View Full Version : Steelers Defensive Gospel in Green Bay

02-03-2011, 11:21 PM
Steelers Defensive Gospel in Green Bay

http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2011/02/0 ... green-bay/ (http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2011/02/03/steelers-defensive-gospel-in-green-bay/)

By Aditi Kinkhabwala

Safety Atari Bigby got to Green Bay and his position coach, Darren Perry, almost immediately popped in an old game film. Bigby didn’t recognize the Cleveland Browns’ old stadium. He didn’t recognize the Astrodome Astro Turf. But he did recognize Perry – in a tight Steelers uniform.

The Packers today run what is effectively the same 3-4 defense as the Steelers. Which is arguably the same 3-4 defense the Steelers ran back in the 90s. Which is when current Packers assistant coaches Perry and Kevin Greene wore black and yellow.

“We tell them, until we get our defense on video, this is what we’re going to have to teach off of,” said Perry.

The defense the two teams will show Sunday was hatched back in the bowels of old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, with then-Steelers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and assistant Dick LeBeau drawing up ways to confuse the quarterback. Capers now holds the same job title in Wisconsin. LeBeau, now Pittsburgh’s coordinator, then coached the secondary. He’s already earned a spot in the Hall of Fame for inventing the zone blitz and is still very much the mad scientist. Perry studies his work closely.

The base of both teams’ 3-4, zone-blitz-heavy defenses is to keep offenses wondering where the pressure is coming from. It will seem to be coming from everywhere. The defender who is set free to make a run at the quarterback is usually the unexpected one. Players have to be smart and fast, yes, but also exceptionally intelligent.

The defense is complicated, so much so that a seemingly simple question nets three different answers.

Linebacker Diyral Briggs and Perry both said there’s little difference between the Steelers defense of then and the Packers’ and Steelers’ of today. Greene disagreed, saying outside linebackers have more coverage responsibilities and have to make more reads.

Bigby took that a step even further, saying what he’s seen of his coaches’ old film versus what he has to implement now – “it’s a lot more complicated.”

Meaning today’s players have to be smarter?

“Who said that?” Perry demanded, just as former Steelers teammate and current TV broadcaster Rod Woodson yelped, “Hey! Now I’m insulted!”

Jokes aside, Bigby and Briggs both said that the passion with which their coaches played carries weight in the meeting room.

“You gain a lot of respect for them,” Bigby said. “Darren did it and he’s telling me how to do it and I can’t say no because he can show me the film where he could do it.”

02-04-2011, 10:10 AM
He’s already earned a spot in the Hall of Fame for inventing the zone blitz


He earned his spot in the HOF as a player, not a coach.