PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin gave the Steelers "The standard is the standard" and "Next man up."
But there's no mantra in NFL coaching quite like Bill Belichick's "Do your job."
That's what NFL Films named the New England Patriots' 2014 championship highlight film, and that's what Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said his offense must do Sunday against the Patriots with Landry Jones replacing injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"It's a group effort," said Haley. "Ben's not in there. We understand that and guys just have to step in and execute their job exactly the way they're supposed to do it. What we can't have is guys doing extraordinary things outside the realm of their ability. That's when you get in trouble, even when Ben's at quarterback. At Philadelphia I talked to you guys about that. The guys were trying to do too much, and in good spirit, but it'll get you in trouble. So we've just got to have guys executing and doing their job."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked the previous day, during a conference call, how many times he's heard "Do your job" from Belichick throughout his 16-year career.
"Multiple, multiple times a day, many, many, many times," Brady said with a laugh. "But you know what? It's always a good reminder."
Brady explained what he likes about the mantra.
"When you know your teammates are going to do their job, it frees your mind up 100 percent to do what it needs to do," he said. "If you're worried about whether you're going to get this pick-up in protection, or you're worried about whether or not your receiver's going to run the right route, that takes away from you trying to do what you need to do.
"I think having great teammates are guys you never have to worry about what they're going to do. They're consistent and dependable every single week. That's what doing your job is all about."
ROB G ON ROB G
One of Brady's favorite targets is tight end Rob Gronkowski, who's one touchdown away from tying the career touchdown record (68) in New England.
Seven of Gronkowski's 67 touchdowns were scored against the Steelers. In four games, the 6-6, 265-pounder has terrorized the Steelers with 26 catches for 403 yards (15.5 avg.). The only game in which Gronkowski didn't score, 2011, was the only game of the four the Steelers won.
The Steelers' new starting strong safety, Rob Golden, or Rob G., as he's known to his teammates, was asked if he's ever had to cover the other Rob G.
"Yeah, I've played against Gronk," Golden said. "I went to school with Gronk."
Both players attended Arizona. Gronkowski went there from nearby Woodland Hills High (where he spent a year after being kicked off the team at Williamsville North near Buffalo, N.Y.).
He played only two seasons at Arizona before sitting out a third (2009) with a back injury. Golden was at Arizona with Gronkowski during the 2008-09 seasons.
"Those camps were pretty intense for us back then," Golden said. "He's a much better player now."
Any good stories?
"We all used to party together in college. He was a good dude, a good teammate," Golden said, before laughing and saying, "I tell you, he was a little bit more funner back then -- wild and good."
Golden only played in sub-packages with the Steelers last season when Gronkowski scored three touchdowns to lead the Pats to a win in the opener. But Golden has a good idea of how to at least slow Gronkowski down.
"You've just got to match his intensity," Golden said. "At the end of the day he's a great competitor. He wants the ball. He wants to win. We do, too, so I feel if we're on our details we should be able to come out with a win. That's the most important thing."
SHAZIER BACK WITH 4.3 SPEED
Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier practiced Thursday and said he expects to play Sunday against the Patriots after missing the last three games with a sprained knee.
He practiced with a knee brace but said, "Yeah, I still feel like I'm 4.3 (40 speed) with the brace. I think I was still 4.3 when I had the injury, just that I couldn't go side to side."
Shazier said he's "all good now" and will be another who's asked to check Gronkowski and the Patriots' other big tight end, Martellus Bennett.
"I definitely feel good enough to run with them. They've got some fast guys on this team and I had to cover them today, so I feel good out there," Shazier said. "They try to get (Gronkowski) in space and get him on mismatches. They got us in a few tough situations last year. We didn't communicate as well as we normally do, but we definitely dotted all our I's and crossed all our T's this year."
NO GILBERT OR GREEN
The Steelers will be without right tackle Marcus Gilbert for a third consecutive game. He was expected back today, but the plan changed.
The Steelers are apparently waiting until the bye week before activating tight end Ladarius Green off the PUP list. He's been cleared medically and worked with a trainer on the side once again. When Green begins practicing, the team has 21 days to activate him.
"I think because the bye's falling right around that window it just makes sense," said Haley. "We've got young guys taking reps at tight end. To have him in there right now, I think it would take meaningful reps from guys who are playing."
Also missing Thursday's practice were DE Cam Heyward (hamstring), reserve safety Shamarko Thomas (groin), reserve center Cody Wallace (knee), wide receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder) and running back DeAngelo Williams (knee).
Golden and his sidekick at safety, Mike Mitchell, returned to full participation Thursday.
Haley confirmed that wide receiver Sammie Coates is working primarily with the scout team as he rebuilds confidence in his injured left hand.null