I don't believe overall sack numbers are that important in the grand scheme of a defense. The pressure a defense can apply is more important. PPG given up is also more important then overall sack numbers.
Here are the Steelers DEF PPG Rankings since 2004
2004 - 1
2005 - 3
2007 - 2
2008 - 1
2009 - 12
2010 - 1
2011 - 1
2012 - 6
People that continue complain about the way the Steelers and Dick Leabeau do things defensively appear to be off their rockers. Those consistent rankings in PPG giving up is not going to get much better.
Pressure creates errors and leads to turnovers which leads to more offensive opportunities.
It's great and all that we can keep our opponents from scoring. But it sure would be nice if we took some chances , allowed a few more points, but then as a result got the ball a little more often for our offense and gave them the opportunity to score more points.
The offense probably wouldn't produce points off the turnovers because they don't have a QB that is known for scoring. I believe the offense squandered several opportunitunites off of turnovers last season.
Any time the defense allowed "a few more points" the team didn't make the playoffs. See 2006, 2009, 2012. The offense may never take the next step necessary to carry the team with Ben as the QB. Unless the offense takes the next step it appears the team needs a defense that gives up as few points as possible.
What offensive linemen are allowed to do in blocking the DL is probably an equal contributor to decreased sacks across the league. It seems the only real way a defender can get a sack is from a speed rush or missed assignment. Otherwise, once the OL gets his hands on the guy he can pretty much do anything he wants and not get called. I can't total the number of times I saw an O lineman with his arm around a DL's neck and not get called.
Redman and Dwyer both had impressive games when the o-line started putting it together last year. Then all the injuries hit the line and everything fell apart. If we sign Max for some depth and avoid a ton of injuries the offense will be fine ... even verging on very good.
Carnell Lake's coaching is what makes me feel good about Terry Hawthorne. This was a Lake pick. He has the physical aspects similar to Keenan Lewis, but needs to work on his technique.
What better coach than Lake to do this?