View Full Version : Steelers unveil rejuvenated pass rush

08-30-2008, 03:18 AM
Steelers unveil rejuvenated pass rush
By Mike Prisuta
Saturday, August 30, 2008

They managed just one sack against Carolina.

Then again, the urgency of approach was such in the Steelers' preseason finale Thursday night that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger departed having officially attempted zero passes.

The substitutes started hitting the field even before Roethlisberger called it a night, with several lining up the second time the Steelers positioned themselves to return a kickoff just over five minutes into the first quarter.

The starting offense and defense played just two series.

And the Panthers starters didn't play at all.

The three previous preseason games the Steelers played weren't exactly perceived as make-or-break affairs, either.

But the combined 10 sacks they had collected against Philadelphia, Buffalo and Minnesota, including six from starting linebackers James Harrison, James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley and starting defensive end Aaron Smith, had the Steelers encouraged about the potential of their pass rush this season.

"We've got some guys individually that are rushing well that haven't played complete games," Tomlin said. "You envision those guys putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback."

Although the starters failed to add to their sack totals against Carolina, pressure generated from a blitz contributed to an interception by cornerback Bryant McFadden that ended the Panthers' second possession.

The ability to consistently generate such pressure is what matters to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Woodley, a second-year pro and first-year starter in Clark Haggans' vacated outside linebacker spot, concurs.

"If you keep pressure on the quarterback, have him in there (in the pocket) with the happy feet, that's something we'd like to do and continue to do," Woodley said.

LeBeau's defenses have endeavored over the years to produce pressure through the disguising of coverages and blitzes that rely more on deception than overwhelming numbers.

The plan this year may involve taking deception to another level through the increased use of "walk-around" defenses in passing situations.

The Steelers re-introduced these looks to their defense last season.

While remaining relatively basic in approach this preseason, they featured on occasion defenses in passing situations in which only Smith had has hand on the ground when the ball was snapped.

There's much more where that came from, defensive end Brett Keisel said, if the Steelers can perfect it.

"We have some nice things in place," Keisel said. "Whether we can all get on the same page and use them, I hope so. All that stuff can create a great deal of difficulty for an offense. You don't know who's coming (on a blitz) and that has a nice impact.

"We want to make them think we're doing one thing and do another. That's kinda the way the league is going. It's kind of developing into that type of scheme."

The Steelers approached last season intent on improving their pass rush.

Their sacks total fell from 39 to 36 but they wound up No. 1 in the NFL in total defense after finishing ninth in 2006.

The intent for the regular season that begins Sept. 7 against Houston is to ramp up the pressure, pile up the sacks and have fun doing both.

"We're all kind of in a nice competition," Keisel said. "We're all kind of talking to each other about different sack dances and things like that. Hopefully, we can bust those out.

"We expect a lot from ourselves this year as far as getting to the quarterback."


Galax Steeler
08-30-2008, 06:45 AM
I just don't think they pulled everything out yet when the season starts I believe you will see our sack toatal get better.

08-30-2008, 10:54 AM
I wanna see what Keisel has for a sack dance. :chuckle:

08-31-2008, 02:36 PM
I wanna see what Keisel has for a sack dance. :chuckle:

I'd just like to see Keisel convert 10% of his 'pressures' into sacks. Let's go 99!

08-31-2008, 02:37 PM
I wanna see what Keisel has for a sack dance. :chuckle:

I think he does the "Pee-Wee Herman".....uh.....you dont have to tell him I said that.

09-01-2008, 10:19 AM
I think with Woodley and Harrison now both starting, a healthy Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton, and an improving Brett Keisel the pass rush will be much improved. After the first few games last year Haggans looked mediocre, and Woodley is a huge upgrade. Harrison will continue to be a beast. Timmons is inexperienced but has great speed and has shown he can make plays. I expect to see the sack and interception totals go up. Last years totals were pathetic.

09-01-2008, 03:41 PM
I'm anxious to see what Lebeau is going to be cooking up in his "KTQ" (kill the QB) recipe book and watching our D make turf pizzas out of opposing QB's. :applaudit::tt03: I think we are going to see a marked improvement in our pass rush this season and Matt Schaub gets to be the first item on the menu. :yummy:

09-01-2008, 03:56 PM
Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.........