PITTSBURGH -- Effort has not been a problem in Steelers' the first four games, Ryan Clark said, even though the veteran safety intimated that the coaches have told the players they need to improve in that area.
"Different things have been talked about in meetings that really haven't set well with me because the film shows one thing but I know when a guy gets blocked he's not trying to get blocked," Clark said. "I know when a guy misses a tackle he's not attempting to miss that tackle. The effort is there. We just aren't executing. We aren't in the right places when we need to be defensively."
As a result, the Steelers' coaches didn't spare any player or consider any critique too minor when they reviewed film from the 34-27 loss to the Vikings.
"When you're 0-4 you're coached differently than when you're 12-4 and that's all it is," Clark said. "I think some of those things sometimes speak to effort, some of things things sometimes speak to will to win, and as far as I'm concerned it's the same as it's always been, at least with the guys I'm around each and every day. I see how guys around here are working. I see the people in the weight room. I see the extra film study.
"That's the tough part about losing. Things get sticky in the building. When you don't win football games changes need to be made and the chemistry and air and personality of the building becomes a little difficult to live in."
Does the different coaching the Steelers are getting mean the line between coaches and players has become more defined in the wake of an 0-4 start?
Clark offered an emphatic "no" to that question when I asked it before the Steelers' first practice of the week.
"Don't make it a battle. It's not a battle," Clark said. "When I say coached differently you have to find reasons to why you're losing. You have to turn over every stone as a coach to try to put your players in the correct positions. Sometimes when things are going well a mistake or two may be missed or glossed over because you still found a way to win the game.
"When you're losing, everything is pointed out. Some things as players that you may not see as big as what the coaches may make it. Some things you've been doing for 12 years but they feel like those things need to change in order for you to win, and I think that's what we're going through as a team. It's an adjustment period because obviously what we've done so far this season isn't working."
Clark said he understands the approach the coaches are taking.
"Our coaches are making sure we have no excuses as players," Clark said. "Sometimes you can go on the field and say, 'I never saw that,' or 'I was never coached that.' We don't have that problem right now. Our coaches are doing everything they can to get us a win so it's going to be on us to go out and execute those things and put those things in to play."