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Hue Jackson press conference - 9/10

Opening Statement:

“Obviously disappointed in the result. I have not been a part of very many ties (laughter). I have had that happen before, but it was a while back. But again, I was proud of the fight of our players to come back. I did not think we played a very clean game offensively, defensively or special teams. But I thought we fought hard. Obviously playing the best – which is arguably – the best team in our division. Here at home obviously we need to continue to find ways to finish that game. Had an opportunity to win it, and did not get it done. So from that standpoint little disappointed that way, but I think our players understand watching the tape today, boy there are so many areas we can get better at over the next several days. Got a big game coming up. So got a lot of work to do, but we are looking forward to it. You do not really know how to feel after you have a tie. It was not a win it was not a loss, it is somewhere in the middle of that. So we will get through that, but again there were some good performances, individual performances. I know a lot of people talking about (DL) Myles (Garrett) and what he did. He did some really good things. (DB) Denzel (Ward) did some good things. (WR) Josh (Gordon) making a huge catch. The entire game obviously there was – like I said – a number of good performances, but again as a team we just got to continue to play real good team football. The injuries, (DL) Emmanuel Ogbah is only the only thing to talk about. He suffered an ankle injury. He was able to play through it in the game, but we will see how it responds. He may miss some time, but we will work through that, too. Outside of that there is really no other injuries really to report, so from that standpoint I think we got out of it pretty good. But again like I said, we got some work to do.”

On if he still believes the Steelers were offsides on the final field goal:

“No. What I saw this morning is that they were really close. I think the guy was right on our snap, and he is a little bit ahead of everybody else on his team. So it looks and feels that way, but I think he is right on the snap. I do not think that was it at all. We got to do a better job of protecting on that side. They go some tremendous push, knocked us back and the ball has got to get up a little higher. The ball was hit left a little bit, so we got to fix those things.”

On reports coming out of the Steelers locker room that they were aware of the snap count:

“I do not – I mean again they are going to say what they say. I do not feel that. That was – the only other kicks we had was points after tries. So again, a rhythm of a snapper, a rhythm of certain things we do maybe they felt that. But to know exactly when we are snapping the ball, I would not think that.”

On if he thinks the kick gets blocked if K Zane Gonzalez kicks it higher:

“Who is to say? Again we wished the ball would have gotten up a little bit higher. It did not. It got blocked and we cannot have that happen.”

On if he can elaborate on Gordon starting despite the fact that he previously told the media otherwise:

“Right. Well, like I said, just miscommunication. Move on from it, it is what it is. We worked through it, it is done with.”

On Gordon playing 69 snaps:

“Yeah, I was not surprised by that.”

On if Gordon only receiving three targets is a result of the QB not seeing him:

“No, I am not going to say we are not seeing him. We just, we got to play better offensively. Just overall everybody. We got to get him opportunities where he can make plays. Him (TE), David (Njoku), all of them. We got to get our skill guys going and moving the right direction. I think that is the whole unit issue. I do not think it is one particular player. I do not think it is just the quarterback, or those guys individual. I just think it is a unit issue that we got to continue to address and get better.”

Continued:

“No absolutely. That is what I am saying, but the game is over. The game is over with now. So to talk about it, what is it going to do? Nothing. So I dealt with it, we move on.”

On if he told Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley that Gordon had to sit out a couple of plays:

“No, I think it was – as I said last night and I do not want to keep elaborating on it – but the personnel. Obviously as you guys seen, Josh was not in quite a few plays after that. The personnel we were using, obviously offered him to be in the game. We could have switched that up. That is all. That is all it was.”

On Gordon not playing after the first snap:

“Right, because the personnel was different. Absolutely.”

On if QB Tyrod Taylor’s interception to Gordon was underthrown:

“Got to throw it further. Got to throw it out there. Got to throw it out there further. Got to give him a chance to get the ball.

On if Taylor was attempting to throw it underneath:

“No. I think we got to throw it a little farther.”

On if Haley knew that he adamantly stated that Gordon was not going to start:

“Mary Kay, that game is over with (laughter). I think to keep talking about that does nothing, nobody any good. He played the first play, did not play for however many plays after that. There was a mistake in that, and we moved on from it. That is it.”

On how he assess OL Desmond Harrison’s first start:

“I think he did some good things. I think for his first game – obviously the illegal procedures we want to clean those up. But he fought, he battled hard. I know a lot of people thought that the protection issues were on him or on that particular side. He – there was one pressure I know for a fact that he gave up. But he did some really really good things. I was excited about it being his first game and playing against who he was playing.”

On if the left tackle spot is still uncertain:

“Oh no, he is a left tackle. There is no doubt.”

On why there were seven sacks:

“I think everybody plays a role in that. It is not just the line. I think quarterback plays a role in it, I think receivers play a role in it, tight ends play a role in it, and running backs play a role in it. It was – again it is a unit issue. When sacks happen, I think everybody wants to just pin it on the offensive line. It is not just the line. Sometimes we hold the ball a little too long, sometimes running backs got to pick up their side a little quicker a little bit more urgency. Tight ends got to block a little bit longer, harder. So does the offensive line. So I think it was an offensive unit issue, not just one particular person. I know some of the sacks ‘well it is on this guy, it is on that guy.’ But I think the main culprit when I look at it is an offensive unit issue.”

On how OL Chris Hubbard played:

“I thought Chris Hubbard did some good things, but he knows that he has got to continue to anchor better. Again, he is playing against some guys that he knew pretty well. Did some good things, but did some things that he got to clean up, too. Again, this was a hard fought game. We are playing against one of the best teams in our division. When you look at it, not everything is going to be perfect. But at the same time we are going to chase it and try to get it that way. So again, I think to a man up front, to a man on our whole football team, we got to get better. Everywhere.”

On if he thought Taylor was hesitant in the pocket:

“Well I am not going to say hesitant. I did not think we had a lot of people open at time and he had to hold the ball. And I think sometimes – I have said this before – I think we get hit up a few times. I think it gets a little different. He took one shot that was really really tough, and he got up and kept going. But at the same time, we got to make sure we keep our quarterback clean. That is always the goal. Obviously, the other team’s goal is to try to hit him, too, but those things start to happen a little bit. So we were not in a rhythm obviously throwing the football early. I think as the game went on later in the second half, we did some things better throwing the football. But we got to do that earlier.”

On how he cleans up the penalties:

“We make it an emphasis. It has got to be more of an emphasis like it has been. Normally when I ask this team to do something, they have done it. I have asked them to clean something up, we did that in the pre-season. We got to get it cleaned up. I mean if you look across the league penalties were up yesterday. And some – the ones that are disappointing to me are the pre-snap penalties. Guys jumping off-sides, those types of things. I think those are inexcusable, so that is a concentration issue. We got to work through those and we will. The penalty on Myles, I got to understand that better as I mentioned before. There were some other penalties through the game that were called that we will work through those, too, and there were some that was not called. The play on Josh in the end zone by (Steelers DB) Joe Haden. But at the same time there were some calls on their side – I am sure they are seeing it the same way so. But we need to get better at it, there is no doubt. We do not need 11 penalties. Eleven penalties will not help us win.”

On what Taylor has to do this week in order to get the win:

“Improve. Improve, complete the ball. Complete the ball. Absolutely. Complete the ball. I mean we have got to play better offensively, it is not just him. We have got to play better around him, he has to play better, we have to play better as an offensive unit. I think that has got to be the goal when I look at it. We did not play very well yesterday let’s just be honest. We need to play better.”

On Garrett’s block in the back penalty:

“Yeah, to me that is inexcusable. I know he is – from the effort standpoint – he thinks he is trying to do the right thing, but you just cannot take that chance. Again it was a very critical time, those extra few yards could have made a difference. Can’t make that play, and he will be the first to tell you, should not do it. But again, we got to make sure our guys do not do it. So we will work through it.”

On if he was disappointed Taylor struggled during the game:

“I think I was surprised that we struggled on offense, period. And struggled with certain things on defense too, and special teams. I just think, again it was the opening day game against a very quality opponent, and they were not going to come in here and have us look perfect. They came in here to play too. So there are some things – like I said – across the board as a football team that we did not do as well. I think there are some grittiness things I seen us do really well. I see us fight back and do those things, but as a football team we can play better and we will play better.”

On the offensive lulls due to the first game together:

“Yeah, you know, Mary Kay, we are not going to make excuses. I know that is not an excuse, but it is the first game, that everybody is in there together and outplaying. But we are pros and we got to get it right. And I think we will. Again we can play better. It is just that simple.”

On Garrett playing every defensive snap:

“84, yeah. I challenged him to – I showed him a stat of all of the top defensive ends, how much they have been playing. Last year he played 71-percent and if I am not mistaken the top guy this past year was in the 98 percentile. So I think he was chasing that. And again that says a lot. I mean because, there was a couple of times that I knew he wanted to come out. He just looked, he was on his way and said ‘nah, I am staying,’ and kept playing. So we now know, and I think he now knows, he can play as long as he needs to. We will not try to have him have that big of a work load, so hopefully in the fourth quarter he can go make a play to win the game for us. But it was good to see.”

On Garrett getting rolled up on:

“Yes. Over on our sideline?

On if Garrett is okay:

“Yeah, he came through it okay. He is fine.”

On how he evaluated the run game:

“Did not like it. Was not as good. The quarterback was our leading rusher, and again he has that skill set. He can run the football. Again, that is a stingy defensive team running the ball against. It is not going to be a whole bunch of yards, or all that. It is the attempts that matter, and I thought we did that part of it good. We need more out of it, we expect more out of it and I think we will get it. We just got to keep grinding, grinding at this thing. Keep going.”

On the leash on Taylor being long:

“I mean, he is the quarterback.”

On giving Taylor a long period of time to see if he can figure it out:

“I do not know if it is a good look. I mean we are trying to win (laughter). And I understand what you are saying. His job is to get the offense to play the best that it can play, but it takes more than just him. I know the sentiment I am getting here is that it is him. It is not. It is the offensive unit as a whole. Got to play better. As you said earlier, whether that is newness or whatever it is. I do not want to get caught up in all of that. I want us to get better here this next week, and go to this game and play much better than we played this past week. I think that is the goal. And obviously he plays a part in that, but so does everybody else. So we need to practice and get better. And I think we will. I have seen us do some really good things, I just did not see the consistency in us doing some really good things yesterday.”

On which DL he is looking towards to fill Ogbah’s role:

“(DL Anthony) Zettel’s here now. He will have an opportunity to practice with our guys and the rest of our guys this past week. (DL) Chris Smith is going to have to step up now, too. I think we have some guys that can do it, we just have to have them prepared and ready to do it.”

On if Ogbah’s injury is a high ankle sprain:

“I do now know if it is a true high ankle sprain. It might be something like that. I do not think that it is the ankle sprain that lasts six weeks, or whatever that is. We will see exactly where it is here later on today.”

On Taylor’s performance:

“Not good enough. What I am also saying in there is that it is not all him. Sometimes guys got to be in the right spot. Protection has to hold up for him. All of those things in a passing game makes a difference. I think we all understand that. It is not just him. Does he have to do his job better? Yes. I think everyone around him has to do their job better, too.”

On if getting hit during the game impacted his ability to throw:

“No. He just missed some throws. No, it did not. He underthrew some balls. He has to do his job better.”

On the punt team’s downfield coverage:

“Was not very good.”

On how he improves the coverage unit’s execution:

“We make sure that we stress it and emphasize it this week even more so. Guys being in their lanes and making sure that we cover ground better. Be not trailing each other at times. I want to attribute a lot of this to first game jitters to some guys. The first time walking out on the field at home against Pittsburgh. A lot of new guys. I think we all know that. That is what I am going to say it was. But at the same time, I do know that there are some areas that we better fix really fast or else they will cayuse a huge problem to our future.

On DB Damarious Randall:

“I thought that he did some really good things. Having his skillset, to be able to play the middle of the field the way that he did, that was an unbelievable interception. It is a hard play to make sometimes for guys. Looked like a baseball player going back there and covering a ball in center field. That was exciting. Then watching him come down sand be able to play over the slot and play man-to-man coverage that way tells you a lot about what his potential is. I am glad that he is here. He has to keep getting better.”

On Gordon and WR Antonio Callaway not receiving ‘a ton of targets’:

“It is not Tyrod not looking at it. I think sometimes we had some assignment errors, where guys were not in the right spot for Tyrod. There were times where he had opportunities maybe to get them the ball and he has got to let it go and give them opportunities. It is a unit issue. Everybody has to do their job and do it to the best of their ability. Pull the trigger. Do not worry about doing anybody else’s job, just do yours and everything else will take care of itself.”

On if Callaway had jitters:

“I am sure that a lot of young guys had some jitters. I did not detect that, did not feel that. Sometimes the game is going fast. It is happening now. It is real. Guys got to be able to make those plays in those moments. I am sure that he will. He is going to contribute to this football team winning this year. There is no question in my mind.”

On if the weather conditions were hard on the offense:

“I thought that the officials did a great job of giving dry balls. As a matter of fact, they stopped the game one time, I got disappointed that they were making sure that the ball was dry (laughter). I did not get the feel that that was it. That the balls were wet and were coming out wrong. They missed some throws just like we did. I am sure that there are feeling the same way, there are some things that they want to do better today, too.”

On Steelers WR Antonio Browns TD catch over Ward:

“The guy made a tremendous play. I felt that last night. He had his hand in there and he is trying to rip that ball out, and the guy made a tremendous play. There are two really good players making a play. One made the play. The other one had an opportunity to stop it and did not get it stopped. That is going to happen. He also made some really good plays in the game that gave us a chance to stop them from scoring, which I think is huge."

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