The atmosphere in the Steelers locker room on Thursday was the same as it’s been all season, with players joking around, shooting pool, having fun and being loose.
But don’t let that light-hearted atmosphere fool you for a second. The Steelers know what is at stake and it’s playoff football.
“It’s a whole new season right now,” said
“The attention to detail in meetings and on the field is up a notch. People know what is going on, people are aware. You can’t afford a lapse in concentration. That one play could be the difference in your season.”
There is extra film study, a little more time in the weight room, the cold tub, and extra reps on the field. It’s a matter of doing whatever it takes to get the job done on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
“It’s win or go home,” said
It’s been the veterans on the roster who are making sure to keep the atmosphere the same as it always has been, knowing it’s important that none of the young guys get tight as the game approaches.
“We’ve got a lot of veterans, but there are a lot of young guys in important positions on this team,” said Essex. “They can’t afford to be tight and over think situations. As much as you want to pay attention to detail, you have to keep a loose atmosphere because you don’t want those guys to get locked up.”
“You have guys like (Brett) Keisel and
“They are telling us to stay ready. You never know what can happen. We have to make the most of every situation we are in. We are going to need a big play in every way possible – special teams, offense or defense.”
Heyward also appeared to be following the lead of the veterans with the light atmosphere, joking around with staff members during the lunch break.
“These guys are always playful,” he said of his teammates. “They keep a level head because they are all good guys. They joke around a lot and it keeps everyone at ease.
“No one is getting tensed up or out of their element.”