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Consistency is a key

Stephon Tuitt has been spending his offseason enjoying family time, enjoying every minute of playing with his two sons.

But don't expect him to just be playing games and changing diapers for too long.

"You are away from them a lot in the season," said Tuitt. "I wanted to do some things with them, family activities, have fun with them. Then it was time to get back into it. Start watching tape, get my eyes familiar with what we are doing, and then start working out, making sure my body is in shape when it's time to come back."

The end of the season wasn't easy for Tuitt. In his first four years with the team he played in the postseason. Last year was a different story, one he wasn't sure how to handle.

"It was tough," said Tuitt. "This was my first time not in it. So it was tough. It was weird not being in the playoffs. It was a feeling like I am supposed to be doing something. That you didn't fulfill what you were supposed to fulfill type of feeling.

"Not just from a disappointment standpoint, but the amount of talent that we had and not being able to display it during the time when you want to showcase what you have, the postseason. I think this is a chance for guys to understand better in the future what we need to do."

And what is it they have to do? What is the key? What is needed to get the team from having their season end after Week 17 to their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl?

"We have to play with more consistency," said Tuitt. "To be there for everyone. To help. To make sure the machine is running all of the time.

"Overall consistency. The game, week in and week out. You have to have the mindset week in and week out that we are going to win every game. The consistency to prepare for that."

The Steelers defense finished the season ranked sixth in the NFL. Not a bad ranking. Nothing to be ashamed of. But that isn't the goal. The goal is finishing first and winning a Super Bowl.

"I really feel we are the number one defense," said Tuitt. "To be that, potential needs to go out the window. We need to just be consistent. We need to create more splash plays. If we do those things, we can and will be the number one defense."

One advantage in reaching that goal is experience, and on the defensive line that will continue with the pieces all coming back. Tuitt feels like the defense has that comfort level of working with each other, but now it's time to put it all together.

"I think a lot of guys have had a couple of years with each other. They understand each other," said Tuitt. "Now it's just putting it on the field and letting it work. Let the coaches see it. We all want to accomplish one thing – that is winning the Super Bowl."