Playing on the inside is a great deal different than playing out on the edge in space...
A move inside benefitted Willie Colon when he was healthy...I think that the same move on the other side of the LoS could benefit Hood as well...
We might be overthinking the DL situation, to be honest.
We've all identified many problems with the guys- Keisel's too old, Casey's finished, McLendon can't stop the run, Hood is a bust that can't hold the line, Heyward can't get on the field & makes no plays, Ta'amu is a nutcase & will go to jail...
Yet this group never really struggled against the run. No team ran so successfully on the Steelers that you could say they were dominated.
What they didn't do was get after the QB as well as in the past, and this made the job of the LB's harder.
But- instead of blaming a lack of talent on the DL for a second, what if the reason the Steelers got so few sacks was because:
1. The OLB's could never stay healthy, and therefore never played up to their ability.
2. Steve McLendon, who is universally thought of as a pass rushing NT on this board, wasn't on the field enough.
3. Cam Heyward, who is the prototype 3-4 DE & has a college career supporting the idea he is a good pass rusher, couldn't get on the field.
4. The CB's still gave up too many short yardage completions, not allowing the DL & LB's to get to the QB.
What if those 4 reasons combined were partly to blame for the pass rushing woes? And what if Woodley stays fit in 2013, McLendon starts at NT, Heyward gets more playing time, the CB's shorten up the field on WR's..
If those things happen, could it be that the Steelers are not in as bad a position as we make them out to be?
In Chadman's opinion, the Steelers could use another DL- probably a NT type. But as far as run-plugging NT's go, it could be a case of Ta'amu & Fangupo holding that role, while McLendon is used as a pocket collapser across the line, Hood & Heyward play as DE's with Keisel..
To Chadman, what is needed on the DL, is one guy that can be rotated in that has impact- be it against the run or the pass- a guy that demands double teams. Does he need to start? It'd be nice, but no, not really. In fact, there could be an argument made that the whole DL should be rotating to get the best mix of players for any 1 situation. Why not have a DL of Keisel, Hood & Heyward on passing situations, with Fangupo, McLendon & Ta'amu on obvious running downs? Or mixing & matching to suit?
The one guy in the draft Chadman likes is Purdue's Kawaan Short- he's big enough to be of use against the run, but he spends a lot of time in the backfield too. He's an on-field presence that needs to be accounted for.
The following numbers indicate who is getting the most pressure on the opposing QB's. As you can see Keisel is the best of the group and beside pressures he had 4.5 sacks in 2012 which is pretty good considering our scheme.
Posted: 1/26/2013 7:45 AM
Steelers 2012 QB Pressures
Compiled by coaches off game tape:
brett keisel 40 lawrence timmons 19
ziggy hood 17
james harrison 15
lamarr woodley 15
larry foote 11
casey hampton 9
jason worilds 8
steve mclendon 6
cam heyward 4
chris carter 2
troy polamalu 1
al woods 1
Even at his age Keisel is playing at a high level, I hope we keep him until someone can prove they are better.
For a D-lineman to get those kind of numbers that keisel has especially in our defense is damn good. I'm wondering how these numbers would look with Mclendon playing the opposite of Keisel.
We can debate whether Hood can play NT or Mclendon is better suited to play DE, but until they try it we won't really know. My position is they should try it, anything they can do to make our D-line better will benefit the defense.
Btw, Keisel was a 7th. rd. draft pick, we should be seeing more from Hood as he was a #1 pick. The jury is out on Heyward because Keisel plays so well Heyward can't see the field.
Not to take away anything from Keisel. I predicted he'd be the first 3-4 DE to get 10+ sacks a year when he became a starter. That never materialized, but he's gotten more QB pressure than anyone regularly and by a large margin.
Ziggy didn't come out of the game. The Steelers didn't overload that side with run support. So, what happened?
Ziggy will be fine. I think that putting him in the proverbial "phone booth" could be an even better use of his functional strength...limit the amount of space in which he is required to work...as previously mentioned, that was working well for Willie Colon when Willie was healthy...both Dwyer and Redman produced 100+ yard rushing efforts running between the tackles and behind Colon...
Colon had never played guard...before this year, he was always a tackle...
Ziggy, OTOH, played inside during his entire college career...
The running game rearely beats you in the NFL today. The passing game is much more dangerous which is why you need to optimize your DL to attack the passer not stop runners.