Coach Mike Tomlin: Obviously a disappointing opener. Enough misery to go around in all three phases. Unacceptable performance. I won’t accept it. This team better not accept it. We’ve got some work to do. We sustained some injuries in the game but really not an excuse.
The guys that played had opportunities, and we didn’t play well enough. We didn’t coach well enough. On the injury front,Shaun Suisham injured his hamstring in the pregame. He was able to get through today. We’ll see what that holds. Maurkice Pouncey injured his MCL and his ACL. Obviously, he’ll be facing a surgery. [LaRod] Stephens-Howling had a knee injury. He’s being evaluated via the MRI. Cortez Allen had a right ankle sprain and Larry Foote ruptured his bicep. Of course, that will require surgery as well.
Those that played, not good enough. We won‘t accept it. We turned the ball over, particularly in the red area. That’s a significant swing. They were able to run the ball at times on us, particularly in that red area. Just not acceptable. Obviously, some errors in the kicking game. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Nobody cares about our problems. They’re glad we’ve got them. We need to understand that. We need to stick together and persevere.
Re: It looked like on the play where Isaac Redman fumbled there was some confusion:
There was. We had a miscommunication in terms of the personnel group. Once we got an understanding of what the issue was, we realized it was irrelevant in regards to the play. But, obviously, we didn’t execute the play well. So, not good.
Should there have been a timeout called there? The huddle clock looked like it was down next to nothing.
No, we were close there. We felt comfortable with what we were looking at. Obviously, in hindsight, we would look a taking one there based on the result of the play. But, again based on the discussions that we had with an understanding of what was going on, we felt comfortable. Obviously, we didn’t get the play executed.
Can you comment specifically on the performance you got from your running backs and maybe why you didn’t see the need for Felix Jones?
We just didn’t get enough going with any of the running backs. The game circumstances dictated that we do some things, no-huddle and so forth. He’s been here for a short period of time. That maybe had an effect on our utilization of him, particularly down the stretch. But just largely not good enough.
What would have kept the offense from going down field more? That seemed to be the only thing working.
Our quarterback was getting hit some. It wasn’t a clean pocket. Obviously, we had Kelvin Beachum in there at center. We needed to be able to run the ball and stay on schedule. We weren’t able to do that.
Just to clarify, the injuries that require surgery, are those season-ending?
I would assume so, but that’s an assumption at this point.
Was Will Johnson available? Why didn’t he play at all?
He was available to us. By the time we determined he was available, it was the latter part of the week. We had a plan kind of in place. He was there if we needed him. Obviously, due to game circumstances we didn’t get a chance to utilize him much. He did participate on special teams.
It looked like David DeCastro got Pouncey’s knee. Why would that happen?
I have to look at the play. I just caught a glimpse of it on the replay. It’s an unfortunate incident. Obviously, it’s not something that David is intentionally trying to do. It really is one of the casualties of the game football. We’ll take a look at it, and maybe have a better understanding of the reasons why after we do.
You called this performance unacceptable. What kind of consequences does that mean for the team moving forward?
We’ve just got to understand what the standard is, and that’s not up to the standard. We better work to play to it. We’re capable. We’re good enough to win football games. We’re good enough to win that game today, not taking anything away from the Tennessee Titans. They did a great job. We did not.
Why wasn’t the running game there when Pouncey went out?
We didn’t execute. They did. They had a nice plan. Our plan could’ve been better under the circumstances. Obviously, we had intended on using Kelvin Beachum some at tight end. When he had to go in at center, that changed. We didn’t adjust well enough. I take responsibility for that.
What was the biggest letdown today?
I really haven’t taken time to ponder that. I paint with a broad brush when I say that the performance is unacceptable. We’ll have better clarity and I’ll be able to provide those better answers for you after having watched the tape.
Is the injury to Stephens-Howling less serious?
He’s being evaluated as we speak. So, I don’t have a definitive explanation of what his injury is at this point.
Are you comfortable with Beachum at center moving forward?
I’d have to look at the tape. Obviously, he did an admirable job under the circumstances, but tomorrow is a new day. It’s the top of the week. We’ll make the best decisions for us, globally speaking.