It you have been at training camp the past week and paid close attention, there is something you have noticed.
It’s not something that has happened during any of the drills, nothing that has caused the obligatory ‘oohs and ahhs’ from the fans.
It’s been subtle in some ways, but it’s been powerful.
The entire team, every player, has been on the field lined up and ready to go before the coaches are even ready to sound the horn for the start of practice.
And it hasn’t been by accident. It’s an approach this team is taking during camp, paying attention to details not just on the field but off the field that can make a big difference.
“Danger (Jordan Dangerfield) and I were joking the other day,” said Bud Dupree. “We had a walk through at 10:15 and it was 10:05 and we were walking down the hill and were some of the last guys. We were like, are we late? Everyone is on the line way before the time. It just shows guys are ready to work and hungry for change.
“It was Coach (Mike Tomlin) making an emphasis on guys being on time. It’s what coach wants and guys were like we need to do it. We want to do it.”
During the opening team meeting for camp Ben Roethlisberger was also among those who spoke out about the details, about being early for meetings and practice and how that can impact the fast start of the season. It was a message that he and the coaches have only had to deliver once.
“The saying is if you are on time you are late,” said Ryan Switzer. “I think everyone is just on the same mission. I think everyone bought in and is all in on getting this team back to where it belongs. I think you see that when guys are early to walk through, to meetings, to practice. The level of caring is very high with this team. It makes for a fun environment. It really does.”
This is a team that is coming off missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. And they know that details matter if they want to get back to the postseason and reach their ultimate goal of the Super Bowl.
“We came up short last year and we knew we have to change something,” said Sean Davis. “It’s things like that, being ready and focused to attack every day, every period, every practice. That is a mindset we need to have. We came short of our goal this year. We want to be World Champions.
“We made the playoffs two of my three years. I was used to it. I have to do more now. Set more of a tone for the younger guys to see so we can do better.”
You could see this attitude of taking responsibility, being focused beginning when the team gathered together as a unit for OTAs this offseason. But it has gone to the next level in training camp and everyone welcomes it.
“It gets to the point that the little things matter,” said Mike Hilton. “If you want to be a Super Bowl championship team, you have to do the little things right and everything else will fall into place and take care of itself. Going to the meetings on time. Doing your weight lifting. Just doing the little things. It will all work out and turn out well and produce on the field.
“It’s the little things. It all matters in the long run. If you take care of the little things, things on the field will take care of themselves and who knows how the season will turn out.
“Everybody is locked in and ready to go. Nobody wants to be that guy. They don’t want to be late. They don’t want to miss anything. They want to show they are part of the team.”
Team. That is something that is prevalent in camp. It’s a unit, a unit that is working together as one.
“The fact that everyone wants to get after it shows you the type of attitude the whole team has,” said Dangerfield. “Everyone wants to get to work and get back to the playoffs, get back to Steelers football. We are on track. We are good.
“I love the atmosphere. It feels great. There are a lot of young guys too who are hungry, and it gets us hungry. It is a great atmosphere and the atmosphere you want to have.”