When you hear them talk about getting back to playing "Steelers football," you know what veteran players are referring to. It's the type of play that earned the team six Lombardi Trophies. And it's some of those players, ones that were on the Super Bowl XLIII championship team, that understand it best.
There aren't many left on the Steelers roster that have a Super Bowl ring, players that refer to themselves as the "08ers," in reference to winning Super Bowl XLIII in the 2008 season. But it's a tight knit group that has been meeting since OTAs in the spring. They talk about issues on the team, both good and bad. This week they talked about ways to get back on the winning track, ways to turn around their 0-2 start.
It was a meeting that a lot was made of, because of that 0-2 start, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, wasn't about anyone hitting the panic button.
"It's more about getting together, coming up with solutions and things that we can bring to the team," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "I feel like that's the thing we should do as leaders. I think everyone is looking into this way more than it is. Really, we said we wanted to meet periodically to talk about the state of the team and where we are. These are things we need to do as leaders and as older guys on this team. I think now is a good time to get together. It's not a panic-type thing. It's just a good time for us to get together to talk."
Roethlisberger and safety Ryan Clark, two of the "08ers," talked about getting the group together again following the Steelers 20-10 loss to the Bengals.
"We spoke after the game for about five minutes once everybody was out (of the locker room)," said Clark. "I told him, 'This is a new team, this is a new situation. We need to keep it to where it's still a building we enjoy being in, but we also need to get focused on correcting our wrongs.' We can't start overlooking that we're not playing well. We can't act like it's just going to fix itself, because it's not. People are going to continue to attack us where they think they can win. We need to find ways to plug those holes and watch the film as other teams will be watching it.
"That's what we talk about – just what do we need to do as leaders on this team, older guys and veterans, what do we need to convey to the younger guys about getting this fixed?"
But if there is one thing they know it's that they have to do more than just talk to get their message across to the younger players.
"We can't talk, we have to show them," said cornerback Ike Taylor. "That has been the message. We can talk all day until our faces turns blue. We have to actually show these guys.
"We are all hard on each other. We all know what we need to do."