They aren’t accustomed to 0-3 and they aren’t happy about it, either.
But the Steelers maintain they know how they can and must respond.
“Our mentality is to come to work every single day, whether you’re 3-0 or you’re 0-3 makes no difference,” offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva said following practice today. “Show up, do your work, try to do the best you can and make that the signature and the staple about who your are, hard workers that come to practice every day ready to take notes and try to execute the plan as best as possible.”
Villanueva was speaking for the offensive line at the time.
But across the locker room at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, cornerback Joe Haden also endorsed such an approach in assessing what has to happen next.
“I think the team is still super motivated,” Haden maintained. “We’re just honestly wanting to change it up. As long as people aren’t coming in here pissed, they’re just really wanting to make something happen, wanting to do better on defense, wanting to do better on offense. So it’s use it as motivation, not as, ‘Oh man, we can’t do anything. Who’s doing this? Who’s doing that? No name-calling, no blame, it’s all everybody look at themselves and figure out what can you do to make the Steelers one play better.
“I really like that about us now, everybody’s pissed but in a motivated way to try to do better.”
The Steelers haven’t been 0-3 since they opened the 2013 season at 0-4 on the way to 8-8.
Haden, who arrived from Cleveland just prior to the start of the 2017 season, has a little more experience with such humble beginnings.
“It’s unusual, but I’ve been in this situation before,” he said.
Guard David DeCastro, the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2012, has, too, but that doesn’t make the Steelers’ rough start any easier to swallow.
“It’s in the back of your head, it sucks,” DeCastro said. “You go to the grocery store, it’s embarrassing a little bit, you know what I mean? Especially in a city where you know people care. But at the end of the day, me, personally, as a veteran, you can’t let it affect your mindset too much. You gotta come in here like you’re 3-0, like ‘alright, let’s go, let’s go.’ Always be positive, have some optimism about you.
“Yeah, it’s a tough situation but no one’s feeling sorry for you.”
The 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals certainly won’t when they arrive at Heinz Field on Monday night.
The loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the remainder of the season has complicated the Steelers’ situation.
“It’s very difficult,” wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “It’s tough, man.”
But Roethlisberger was at practice today, making his presence felt if not preparing to beat the Bengals.
“Just a great guy, you know?” Smith-Schuster said. “He’s out there supporting us. As a captain, he’s going to ride with us whether he’s not in a game or in a game.
“Everyone’s hand put in the pile.”
The Steelers prepare for the Week 4 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals