Steelers' leaders make sense of 'circus' surrounding team

0 Comment

When team president Art Rooney II met with local reporters last month, one of his first questions, and rightfully so, was about the perception that his team is a "circus." Rooney didn't agree, calling the notion "nonsense" as far as he's concerned.

The Steelers' locker room is filled with mostly exemplary, hard-working players. But the team could have avoided some of these issues, too.

From ownership to team captains, Steelers leaders have tried to reconcile those two realities.

Defensive end and captain Cameron Heyward admitted that the Steelers dealt with a lot internally, and some outside factors that were uncontrollable, such as Le'Veon Bell's holdout. Some situations were handled better than others, he said.

"I think we took a lot of good steps. It’s about younger guys becoming better professionals and being comfortable in what they are asked to do," Heyward said. "The light didn’t click for me right away. ... Just gotta grow, put the petty stuff behind us. It’s not always going to be dandelions and daisies.

"But getting over our problems, being communicative and understanding we have to work through our problems -- that’s what growth takes. You can’t continue to do the same thing and expect the same results. That goes for the whole organization. I’m not saying one person."cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Finishing games was the biggest issue in the eyes of Heyward. The Steelers' final four losses were by a combined 16 points. Despite the league's sixth-ranked total defense, a unit that tied for the league lead with 52 sacks, the slow bleed at the end of games was concerning.4

The Steelers gave up a late scoring drive in all four of those November and December losses. Only more turnovers will "shut the door" on teams, Heyward said.

The Steelers are keeping defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who has one year left on his contract. He'll replace Joey Porter as outside linebackers nfl nike jerseys china

Heyward stressed that coaching isn't the issue.

"Coaches can only do so much. Up to the players to execute," he said. "I want to lead this group and do what’s right. It’s up to the players to execute the jobs they give us. I think our game plans are great. If we don’t execute and do what we should all the time, there’s room for error."

After the Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013, center and captain Maurkice Pouncey defended the team culture and said he wants to bring teammates together. At the Pro Bowl, Pouncey spent several minutes stressing why he believes Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown can coexist, downplaying any Week 17 flare-up and highlighting the duo's accomplishments as two future Hall of Famers.

Tags: , , , ,