By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com It was back to work for the Steelers on Monday after a weekend without football, and plenty of time to think about what the team has been going through during a five-game losing streak.
"I did a lot of soul searching this weekend," said linebacker James Farrior. "We had a long time off to just go back and look at everything that is going on. You try to put your finger on it and you really can't do it. The one thing you just have to come back to is look at yourself individually and make the plays you have to make."
Farrior wishes he could pinpoint the problem, wishes there was just an easy answer. But there isn't and it's been tough to deal with.
"I don't think I have been through anything like this," said Farrior. "It's testing everybody's character. It's a tough position we are in. We don't have anybody to blame but ourselves. We just have to look within."
One thing that the team is fighting is letting any of the doubts that come with a losing streak from settling in. This is a team that has plenty of talent,
"It could be settling in," said Farrior of the doubt. "We are doing everything we can to fight it. We have to go out and play these next three games. We can't have anybody doubting we can't win the game. We know we can win the game, but being in this situation is tough. We have the athletes in here that can do it. We have proven it in the past. We have to go out and prove it again.
"We just have to go in and do everything in our power to prepare for Green Bay. Everybody has to focus on doing their job, come to work, not take anything for granted. Just come in and play hard."
Farrior said now it's about playing for pride and in a sense, playing for your job for the future. For a team that thought right now they would be playing for post-season seeding, it's definitely not what they thought their focus would be.
"It's definitely a shock," said Farrior. "It's definitely somewhere we never imagined we would be at."
And to a man, the players are hoping they can get out of where they are with a win Sunday against the Packers at Heinz Field.
"That would help a lot," said guard Chris Kemoeatu in the locker room on Monday. "A lot of guys are down in here. We just need to win a game. Everybody is miserable around here. We need a win, we need to go out there and leave it all on the field."
Safety Troy Polamalu said he wants to return to the field this season, playoffs or not. Polamalu would like to return as soon as possible, and said he at least wants to be back in time for the regular season finale against Miami.
"I am optimistic," said Polamalu, who missed the last four games. "Hopefully within the next couple of weeks or hopefully by the Miami game I will be able to play."
Polamalu said the post-season has no impact on returning to the field, that his love for playing the game is why he wants to get back on the field.
"I'm a football player," said Polamalu. "I'm not a coach, I'm not a cheerleader. What I love to do is play football, and to be out there with my brothers. That's why. It's irrelevant of playoffs, it's always been irrelevant for me whether or not we got to the Super Bowl or playoffs; it's something I enjoy."