The Steelers are 4-4 at the midway point of the season and Ben Roethlisberger's focus is not on what has happened, but instead looking forward to what is still to happen.
"I am excited to get going," said Roethlisberger. "It's a new week. Everything we have done so far is behind us, good, bad, and indifferent. We are excited for the second half of the football season."
The team has plenty of time to turn things around, and it begins this week with a tough task as the Dallas Cowboys come to Heinz Field with an impressive 7-1 record. Roethlisberger said there is no reason to panic, and teammates can simply follow his lead to see that is the case.
"Follow me," said Roethlisberger. "Guys that have been here know, no time, no reason to panic. Just watch me."
Roethlisberger will be facing a stingy Cowboys defense that hasn't allowed an opponent to score 24 points this season.
"Just solid, just a solid defense," said Roethlisberger. "Watching on film it doesn't seem to be anything exotic. You aren't looking at exotic blitzes, looks and lineups. They just line up and kick your butt. Big challenge for us."
Roethlisberger said he plans on being a full participant in practice this week as long as his body responds, and he is going to be needed as the second half of the season can be the most telling half.
"What a challenge this week is, one of, if not the best, teams in football coming to our place," said Roethlisberger. "November and December football is when it all counts and matters. You want to be playing your best football this time of year. If we want to be playing our best, we have to play the best. One of the best is coming in this week. I am excited for that challenge for all of us.
"We need to be the best football team that we can be on the home, on the road, moving forward."
More from Ben:
On Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and how his rookie season compares to Roethlisberger's rookie season:
"He's been awesome. I think very similar to what I had, he's got a great running game and a good defense, a great defense. He's not just managing games, he's taking games over and doing some pretty awesome stuff. It's fun to watch."
On at what point he felt like he earned the starting job his rookie year:
"Boy, you know, I don't even remember at what point Tommy (Maddox) was healthy to come back. I don't know how that went. But when you're just kind of rolling and you're not losing games, it's really hard to kind of change that position, especially. Taking nothing away from Tony (Romo). He's been doing it, Pro Bowl, like you said, at a high level. But when you're winning football games, it's really hard to replace that one spot."
On if he would like to see more no-huddle this week:
"Whatever the coaches call for. I play the game, they coach. We're putting together game plans to face a very good Cowboys' defense. Whether that's no-huddle, up-tempo, slowing it down, running the ball, throwing it, whatever it is, we need to be the best we can be at that." On if he was encouraged by Eli Rogers:
"I thought he did some really good things. I thought his conditioning looked better. I thought his route running was better. He made some plays down the middle of the field for us when they were taking away the outside, and that's what we need and that's what we expect from him. I think he'll look at the film, and I've talked to him, still continuing to grow. There are still some things that he can continue to do to get better, to get more open, and to make more plays. Because I know he'll be frustrated with, there at the end he had a couple drops, balls were kind of off his hands because he was getting tired, but we all were. But he works really hard at his conditioning, and I'm proud of the way he's really taken those steps."
On him being a supporter of Rogers:
"What you see, he's a good kid. He always wants to work. He's always coming to me asking and talking. There's no real Prima donna in him. Just a guy who wants to work hard and try to be the best."
On how important Rogers is to the offense:
"When they're going to take away A.B. (Antonio Brown) and take away the outside deep balls, that opens up the middle for tight ends and slot receivers. For him to step up, we did hit him on some out breaking stuff this week, but some of our biggest plays were down the middle. And that's what we need, to kind of tighten those safeties and get those linebackers back a little bit."
On playing at home:
"It's always good to play at home. I personally haven't gotten to play at home in a while, so I enjoy playing in front of Heinz (Field) fans and being there at home. Really looking forward to this week, especially against a great challenge."
On what Ladarius Green can add:
"Just another weapon. A guy who can stretch the field, who's played the game of football before, who shows some speed, a big body. One of those guys we just talked about who can help in the middle of the field, so, excited for the opportunity to work more with him and to see what he can bring to this offense."