— It was a busy and interesting day of quotes at Pittsburgh Steelers practice on Wednesday as the team prepared for their upcoming game with the Arizona Cardinals. Wide receiver Antonio Brown stole the headlines as he complained about not getting the ball enough. I’ll admit, the quotes look “worse” from the complaint department than they came off in person, but they were complaints nonetheless. And although the Steelers were coming off a win on Monday night against San Diego, it was pretty clear Brown was serious that he needed to be a bigger part of the Mike Vick offense going forward. Here is the transcript of what Antonio had to say:
Q: Are they trying too hard to get you the ball, or are they not trying hard enough?
A: “I don’t know, man, I just think… I don’t know that’s a good question (laughs). I didn’t think I got the ball enough. But, you know, I always got to stay positive. Obviously my guy’s not at quarterback. Mike Vick’s out there and I think he’s just playing conservative to make sure we get the win. You know, he’s not going to take too many shots. He’s going to stick to the script and do the best he can.”
Q: Would you like to see them let him loose a little more?
A: “I don’t know, man, as long as we win. That’s all it’s about. Obviously I wanna get the ball and help the team win. That’s always my passion. But, some things are out of my control all I can do is go out there and play the game how it’s supposed to be played.”
Q: You’re not getting frustrated by it?
A: “Just stay positive, man, it’s a long season. I’m still up on that chart. We just gotta find a way to win and our business is winning. The rest of the stuff will take care of itself.”
Q: Why are you not getting the ball?
A: “Well, obviously our quarterback’s not at quarterback. I think Mike Vick’s just playing within the gameplan. He’s just playing conservative, trying to do what it takes to win. Not trying to make a mistake. And that’s about it.”
Q: Will it change after seeing those last two drives [against San Diego]?
A: “Uh, I don’t know. I know he’s not saying ‘don’t throw me the ball’. I’m sure he wants to get me the ball and I’m sure he’s going through his progression and trying to do the positive thing to help us get in good position.”
Q: Would you like to throw him the ball like you did in practice today?
A: “I told him that’s how you throw the ball (laughs). He went up and made a good play, man, that was exciting. I kidded with him about it. It’s all fun when you’re winning, you know?”
Q: You threw the ball when he was covered. Does he need to throw you the ball when you’re covered?
A: “Yeah, he gotta take some shots, man! I told him, ‘trust me a little bit, let me make some plays, and let’s get a victory! It doesn’t have to be that hard’”
Q: What did he say when you told him that?
A: “Oh, he started laughing. He thought it was pretty fun. I think he wants to get me the ball. I don’t think he’s not trying to get me the ball, it’s just he’s new out there. He hasn’t been here from the spring or Training Camp. So he’s just trying to do what’s right to put the team in position to make sure he doesn’t mess up.”
Q: Is that the most single coverage you saw against San Diego?
A: “I think on some certain third downs they had a little safety help. But from the earlier downs there was a lot single, one-on-one, and that’s what we’ve got to try and exploit.
Q: You had to be happy to see Ben Roethlisberger out there throwing.
A: “Yeah, real happy. He looked great I just think he’s got a little ways to go. But he’s definitely showing signs of coming back.”
Q: Ramon Foster said you guys ran a lot of deep routes in the game Monday, it just didn’t show up on TV. Is that right?
A: “Yeah, we had a lot of deep shots, we just didn’t throw them. I think we hit one with Markus Wheaton, a stop-and-go, and had me in the slot on the over to bring the safety down. But, we’re just got to find a way. If we keep winning, that’s all it’s about. It’s evident I do need the ball more.
Q: You don’t like being that decoy in the slot, do you?
A: “If I have to, man, I’m a team player. If it’s going to bring the safety down a lot, so guys get some one-on-ones to win, I’m all for it.”
Q: If you guys keep winning, is it easier to keep Roethlisberger on the sideline?
A: “No, no, no, no, no. You can’t keep ‘Seven’ on the sideline. We’ve gotta keep winning, but we gotta have ‘Seven’ come back. We’re going to need Mike Vick to be smart, we’re going to need to make plays, we’re going to do everything we do to keep this thing positive until he returns.
Q: Are the difficulties getting you the ball coming with pre-snap adjustments that Roethlisberger would be making?
A: “I just think Mike Vick looks over and sees me doubled and thinks, ‘Oh, I can’t go there. Or pre-snap he might see someone single covered so he might go to the positive match-up.”
Q: Your old coordinator Bruce Arians is coming back. What will he try to do to you?
A: “I think he’ll be fired up. They’re got a lot of good cornerbacks. Obviously, Patrick Peterson. I think that’s always a great matchup. Those guys are defensive ballhawks. Their front four is getting after the quarterback. They’re going to try to heat us up with pressure, obviously put a lot of guys in the box for Le’Veon [Bell]. B.A. hasn’t been here in so long. One thing I know about him, he’s going to throw the ball down the field. He doesn’t call the same play twice. He’s going to be fired up to come around here and light us up.”
Q: What kind of battle is it with you and Peterson?
A: “It’s an intense battle. And, coming off some positive games. He jumped a dig route. He made a nice interception against Calvin Johnson on the back shoulder. So I’m sure he’s going to be fired up. And knowing we’ve got a Mike Vick at quarterback he’s going to try to come after the ball and play agressive.”