A strong start is important

It's often said it doesn't matter where you start but where you finish that is important. While it can definitely hold true in sports, for the Steelers they don't just want to finish strong with a Lombardi Trophy always the goal, they want to start strong as well.

That begins this Sunday at Heinz Field against the Tennessee Titans.  

"We want to start this season off rolling in the right direction," said linebacker Larry Foote. "We are excited. A lot of people have been dogging us, we're used to that, but it's going to be a big challenge against the Titans."

The team lost their opening game the last two years, both on the road, and want to begin the 2013 campaign in a completely different fashion in front of the home crowd. The Steelers have won their last 10 home openers, the longest active streak in the NFL.*
"It's definitely important to start the season on the right note," said receiver Jerricho Cotchery. "You don't look too far ahead, but you have the big picture. You have to take care of today's business and that is what we are focusing on.

"It's always fun to start the year out at home. This is a crazy stadium. It's a lot of fun to play in. It's great to play in front of our home crowd that will bring a lot of energy."

Cornerback Cortez Allen will be making his first opening day start, and wants it to be a memorable one.

"It's important. It's very important," said Allen. "It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the season. It sets the tone for our opponents, the identity we want to impose on people."

And what is that identity? Allen was quick with an answer.

"Coach (Mike) Tomlin refers to it all of the time," said Allen. "We need to be a mentally and physically tough individual that understands situational football. I think the more and more we work at that approach, others see that image."

It's not just on the defensive side of the ball either. The offense is taking the same approach.

"It's important to show that Steelers football is back in effect," said Cotchery. "We are going to be tough and physical and execute at a high level in situational football. That is what it's been like around here forever. It's time to get back to it. The guys are excited about this opportunity to line up once again. And we get to do it in front of our home crowd."

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