For years, Hines Ward always would preach patience to his fellow wide receivers. He would tell them not to get upset when they did not have a lot of catches or, worse, rarely had the ball thrown in their direction.
Instead, he preached efficiency. Tell them to make sure they would catch every pass thrown in their direction because they never would know when another one might be coming their way.
The Steelers are tossing the ball around the field like the Harlem Globetrotters, making sure everyone gets a touch and causing confused secondaries to look like the Washington Generals.
Receivers no longer wonder when their next reception might be coming. Just how soon.
"It's definitely a lot of fun," said wide receiver Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl MVP. "It keeps everyone happy."
Indeed, there are no grumpy faces in any of the offensive team meetings, especially after a game in which the Steelers equally distributed the number of running (36) and passing plays (37) and piled up season highs in points (38), first downs (32), yards (497) and time of possession (40 minutes, 20 seconds) against the San Diego Chargers.
And, of course, there are no disgruntled voices among the receiving corps, either, not with the way Ben Roethlisberger has been spreading the ball -- and the wealth -- after four games.
Heading into the 1 p.m. game tomorrow in Detroit, the Steelers are the only team in the American Football Conference with three players among the top 20 receivers in the league -- Hines Ward (26 receptions), Heath Miller (24) and Holmes (19) The group does not include rookie receiver Mike Wallace, who has 14 catches for 194 yards and ranks 27th in the AFC.
Even the Indianapolis Colts, the No. 1 passing team in the league, do not have three receivers among the top 20. Believe it or not, the only other team with three receivers among the top 20 is the Seattle Seahawks.
"It's a good thing," said Ward, off to his fastest start since he had 28 catches after four games in 2004. "It isn't like receivers are cussing they're not getting enough attempts."
It began in the season opener against Tennessee when the Steelers had three receivers -- Holmes (9), Ward (8) and Miller (8) -- with at least eight catches. The following week, Holmes had a season-high 14 passes thrown in his direction, even though he caught only five and dropped three in Chicago. Wallace had a team-high seven catches for 102 yards in Cincinnati and Ward and Miller each had eight catches against the Chargers.
"You look at our explosive skill players -- me, Heath, Santonio, Mike Wallace -- we have a nice dynamic of pass-catchers who all bring a different flavor to the game that they have to defend. I like where we are. I don't think we have a bunch of unselfish guys."
"Ben has total command of the offense," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said.
"We don't have to have a favorite go-to guy. We have enough capable guys who just take what's there and we'll move the ball downfield."
That is one of the reasons Roethlisberger's passing numbers are among the best in the NFL. But here is another:
He is healthy.
Last year, Roethlisberger separated his throwing shoulder in the opening game when he was sacked by Houston's Mario Williams, then aggravated the injury Nov. 3 in Washington sneaking for a touchdown. Because of that, Roethlisberger rarely practiced during the week and, when he did, barely threw the ball beyond 10 yards.
Now, he feels good, and looks even better.
He leads the NFL is completion percentage (73.2), is second in completions (104) and third in yards (1,193) and yards per attempt (8.4).
"Ben didn't practice for seven weeks at this time of year last year," Arians said.
"Now he's practicing and he's full-go. He's seeing everything as good as you can see for a quarterback."
And the receivers could not be happier.