View Full Version : Brett Keisel is Steelers Digest Player of Week

10-16-2011, 07:10 PM
Keisel is Digest Player of Week

By Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest



Defensive End

When the Jaguars got the ball one last time in a 17-13 game, there was 1:01 to play and the ball was on the Jacksonville 23-yard line. The Steelers needed someone on defense to make a play, and Brett Keisel stepped up and dumped Blaine Gabbert for a 10-yard loss. Five plays later, the game was over after an attempted Hail Mary by Gabbert that had no chance. That sack concluded an afternoon for Keisel in which he had two sacks, six tackles, including two for loss, and a pass defensed.

Keisel is the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.

Also considered were Rashard Mendenhall, who rushed for 146 yards on 23 carries, and scored the team’s first touchdown on an 8-yard run; James Farrior, who led the team with 11 tackles and added one of the team’s five sacks; LaMarr Woodley, who had eight tackles, including three for loss, and two sacks; and Mike Wallace, who caught two passes for 76 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown.

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... cac40c73a0 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Keisel-is-Digest-Player-of-Week/e86b1456-2990-4ae2-8b51-b3cac40c73a0)

10-16-2011, 09:01 PM
Keisel earned it. He played well. Side note: Hoke is now 17-1 as a starter. Amazing statistic.

10-16-2011, 10:27 PM
Diesel was very solid today...deserving of the award. :Clap

Eddie Spaghetti
10-16-2011, 10:29 PM
fear the beard

10-17-2011, 10:36 AM

10-17-2011, 10:41 AM
Diesel was very solid today...deserving of the award. :Clap

Solid?? What does a guy have to do for you to say he has a great game? :?

10-17-2011, 11:31 AM
When was the last time a Steelers DE had a multi-sack game?

10-17-2011, 12:01 PM
Diesel was very solid today...deserving of the award. :Clap

Solid?? What does a guy have to do for you to say he has a great game? :?

I said he was "DESERVING of the AWARD"...DESERVING of PLAYER of the WEEK...Can you not READ?

And what's WRONG with calling him "VERY SOLID"? Go back and read my statement...I didn't just say "solid," I said "VERY solid." Is that DEROGATORY? Is it INCOMPATIBLE with "GREAT"? In my mind, a "very solid" game = a "great" game.

Guess I'm supposed to consult YOU before posting to determine what is the proper terminology? :lol: :lol: :lol:

10-17-2011, 06:00 PM
Diesel was very solid today...deserving of the award. :Clap

Solid?? What does a guy have to do for you to say he has a great game? :?

I said he was "DESERVING of the AWARD"...DESERVING of PLAYER of the WEEK...Can you not READ?

And what's WRONG with calling him "VERY SOLID"? Go back and read my statement...I didn't just say "solid," I said "VERY solid." Is that DEROGATORY? Is it INCOMPATIBLE with "GREAT"? In my mind, a "very solid" game = a "great" game.

Guess I'm supposed to consult YOU before posting to determine what is the proper terminology? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Exactly! I'll be waiting to hear from you. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Oh, and just to clarify. Solid = Good ... so very solid = very good. Pretend you are Tony the Tiger and say

The Deisel played GRRRRREAT!!

:lol: :lol:

10-19-2011, 05:42 PM
Play Of The Game: DE Brett Keisel's Sack Bails Out Botched Blitz

by Neal Coolong on Oct 18, 2011

The Steelers defensive scheme is based on disguising the intentions of each defender. There is a lot of movement from the front seven as well as the secondary, and a quarterback - rookies in particular - can get confused easily.

The plan is to create pressure through misdirection, but in some cases, the intention of the play fails. When that happens, it comes down to 1-on-1 match-ups.

In those cases, the Steelers couldn't be more happy to have DE Brett Keisel on their side. His return after a knee injury sidelined him earlier this year has definitely ratcheted up the amount of pressure they're bringing, and when a CB blitz fails, they can count on Steeler Moses to whip his assignment.

Down, Distance and Situation

The Steelers forced an incompletion on first down and gave up four yards on the ground to RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Pittsburgh leads visiting Jacksonville 7-0 with 3:25 to play in the first quarter. The Jaguars balanced their offense nicely in their first possession, getting 38 yards on their first seven plays before allowing a sack by LaMarr Woodley to stall their opening drive.

The Steelers defense allowed three first downs on that opening drive, but forced Jacksonville to throw on an aggressive Steelers blitzing down on the Jaguars' second drive.

These kinds of situations are exactly what Pittsburgh wanted to force, and their ability to do that continuously over the years is why defensive coordinator D!ck Lebeau is 12-1 against rookie quarterbacks in his time in Pittsburgh.

Defensive Alignment


The Steelers are aiming for a big pass rush from a nickel formation, with Ziggy Hood in the nose tackle position as the only down lineman. Keisel is standing up to Hood's right, on the outside shade of the left tackle, and Woodley representing the other defensive end is standing up to Hood's right. OLB Lawrence Timmons is a step outside Keisel's right shoulder.

ILB James Farrior and SS Troy Polamalu are on the strong side (offensive right), playing a step behind Hood and Woodley, and in the spaces between them. CBs Ike Taylor and William Gay are showing coverage of the two receivers on the strong side, Taylor on the outside and Gay in the slot.

CB Keenan Lewis is in press coverage on the receiver on the offensive left side, with FS Ryan Clark behind him, seven yards from the ball.

Offensive Alignment

Gabbert is in shotgun, with TE Marcedes Lewis slot right, off the line. WR Mike Thomas is on the line to Lewis's right. WR Jarrett Dillard is off the line to the right of Thomas. WR Jason Hill is the lone receiver on the line to Gabbert's left.


To Gabbert's credit, he wisely fires a warning snap from the shotgun by reaching toward the center, forcing Lewis's blitzing hand (in yellow) from Gabbert's left. Everyone sees Lewis is coming, showing Gabbert he's going to have Hill one-on-one with Clark on the left side. The line changes its blocking assignment, recognizing while the Steelers are showing blitz on the strong side (Polamalu is at the line right before the snap), the pressure is coming from the back side.


With Lewis blitzing from the corner, Clark comes up to to cover Hill, with Farrior covering Marcedes Lewis. Polamalu shows a pass rush stance, but peels off and pick up Thomas from the slot, and Taylor will stay with Dillard.

By blitzing from the weak side, Lebeau's intention is to get the rookie to throw away from the defense, which is right where Polamalu is lurking. Gabbert's hot reads are Hill, who smartly runs a simple out-route right at the first down marker, and Lewis, who could catch a quick pass, and muscle his way forward.

Neither option works, but not because of the Steelers original intention.

Much of the play was designed to force Jaguars LG Will Rackley to a decision. Had Lewis not showed blitz so early, Rackley would have blocked down on Keisel, which would have put Timmons and Lewis on LT Cameron Bradfield.

After the snap, Lewis rushes forward, and delays, allowing Timmons to stunt to the outside, with the hope of drawing both the guard and the tackle to him. This would have given the athletic Lewis an inside lane to land square in Gabbert's face, obstructing his view of the field and getting in a position to deflect a pass or put a hit on Gabbert.

You may recognize this blitz from last year's AFC Championship game, but with James Harrison and Taylor instead of Timmons and Lewis. Taylor didn't show the blitz, and had a free shot at Jets QB Mark Sanchez forcing a fumble that CB William Gay returned for a touchdown.

It appears Gabbert called a shorter drop, but Rackley went back too far, thus not giving Gabbert room to operate (in red).


Even with that, Rackley and Bradfield do enough for Gabbert to release a quick pass. But Keisel, who slammed down on C Brad Meester, dominated his assignment, pushing Meester and RG Uche Nwaneri well into the backfield (in yellow). Woodley is unblocked at the line, and prepares to take on RB Greg Jones straight up.

The Steelers are able to get good pressure despite Lewis's presnap gaffe, forcing Gabbert to try to release quickly. He had a chance to make a big play, too. Hill burns Clark on the out route (in red), and he would have had a completion and a first down (probably a lot more than that, considering there is no help on Clark's side) had Keisel not completely whipped Meester and Newaneri. If Keisel is stopped at the point of attack, Gabbert has plenty of room to step up and either run, or hit Hill coming out of his break.


Marcedes Lewis is late getting out of his break and Farrior is right on him. Gabbert no longer has the ability to get Hill the ball despite being open. Gabbert can't escape Keisel, and has nowhere to go but down.

And all we're left with is an arrow fired by Steeler Moses.


Keisel dominated this game, and there are four or five plays worthy of this space from him alone. This one highlights Keisel's value, and how the Steelers defense is good enough to win the play despite it not being exactly what they had planned.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... le-jaguars (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/10/18/2497614/steelers-brett-keisel-sack-Week-6-play-of-game-jacksonville-jaguars)

10-19-2011, 10:59 PM
Steelers' Keisel improves 'D' by more than a hair

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Brett Keisel: The beard at work (or not) Sunday after a sack of Blaine Gabbert.

The beard is taking over center stage again. I get that. But this is ridiculous: "The beard is back and it's helping our team win," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel insisted.


That's my story and I'm sticking to it until I see Keisel's beard make its first tackle or bat down its first pass or get its first sack.

Hey, don't get the wrong idea. I like a good beard as much as the next man. Keisel has a beauty going again, just like last season. It was nearly as hot of a topic at Super Bowl XLV in February as star quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. It even had its own T-shirt -- "Respect The Beard, Fear The Diesel" -- and raised a lot of money for charity.

It was great fun.

But enough.

The story here this morning is not about Keisel's beard or its new T-shirt -- "Da-Beard" -- which can be purchased at brettkeisel.com. It's about Keisel's ability, which too often gets lost in all of his hair and doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves. He was the best defensive player on the Heinz Field lawn Sunday in the Steelers' 17-13 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, apologies to linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who had two sacks.

What a difference Keisel has made since returning to the lineup after missing two games with a knee problem. The same defense that was gashed for 86 yards and a touchdown by Indianapolis running back Joseph Addai and 155 yards and a touchdown by Houston's Arian Foster in his absence stiffened almost immediately. Tennessee's Chris Johnson managed 51 yards on 14 carries in the Steelers' 38-17 win Oct. 9 and, although Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 96, he needed 22 carries and took a solid beating.

Still, Keisel isn't satisfied, not after the Jaguars scored 10 second-half points to make the game far too interesting.

"We have to be better if we want to be great. We've got to put people away when we have the chance."

Certainly, Keisel did his part Sunday. There was so much more to his performance than his work against the run. He tackled Jones-Drew for a 3-yard loss on a screen pass. He batted away another pass at the line of scrimmage, something he seems to do just about every week. And, I almost forgot, he had two sacks.

The second one was huge, coming on the first play after the Jaguars took possession at their 23 with no timeouts and 1:01 left. "It's always devastating when you take a sack in your two-minute offense," Keisel said.

It's not much of a reach to suggest Keisel, 33 and in his 10th NFL season, is the Steelers' best defensive lineman. Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton have been out with injuries after slow starts. Chris Hoke was injured Sunday. Ziggy Hood, in his third season, still is learning. Rookie Cameron Heyward is a mere baby in Dick LeBeau's defense.

"I'm just trying to be a mentor and a leader for these young guys," Keisel said. "I'm trying to be someone who is accountable. To do that, I have to go out in practice and work hard, then carry it into the games and help this team win."

What's remarkable about that is one of the young guys surely will take Keisel's job one day and push him into retirement.

"That's just the way this game is," Keisel said, shrugging. "When Aaron, Casey, Hokey and I are gone, I still want this to be the same tough, hard-nosed defense that it's always been."

The end doesn't appear to be as near for Keisel, who is signed through the 2013 season, as it does for Smith and Hampton. He still has a little jump left in his game. Literally.

"Yeah, I still have a little vertical left," he said, grinning.

In the Tennessee game, Keisel leaped to deflect a pass that was intercepted by Woodley. Sunday, he got way up again to swat another pass away. That makes at least one such breakup in eight of his past 12 games going back to last season when he made his first Pro Bowl.

"That's something I've tried really hard to incorporate into my game," Keisel said. "I know I'm not going to get to the quarterback every time. But I'm long. I try to get my hands up on every play."

The man's athleticism is impressive, as good as any defensive end's in the league, if you believe the Steelers coaches. That goes back to his high school days when he was a basketball player of some renown in Wyoming. "I was decent, but I always fouled out. I guess I liked to get physical."

Big surprise there, right?

Keisel was better than decent in hoops. A number of smaller colleges offered him scholarships to play basketball. Montana and Montana State wanted him for football and basketball. He decided to stick with football at Brigham Young.

"I made the right decision."

For him, clearly.

For the Steelers, absolutely.

And, yes, I hate to admit it, for Da-Beard.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11292/11 ... z1bHOLnGgL (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11292/1183093-87-0.stm#ixzz1bHOLnGgL)

10-21-2011, 06:41 PM
Keisel's play gaining notice for Steelers

Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011
Associated Press


Coming off one of his best games, Keisel is earning more respect as one of the key cogs of what is the NFL'S No. 1-ranked defense. (AP Photo/Don Wright, File)

If things had worked out a little differently a decade ago, Brett Keisel never would have needed "Da Beard" to get noticed.

Taken in the seventh round of the 2002 draft out of BYU, Keisel at the time wondered if the Pittsburgh Steelers would groom him to play outside linebacker. The franchise has built a consistently dominant defense over the years partially based upon converting pass-rushing college defensive ends into All Pro-caliber outside linebackers.

Pittsburgh elected to keep the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Keisel on the line _ a position that, in D!ck LeBeau's 3-4 scheme, isn't as glamorous.

While linebackers such as James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley rack up sacks, the job description for ends Keisel and Aaron Smith is more anonymous. Keisel's teammates recognize and appreciate his work, even if few others do.

Off one of his best games, Keisel is earning more respect as one of the key cogs of what is the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense.

"He's one of the best out there," Pittsburgh defensive end Ziggy Hood said. "He's a very under-the-radar guy who makes a lot of big splash plays. It's not even the big plays that make you go, 'Wow,' it's the other things that he does that catch your attention if you're watching the tape. That's something I idolize in him."

It wasn't until Keisel grew his now-trademark beard that outsiders began to take notice. It's likely a coincidence Keisel was named to his first Pro Bowl last season as his busy facial hair grew so long it made him one of the stars of the week leading up to the Super Bowl. But "Da Beard," as Keisel calls it, has brought the 33-year-old more acclaim and popularity than years of swallowing up blockers and dozens of batted-down passes ever could.

Keisel tied a career high with two sacks among his season-high six tackles and batted down a Blaine Gabbert pass in a 17-13 win over Jacksonville this past Sunday.

"Brett's had a lot of great games for us," LeBeau said. "That was one of his better games. He's one of the guys that I kind of count on being there every week, and he's going to play well every week. He was a little more evident with some of the plays that he made in the game, but week in and week out, he's usually where he's supposed to be."

The Steelers (4-2) play at Arizona (1-4) on Sunday.

Since LeBeau first was defensive coordinator in 1994, the Steelers have had six outside linebackers named All Pro _ and no defensive linemen.

For a player who's been with a high-profile franchise for 10 years and is in his sixth season starting on a defense that's been No. 1 in the league three times in that span, Keisel's beard is more known than he is. Not only does "Da Beard" have its own official T-shirt, Twitter account, Facebook page and web site, it's public shaving earned money for charity after the Super Bowl in February.

"I'm glad he grew his beard because it's actually allowed him to get some notoriety and recognition," safety Ryan Clark said. "As a 3-4 defensive end, when you have LaMarr and James on the outside, everything has to go by the guys inside. These guys are critical in stopping the run and keeping our linebackers clean. And what Brett has been doing for this team year in and year out is amazing, and we're just excited he's finally getting recognized for it."

Keisel has been noticeable this season because of how much better the defense has performed since he returned from missing two games with a knee sprain. His tip of a Matt Hasselbeck pass Oct. 9, for example, led to a Woodley interception that helped put that game away.

A former high school basketball star, Keisel is athletic enough that the Steelers have, at times, utilized him like they do Troy Polamalu, something of a freelancer who can drop into pass coverage and/or move around the field _ no small feat for a 285-pound lineman.

"He's probably as good an athlete as I've ever seen at defensive end in terms of running, jumping, hand-eye coordination," LeBeau said. "We've talked for years that he could be a linebacker, but (defensive line coach John Mitchell) won't let us touch him."

Told that, Keisel laughed. Who knows? If Keisel had been put at linebacker, maybe he'd be the one _ and not, say, Harrison _ registering sacks, earning multiple Pro Bowl starts, getting league Defensive Player of the Year votes.

"It's tough to be a scheme like this," Keisel said. "You have to be unselfish. That's the first thing they preach when you come in here as a young guy: 'We don't expect you to make a lot of plays. We expect you to go your job, to hold the point of attack, to keep a couple guys on you and free up our linebackers.'

"That's how it's always been here. We kind of relish that. We'll take LaMarr and James being the great players they are ... and winning Super Bowls. That's what matters to us, is winning."

But winning two Super Bowl rings didn't get Keisel the endorsement deals. "Da Beard," however, has. Keisel _ and some exaggerated facial hair _ appear in a shampoo commercial along with Polamalu and his celebrated hair.

Just like Pro Bowl nominations, commercials just get don't filmed all that often featuring 3-4 defensive ends. For "Da Beard," they do.

"You know, the beard's done a lot for me, it really has," Keisel said. "It's been fun, I've had great responses from my teammates, from Steeler Nation, so that part of it's been a lot of fun. I can't say that the beard is the reason my game is what it is, because it's not. But it does help me. It makes me unique and I like that."
Note: C Maurkice Pouncey was a new addition to the injury report Thursday after being limited in practice by an elbow injury.


10-21-2011, 09:49 PM
Keisel was a beast last week...

I am liking the D-line play the last two weeks.

This may be Hampton's last year....Hoke has played well and seems to deal with the zone blocking (chop blocking) better than Hampton. Still not sure who the replacement will be long term.

I am interested to see how well McLendon plays this week....I am all for a youth movement on defense....

10-22-2011, 01:09 PM

10-22-2011, 07:28 PM
Rejuvenated Keisel nice addition for Steelers

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Brett Keisel is feeling good, even young again.

At 33, the veteran defensive end has seemingly rediscovered the explosiveness that made him a permanent fixture on the defensive front the past decade. He terrorized the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend, especially in the fourth quarter with the Steelers clinging to a precarious 17-13 lead.

Keisel slammed the door on the upset-minded Jaguars with his second quarterback sack. It was like old times for an aging lineman who accepted his first Pro Bowl selection in 2010 as affirmation of a career defined mostly by his reliability.

"Brett's had a lot of great games for us," said defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau. "That was one of his better games."

In a season in which two No.1 picks — Cam Heyward and Ziggy Hood — have auditioned for his job, Keisel has pushed back against suggestions he devise an exit strategy amid an inevitable youth movement.

Keisel has rekindled the enthusiasm tempered by myriad aches and pains. He sat for two weeks with an injured knee as the Steelers checked out of Indianapolis with a last-second victory and stumbled over themselves in losing at Houston.

Keisel isn't in tip-top shape, but he's revved up, as the Steelers try to stretch their win streak to three at Arizona on Sunday.

"I've rushed things before, and it has cost me to miss more games than I needed to," Keisel said. "The biggest thing was to get healthy and make all the football moves before I put the helmet on.

"I'm just working on my craft," he added. "I encourage the young guys to bring the same energy some of us old guys bring."

Keisel, of course, is hardly the oldest player on a team that rewards its veterans — including defensive Casey Hampton, linebacker James Farrior and receiver Hines Ward — with a day off to rest tired muscles.

"When I'm going against him in practice, then to see him execute it in the game, hats off to him," guard Ramon Foster said. "He's moving around out there like he's a kid."

Keisel seemed refreshed and tireless against Jacksonville. He ignited a defense that has often struggled to resemble the one that was the NFL's best last season.

"He brings energy and passion, especially in close games," Hood said.

Clearly, Keisel isn't lacking the vivacity to inspire.

"I'm an older guy around here, so I want to do that for us," he said. "I want us to be energetic on the practice field because it carries over to the game."

The Steelers could have used Keisel in Houston. The Texans tripped themselves up, but the Steelers were void of the big play — like Keisel's game-clinching sack.

"(Keisel) is probably as good an athlete as I've ever seen at defensive end in terms of running, jumping, hand-eye coordination," LeBeau said. "We've talked for years that he could be a linebacker, but (linebacker) coach (John) Mitchell won't let us touch him."

The Cardinals will have to account for Keisel, who has accomplished plenty in 10 years — including two Super Bowl victories. And he's almost certain to get a chance at fulfill an elusive goal, considering Kolb and All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald will test the league's No.1 pass defense

"The next step is picking one off and taking it to the crib," he said. "My job is to push their pocket. If I can take the center and guard and get them in the quarterback's face, it's going to be good for us."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1bY50Zkyf (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_763230.html#ixzz1bY50Zkyf)