterback's best friend. He understands where the holes are in the defense and he broke some routes off hot knowing that the protection is bad because I wasn't protected over there. He just has a way of making me feel comfortable. I know Jabar [Gaffney] from Florida and it's exciting to be able to play with him again. Anthony Armstrong's an explosive wide receiver that's going to make a bunch of big plays for us. From top to bottom our wise receiving core is really good. I'm very excited about it.”

On his experience:

“This is my third season and being able to actually start the last three games really helped me coming into this year knowing how I am going to react and being able to critique myself. I'm trying to be able to improve myself and improve upon the things I did well too.”

On playing the half:

“I think everybody came out healthy for the most part. From no OTA's and no minicamps I felt like that was good for us to be able to play together for a half.”

On Steelers’ defense:

“They brought pressure on one play and did a good job stuffing us in 2nd and 14 or something like that. They brought pressure again on third down. We weren't protected to that side so Santana had to break his route off and couldn't make the guy miss. Those are situations where you get deeper into the actual game plans and you can understand their tendencies. There wasn't one specific thing, they did a good job and they stopped us. A lot of times we stopped ourselves and they stopped us that time.”

On Tim Hightower's pass protection:

“I thought it was great. He's been great from day one with pass protection. He seems like he's as good as Clinton [Portis] was just being able to stick his nose in there and be real tough about it and stop those guys at the line.”

On Steelers bringing in their secondary:

“I was pretty aware when they took out Casey Hampton, hard to miss. For the most part, it doesn’t really change our mindset in what we do.”

Defensive End Stephen Bowen

On getting back to playing football after the death of his infant son:
“It was real good. Before the game I prayed to God, prayed to my son and told them to watch over me and just let me go out there and play ball. It just gives me a little inspiration. He’s not here and I have to just hold it down for him.”

Safety Reed Doughty

On getting back to football:

“Once you get into camp for two weeks, it feels normal. Regardless of the lockout, we still haven’t played football since last January – real, live football. You have to go out there and say 'can I still do this.’ That’s what is exciting about it.”

On if the communication on the field was precise given all the new faces:

“Yeah, I felt like the first group, especially Chris [Horton] and I did well. We both have played together a lot. Same with London [Fletcher] and myself. Not much has changed in that regard. I thought that the new guys communicated well. [Keyaron] Fox came in here from Pittsburgh and is picking things up quickly. Obviously our scheme is very similar to Pittsburgh’s. Overall, whoever was in there was communicating well.”

Kicker Graham Gano

On competition with Shayne Graham:

“Shayne is a class act guy. So I don’t think at any point during the competition is there any animosity. That would just be unprofessional. You can’t expect that out of either one of us. So I’m just confident in what I can do. ”

On if he expects more touchbacks because of the new kickoff rules:

We will see, it’s just up to coach. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of strategy as the season goes on. But you can’t really beat a touchback on punt returns.”

Running Back Tim Hightower

On learning the system:

“I love it man, I love this system, and I feel like I’m right where I need to be.”

On Rex Grossman’s performance:

“He did a great job. He did his job, he stood in the pocket, he delivered, he moved around a little bit and found some open guys. I think he was pretty poised in the pocket.”

On pass blocking in this system:

“I felt like I was back in my Arizona days, blocking for Kurt [Warner].”

On playing back home in front of family and friends:

“It felt good man. I was a little emotional. I was there sitting on the sideline just thinking about the road leading to this point. It’s been a long journey.”

Defensive End Jarvis Jenkins

On the defensive pressure:

“Those guys are a very good offense. We had to put pressure on the quarterback and help our secondary out a little bit, so I think the guys around us did pretty good.”

On his nerves before the game:

“I had a few butterflies but after that first snap I was ready to go.”

On how it felt to play his first preseason game:

“It felt pretty good. The first play was kind of a blur, but after that it was full steam ahead and I was out there getting it done.”

Center Will Montgomery

On the first drive of the season:

“It felt like people are really buying into this offense. It works when everybody is doing their job. We know we can drive the ball down the field.”

On being able to move the ball so well tonight:

“It definitely felt great. We’ve been banging against each other for a couple of weeks now and it’s been fun to play against some new bodies.”

On if he was surprised at the offense’s success:

“I’m not surprised at all. We’ve been having success against our defense in practice. Even our coaches are saying 'man we can’t wait until game day to see how this plays out.’ I think everybody’s buying into the system and it works.”

On how fun it is to block for this group of running backs:

“In practice, those guys end up 40 yards down the field after contact. Those guys never want to go down.”

On his performance tonight:

“I think it was a solid performance. There are a few things here and there that we can clean up. We’re going to go back and make those corrections and get ready for next week.”

On how much stock he can take in beating the Steelers in a preseason game:

“There are some Pro Bowlers on their defensive front. I don’t think they we were ready for a team like us. The way we run outside zone is different from most other teams. Other teams like to run more inside stuff. I think they might not have been ready for what we were going to do.”

On matching up against Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton:

“He’s a big boy but that’s why we didn’t go straight at him, we went around him. That lets the backs run around him. We didn’t want to let him do well.”

On how long the team will enjoy the win:

“We’ll enjoy this for the next 24 hours. We’ll get in the cold tub tomorrow. We still have camp though. So we’ll be back to work in a couple days.”

Linebacker Brian Orakpo

On the defense’s performance:

“I was very impressed. One thing about it, we are just trying to continue to grow, continue to learn from each other and play together as one, and I’m very excited about where we are right now.”

On quarterback Rex Grossman:

“Rex was looking nice out there–looking very good. We have great competition battles at every position and Rex was leading that offense to a T and moving the ball.”

On defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins and Stephen Bowen:

“I love them–[Barry] Cofield included. Those guys are phenomenal. They are going to push that pocket and make plays and, not only just take up blocks, they’re going to get sacks, they’re going to get pressures and they showed that tonight.”

Tackle Willie Smith

On if today’s performance was a surprise:

“Absolutely, you never know what to expect when playing with new people and coming into a new environment but I think we started out on the right foot.”

On rookie Ryan Kerrigan’s performance:

“I think he had a good performance today. He has been having a bum knee, but he’s been rehabbing and he came out there and did a good job.”

Tackle Trent Williams

On the chemistry of the offensive line:

“We’re feeling very comfortable. Guys are leaving Redskins Park at 10:30 at night, doing all the extra stuff. We knew that it would pay off.”

On not allowing any sacks against Rex Grossman:

“Of course everybody knows Pittsburgh is a great team. We knew that they would be coming at us. Most of all, we’re trying to build confidence. This is the way you do it by doing it against a Super Bowl-worthy opponent.”

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

On injuries during today’s game:

“I’ll run down quickly the list of in-game injuries. [Cornerback] Ike Taylor broke his left thumb – he could be out for a couple weeks or so. Whether or not it will require surgery remains to be seen, but he did break his left thumb. [Defensive End] Sonny Harris has a foot injury. [Wide Receiver] Wes Lyons had a concussion. [cornerback] Crezdon Butler had a quad injury and wasn’t able to finish. [Cornerback] Keenan Lewis had a calf injury and wasn’t able to finish.”

On his team’s performance:

“Injuries aside, it is not the kind of performance that we were looking for or hoping for tonight. Quite frankly, we got outplayed in just about all areas – blocking, tackling, running, throwing, kicking. Their team was better prepared tonight than us. They showed it, we accept that and I look forward to this group responding to what we put out there tonight. I understand that we have a lot of ground to cover, but such is life. I’ll expect these guys to respond accordingly. We’ll go back to work, we’ll assess this performance and it needs to be better quickly.”

On pulling the Steelers’ starters quickly:

“I pulled them just like I normally pull them in the first preseason game. I’ve followed the same script for the five years that I’ve been here in terms of their first snaps and that’s unchanged.”

On positive takeaways from tonight:

“We’ll let the tape speak for itself, I mean, I think it always does. There weren’t a lot of things to feel good about. Of course, [wide receiver] Antonio Brown appears to be in great physical condition, but we knew that before we stepped in the stadium tonight.”

On what slowed them on third downs:

“We had some guys accounted for, we were physically beaten, we cut some people loose – it just wasn’t very pretty and we all bear responsibility for that starting with myself.”

On resting strong safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison:

“Those guys, of course coming off offseason injury hadn’t practiced enough, particularly to my liking to send them out there, so we are going to continue to work those guys and hopefully they’ll be ready to go next week.”

On defensive end Cameron Heyward playing special teams:

“He’s a young guy that is able and willing and the guy’s going to have to ante up the kicking game in as many ways as possible. He’s willing to do it, he shows an aptitude for it and we’ll continue to work with him and others.”

Tackle Willie Colon

On being back:

“It feels good, I mean obviously it's different when it's live and you're going against different guys. I'm trying to get my feet underneath me. I think I did okay, but I got to work on some technical stuff. It felt good to be out there again.”

On feeling rushed after the lockout:

“A little bit, but overall I felt like the more the preseason goes I'll be trying to get my tempo. I'll be fine.”

On playing in preseason:

“This is huge for me, being in a different place, a lot of bullets and trying to get right.”

On hitting again:

“It felt good … I'm ready to go.”

On his team’s performance tonight:

“Every time we hit the field, we expect to win and get it done. We didn’t do that tonight, not only as a unit, but as a team. It’s a wake-up call. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror – watch the tape and find a way to dig in and get it done.”

On the possibility of rust being a factor due to the lack of minicamp and OTA’s:

“I think it’s a little bit of everything, but we’re never going to make excuses. That’s the type of outfit we are. They we’re the better team today. They executed better than us today and they deserved to win. We’re not in the business and we gotta catch up now.”

On playing football again:

“It was exciting. It felt good getting out there. It was such a long overdue thing, being out there with [Maurkice] Pouncey and those guys. We got a lot of work to do as a unit – we know that.”

Linebacker James Farrior

On his team’s performance:

“We will watch the tape and find out what have to work on in training camp these last few weeks. We all got the same amount of time to practice for this game. They had the same amount of time. They just did a better job of working. We have to improve on everything. I don’t think we did a lot of things well. The score didn’t really show the type of game we had. It was closer than what it was. I was very disappointed on how we played today. The Redskins looked like they came out to play.”

On his team’s performance tonight:

“We just didn’t show up today.”

On teammate Cameron Heyward’s performance:

“He had his motor running hot today. He was running around. He might not be in the right positions all the time, but I like his motor. He does a good job of standing the line. We can teach him the rest as long as he’s got that good energy.”

Defensive End Cameron Heyward

On his performance tonight:

“Terrible. I’ve got a long way to go. Definitely unacceptable by any means and I’m just going to look to get better from this. I’m just mad at myself because I normally don’t play like that. I don’t expect to play like that.”

On how he can get better:

“First of all I got to look at the film. The hustle was there, but there’s a lot I need to critique from stance to you know just getting lined up. Calming down. All the older guys have been there for me, telling me to just take a deep breath. Just let the game come to you.”

On playing on the kick-off return team:

“I didn’t do anything. They were all touchbacks, but at least I was in the right position at the right time. Anyway possible I can contribute. To be a part of this team you’ve got to play special teams. I love it.”

On his feelings on tonight’s game:

“Not good at all. From a team standpoint we’re not satisfied with this. Individually I’m not satisfied. There’s a lot of things I gotta improve on and try to get better at.”

On the adjustment to the speed of the NFL:

“I don’t think speed was a key factor, because I’ve seen it in practice. It’s just calming down and getting settled in. I think I played out of character today. I played like a chicken with my head cut off. I just gotta get better and calm down.”

Running Back Rashard Mendenhall

On being back on the field:

“It feels great. We are working toward trying to go to another Super Bowl so you get the young guys and everybody are back out here playing. We're just holding it in for the season.”

On what they want to accomplish:

“For us we want to have found assignments and to get our feet wet again. We want to fly around to balls and make plays but at the end of the day it's about some of the young guys getting established.”

On his performance:

“It feels good. It's just a day to build and get some more work. We'll come back, go back to camp, get some more work in and try and do it again the next week.”

Center Maurkice Pouncey

On getting back on the field:

“It feels good after resting, but I've got to get in the groove of playing against other guys. We'll get ready for it.”

On comparison to last year:

“I'm a lot more experience from last year, but like I said, I'm a little rusty man and we got to pick it up next week.”

On Playing With Willie Colon:

“It feels great to have another dawg that is going to go hard and make plays. He is one of my guys. It really did feel good.”

Running Back Isaac Redman

On his team’s performance tonight:

“You know, we still got a lot of work to do as a team. We got a lot of veteran guys so I think that we’ll be able to step it up and turn it around. First preseason game and it’s been awhile since we’ve been playing football. I’m pretty sure we’ll get it together. We just gotta get back in the lab and see what we did wrong and improve.”

On breaking a 22-yard touchdown run:

“I’ve always had it in me. Anytime I get the opportunity to get the ball in my hands I try to make the best out of it. Once I’m able to get into a rhythm, get into a game there’s a lot more I can do than get 1 or 2 yards. It was pretty much a zone run. I saw the cutback opportunity and made the man miss. Once I made him miss I was pretty much into the secondary and then just got in the end zone.”

On whether he has more to show the coaches:

“You know, there’s a lot more. I’m just trying to help this team win football games. When the coach turns the film on I want to be able to say when Mendenhall needs a break we can definitely depend on this guy.”

On his role this season:

“You know I’m just trying to help this team win games as much as possible. You know, if it’s in their plans to get me the ball more that would make my day. But they haven’t really talked to me too much about what my role will be. Hopefully I can get the ball more and help this team win. Or if I’m playing fullback more that’s fine, I’m a football player. I just want to be on the field.”

Wide Receiver Armand Robinson

On his first taste of NFL action:

“Overall as a team, it’s disappointing to lose. I just need to get out there and keep getting experience. It’s a much faster paced game. I had a lot of fun, getting to play on special teams. It’s definitely good to see the difference from college to the NFL.”

On his experience as an undrafted free agent:

“It’s a different experience. You have to work hard to impress the coaches and you don’t always get a lot of opportunities to do that. You have to just keep pushing and give it your all every day.”

Cornerback Ike Taylor

On his injury:

“It’s up to the coaching staff and the trainers, until they give me the say so. It is on the coaches and the doctors. I just need to keep my body in shape and everything will be alright. When we were driving down I felt it in the timeout. I don’t really remember. It was hurting real bad. I showed the doctors and then the doctors pulled me out. Whatever coach wants me to do. I am going to do whatever I need to do. The coaches and the doctors have to make a decision and I am going to go with their decision. It could be worse. It will heal. Everybody plays injured. There is not really anyone who is 100 percent. It is a robotic mentality. You just get out there.”

On the performance the of younger cornerbacks:

“We will watch the tape tomorrow. We will see what we did and see what they did and then we will evaluate it from there.”

On the Steelers’ performance:

“Coach let us know. The expectations are so high. We came out and knew what we needed to do and we didn’t do it. From a defensive standpoint we are going to make some corrections.”

Wide Receiver Mike Wallace

On a missed opportunity on an overthrown pass by Ben Roethlisberger:

“I was trying to stay away from the safety. I was trying to stay out wide. We just missed it a little. We will be alright. I don’t think it was an overthrow. I just had to go inside to get the ball. I was just looking for the ball trying to stay away from the safety.”

On Isaac Redmond:

“I don’t know how he does it. He is a good football player. He has a strong lower body. He has a real serious spin move. He is always making the defense miss with his spin move.”

On Jerricho Cotchery:

“I think he is going to add leadership. He has been in the league a long time now about six or seven years. He is going to bring a veteran presence to our group that we need because we have a lot of young guys. We will make room for him. We always welcome anybody who will help with open arms. I think he is going to be a great addition to us. He will be a great player for us and we will be able to see him at practice.”

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley

On being back on the field:

“It felt pretty good to be out there. We've been in training camp hitting our own guys, so it feels good to finally go out there and go against some other guys.”

On their performance:

“I think we allowed them to drive the ball down the field a little bit too long, maybe 90 yards, but we just need to get back on the field and correct that. That's why it's called the preseason, so we can go back and correct mistakes like that.”

On the importance of this preseason:

“I think it's really important for the young guys trying to make the team. They didn't really have an opportunity to showcase themselves but OTA's and minicamp so this is their opportunity to showcase their stuff and what they can do with the pads on.”
Am I the only one who has watched the game for the 3rd time?

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