Steelers veterans don't want young players getting comfortable
A winless football team isn't the place to get comfortable.
That was the message sent by the Steelers' veterans to their younger players when they took away their locker room recreation privileges, including access to the shuffleboard deck and the ping pong and pool tables, according to Ben Roethlisberger.
“We wanted to get that across to the guys, they can't just take that for granted, just get too comfortable,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday. “We wanted to push the envelope on the comfort.”
During a meeting of those remaining from the 2008 Super Bowl team, the veterans decided that too many players with four years of experience or less weren't being serious enough with their work.
“We wanted to set the tone, the older guys, don't get comfortable. If you're a young guy, a rookie, who isn't playing and isn't practicing, instead of going down and playing pool, come down and get in your (play) book or ask a guy a question or get treatment,” Roethlisberger said on his 93.7 FM radio show. “That's the thing we wanted to make sure the guys understood: It's about football.
“If you're a guy who's not out there and not performing, you need to find a way to get on the field and perform.”
Part of the problem, Roethlisberger said, is that “a lot of these guys come in and they're the man on their (college) teams. ... When you come to an NFL team, you're one of many guys. Your attitude, your mentality needs to be that: I've got to work.”
Roethlisberger, coming off the second-worst home loss of his 10-year career, didn't single out any individuals.
The crackdown, endorsed by coach Mike Tomlin, didn't show any tangible results Sunday as the still-winless Steelers lost to the Bears, 40-23, at Heinz Field. They travel to London to meet the Vikings (0-3) on Sunday as they try to dodge their first 0-4 start in 45 years.
While Roethlisberger doesn't want the Steelers' large contingent of young players getting comfortable, comfort was part of Tomlin's reason for not arriving in London until Friday. The Vikings already are there.
“I value normalcy in the early portions of the week from a preparation standpoint and from a practice standpoint,” Tomlin said, rather than traveling early to get accustomed to the time difference.
Most players aren't looking forward to the longest road trip in Steelers history but, Roethlisberger said, “Maybe it's just the change we need.”
With his team healthier than it's been in weeks, Tomlin expects rookie running back Le'Veon Bell to make his NFL debut Sunday — and to start. Bell has been out with a Lisfranc mid-foot sprain in his right foot since Aug. 19.
Tomlin said Bell “perked up dramatically” at the end of last week and that he “won't dress him (Bell) to stand on the sideline next to me.”
The Steelers badly need an upgrade in their running game after rushing for 155 yards in their first three games, by far the fewest they're ever had at that stage of a season. They've had a different leading rusher in every game.
Still, Roethlisberger said of Bell, “You can't get a read on him. One day he's practicing, one day he's not. One day he's going hard, one day he's not. I wish I could (tell you) if he were a guy like Heath Miller, who you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there.”
In other words, a player who's not too comfortable.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
- Joe Greene only 2nd player in Steelers history to get number retired
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- GM Colbert expects Roethlisberger to end career with Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Team hasn’t called on Keisel, Harrison yet
- Five questions facing Steelers entering training camp
- Steelers hoping that youth movement breathes life into team