1. Hi Guest, Registrations are now open. See you on the inside.

I knew our rush D was bad (sans Shazier)....

Discussion in 'Steelers Talk' started by Watt Wack, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Watt Wack

    Watt Wack Well-Known Member

    1,199
    120
    Jul 29, 2017
    ...but I didn't know it was this bad.

    We were 31st on yards per rush on D after Shaz went down. Wow.

    Shaz was a super player, but to have to D fall apart THAT badly from one player going down is pretty inexcusable. It either means the team was completely unprepared at back up ILB (we did sign a guy off his couch to start, unheard of), failed at being imaginative in coming up with a scheme to compensate some, or was strung together with duct tape in other areas (safeties proving maybe the worst in the NFL didn't help).

    Bottom line, being weak at NT didn't help things either. Without a Hampton type, the 3-4 is weak up the middle in a 3-4. We have NO ONE like that. I hope and pray they hit on fixing the safeties and NT situation, or it will be a long season.
     
  2. jeh1856

    jeh1856

    5,915
    926
    Oct 26, 2011
    You do realize a NT like Hampton doesn’t come around very often?
     
  3. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

    1,647
    87
    Dec 18, 2016
    To be fair, they lost their top backup at inside linebacker was also injured in the same game. I'm not sure Tyler Matakevich is an answer, but I don't think he was healthy even when he did return later in the season.

    Hargrave also took a big step backward, which seemed to be related to back problems, but it was more complicated than just questionable talent. I think the change in scheme also hurt the run defense. They have gone to an approach that has the defensive linemen looking to penetrate more rather than take on blockers. How often did we see a defender in the backfield only to see the running back burst through a different opening for a big play last season? Sometimes it seems to me as if they are caught between schemes and they probably should have committed to a switch to a 4-3 a while ago. Heyward and Hargrave both seem better suited to playing tackle in a 4-3. That might be true of Tuitt as well, but they don't have the ends to make that switch.

    The issues at safety are also a huge part of the problem. Mitchell was near useless and Davis was caught out of position or took bad pursuit angles far too often. Part of the defensive incompetence against the run was having rushes that should have gained eight or 10 yards turn into 20 and 30-yarders.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

    1,647
    87
    Dec 18, 2016
    The Steelers had a pretty good run of damn good nose tackles, so perhaps some people just don't realize it.
     
  5. thorn058

    thorn058 Well-Known Member

    6,970
    703
    Oct 19, 2011
    I'd add that the linebackers and safeties got overagressive as well and chose the first available gap instead of waiting until the back committed and flowing downhill towards him. In one of the Ravens game Collins slows up and waits until Williams flies into the gap between the guard and tackle and eaten up on the block and just continues outside the tackle and into the second level where Davis tries to take him one on one instead of forcing him towards the sideline and out. Advantage Ravens.
     
  6. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

    1,647
    87
    Dec 18, 2016
    Agreed. The entire defense got too aggressive against the run. The worst part is they never adjusted. That is why I thought Butler should have been fired. Failing to see that problem and address it was inexcusable.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. steelers5859

    steelers5859 Well-Known Member

    2,605
    32
    Oct 23, 2011
    We weren't that good with Shazier in there.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

    1,647
    87
    Dec 18, 2016
    This is also true. He was part of the problem of overpursuit. That said, his speed and skill also helped cover up a lot of deficiencies that were exposed even more once he was gone.
     
  9. Watt Wack

    Watt Wack Well-Known Member

    1,199
    120
    Jul 29, 2017
    They are not common, but they are out there. I think Vita Vea from this year's draft is one. If you are going to land one, you usually need to use a high pick to get one, as Casey was a 1st rounder. Vea was not gonna fall to us, but there were a few others I would have liked to see us grab. It seems so obvious to me that without a beast at NT the rushing D is soft in a 3-4. With Steed? Great D. Without? Soft. With Hampton, great rush D. Without? Soft.
     
  10. Watt Wack

    Watt Wack Well-Known Member

    1,199
    120
    Jul 29, 2017
    Yea, but we weren't 31st rush D bad. Even including the games sans Shaz, we ended up 10th. Without him, we were 31st in that span. So....that is a lot worse.
     
  11. shadowmaker

    shadowmaker Well-Known Member

    1,475
    61
    Nov 3, 2011
    Maybe it is just me and this isnt a fire Tomlin comment. The Steelers have always been a linebacker factory until Tomlin. I dont know what happened but there just isnt a nasty linebacker on the team.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. mgsmooth

    mgsmooth Well-Known Member

    405
    114
    Aug 14, 2016
    In the 1st matchup VS Jax w/Shazier, needing a defefensive stand in the 4th qtr, I believe we were run on 11-13 consecutive plays. It led to a FG, but certainly ate up clock and extremely demoralizing.
     
  13. mgsmooth

    mgsmooth Well-Known Member

    405
    114
    Aug 14, 2016
    One continues to pass on his valuable knowledge from the sideline.
     
  14. steelersrule6

    steelersrule6 Well-Known Member

    7,755
    491
    Nov 14, 2011
    You do know Colbert is the GM, and makes personnel decisions.
     
  15. SteelerGlenn

    SteelerGlenn

    8,375
    627
    Nov 24, 2011
    Harrison only became a starter when Tomlin took over. Woodley, Timmons, Shazier?
     
  16. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

    16,590
    643
    Oct 22, 2011
    As scribe said, matakevich went down with shazier and that's a big hit. No he wasn't ever healthy after that which is evident by the surgery he had immediately after the season ended. We also are trying to make Vince a starter because of money reasons and he is just not. Vince's role should be a backup with spot start availability. That's the reason he is paid as such.

    I do believe by mid season if everyone stays healthy it could be dirty red and bostic starting.

    We did pick up some pretty good UDFA D-linemen this year. Frazier and Gilmore. A healthy tuitt will make a huge difference. Alualu was a great pickup too. I think the biggest change though was Dunbar taking over every day coaching of this group.

    Watt moving to the inside in the quasi 4-3 set will help. Adams and I'm still watching huguenin as guys that could make some noise in spot duty off the edge. Dupree's move in that same defensive look will help as well.

    The front has to play better to make these new additions behind them work. That's where this D will or won't improve. Just throwing more players at it won't help if we are having the same break downs up front. It can be done without a great NT if we are going to use this 4 man front with these 3 down linemen and Dupree as the 4th. We have some good linemen here, just get them healthy and working together and the speed behind them should show getting to the ball. The Miami hurricanes made a living with a good front and speed on defense behind them for years. It can work well. :cool:
     
  17. Watt Wack

    Watt Wack Well-Known Member

    1,199
    120
    Jul 29, 2017
    But if we stay in a traditional Steeler 3-4, it is soft until you get a beast in at NT. History has proven that. I don't know why this staff seems oblivious to that.
     
  18. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

    1,647
    87
    Dec 18, 2016
    It is an issue, but I also think part of the problem is the philosophical change in what they ask of the defensive line. They have the linemen attacking rather than taking on blockers, which makes some sense because it fits the strengths of Heyward, Tuitt and Hargrave, but it has also created some major problems in defending the run. Of course, the lack of quickness at inside linebacker and terrible play from the safeties exacerbated the problem.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

    16,590
    643
    Oct 22, 2011
    Because they are moving from that traditional 3-4 look. We only play it about 30% of the time now. You complain now about a 1st rounder not starting possibly to one playing 30% of the time? We keep experimenting with different looks and I think butler is trying to find his own identity with a defense. He is getting a different type of player too. We are distancing ourselves from the zone blitz 3-4. Times are changing with offenses and the defense has to keep up. Butler has been searching and adding to something that is going to become more of his.:cool:
     
  20. MattyMo9

    MattyMo9 Well-Known Member

    123
    9
    Dec 11, 2017
    And without drafting or signing a big name middle linebacker I’m afraid the woes will continue. Our secondary has been bad for a long time since the Packers super bowl 8 years ago and getting beat by the long ball sucks. But getting punched in the mouth over and over again is completely demoralizing and way worse IMO. A truly hopeless feeling.
     
    • Very Optimistic Very Optimistic x 1
  21. Watt Wack

    Watt Wack Well-Known Member

    1,199
    120
    Jul 29, 2017
    Great, in the meantime we ranked a super 31st on rushing yards per carry after Shaz went down. I hope Butler "finds his own identity" as the D continues to slide off the precipice and into the abyss.
     
  22. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

    16,590
    643
    Oct 22, 2011
    IF it was last year and we fielded the exact same team I would agree. 8 players possibly 9 off of that defensive unit are no longer here and a coach we also added two coaches so how can it be the same?

    Mitchell
    Golden
    Gay
    Wilcox
    Harrison
    Moats
    Spence
    Shazier
    McCullers most likely.

    You just keep referring back to a defense that is totally different than the one we will field this year. OK we get we didn't do well last year but it has no barring on this year.:cool:
     
  23. SGSteeler

    SGSteeler Well-Known Member

    2,433
    166
    Sep 9, 2013
    In fairness I remember posting about how awful our depth was at ILB before last season outside of the starters.... unfortunately in the salary cap era of pro sports there’s always going to be areas where your depth is weak. Shazier was a stud and is definitely irreplaceable, and his injury was far more crippling to our defense than we could have ever known. The defense was built around him, and it was too late in the season to change things drastically. I bet a scheme change to some degree is coming for next season. At least it better haha the number of rushing TD’s we gave up last year after the injury was atrocious.
     
  24. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

    1,647
    87
    Dec 18, 2016
    Two of those players you listed were starters, and losing Shazier only makes the defense worse. Harrison, McCullers and Wilcox barely played. Mitchell is the only true addition by subtraction on your list.

    Hargrave, Tuitt, Heyward, Williams, Dupree, Watt, Davis, Burns and Haden are all likely to start again. If the defense is going to be better, all of them, except maybe Heyward, have to be better and/or healthier than they were in 2017. It is certainly possible, but that's a lot to expect.

    Bostic and Burnett are upgrades who will help.

    This is the same defensive coordinator coaching mostly the same defense with the same schematic flaws. Worst of all, Butler has proven to be terrible at making adjustments. He just can't do it during games and last year he couldn't do it over the course of a season. That is the biggest thing they lost when they pushed LeBeau out the door for Butler.

    I certainly hope they can keep the defensive front healthy while getting some growth from Dupree, Watt, Burns and Davis. If that happens and Burnett and Bostic can stay healthy, there is reason for optimism, but that's a lot of ifs coming up aces.
     
  25. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

    16,590
    643
    Oct 22, 2011
    Golden had 2 starts last year.
    Moats started 1 last year.
    Spence started 4 games.
    Gay had 1 game start.
    JJ Wilcox started 1 game.

    That's 9 games started amongst those guys. Add shazier and as I said it is a different defense.:cool:
     

Share This Page

Welcome to the ultimate resource for Steelers fans. Sign Up Here!