If there is one thing Maurkice Pouncey knows about the players in the locker room with him, it's that there is no quit no matter how disappointed they might be following Sunday night's loss to the Ravens at Heinz Field.
"We have to get to work. We have some things to fix," said Pouncey. "Starting off a little faster on offense and running the ball better. I think this group is working really hard. Everyone is locked in and focused. Everyone knows the season is long. This is a group that keeps fighting."
Pouncey, or anyone around him in the locker room, didn't expect to be 1-2-1 after the first quarter of the season. But the good news is, it is just the first quarter and there is still a lot of football to be played.
"Keep fighting," said Pouncey. "It's a long season. We have 12 weeks left in the regular season. You can't take that for granted. You have to go out there every single week and play your butt off. If you don't, you won't win football games.
"We have to keep performing at high levels, go out there and practice every single day busting our butts. Not pointing fingers at anybody. All taking responsibility for everyone. Keep fighting. It's a long season."
Starting slow: The Steelers fell behind early to the Ravens, down 14-0 in the early going. And while they clawed back to tie the game, being behind affected the way they wanted to attack on offense. It forced them to abandon the run, managing just 19 yards on the ground.
"We've been down by some points," said Pouncey. "We want to come out and run the ball heavily. This past game we had six plays and they had 14 points. To go out there and run the ball on the next drive is impossible to do. You have to get chunk plays and try to score some points."
Do your job: It's a message Cameron Heyward has been preaching since last season. And it's one he isn't going to stop preaching until he gets the response he is seeking.
Heyward's message? Do your job. It's that simple.
"Our defense is built on everyone doing their 1/11th," said Heyward. "We have to get back to that.
"I think we have to make the proper corrections. If we don't, there is no reason why we will win the next game. To beat good teams you have to make corrections, you have to be able to learn, and we have to be better. Not just defense, offense or special teams. It's a group effort. The same mistakes have happened throughout the year. If we don't grow and move on and put ourselves in a better position, we aren't going to be a successful team."
Heyward pointed to the doing your job factor as a way of correcting those mistakes.
"Assignment football. Being more accountable," said Heyward. "Understanding rush and coverage work together. If the rush doesn't get there, we have to get our hands up, get a better push. And our secondary has to make some plays. Understanding if we are in man we have to keep our leverage inside. In the run game we have to be able to be in our gaps and stay sound, not shooting blocks, not trying to make plays.
"This defense isn't about making plays. It's about doing your job. That is for everybody out there. It's not just for one guy. I don't care if I never get a sack again, but if everyone else does their job and we get off the field, so be it.
"I am going to make sure we get it all fixed. Everybody has to be accountable for it. It's about believing in the defense. Doing what we are supposed to do and just executing."
Heyward, the defensive team captain, said he doesn't plan on giving a pep talk to the guys right now. That isn't what they need. What they need is to just do their job.
"I don't look for big speeches, I look for production," said Heyward. "I look for guys to step up. The kitchen is hot right now. Everyone is looking to get out. We have to get to work and settle it down. Either buy in or don't get on the field."