Steelers focused on the field
Thursday, May 31, 2007
By Teresa Varley
It's a piece of paper with three simple words typed on it that is taped to the doors that lead from the locker room area to the fields at the UMPC Sports Performance Complex.
But those three words speak volumes for the approach the Steelers are taking this off-season.
It reads – 'Take the Field.'
"When you take the field you take it to go out and take a step forward," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "Don't come out here if you have problems at home or whatever. Leave that outside of the facility.
"When you step on the field it's time to play football and guys are focusing on that. When we come out here this is our safe haven. It's all about football and we can just concentrate on that and go out and become better football players."
Ward talked about the commitment the players have to getting back to championship form this year following the team's OTA's on Wednesday. Football season might be months away, but the desire to win another championship is in the forefront of the players minds. And that is why they are working together, with veterans helping out rookies, and guys on offense helping defensive players and visa-versa.
"It's all about getting 53 guys to go out and help us win a championship," said Ward. "That's what this game is about.
"I think we do a lot of communicating with the wide outs and defensive backs. Even though we are competing against one another, we're all on the same team and we want to get everyone on the same page so we can all help each other to win a championship."
"That's what OTA's are all about. It's about communicating and getting one the same page so when training camp comes we are hitting on all cylinders."
The OTA's are also about putting a few new twists in to the playbook. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has made some changes, including working on the no-huddle offense, and Ward thinks the new twists will give them an edge.
"We're not going to be predictable," said Ward. "We're going to the defense on their heel. If we come out spreading the ball we're going to find ways to attack the defense."
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Ward has noticed a change in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, seeing the quarterback take a more vocal leadership role and it's something he thinks will benefit the team.
"He's the quarterback and that's his job," said Ward. "He is coming into his fourth year now and has been through a lot of ups and downs. He is a leader on this team. This game is built around the quarterback and you go as far as your quarterback takes you and he is realizing that He is emerging and growing every day we take the field."