View Full Version : Keisel...Moving on Up.

08-02-2006, 07:25 AM
Keisel moves into the spotlight
Wednesday, August 02, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Oklahoma drill Chuck Noll loved so much has long been dispatched from training camp, replaced by a more subtle, yet equally physical, session.

The drill that used to kick off each Steelers camp at Saint Vincent College is now a sideshow. Instead of the entire team, coaches, scouts and media gathering in a wide semicircle to watch a one-on-one live blocking drill, complete with hoots and hollers from the gallery, Steelers linemen shift to a corner of a field to take care of business pretty much by themselves. And with Ben Roethlisberger throwing passes at the other end, it guarantees the linemen do not grab much attention.

But when some defensive end is tossing around tackles as if he's Reggie White, it's hard not to notice.

"Keisel The Diesel," said 6-foot-8, 341-pound offensive tackle Max Starks yesterday. "He was pretty good in that one-on-one. Having a pass-rushing defensive end who is athletic, it definitely adds an extra dimension to your defense."

Brett Keisel, at right end, is the first new starter on the defensive line -- other than forced through injury -- since nose tackle Casey Hampton moved into the exclusive neighborhood Oct. 29, 2001, his sixth game in the NFL. Aaron Smith enters his seventh season starting at left end. Those two each have made Pro Bowls.

The rare vacancy in the three-man line came open when Kimo von Oelhoffen, 35, accepted an offer in free agency from the New York Jets. Von Oelhoffen started the past five seasons at right end.

So, as the defending Super Bowl champions return 19 starters, Keisel, 27, knows everyone will look to him not to mess with the chemistry that has fueled the defense the past several seasons.

"No question, there are going to be eyes on me. That's the position I'm in right now. My main thing is I don't want there to be any drop-off. I know if a run busts open on the right side, people will say, 'Well, if Kimo would have been there, it would have been a different story.' That's my biggest thing, I want to get better stopping the run."

It is the prime law of the turf for Steelers defensive linemen in a 3-4. They play to stop the run first and foremost, and to hold double-teams to allow their linebackers to clean up the play. It's not a glorious position, and success is not counted in the number of tackles or sacks. Smith's 55 tackles were tops among Steelers linemen last season but only eighth on the defense.

Now along comes Keisel in a different mold. He's taller and leaner than the prototypical Steelers defensive end. Von Oelhoffen was 6-4, 299; Smith, 6-5, 298. Keisel is 6-5 and after packing on 10 pounds since last season, he's still only 290. While von Oelhoffen and Smith each had their moments as pass rushers (with season highs of eight tackles), neither has the kind of quickness and speed that Keisel brings to the line.

He showed enough last season as an active backup for the Steelers to sign him to a four-year, $13.1 million contract on March 14 when he became an unrestricted free agent. His signing came hours after von Oelhoffen signed with the Jets.

What the coaches see in Keisel is someone who makes plays -- he had three sacks in his part-time role last regular season and then had two in the AFC championship game in Denver. He was a special-teams standout long before he got his shot at playing more regularly in 2004 on a defense that likes to spell its starting ends. He kept his weight at 280 because he knew he had to fly down the field on special teams and he did not want to lose the ability to do that.

His days as a special teams player are gone, but can he pick up where von Oelhoffen left off against the run?

"He's going to play well against the run," line coach John Mitchell said. "That's the thing guys know up front. Our job is to stop the run. I have no qualms how he's going to play. He's going to play well. Here's a guy who's been here, he knows the scheme, he uses his hands well, he has great feet. If they run over Brett Keisel, he'll have an opportunity to make a lot of plays."

08-02-2006, 08:40 AM
"No question, there are going to be eyes on me. That's the position I'm in right now. My main thing is I don't want there to be any drop-off. I know if a run busts open on the right side, people will say, 'Well, if Kimo would have been there, it would have been a different story.' That's my biggest thing, I want to get better stopping the run."

Good attitude and a great way to look at it. I think Keisel is going to fill in nicely and I also feel he will step it up a few more notches this season.

08-02-2006, 09:08 AM
Ive posted before...no drop off from Kimo....probably an upgrade....by mid season O-lines will be double teaming the diesel..and our LB's will be roaming free....

08-02-2006, 09:29 AM
Good article, 83. From what I've seen of him, he's hell on wheels out there and I really believe he is only going to get better as the season progresses. He has a great 'tude and an even greater spirit. I loved Kimo, but I think this guy is going to stand heads above him with his quickness and fire.

08-02-2006, 10:55 AM
I agree with BlackNGold203, I beleive he will be getting double teamed as soon as we play the Bengals, Letting our Linebackers SMACK them some Bengal meat. Seriously Kiesel is a monster and very focused. He got what he wanted and I dont think he is gonna waste it at all. Sorta like Hoke did when Hampton was hurt. Depth is the answer and I think Pittsburgh always gets that in effect.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-02-2006, 10:58 AM
I said as soon as Keisel was resigned that he was going to get 7-8 sacks this year. Plus I think he will be fine in stopping the run.

08-14-2006, 09:07 AM
Beginning for an end

By Mike Prisuta
Monday, August 14, 2006

Brett Keisel was employed regularly as one of the Steelers' situational substitutions along the defensive line a year ago, but the situations Keisel confronted rarely involved stuffing the run.

It's been that way all along for the fifth-year pro who first came onto the scene as a special-teams freak.

"I bet it's less than 50 snaps," Keisel said, assessing how much run defense he's been asked to play while serving as the backup to Kimo von Oelhoffen at right defensive end. "I bet it's a lot less."

Now that he's been promoted to fill the starting spot vacated by von Oelhoffen's free-agent departure to the New York Jets, Keisel might be tested against the run 50 times in two weeks.

"That's why I'm so excited to go out and show what I can do on a consistent basis," Keisel said. "To be out there full time with this defense, which is so good, is going to be a pleasure for me."

Keisel's excitement was evident early in the preseason opener on Saturday at Arizona.

He shot a gap and stuffed running back Edgerrin James for a loss of 2 yards on the Cardinals' first offensive snap and tracked down scrambling quarterback Kurt Warner after a gain of 5 on Arizona's second play.

Keisel got his hands on Warner one other time, applying a shove just after a pass had been released, before taking the rest of the afternoon off following the completion of Arizona's first series.

Keisel made a name for himself as a 6-foot-5, 280-pound, seventh-round draft choice in 2002 who was athletic enough to cover kickoffs.

Since then, he's become an accomplished pass rusher, as Jake Plummer discovered when Keisel dropped the Denver quarterback twice in the AFC Championship Game.

It shouldn't take long for Keisel's proficiency at run defense to be revealed.

"I'm sure they're going to see if the right side can hold the fort down," Keisel said. "I'm sure we'll get tested. I welcome the challenge."

Keisel will meet it by applying what he does best, as opposed to relying on the methods von Oelhoffen often employed.

"I'm trying to get in the backfield whichever way I can," Keisel said. "Kimo was more of a guy who was big and strong enough to push a guy into the backfield. I'm trying to get around the guy to get into the backfield.

"I'm trying to use my wheels."

That said, Keisel has added 10 pounds this season and will play at 290.

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau suspects his new starter will have enough bulk and an abundance of speed with which to get the job done.

"As the season wore on last year, 'Keise' became very instrumental in our defense," LeBeau said. "In those playoffs, every time you looked up he was getting a sack. He's going to add that to our defense. Playing every down, he's going to get that many more opportunities.

"He can really run. He's probably the fastest defensive lineman in the league, and that's going to be a plus. A defense can never be too fast. We have a fast defense; he's going to make us faster.

"I'm very confident he'll do a very good job for us."

08-14-2006, 09:47 AM
Ive posted before...no drop off from Kimo....probably an upgrade....by mid season O-lines will be double teaming the diesel..and our LB's will be roaming free....

If they double team the Diesel and they Double team Casey thats let me see 4 of what 5 maybe 6 lineman counting a TE then you got a FB getting a little check block on someone if we send some one straight ahead or off the corner it will be
In my Howard Cossel (spl)

"Down Goes Palmer Down Goes Palmer Down Goes Palmer"

08-14-2006, 02:52 PM
Keisel looked pretty solid Saturday. Definitley had some great ball awareness at the start of the game.

09-05-2006, 09:15 AM
Keisel feeling comfortable in starting role
Tuesday, September 5, 2006

By Teresa Varley


If there is one player who took advantage of every opportunity during training camp and the preseason it was defensive end Brett Keisel.

Keisel, entering his fifth season, spent the majority of his first four years with the Steelers playing special teams and giving fellow linemen Aaron Smith and Kimo von Oelhoffen a breather.

With von Oelhoffen signing with the Jets this off-season things have changed. Keisel has stepped in to a starting role and is becoming more comfortable every day.

"It feels great," said Keisel. "It has been different. Before I was spending most of my time watching special team's films. You still had to keep up on defense. But this year it's defense all of the time and I am paying more attention to what the other guy is doing on the line, the different formations and the different tendencies that they have.

"The last four years I had a different role. Now being out there full-time it's crazy. I almost feel like I am missing out on the special teams meetings and all of that stuff. I just have to concentrate on my defensive responsibilities and be ready to go."

Despite the new role, the added responsibility and the extra work, Keisel would be more than happy to step in and lend a hand if needed on special teams.

"(Coach Kevin Spencer) knows he can use me anytime he wants," said Keisel, who was a major force on special teams. "We laughed during the last game. I was out there on field goal. It was the only special teams I had. They were coming up the middle and I went to him right after that and told him we have to install a fake, I'll get open."

The defensive line, though, wants to keep him right where he is. They are building their chemistry and his teammates have confidence that Keisel can get the job done. It's now just a matter of going out there and working together for a full game.

"These guys are used to me," said Keisel. "We are still growing together. It's going to take time. I don't think they are at the same comfort level they were with Kimo, but hopefully I can change that."


09-05-2006, 09:46 AM
this guy is going to be a BEAST...and an All-pro very soon....:cool: :cool:

09-05-2006, 03:22 PM
I love Brett, he's a great guy and excellent player...I'm so glad he's finally getting a chance to show his full potential