PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pittsburgh Steelers are wondering if coach Mike Tomlin misread the schedule.
This is the Steelers' bye week, yet they staged a full practice in pads Tuesday - normally, the players' day off. Practices are also scheduled Wednesday and Thursday.
The Steelers always worked out during their off weeks when Bill Cowher was the coach, but a regular practice in full equipment so soon after a game would have been unusual. The Steelers were only two days removed from their 21-0 victory over Seattle on Sunday.
``It's just a message to our team that we can't slack off,'' wide receiver Santonio Holmes said.
Tomlin got no argument from wide receiver Hines Ward, who pointed to the Steelers' 4-1 record as proof the new coach knows what he's doing. On Sunday, Tomlin said the Steelers still had much to work on despite having at least a 21-point margin of victory in each of their four wins.
``It's different. But it's a new team. We don't do things the way Coach Cowher used to,'' Ward said. ``This is his team, and guys may not like it or agree with it, but ... there's nothing we can really say or do about it. We've just got to go out there and work. So far, so good.''
The Steelers will rest this weekend, though they would have been required under the NFL's labor agreement to have Friday off because they weren't off Tuesday as usual.
``I felt like I was back in training camp,'' linebacker James Farrior said. ``It was rough out there. But we knew it was coming. After the game when he told us we couldn't get Tuesday off, we knew something was coming. It's a good thing we are going into the bye week 4-1 instead of 1-4.''
While the regulars practiced, it really wasn't like an August day in Latrobe. The backups got plenty of on-field time, if only because the Seattle game proved how important it is to keep every player sharp. The Steelers had only three receivers available Sunday, all of them backups.
``Injuries are going to take place on any team. It's how you handle the adversity, that's what separates yourselves,'' Ward said. ``We did a great job of beating a quality team in Seattle.''
Ward, one of four Steelers regulars who didn't play Sunday, expects to be ready for the Oct. 21 game at Denver. Ward (sprained knee) has missed the last two games.
Safety Troy Polamalu (rib cartilage), nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) and Holmes (hamstring), all of whom missed the Seattle game, also expect to benefit from the week off.
``I would be able to play this week, I feel that good,'' Polamalu said. ``If we played Denver this week, I'd be playing.''
The Steelers were surprised when Holmes' hamstring worsened during the pregame warmup and he did not start. The third play of the game was designed to be a long pass to him, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was forced to switch to another play.
Holmes, second on the team with 14 catches, sounded as if he might not be ready had the Steelers been scheduled to play this weekend.
``I got a long season ahead of me,'' he said. ``I have to be smart about the situation, take my chances waiting it out. If I have to miss another game, then I will, but right now I can just take my chances waiting it out.''
ill watch. Roethlisberger said, ``It's a time to learn and still get better by watching the game.'' ... Holmes said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was ``a little shocked'' upon learning shortly before kickoff that he wouldn't play.

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