It’s Pittsburgh and Tennessee tonight on Thursday Night Football, which pits Nate Washington against the team he started his NFL career with. Washington is quite fond of his former team, but he will note that they aren’t quite the same on defense without Troy Polamalu, who won’t play tonight.
Nate Washington joined Joe Bendel on ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh to discuss his time with the Steelers, who’s faster between he and Ike Taylor, the Titans with Matt Hasselbeck running the show, the offense without Kenny Britt and the Steelers without Troy Polamalu.
On the Steelers giving him his first shot as an undrafted free agent:
“Pittsburgh was probably the one and only team that ended up giving us a call back after we had committed somewhere else and they denied me. But Pittsburgh gave me a call back and were very ecstatic about having me come into camp and giving me a tryout and giving me a try at making that roster. So that opportunity there alone was definitely influential in my career. Of course I wouldn’t be here today, I don’t know if I would have been here tomorrow if I didn’t get that shot then and there.”
On if he and Ike Taylor ever raced and who’s faster:
“I don’t think we ever raced, but it was definitely one of those things argued back when I was there — who would be the fastest. I don’t know. Ike was a pretty fast guy, but I claimed myself to be pretty fast back then also. I still got it, I’ve still got a little twitch in my step also. I think it would just have to come down to who’s lining up. But I definitely respect Ike and his speed, and his game also.”
On what the continuity’s been like at quarterback with Matt Hasselbeck in for the injured Jake Locker:
“It’s kind of big. He’s a veteran guy so he knows a little more about what’s going on as far as the defenses go. … He’s not much of a runner, but he can run. He’s a guy that’s going to sit in the pocket and try to make plays with his arm instead of his feet, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment, but we’re doing all right with the adjustment so far.”
On the offense with Kenny Britt missing time:
“It’s kind of the same. Kenny’s been injured a little bit but Kendall’s been doing, also, a good job of filling in his shoes and making some good plays when he has to. So it hasn’t been too much pressure on me. We still have some good, young guys behind me that have been making awesome plays and doing everything they can to do their job.”
On how not having Troy Polamalu changes the Pittsburgh defense:
“It’s a big difference. He is one of the few people in the league that are going to make plays outside of the defense that is called. He does a good job of being able to read what’s going on and understanding the other offenses so well from watching so much film and understanding what they might try and do. And he makes a lot of plays sometimes even with the defense that’s not called. Without him, they’re pretty much going to play … whatever they show they’re going to play. They’re not going to have too many guys out of position. They’re going to give everything that they have to their technique and what they’ve been taught. Dick LeBeau’s still one of the best defensive coordinators to ever plant foot in this league, so Troy is just a guy that’s going to make plays for them outside of that, so we still have to be fundamentally sound. They’re going to be a good defense.”