The Steelers used their bye week to get in an extra few days of practice and get their minds focused on the road ahead, which isn't an easy one.
"This week is a week to evaluate ourselves and get ourselves at the optimum level to perform at our highest level," said Kelvin Beachum. "I think it's hitting at the right time. We haven't performed the way we know we are capable and now it's time to make some changes, move forward, execute and get the job done."
Beachum wasn't the only one who focused on evaluating his play over the last few days. Many players looked deep inside to see what they can do to come back strong after the bye.
"We get to evaluate what we have done the past four games," said Cam Heyward. "When we get back here we are going to go full speed and attack it. Guys are trying to figure out what is wrong and address it in practice. We are going to continue to work and keep on driving."
The players are off until Monday, a four-day break that is mandatory under the collective bargaining agreement. And while some will head out of town for a few days, both Beachum and Heyward are among the many staying in Pittsburgh.
"I am staying here," said Beachum. "I don't feel like I deserve to go home. I am going to stay here and work out and think about what is going on. It's the season and I am all in for every phase."
The Steelers 0-4 start has admittedly been tough on players, including Ziggy Hood. But the key is to not let it keep you down.
"We have to fight through it, focus on doing what we need to do and improve and go from there," said Hood. "You work hard and you don't reap the benefits of your hard work. It's tough. We have to keep developing. As long as we come closer together as a team we can go from there. We can't shun away from working hard and hit the panic button. Things are going bad right now, but the sun still rises and we can always find room to improve.
"We have to keep believing. As long as we keep the faith and keep believing that things can improve, it will. We just have to keep on pushing."
When the players return to work on Monday they will have a new teammate to get to know, tackle Levi Brown. The team traded for Brown on Wednesday to help at left tackle, where Mike Adams has struggled.
Coach Mike Tomlin didn't go into details as to how Brown will be immediately utilized, waiting until he has an opportunity to meet with him when he arrives in town.
"His ability to take-in and learn information is going to be an element of it," said Tomlin. "I'll reserve all comment until it's appropriate and we get all those things done. But we're excited about acquiring a veteran offensive lineman."
Tomlin provided the latest injury update after Wednesday's practice:
"On the injury front, a couple guys have been battling back from injury and we tempered their work this week: Ben (Roethlisberger), Heath (Miller), Le'Veon Bell, Steve McLendon. Some guys that got injured in the game –DaMon (Cromartie-Smith) with a quad was limited. Ramon Foster of course did not participate. Markus Wheaton had his finger fixed surgically yesterday. That looks to be good. Kion Wilson is nursing a quad or a hamstring [injury]. It's an appropriate time for rest and rehabilitation."
What did the tests show on Ramon Foster?That he has a strain, that he'll take it day-to-day and that he'll be able to go as pain tolerates. We are optimistic about a sooner rather than later return. But I think it's appropriate that we look at him day-to-day.Is Markus Wheaton the same situation?No, he's a little different situation. He had it surgically repaired. I think we have to get the stitches out before we even look at how we proceed from there. Of course, it will be a number of days before that's able to transpire. I'll have an update at that appropriate time.Ben Roethlisberger said he didn't expect to have any issues next week:Correct, neither should Heath (Miller) or Le'Veon Bell.