Pittsburgh Steelers Change Defensive Philosophy
Pittsburgh Steelers change defensive philosophy
By Gregg Rosenthal
An old defensive coordinator can still teach some new tricks.
Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers defensive leader Dick LeBeau is asking his defensive ends to rush the passer on the edge more than before.
"We definitely need to get more pressure up front," said Brett Keisel, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "There's been an emphasis more on [ends] getting on the edge rather than just pushing the pocket, getting on the edge and trying to make something happen."
This is a dramatic change in philosophy for LeBeau from recent seasons. The Steelers have traditionally been 3-4 team that asks their defensive ends to occupy blockers, do the dirty work, and let the outside linebackers grab the glory. The change is perhaps a recognition that the Steelers have more questions at outside linebacker than usual and solid depth at defensive end.
Keisel, Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward will be asked to push upfield more. This goes along with NFL trends where many 3-4 teams have "one gap" ends, whereas Lebeau has always asked his ends to occupy two gaps. Players like J.J. Watt and Corey Liuget are changing the way we look at 3-4 defensive ends.
"We've kind of changed our techniques [from] years past until now," said Keisel, who led the Steelers by a wide margin with 41 pressures in 2012. "In years past, when we had James and LaMarr, it was mostly just push the pocket, try to collapse the pocket, make the quarterback flush and those guys would be there to clean him up. That's what we were taught."
This change shouldn't be a shock. LeBeau, 75 years young, has made a career out of adjusting to offenses and coming up with solutions when his "system" isn't working. That's how the zone blitz was born.
To get back to the old Pittsburgh Steelers defense, LeBeau knows some things needed to change.
Wow! Letting the DL, and especially the DEs, attack the QB versus occupying blockers. What a stroke of pure brillance on the part of LeBeau? Talk about "out of the box" thinking to allow your defensive linemen to go back to do the things they did in colege successfully enough to get them drafted.
Who else could have possibly suggested this approach to fix our pitiful pass rush?
Says something about how he feels about the LBers ability to rush the QB if you ask me.
LeBeau may also be realizing Ziggy Hood isn't Aaron Smith and Steve McClendon isn't Casey Hampton. Different players have different strengths.
Originally Posted by Captain Lemming
Hall of Famer
I never understood why not from the start.
Exactly! Why not use your DL like that all the time. Don't have to rush every play but should be involved much more.
Originally Posted by Steelhere10
Should definitely help with the pass rush. Not sure how well that is going to work in stoppping teams with a strong rushing game.
Exactly...when you one gap, it is much easier for a RB to take a sprint draw for a big gain through the vacated opening. With Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, and Giovani Bernard in our division, I don't necessarily think that this is a positive development. I'd prefer to see us two-gapping on early downs, and unleashing the hounds in nickel and dime specialty defenses.
Originally Posted by steelz09
The Rams' offense featuring weapons such as Marshall Faulk, Torrey Holt, and Isaac Bruce were known as "The Greatest Show on Turf"
The Steelers' offense featuring weapons such as Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant should be known as "The Greatest Show on Grass"
This has nothing at all to do with respective playing surfaces at the Edward Jones Dome vs. Heinz Field.
2015 MNF Executive Champion!
Can the 4-3 be far behind? Is this step #1?
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
Understand but in the league now 1st down is also a passing down so its just a matter of pick your poison. We will lose more games because of not being able to stop the opponents passing game than not being able to stop their running game.
The meaningless honor of #1 defense may be lost because it is based on yards allowed but I'll trade that for 15-20 more sacks and 10 more INTs anyday.