Playing to win: Coach Mike Tomlin still hasn't revealed who will or who won't play in Sunday's season-finale against the Cleveland Browns, but one thing is known is for sure. Whoever plays, they will have one goal in mind.
"We play to win," said Darrius Heyward-Bey. "We don't care who the opponent is, what their record is. The guys who will be playing this week are playing to win. We have to. We want to be one game better than we were last week."
The Steelers head into Sunday's game with a 12-3 record, 5-0 in the AFC North. And keeping that division record unblemished is big.
"It makes it bigger that it's an AFC North game," said Heyward-Bey. "We want to sweep the division. That was one of our goals. The guys who are playing are going to go out there and make it happen."
It's a snap:Landry Jones hasn't gotten a lot of snaps this season, and when he spoke this week, he wasn't saying how many he would get this week against the Browns. He referred all questions regarding playing time to Coach Mike Tomlin, but did say he would be ready to go if that is what the coaches want. "Any time you can get snaps, any time you can get into a game, it's always a positive thing," said Jones. "For me it's prepare like any other week and get ready to go. I have made it a habit as long as I am the backup, I am preparing like I am playing in the game, so if I do have to play it's not one of those things where it's like 'Oh my goodness, I don't know the game plan.' As long as I am the backup I am going to prepare like I am going to play."
Sleepless excitement: It's not uncommon for kids to not sleep on Christmas Eve, waiting for the excitement of Christmas morning.
But for Stevan Ridley, Christmas Eve was also filled with tossing and turning. But his was for another reason. Ridley wasn't anticipating the excitement of seeing what Santa left under the tree, but rather playing in his first game in a Steelers uniform, against the Texans on Christmas day, after he was signed earlier in the week.
"The nerves were there more early morning. I didn't sleep too much," said Ridley. "I was more anxious than anything. But once you are on the field, football is football. I have been doing it a while. You have to get that chemistry and the feel of the big boys up front. That is going to take some time. I am up for the opportunity."
Those 'big boys up front,' aka the offensive line, is a group Ridley said he is thrilled to run behind.
"Those guys up front are special," said Ridley. "They have been together for a little bit. The offense as a whole is getting it done. They are moving bodies up front. As a runner it's our job to get in there behind and find that surge and the right creases and get in there pretty quick."
Ridley doesn't know what his playing time will be like this week, but whatever is asked of him, he is ready and willing to do.
"I am truly a team guy," said Ridley. "I am getting used to getting my foot in the ground and heading north, holding the ball, making the right reads, and being sure on my protection. It is a lot to process back there when you are coming literally from your house and you are back in the fire. That is when you have to be a pro and trust the process."