Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin not taking preseason opener lightly

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Preseason games in the NFL are a kind of mixed blessing. After so many months of not seeing live football we’re starved for it and can’t wait to see our favorite teams in action. On the other hand, the marquee players usually don’t see much playing time and the games don’t count for anything.

Don’t tell that to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, though.

According to Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette, Tomlin is not taking Saturday’s preseason debut against the New York Giants lightly. He told Dulac that his first priority is seeing his team play hard:

“What we’re looking for the first time out is really quite simple – I want the group to play fast, I want them to play with the urgency that’s required to play winning football in a stadium setting… At this stage of the journey, we’ll see where we are. What’s paramount is we play fast, we play hard and we play with urgency.”

That’s understandable given the way the Steelers got started in 2013. They lost all four preseason games and then followed it up by losing the first four games of the regular season. While they were able to get it together in the second half of the season, the slow start ultimately doomed the Steelers’ playoff hopes, which were dashed in Week 17 on a couple of bad calls and a field goal kick hundreds of miles away.

The Steelers want control of their own destiny in 2014, and a big part of that is getting off on the right foot.

Kickoff is 7:30 PM Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.

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