Pittsburgh Steelers: Returning to Their Roots

Pittsburgh Steelers: Returning to Their Roots

by February 19, 2019 0 comments

In recent years the Steelers have struggled to put a dominant defense on the field. 

A franchise that was built on defense now employs a unit mired in mediocrity. Can this organization return to its staple and bring back the D? 

Spending their last six first-round draft picks on defensive players has paid very little in return. Players like Jarvis Jones, Artie Burns, and Bud Dupree have all produced far under what one would expect from a first-round selection. Missing on players high in the draft sets your team back, and this is exactly what has happened. 

Another problem that has surfaced time and time again has been poor coaching. Since taking over the defensive coordinator role, Keith Butler has frustrated fans repeatedly by asking players to play outside of their skill set. When you take players that are raw and put them in roles that are outside of their wheelhouse, you have a recipe for disaster. 

Butler also has a big problem making in-game adjustments. Instead of identifying mismatches that opposing offenses are exploiting and making the proper schematic adjustments to stop their success, the defensive coordinator will just stick to his plan and get exposed over and over again, something that is quite maddening to watch. 

So, how will the Steelers ever return to their roots? 

Some will say the days of dominant defense are long gone. But that’s just not true.

While the game is different nowadays with all the RPOs, the high-paced offensive play, and even some trickery here or there, perhaps the answers to the Steelers defensive failings are right in front of their face. 

For years, the plan in Pittsburgh has been to lean on their high-powered offense and hope their defense can hold the other team to field goals.

Perhaps this is a flawed design.

Suppose the Steelers focus heavily on building a dominant secondary on defense that is capable of shutting down the best passing teams in the league. Now, uppose they coupled it with a bruising running attack on offense.

Many NFL teams have been focused on building high-flying passing attacks and defenses with smaller faster players to slow down their opponent’s passing game. While this leads to exciting high-scoring games, it leaves a big weakness that could be exploited: the run game. 

If the Steelers can return to what they’ve done best for decades in the past (running the ball), they could slow down games and control the clock, keeping opposing offenses on the sideline and giving them minimal opportunities to score while wearing down their defense. This also minimizes the Steelers’ defensive unit’s necessity to be on the field, covering up player deficiencies and poor coaching to a larger degree. 

Recognize this concept? That’s because it is how the Patriots made a fool of the Los Angeles Rams en route to their sixth Super Bowl victory.




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