How do you approach your pre-season? As a necessary evil, an unwelcome annoyance or a joyful return to the sport you love? Regardless of your attitude, though, the pre-season will always be there. No one knows this better than the players from the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. To find out how years of pre-seasons can change a player’s perspective, STACK caught up with a few Steelers roster favorites at last night’s exhibition game against the Indianapolis Colts.
DE Brett Keisel: "It's a great chance to build your team. A lot of times, you don't realize what you’ve got in a kid until he plays at game speed. It's scary, because injuries can happen to anybody. But at the same time, it's necessary…You get a feel for your team early on. You never know what's going to happen throughout the course of the season."
LS Greg Warren: "The pre-season gives us a chance to go out there and work different plays and schemes that we may or may not use during the season. But we can try them out here without the risk of it hurting us in the long run. Going out there and trying a fake or putting people in different positions to see how they take."
TE Heath Miller: "It helps you work on your fundamentals."
OG David DeCastro: "You make mistakes and you don't beat yourself up about it; you can learn from them and get better. It's like a scrimmage with extra time. More practices and more experience never hurts."
The pre-season is also a chance for players to showcase their skills for the coaches. So it can even be a valuable learning experience for coaches. Here is what some key people on the Steelers coaching staff had to say about this time of year:
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley: "Being a new coach on an established staff, it's a time for a staff to learn how to operate as one. As important as that is, it's also time to take a really good look at the players and decide who will make up that final 53."
Linebacker Coach Keith Bulter: "While it's great for veterans, it's definitely a benefit to young guys, who may never get a chance to show that they can play. Plus, as a coach it gives me a chance to evaluate, see what I have in store for the season."
Special Teams Coach Amos Jones: "This is where you gel as a team and really see what everyone is made of. Practice only tells so much; preseason games are necessary."