By Teresa Varley
Running back Rashard Mendenhall said he learned his lesson after not playing on offense against the Bengals. Mendenhall didn't see action for what Coach Mike Tomlin said was a result of him not being on "the details" during the week of preparation leading up to the game.
"It's just a learning experience," said Mendenhall. "You learn in the NFL that minor things are major so be on top of everything. You have to have a week of practice that's good and up to standards to be able to play. It was a learning experience through the whole week and that's over now."
Mendenhall plans on spending more time in his playbook and focusing on the small details, understanding how important they are.
"You learn to do everything you can," said Mendenhall. "As hard as you're working, you have to work a little bit harder. This organization demands perfection and I plan on doing that.
"It's frustrating. You want to take advantage of opportunities, you want to prove to the team and to the organization what you can do, but I wasn't able to do that this week. I'm just looking forward to this week of practice and this game. I'm just looking forward to getting an opportunity and be able to play and show fans and teammates what I'm able to do."
Fullback Carey Davis got a warm welcome back when he went into the locker room on Wednesday morning, but nobody was happier than he was to be back with the team.
Davis was waived on the final cut down day before the season, but was signed back on Tuesday after rookie Frank Summers was placed on injured reserve.
"I am just happy to be back in Pittsburgh," said Davis. "These guys are my family. They aren't friends, they aren't teammates…they are my family. I am happy to be back with my family."
Davis said he was surprised when he was let go, but he understands it's all part of the business.
"This is football. It's part of the game," said Davis. "It's frustrating. I feel like I am capable of playing and doing well. It was a shocker, but it's part of the game. It's understood it happens but I am happy to be back."
Davis, who said he feels like he has something to prove after being released, said he has kept an eye on the team since being released and doesn't think the running game is a problem.
"It's a number of things," said Davis. "Sometimes you struggle and they always want to blame one or two people. It's a team effort. Whether it be the quarterback, the running backs, the line, the receivers, everyone has to do their part to make the running game efficient in order to make the passing game effective. The last game they ran the ball pretty well and I expect us to do that again this week."
The Steelers had early leads in Chicago and Cincinnati, only to lose in the closing seconds both times. It's something that isn't sitting well with the players and they are determined to turn things around.
"Any time you lose it's sour," said safety Ryan Clark. "Defensively when you lose the way we lost the last two games is really tough. You feel like you let the team down. Just as other people have expectations, we have higher expectations for ourselves than what we have shown the last two fourth quarters. One time is a coincidence, now it's becoming a habit and we need to break that habit. For us it's a very important week."
It's not just those on defense who are disappointed. On the offensive side of the ball, players know getting in the end zone when you are down close is a key.
"There is a little sense of urgency, but there is not a panic mode here," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "If you look at the last two games we felt like we played good enough to win, we just didn't finish the ball game. Even though we are 1-2 we could easily be 3-0 if we finish ball games. For us, going up and down the field is nothing. It's a matter of us finishing, putting up red zone touchdowns rather than field goals and defensively getting off the field.
"Coach (Tomlin) doesn't have to say much. We have a lot of prideful guys in this locker room. We know that we need to get things going in the right direction."
The Steelers will wear their throwback uniforms this week when they host the Chargers.