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  1. #1
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    Steelers defense no longer giving out internships

    No time to wait for Steelers rookies

    By Alan Robinson
    Published: Saturday, May 17, 2014



    The Steelers defense isn't giving out internships any longer.

    Not that long ago, not even the early round draft picks were expected to start right away. Troy Polamalu didn't. Cam Heyward didn't. Ziggy Hood didn't. Lawrence Timmons didn't. Even Rod Woodson didn't.

    Once these Steelers report to training camp July 25, inside linebacker Ryan Shazier and defensive end Stephon Tuitt are expected to push their way into the lineup and stay there. There's not only room for them, there's a great need for them.

    When a defense declines during successive 8-8 seasons, there's no time for apprenticeships.

    “Sometimes in the past, we've been in a position where our draft picks don't necessarily have to play for a year or so,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “This is definitely not the case in this situation.”

    If Shazier and Tuitt start in Week 1 and stay in the lineup all season, it would be the first time since 1971 the Steelers had multiple rookie starters on defense.

    “Both of these players, if all develops as anticipated, are going to get a lot of playing time,” LeBeau said.

    In 1971, linebacker Jack Ham, defensive end Dwight White and safety Mike Wagner became starters right away and remained so for about a decade. Thirty years later in 2001, inside linebacker Kendrell Bell started every game, and nose tackle Casey Hampton started 11 games, but Hampton didn't break into the lineup until after five games.

    They've been with the Steelers for barely a week, but already there has been much for Shazier and Tuitt to learn. They began learning the basics during the three-day rookie minicamp that winds up Sunday.

    “The information is flying at you,” said Shazier, the former Ohio State linebacker who led the Big Ten with 143 tackles last season. “You just learned a little bit of it not long ago, and now you're out there trying to digest it and play. It's kind of fast.”

    Things are moving much faster on the Steelers' defense than they were a year ago too, as Shazier and Tuitt add speed and athleticism that were missing last season.

    Shazier wasn't just one of major college football's top defensive playmakers last season, with 221⁄2 tackles for a loss and six sacks, his 4.38 speed in the 40 was the fastest of any linebacker at the NFL Combine. Shazier, who is 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds, ran a 4.36 at Ohio State's pro day.

    “It's going to be fun with him, to be honest,” LeBeau said. “He has the athleticism to drop back into coverage and match up. He has speed. I think it's going to be a problem.”

    Coach Mike Tomlin added: “When you start talking about guys at the linebacker position running sub-4.5s, that's rare air.”

    The Steelers were precariously thin in talent and depth along the defensive line — only Heyward and Steve McLendon have started there for them —- before drafting the 6-foot-5, 303-pound Tuitt, who had 191⁄2 sacks for Notre Dame the past two seasons — 12 in 2012.

    “You want a guy, especially with the height that he has, that can push the pocket,” defensive line coach John Mitchell said. “He gets his hands up; he's knocked down a lot of passes. You're going to see a guy who has had a lot of production.”

    How badly did the Steelers need another pass-rushing end? Their defensive line produced only 14 sacks in more than 900 combined pass-rush attempts last season.

    Tuitt thinks the Steelers' defense is a good fit for him, but he said it's hard not to get overwhelmed early. It's already evident to him that, compared to college football, the NFL “is more of an adult game.”

    “I have a lot to learn,” he said. “This defense, you've got to take the playbook and 24/7 look at it. You've got to get in the playbook.”

    Especially when there's no time to wait.

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz324FXr145

  2. #2
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    if these guys cant win a starting spot from day one it says a lot about them
    1) CB D Dennard
    2) OLB R Shazier
    3) DE J Ellis
    4) WR M Bryant
    5a) OG D Yankey
    5b) OLB J Tripp
    6a) RB D Archer
    6b) NT D McCullers
    7) WR J Janis

  3. #3
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squidkid View Post
    if these guys cant win a starting spot from day one it says a lot about them
    or how complex and hard to learn Dick LeBeau's defensive schemes are for a rookie...

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    Quote Originally Posted by squidkid View Post
    if these guys cant win a starting spot from day one it says a lot about them
    ...or it says alot about the Def Coord being incapable to adapt to the players he actually has and not the ones he wishes he had. And Coord can look great with the perfect combination of players. The truly great ones can do more with less.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    ...or it says alot about the Def Coord being incapable to adapt to the players he actually has and not the ones he wishes he had. And Coord can look great with the perfect combination of players. The truly great ones can do more with less.
    I case you had forgotten, Dick LeBeau is one of the truly great ones. I wouldn't be surprised if he was elected to the HOF again as a coach.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    ...or it says alot about the Def Coord being incapable to adapt to the players he actually has and not the ones he wishes he had. And Coord can look great with the perfect combination of players. The truly great ones can do more with less.
    Well obviously the Steelers have not had a great DC in years because:

    If Shazier and Tuitt start in Week 1 and stay in the lineup all season, it would be the first time since 1971 the Steelers had multiple rookie starters on defense.
    Losing teams are the ones that play rookies. See how many rookies start for Seattle the next few years.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by squidkid View Post
    if these guys cant win a starting spot from day one it says a lot about them
    NO.. it says a lot about our defensive playbook and our DC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz View Post
    NO.. it says a lot about our defensive playbook and our DC.
    BINGO. But for Dick to come out and say this is the time to get rookies playing season 1 is colossal. LeBoo has actually adapted, or at least he is attempting to.

    “Sometimes in the past, we've been in a position where our draft picks don't necessarily have to play for a year or so,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “This is definitely not the case in this situation.”
    Last edited by sick beats; 05-19-2014 at 02:54 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sick beats View Post
    BINGO. But for Dick to come out and say this is the time to get rookies playing season 1 is colossal. LeBoo has actually adapted, or at least he is attempting to.
    Good point. I have given Lebeau a hard time but I do believe he has been handcuffed by slow aging vets. It will be interesting to see what he does with some speed. I would love to see LeBeau have the Shark, Mitchell and Troy on the field all at the same time...bringing that boom along with ability to rush the passer and cover the pass. If LeBeau is truly creative he will make this happen.

  10. #10
    LeBeau made adjustments to his scheme last year and, despite what some people want to believe, recent rookies have played a lot in this defense...

    These guys aren't trying to break into a #1 defense on an 11 win team...

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