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maddog78
01-05-2013, 11:06 AM
This is the total non-special teams snaps breakdown of Steeler DL in 2012. If they don't resign Hamp and Keisel to band-aid for one more year, we'd better hope that we switch to more of a one-gap approach. We simply don't have young linemen to play LeBeau's style of 3-4 anymore, otherwise they'd have taken snaps from Keisel and Hampton this year, both of whom noticeably slipped.

Keisel - 939
Hood - 888
Hampton - 497
Heyward - 263
McClendon - 136
Woods - 36
Ta'amu - 0
Fangupo - 0

SteelersCanada
01-05-2013, 11:10 AM
Both Heyward and McLendon generated more pressure than Hampton and Keisel when they were on the field. Out of some misguided sense of loyalty, LeBeau decided to play his aging veterans over the younger guys who, on tape, were more effective.

Our DL is fine if we start the young guys.

maddog78
01-05-2013, 11:16 AM
Both Heyward and McLendon generated more pressure than Hampton and Keisel when they were on the field. Out of some misguided sense of loyalty, LeBeau decided to play his aging veterans over the younger guys who, on tape, were more effective.

Our DL is fine if we start the young guys.

That's the problem - DL get neutered in Dick's scheme to play 2-gap read and react. Our young guys are better suited at crashing the pocket, but they get broken like stallions in this scheme.

Remember Ta'amu's comments in minicamp? DL are disciplined for getting to the QB. We need new linemen or a new coordinator. If Dick insists on playing two-gap and Hamp and Keis are gone, the defense will get shredded.

Ta‘amu is required to occupy blocks with his wide frame and stay gap-sound rather than use his athleticism to make plays. He found out at minicamp that‘s not as easy as it might seem.

“I got to the quarterback on one play, but the coaches told me that we are a gap team and we don‘t need a Superman,” Ta‘amu said


Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1452321-85/amu-steelers-pounds-pick-senior-camp-college-freshman-issue-round#ixzz2H7P5PyVZ

SteelersCanada
01-05-2013, 11:22 AM
You're not wrong but you're going to get crucified for saying we need a new defensive coordinator. LeBeau is treated like he's a god, despite having a very predictable and very ineffective defensive
scheme that he's clinging onto in hopes it'll keep working.

We need to use the talent that our guys bring and not assign them to fill gaps and, as you put it, neuter their talent. You know who doesn't have this kind of defense and knows how to build a defense around the talent of his guys? Lovie Smith. That's all I'm saying.

kan_t
01-05-2013, 11:32 AM
That's the problem - DL get neutered in Dick's scheme to play 2-gap read and react. Our young guys are better suited at crashing the pocket, but they get broken like stallions in this scheme.

Remember Ta'amu's comments in minicamp? DL are disciplined for getting to the QB. We need new linemen or a new coordinator. If Dick insists on playing two-gap and Hamp and Keis are gone, the defense will get shredded.

Ta‘amu is required to occupy blocks with his wide frame and stay gap-sound rather than use his athleticism to make plays. He found out at minicamp that‘s not as easy as it might seem.

“I got to the quarterback on one play, but the coaches told me that we are a gap team and we don‘t need a Superman,” Ta‘amu said


Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1452321-85/amu-steelers-pounds-pick-senior-camp-college-freshman-issue-round#ixzz2H7P5PyVZ
Or they learn how to be discipline first. They may get to the quarterback on one play. But an un-discipline DL will normally get crushed in many other plays by good QB. Once the players have experience, they would know when is the time to make play or occupy blocks. Hampton in his prime made lots of plays. McClendon has already shown that he can play the NT role nicely. Heyward is also definitely on the right track to fill in.

I don't see that the DL is going to break down like you said.

Riddle_Of_Steel
01-05-2013, 11:49 AM
That's the problem - DL get neutered in Dick's scheme to play 2-gap read and react. Our young guys are better suited at crashing the pocket, but they get broken like stallions in this scheme.

Remember Ta'amu's comments in minicamp? DL are disciplined for getting to the QB. We need new linemen or a new coordinator. If Dick insists on playing two-gap and Hamp and Keis are gone, the defense will get shredded.

Ta‘amu is required to occupy blocks with his wide frame and stay gap-sound rather than use his athleticism to make plays. He found out at minicamp that‘s not as easy as it might seem.

“I got to the quarterback on one play, but the coaches told me that we are a gap team and we don‘t need a Superman,” Ta‘amu said


Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1452321-85/amu-steelers-pounds-pick-senior-camp-college-freshman-issue-round#ixzz2H7P5PyVZ

Good post.

I've been saying this for awhile. Heyward and Hood are one-gap linemen made to collapse the pocket. They are ideal 4-3 ends.

Instead, we have them trying to occupy two blockers and maintain gaps, that someone with Aaron SMith's huge wingspan was better suited for.

I assumed like many here that when we drafted these guys, the implicit intention was to eventually shift to Tomlin's version of the Tampa-2. Timmons' speed and coverage ability is also a fit for that scheme (Spence as well?). Maybe that is what we are seeing? They will trickel enough 4-3 personnel into the roster until they can make the full-blown shift in scheme?

Everyone thinks Dick Lebeau is untouchable around here.

If we can expect our offensive coordinators to adapt a scheme to fit the personnel we have on the field, why can't we expect the defensive coordinator to use a scheme that works to the advantage of the talent available too?

Maybe that is trying to shoehorn a triangle into the round hole, Dick Lebeau wrote the book on the 3-4 fire blitz-- it is his trademark thing. I don't recall much about him prior to his stints as our defensive coordinator, but has DL ever ran a 4-3 before?

I am also in favor of the saying 'don't fix it if it ain't broken'. We had the #1 defense for pretty much the whole last decade plus more. The defense was defeinitely not perfect this year, but we hardly have much to complain about there.

Games like that K-C outing worry me though. They were basically running the ball at will through Hood's gap. He is not being used properly. and I don't think Heyward will either.

Riddle_Of_Steel
01-05-2013, 11:55 AM
Or they learn how to be discipline first. They may get to the quarterback on one play. But an un-discipline DL will normally get crushed in many other plays by good QB. Once the players have experience, they would know when is the time to make play or occupy blocks. Hampton in his prime made lots of plays. McLendon has already shown that he can play the NT role nicely. Heyward is also definitely on the right track to fill in.

I don't see that the DL is going to break down like you said.

Good call on McClendon. Dude looks like a force to be reckoned with out there. Don't know what the coaches are not seeing about him.

I do worry about the direction of the defensive line though. That KC game was a perfect example of why. They were running the ball at will through Hood and Woodley's side.

cbrunn
01-05-2013, 11:56 AM
Good post.

I've been saying this for awhile. Heyward and Hood are one-gap linemen made to collapse the pocket. They are ideal 4-3 ends.

Instead, we have them trying to occupy two blockers and maintain gaps, that someone with Aaron SMith's huge wingspan was better suited for.

I assumed like many here that when we drafted these guys, the implicit intention was to eventually shift to Tomlin's version of the Tampa-2. Timmons' speed and coverage ability is also a fit for that scheme (Spence as well?). Maybe that is what we are seeing? They will trickel enough 4-3 personnel into the roster until they can make the full-blown shift in scheme?

Everyone thinks Dick Lebeau is untouchable around here.

If we can expect our offensive coordinators to adapt a scheme to fit the personnel we have on the field, why can't we expect the defensive coordinator to use a scheme that works to the advantage of the talent available too?

Maybe that is trying to shoehorn a triangle into the round hole, Dick Lebeau wrote the book on the 3-4 fire blitz-- it is his trademark thing. I don't recall much about him prior to his stints as our defensive coordinator, but has DL ever ran a 4-3 before?

I am also in favor of the saying 'don't fix it if it ain't broken'. We had the #1 defense for pretty much the whole last decade plus more. The defense was defeinitely not perfect this year, but we hardly have much to complain about there.

Games like that K-C outing worry me though. They were basically running the ball at will through Hood's gap. He is not being used properly. and I don't think Heyward will either.

I think Tomlin and Colbert were expecting DL to retire by now , as they can't just fire him ... But Tomlin came from a 4-3 if I'm not mistaking ... and the drafting since he came seems more fitted for the 4-3

DE - Worilds / Heyward
DT - Heyward / Tamu
DT - Hood / Mclendon
De - Woodley / ??

OLB - Timmons /
MLB - ??
OLB - Spence / Sly

Need a MLB and some more DE ... but it could easily work

maddog78
01-05-2013, 11:57 AM
Hood is an ideal 4-3 DT, not end....too fat to play DE on the edge. Worilds and Woodley would man those positions.

McClendon is great on passing downs, but gets moved too easily in the run game. Another 4-3 DT.

steeltheone
01-05-2013, 12:40 PM
Ta‘amu is a criminal and should not be a Steeler.

Keisel makes more than Hood, Heyward, Mclendon, Woods and Criminal combined. It's obvious he is not worth that.

Cut Kiesel, Hampton and go with the youngsters.

Ricco Suavez
01-05-2013, 12:59 PM
Ta‘amu is a criminal and should not be a Steeler.

Keisel makes more than Hood, Heyward, Mclendon, Woods and Criminal combined. It's obvious he is not worth that.

Cut Kiesel, Hampton and go with the youngsters.

Criminal or not people deserve another chance after mistakes, If not then why even have prisons or courts, just convict and then execute. I do not like what Vick did, I do not like him even as a player ,but he served his time and like any other person deserves a chance to regain his place in society. I am not a bleeding heart but I believe in fairness, and one mistake should not ruin a persons life if they can change. This holy than thou carp just because its the Steelers is just that, CRAP, we have had more than our share of "criminals". Harrison arrested for assault and mischief , Ward, DUI Santonio disorderly conduct, domestic violence, and possession, Najeh Davenport, Ernie Holmes to mention a few. We have had our share of problem players , Ta'amu has made a grave error in judgment and should be punished but to throw away a possible talent and even worse to turn your back on a person without even knowing the details would be wrong. Convict him, punish him, if his lawyer can broker a deal that he serves little to no time and the Steelers feel they can use him I am all for at least another year to see what happens.

GoFor7
01-05-2013, 01:36 PM
Criminal or not people deserve another chance after mistakes, If not then why even have prisons or courts, just convict and then execute. I do not like what Vick did, I do not like him even as a player ,but he served his time and like any other person deserves a chance to regain his place in society. I am not a bleeding heart but I believe in fairness, and one mistake should not ruin a persons life if they can change. This holy than thou carp just because its the Steelers is just that, CRAP, we have had more than our share of "criminals". Harrison arrested for assault and mischief , Ward, DUI Santonio disorderly conduct, domestic violence, and possession, Najeh Davenport, Ernie Holmes to mention a few. We have had our share of problem players , Ta'amu has made a grave error in judgment and should be punished but to throw away a possible talent and even worse to turn your back on a person without even knowing the details would be wrong. Convict him, punish him, if his lawyer can broker a deal that he serves little to no time and the Steelers feel they can use him I am all for at least another year to see what happens.

Shhhhhhhh! The only player you're allowed to bash for off-field issues is Ben! All those other guys are off limits!!!!!!!!

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-05-2013, 02:09 PM
A 3-4 is designed for 2 gap DE's and a NT. The majority of the NFL plays a 3-4 now and for fans to want our D linemen to play 1 gap responsibility shows they know very little about how a 3-4 is played.

In a 3-4 the stars making all the plays need to be the LB's. Harrison is now injured and on the decline. Foote is on the decline and Woodley played below par all season. The D line is fine with Hood, Heyward, Keisel, McLendon, Ta'amu and Fangopu going forward.

Adding players like Barkavious Mingo, Shane Skov, Kyle Van Noy and Sean Spence will improve the defense going forward. Just need to see how the draft and Spence rehab goes.

OX1947
01-05-2013, 02:39 PM
Both Heyward and McLendon generated more pressure than Hampton and Keisel when they were on the field. Out of some misguided sense of loyalty, LeBeau decided to play his aging veterans over the younger guys who, on tape, were more effective.

Our DL is fine if we start the young guys.

Once again, this isnt a Lebeau issue. The HEAD coach makes the final decisions. That is why he is the damn head coach. If I am a head coach and I see two players playing head and shoulders better then another two, then you play those damn players. This is professional football, not high school football.

GoFor7
01-05-2013, 03:10 PM
Once again, this isnt a Lebeau issue. The HEAD coach makes the final decisions. That is why he is the damn head coach. If I am a head coach and I see two players playing head and shoulders better then another two, then you play those damn players. This is professional football, not high school football.

Tomlin usually defers to LeBeau though in matters pertaining to the defense. He's a very hands off coach.

Does anyone really think Tomlin would be allowed to fire LeBeau if he wanted the defense to go in a different direction?

PhantomJB93
01-05-2013, 03:45 PM
Yeah there is no DLine dilemma. Ziggy Hood is fine and I don't understand how people still can't grasp that he's not supposed to ring up 10+ sacks a season. Mclendon will be fine at NT and Heyward has looked alright when he's on the field. And if there's one thing we all know by now it's that the vets on this team are never unseated until they're playing on their last possible thread, just because they haven't been unseated doesn't mean the young guys are disappointing.

nikstar
01-05-2013, 06:20 PM
You're not wrong but you're going to get crucified for saying we need a new defensive coordinator. LeBeau is treated like he's a god, despite having a very predictable and very ineffective defensive
scheme that he's clinging onto in hopes it'll keep working.

We need to use the talent that our guys bring and not assign them to fill gaps and, as you put it, neuter their talent. You know who doesn't have this kind of defense and knows how to build a defense around the talent of his guys? Lovie Smith. That's all I'm saying.

I definitely think Tomlin has all the power in the world to fire Lebeau if he wanted to but why in the hell would he want to?

It's not like we've had the best overall defense back to back in the last 2 years with Lebeau...Oh wait we do. Championship games? Superbowls? Check, and check. Great defenses with lots of turnovers? He's called the plays for those. Great defenses with practically no turnovers? He's called the plays for those too. Helping coordinate questionably the best Steelers defense of all time and statistically the 2nd best (2008)? He did that.

So yes let's fire our D-coordinator who is literally by all accounts of measurements both currently and in the recent past #1 in the league. He must be predictable and ineffective. He's only the best :blah:

Steelers have addressed the Dline with recent picks in the last couple of years and it's clear the usual faces are getting older and the newer guys will take more snaps. That's just progress. As for changing defensive philosophy's, maybe sometime, with the right personnel. But I truly believe these guys were drafted to continue the trend of the 3-4 defensive system.

Lebeau is a living legend, but that's not why he's the defensive coordinator for the Steelers. He is defensive coordinator for the Steelers because he is the best person for the job

lloydwoodson
01-05-2013, 07:49 PM
Shhhhhhhh! The only player you're allowed to bash for off-field issues is Ben! All those other guys are off limits!!!!!!!!

I agree with this comment. You should not be bringing up off-field issues on this forum. Keep the talk on football.

lloydwoodson
01-05-2013, 08:04 PM
- Teams used to run at Keisel to stay away from A Smith. Keisel was gotten MUCH better against the run. Give time for Hood to continue to improve- he made a lot more plays in 2012 than he was given credit for.

- LeBeau does scheme around his personnel. That is why pressure came from Timmons and Foote this year- Woodley didn't get it done and Harrison has been injured.

- The defense has been top 10 for the last 13 seasons not sure how much it needs to be changed.

- Turnovers will come when players in this defense make plays. Polamalu and Harrison generated 30 turnovers in 2008 and 2010 when the Steelers were near the top of the league.

- This draft will be defense-heavy including a first round pick that will address either the OLB or S position and set the D up to continue using the same philosophy based on having the same strengths in personnel.

- Heyward, Hood and McLendon have become the most productive DL members. Hardly a dilemma.

SteelersCanada
01-05-2013, 08:06 PM
So yes let's fire our D-coordinator who is literally by all accounts of measurements both currently and in the recent past #1 in the league. He must be predictable and ineffective. He's only the best :blah:

Quote me where I said 'fire him'. I didn't say fire him, I said that his scheme is ineffective and predictable which, by players admission , is. Rivers and Romo both go for over 300 yards against our secondary? That's bullshit and shouldn't happen. Oh, it's funny, both of those guys are absolute turnover machines and throw picks like there's no tomorrow, but our secondary didn't get a single interception. Our defense didn't force a single turnover in those games.

Something's gotta give. Did it work 5 years ago? Sure. However, it started to fall apart in the Super Bowl against the Packers and we just haven't rebounded. Someone that knows how to use the talent that is given to them and generate turnovers and sacks would be appreciated.

However, all that said, I wouldn't hate it if he was around next year. I mean, pinning the lack of turnovers on LeBeau can only be credited so far and at some point, the players have to step up and be accountable as well. If around next year, his scheme needs to be updated and dusted off. Giving up all those yards to two underwhelming and borderline bad Quarterbacks isn't acceptable.

lloydwoodson
01-05-2013, 08:38 PM
Quote me where I said 'fire him'. I didn't say fire him, I said that his scheme is ineffective and predictable which, by players admission , is. Rivers and Romo both go for over 300 yards against our secondary? That's bullshit and shouldn't happen. Oh, it's funny, both of those guys are absolute turnover machines and throw picks like there's no tomorrow, but our secondary didn't get a single interception. Our defense didn't force a single turnover in those games.

Something's gotta give. Did it work 5 years ago? Sure. However, it started to fall apart in the Super Bowl against the Packers and we just haven't rebounded. Someone that knows how to use the talent that is given to them and generate turnovers and sacks would be appreciated.

However, all that said, I wouldn't hate it if he was around next year. I mean, pinning the lack of turnovers on LeBeau can only be credited so far and at some point, the players have to step up and be accountable as well. If around next year, his scheme needs to be updated and dusted off. Giving up all those yards to two underwhelming and borderline bad Quarterbacks isn't acceptable.

Both Rivers and Romo have better career passer ratings and better td-int ratios than Ben. But they are underwhelming and borderline bad quarterbacks? What does that make Ben?

Romo threw for 4900 yards this season- you think some other teams gave up a couple yards too? Is it a coincidence Ike Taylor didn't play and Lewis was hurt when the Chargers had their big game?

Think before you speak please.

SteelersCanada
01-05-2013, 08:49 PM
Both Rivers and Romo have better career passer ratings and better td-int ratios than Ben. But they are underwhelming and borderline bad quarterbacks? What does that make Ben?

Romo threw for 4900 yards this season- you think some other teams gave up a couple yards too? Is it a coincidence Ike Taylor didn't play and Lewis was hurt when the Chargers had their big game?

Think before you speak please.

You're really going to get fucking snippy with me?

How did Andy Dalton do today bud? Oh, he's legit, though. 14 / 30 for 172 yards and a pick makes him amazing. It's funny that you haven't responded to my other post regarding stats and why they don't matter, but I'm not surprised.

Get off your high-horse.

pczach
01-05-2013, 09:12 PM
I think it's comical that some fans think Dick LeBeau is somehow the problem here. He is probably the best coordinator of all time, offensive or defensive. His scheme has covered up not having dominant talent, particularly in the secondary for much of his career. The Steelers are a big time pass rusher and a cornerback with ball skills away from being a great defense that also gets turnovers.Woodley can be that guy if healthy. If Harrison comes back and is healthy, they become monsters again. In the secondary, only Polamolu has good ball skills and actually catches the ball when thrown to him. If Lewis or Allen improves in this area, they will be very dangerous. I know these are big "ifs" when talking about health with veteran players, but this can happen with the guys we already have. Find a replacement for Larry Foote that is stronger at the point of attack with good coverage skills, and this team is scary good(I know, a Timmons clone. I'm allowed to dream).

cbrunn
01-05-2013, 09:15 PM
I think it's comical that some fans think Dick LeBeau is somehow the problem here. He is probably the best coordinator of all time, offensive or defensive. His scheme has covered up not having dominant talent, particularly in the secondary for much of his career. The Steelers are a big time pass rusher and a cornerback with ball skills away from being a great defense that also gets turnovers.Woodley can be that guy if healthy. If Harrison comes back and is healthy, they become monsters again. In the secondary, only Polamolu has good ball skills and actually catches the ball when thrown to him. If Lewis or Allen improves in this area, they will be very dangerous. I know these are big "ifs" when talking about health with veteran players, but this can happen with the guys we already have. Find a replacement for Larry Foote that is stronger at the point of attack with good coverage skills, and this team is scary good(I know, a Timmons clone. I'm allowed to dream).

Alec Ogeltree would allow Timmons to attack ALL the time , Since Ogeltree would fair much better covering TEs and things

Hawaii 5-0
01-05-2013, 11:53 PM
Alec Ogeltree would allow Timmons to attack ALL the time , Since Ogeltree would fair much better covering TEs and things

Ogletree was suspended for four games at the start of the year because of a failed drug test, do you think the Steelers are willing to overlook this fact?

teegre
01-05-2013, 11:57 PM
Ogletree was suspended for four games at the start of the year because of a failed drug test, do you think the Steelers are willing to overlook this fact?

Honestly, I don't know. Marvel Smith, Mike Adams... Alec Ogletree???

Was it for weed? or, Adderall?

If it's the latter, then yes (it's the performance-enhancer du jour).

Hawaii 5-0
01-06-2013, 12:00 AM
Honestly, I don't know. Marvel Smith, Mike Adams... Alec Ogletree???

Was it for weed? or, Adderall?

If it's the latter, then yes (it's the performance-enhancer du jour).

it was reportedly for weed...

teegre
01-06-2013, 12:03 AM
it was reportedly for weed...

Drat!!!

lloydwoodson
01-06-2013, 12:14 AM
You're really going to get fucking snippy with me?

How did Andy Dalton do today bud? Oh, he's legit, though. 14 / 30 for 172 yards and a pick makes him amazing. It's funny that you haven't responded to my other post regarding stats and why they don't matter, but I'm not surprised.

Get off your high-horse.

Please wait for me to respond to the message you made in a separate thread in that thread.

Please do not chase me into other threads to argue unrelated topics.

Thank you.

SteelersCanada
01-06-2013, 01:04 AM
Oh, man. I love this guy. Every time he types something I get a good laugh, like comparing stats and quarterback rating and determining whether or not that means success. That's some funny stuff.

Also, don't talk down to me and act like I'm some piece of shit you have to deal with. If that's how you think, fine, just don't condescend me. I'd appreciate that. I'm sure the rest of the forum would appreciate you not taking every single opportunity to bash Roethlisberger because it's getting old.

Before you try and act high and mighty on an internet forum, people were comparing stats. In the other thread, I was comparing stats. Unless numbers aren't related anymore, I'd say they're pretty similar topics.

lloydwoodson
01-06-2013, 01:15 AM
I think it will be interesting to see what role Ta'amu plays in the defense next year. He has had a year of practice / learning from Hampton. Hopefully he can anchor the line on running downs.

Ta'amu and McLendon could provide a really nice interior pass rush.

austinfrench76
01-06-2013, 08:56 PM
IMO to be talking about the Defense is odd. The DL is a strength. Look at our rankings the past 6 years. 2 1st rounds picks along with some other good young talent is not enough??? The O is the problem and not Todd Haley. I know this isn't a popular opinion but Haley doesn't throw those BS picks that ben threw to end our season against Cincy and Dallas. The players need to play to the level of expectations that the Steelers have. And if anything is wrong it's with Tomlin and some of his head scratching calls!

steeltheone
01-06-2013, 09:18 PM
Both Rivers and Romo have better career passer ratings and better td-int ratios than Ben. But they are underwhelming and borderline bad quarterbacks? What does that make Ben?

Romo threw for 4900 yards this season- you think some other teams gave up a couple yards too? Is it a coincidence Ike Taylor didn't play and Lewis was hurt when the Chargers had their big game?

Think before you speak please.

I don't care for Rivers, but i feel sure we would still have 2 more rings if he played in Pittsburgh. Romo , maybe not but he is still good.

madtowndrunkard
01-06-2013, 09:31 PM
This is the total non-special teams snaps breakdown of Steeler DL in 2012. If they don't resign Hamp and Keisel to band-aid for one more year, we'd better hope that we switch to more of a one-gap approach. We simply don't have young linemen to play LeBeau's style of 3-4 anymore, otherwise they'd have taken snaps from Keisel and Hampton this year, both of whom noticeably slipped.

Keisel - 939
Hood - 888
Hampton - 497
Heyward - 263
McClendon - 136
Woods - 36
Ta'amu - 0
Fangupo - 0



This idea that Dick Lebeau needs to go so we can change to a 4-3 is just ridiculous.... Once again we were the #1 defense in the league... top 5 any way you slice it. So why would want to abandon what is working? "our guys are getting old!... .TIME to throw everything out the window and start new!" WTF is that? Why ? We've been using this scheme for how many decades now? ...and pretty much every year since...it's been working great... with very few exceptions. Just because few teams can seem to figure out how to dominate with our scheme...doesn't mean we should follow them into the land of mediocrity.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-06-2013, 10:31 PM
This idea that Dick Lebeau needs to go so we can change to a 4-3 is just ridiculous.... Once again we were the #1 defense in the league... top 5 any way you slice it. So why would want to abandon what is working? "our guys are getting old!... .TIME to throw everything out the window and start new!" WTF is that? Why ? We've been using this scheme for how many decades now? ...and pretty much every year since...it's been working great... with very few exceptions. Just because few teams can seem to figure out how to dominate with our scheme...doesn't mean we should follow them into the land of mediocrity.

Thank you for some solid reasoning.

Somehow the fan base forgets that a 3-4 defense should be about the LB's. Yeah we put a good defense on the field, but need more plays from the 4 guys at LB and less worrying about our D line getting sacks.

Time to find replacements for Foote and Harrison. Hopefully Spence can rehab and start next season.

kan_t
01-06-2013, 10:33 PM
Keith Butler is likely LeBeau's successor. I don't see the Steelers changing back to 4-3 anytime soon.

Hawaii 5-0
01-06-2013, 10:50 PM
Keith Butler is likely LeBeau's successor. I don't see the Steelers changing back to 4-3 anytime soon.

me neither...

madtowndrunkard
01-07-2013, 12:04 AM
Thank you for some solid reasoning.

Somehow the fan base forgets that a 3-4 defense should be about the LB's. Yeah we put a good defense on the field, but need more plays from the 4 guys at LB and less worrying about our D line getting sacks.

Time to find replacements for Foote and Harrison. Hopefully Spence can rehab and start next season.


It's unbelievable how much complaining and bashing our defense gets... we were #1 in the league in team defense...and have pretty much been in the top 5 for the last 20 years. Imagine if we were consistently ranked #10 or even #15 ? People would go crazy right?

Steeler fans go absolutely nuts when our defense allows a TD drive...and if it's in the 4th quarter - we're the worst defense in the league. God forbid we give up 21 or more points in a game... then 99% of all steeler fans will say the defense killed us... we might have only scored 10 points...but it was our defense that let us down. Everyone seems to forget the fact that typically 25 or more teams teams actually have worse defenses then we do.

Then to add more humor to the craziness that is steeler fan... Big Ben is considered the best QB in the league... 99% will tell you he's at least a top 5 QB at worst....he's the 2nd coming of Brett Favre according to my fellow steeler fans. When Ben's offense struggles to score....it's the fault of the RB, the Oline, or the offensive coordinator. While for a few years I'd agree Arians wasn't excelling at his job...but after a while you have to ask.... Why can't Ben score points more consistently? Typically on any given season our offense is ranked near the middle .... but it's usually the defense that gets the most questions.

Until our defense is ranked in the bottom half of the league... I don't want to read another insane post about getting rid of Dick LeBeau or switching to the 4-3. :banging:

madtowndrunkard
01-07-2013, 12:09 AM
BTW... as a football fan... why would you even want to move to a 4-3? The 3-4 is so much more fun to watch it's not even funny. Think of all the great pass rushers we've had over the last 20 years.... how friggen awesome was it to watch Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, James Harrison, Joey Porter, etc... blast QB's from an outside rush? How Awesome was it to watch James Harrison fake a blitz.....drop into DL's text book zone....and take a pick 6 100 yards for a TD in the GOD DAMN SUPERBOWL!!.... that shit don't happen in a 4-3..... DE's are down lineman... they are no were near as active as our OLB's...playing a 3-4. More athletes/ speed on the field = better football IMO.

Rick5895
01-07-2013, 04:55 AM
Injuries have been the main cause for our LB's not playing to par the past couple of seasons, meaning sacks and turnovers are down. We need to get younger at LB and maybe replacing harrison is the answer. That all being said, our DL style is 2 gap and these young guys are struggling with that. they need to learn or get better playing that style, if not our pass defense will still be good, (if we can keep our good young corners) but our run D will not.
This defense, even though is aging, has been our strength. But everytime we lose it's the defenses fault, our defense is fine, Lebeau is fine, my only conern with Lebeau staying is we may very well lose Butler.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-07-2013, 10:58 AM
Injuries have been the main cause for our LB's not playing to par the past couple of seasons, meaning sacks and turnovers are down. We need to get younger at LB and maybe replacing harrison is the answer. That all being said, our DL style is 2 gap and these young guys are struggling with that. they need to learn or get better playing that style, if not our pass defense will still be good, (if we can keep our good young corners) but our run D will not.
This defense, even though is aging, has been our strength. But everytime we lose it's the defenses fault, our defense is fine, Lebeau is fine, my only conern with Lebeau staying is we may very well lose Butler.

Rick, I agree that injuries to Harrison and Woodley the past 2 seasons have been impactful to the defense. (Also Polamalu injuries hurt too) I honestly dont see where the "young guys are struggling" with 2-gap style D line play.

The only people struggling with 2-gap D line play are the fans on this forum that dont understand how its played. They see guys in their fantasy football league that have JJ Watt, Geno Atkins, Jared Allen as D linemen with good sack totals, but forget that Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Cam Wake, Elvis Dumerville put up numbers at OLB too. They want out D line to sack the QB, when its not what they do. The most sacks I can see from a 3-4 D lineman this season is Corey Luiget of SD with 7.

I honestly dont see where Hood, Keisel, Heyward, Hampton were so bad this season. :noidea: they are doing what 3-4 d linemen do.

madtowndrunkard
01-07-2013, 11:30 AM
Rick, I agree that injuries to Harrison and Woodley the past 2 seasons have been impactful to the defense. (Also Polamalu injuries hurt too) I honestly dont see where the "young guys are struggling" with 2-gap style D line play.

The only people struggling with 2-gap D line play are the fans on this forum that dont understand how its played. They see guys in their fantasy football league that have JJ Watt, Geno Atkins, Jared Allen as D linemen with good sack totals, but forget that Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Cam Wake, Elvis Dumerville put up numbers at OLB too. They want out D line to sack the QB, when its not what they do. The most sacks I can see from a 3-4 D lineman this season is Corey Luiget of SD with 7.

I honestly dont see where Hood, Keisel, Heyward, Hampton were so bad this season. :noidea: they are doing what 3-4 d linemen do.



Brilliant post... couldn't have said it better.

Both of our OLB's were playing hurt. That said I thought Harrison still played at a high level...and near the end he was getting pressure like he used to.

Woodley on the other does worry me a little bit. Mainly because I don't know what was going on with him...but 4 sacks out of Woodley and little to no pressure makes you wonder if that salary he's getting is worth it. We have cap issues next season and Woodley will take the 2nd highest cap hit on the team ( I believe) You can't restructure him...not after this season.

All that said we do need to produce more sacks.. But because of our cap situation and immediate needs elsewhere... I think we will go into next season with what we have on the DL and OLB. We need an ILB... which I expect us to draft in the 1st or 2nd round.

I think next year is do or die for Woodley and Harrison...but no reason we can't deal with that next year.

pete74
01-07-2013, 11:50 AM
Rick, I agree that injuries to Harrison and Woodley the past 2 seasons have been impactful to the defense. (Also Polamalu injuries hurt too) I honestly dont see where the "young guys are struggling" with 2-gap style D line play.

The only people struggling with 2-gap D line play are the fans on this forum that dont understand how its played. They see guys in their fantasy football league that have JJ Watt, Geno Atkins, Jared Allen as D linemen with good sack totals, but forget that Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Cam Wake, Elvis Dumerville put up numbers at OLB too. They want out D line to sack the QB, when its not what they do. The most sacks I can see from a 3-4 D lineman this season is Corey Luiget of SD with 7.

I honestly dont see where Hood, Keisel, Heyward, Hampton were so bad this season. :noidea: they are doing what 3-4 d linemen do.

What about JJ Watt? He is a DE in Houston 3-4 defense

steelfury02
01-07-2013, 11:57 AM
Heyward and McClendon absopositively need to see the field more - time for trial by fire - I believe we are no worse than what we already would be

I look at GB's D-line as a younger, slightly smaller (quicker at point of attack though) D-line that helped them win a SB. I actually think if given a consistent chance - we have two guys in Heyward and McClendon, that while unproven, could end up being just as explosive at point of attack, but even more powerful than what GB has, letting Lebeau (and his/or whoever is running the 3-4) get even more creative where the LBs are blitzing from

Clay Matthews isn't the be-all, end-all, but, from my perspective, isn't having to cover routes quite as often as our guys have to - and, that's because there are places to explode more quickly at the beginning of the play, because of their explosive line - if that makes any sense

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-07-2013, 11:58 AM
What about JJ Watt? He is a DE in Houston 3-4 defense

Thanks......I honestly thought he played DT on a 4-3 look and DE when they go 3-4 look. It's exactly making my point though of the knee jerk reaction of the Fantasy Football fans screaming for the flavor of the day.

Remember when the Dolphins ran the Wildcat for a season and all the noise on this forum for Dennis Dixon to play the Wildcat, or "draft Pat White"?? :doh: Suddenly Ben wasnt good enough on his own.

Now that JJ Watt gets some sacks, but almost no other 3-4 D lineman in the NFL is a sack machine............fans want to cut Keisel, Hood, Fire LeBeau and goto a 4-3. What is next??..............we need a big RB like Bettis?:doh:

pete74
01-07-2013, 12:02 PM
Anyone who says fire DL is insane in my mind. As for Keisel I love him but I want Heyward starting next season. We can't let a first rounder ride the bence for 3years.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-07-2013, 12:08 PM
Anyone who says fire DL is insane in my mind. As for Keisel I love him but I want Heyward starting next season. We can't let a first rounder ride the bence for 3years.

Then Heyward needs to prove he is better than Hood or Keisel to get the starting job. Not much different than 2nd round guy like Worilds riding the bench for 3 seasons.........."to be the man, you gotta beat the man!"

steelfury02
01-07-2013, 12:12 PM
Thanks......I honestly thought he played DT on a 4-3 look and DE when they go 3-4 look. It's exactly making my point though of the knee jerk reaction of the Fantasy Football fans screaming for the flavor of the day.

Remember when the Dolphins ran the Wildcat for a season and all the noise on this forum for Dennis Dixon to play the Wildcat, or "draft Pat White"?? :doh: Suddenly Ben wasnt good enough on his own.

Now that JJ Watt gets some sacks, but almost no other 3-4 D lineman in the NFL is a sack machine............fans want to cut Keisel, Hood, Fire LeBeau and goto a 4-3. What is next??..............we need a big RB like Bettis?:doh:

For all we know, JJ Watt could be a flash in the pan. Way too soon to anoint their D as the next big thing because of 1 "dominant" season. They are going through a lot of their demons right now like we already have, and will continue to have to, especially (and hopefully) with young blood being relied on more often than ever, ala, Texans still not matching up well against elite offenses, and have yet to prove they can smother WR corps of the NEs and GBs of the world WHILE pressuring forced throws and bringing down the quick release guys on a consistent basis. You can't do one or the other and still win against a big offense - those back shoulder throws will burn any man coverage, as will not getting to the QB fast enough. They haven't proven to do that yet - so, I'm not sold on what has been proven (Steelers D) v. as you say, today's flavor against an abysmal Cincy O.

pete74
01-07-2013, 01:40 PM
Then Heyward needs to prove he is better than Hood or Keisel to get the starting job. Not much different than 2nd round guy like Worilds riding the bench for 3 seasons.........."to be the man, you gotta beat the man!"

If they don't play him he can't prove it. Nobody would of known Lewis was as good as he was until he got a chance to play. I remember seeing a lot of posts were people said Lewis was a bust and we needed to drop him before he got his shot this season.
As for Worlds, from his limited playing time I think he needs to start next season as well.

kan_t
01-07-2013, 02:18 PM
If they don't play him he can't prove it. Nobody would of known Lewis was as good as he was until he got a chance to play. I remember seeing a lot of posts were people said Lewis was a bust and we needed to drop him before he got his shot this season.
As for Worlds, from his limited playing time I think he needs to start next season as well.
I agree that the Steelers should give Worilds a look first. Even though the Steelers pick a OLB (e.g. Mingo, Ansah) this year, the player probably needs at least a year to get into the system. Worilds has shown some promises this season and deserves a chance to prove himself. He will be a FA after next season and the team needs to know if he should be kept. I also hope that the team will give Adrian Robinson some snaps next season. He's my sleeper pick.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-07-2013, 03:04 PM
If they don't play him he can't prove it. Nobody would of known Lewis was as good as he was until he got a chance to play. I remember seeing a lot of posts were people said Lewis was a bust and we needed to drop him before he got his shot this season.
As for Worlds, from his limited playing time I think he needs to start next season as well.

Those guys get a chance to prove it every day in Training Camp and Preseason.

The posts from fans here saying that Lewis is a bust, is because they dont watch preseason games and see the guy is around every ball, but lots of times was a hair late on breaking up passes, because of minor technique.

Fans label a guy a bust because he hasnt made the starting lineup in his 2nd season and isnt an impact guy. Most dont see what a guy is doing right and improving.....they only see he isnt a starter.

rpbncb
01-08-2013, 02:03 AM
i would like to know where our ( no. 1 D) ranked on third down this past year.

rpbncb
01-08-2013, 02:10 AM
Seems to me we sucked big time on third down this year. Maybe, just maybe, our so-called No. 1 defense isn't as good as the paper it's written on!! I know I couldn't stand to watch third and long situations all year long. Let's not kid ourselves here. There's something not right going on with this team defensively, and it's not good. Needs to be fixed even if it hurts some feelings.

lloydwoodson
01-08-2013, 02:35 AM
Steelers were 5th in the league on stopping 3rd downs- opponents converted just35.4% of third downs.

Steelers fans have had a top 10 defense for 13 years so we forgot what it looks like to struggle on D.

Steelers were near the bottom in interceptions but were 17th in sacks and 18th in recovered fumbles.

Funny how being 17th and 18th is a calamity for the defense one year; but being ranked 17th would actually be decent for the offense and is acceptable year after year.

Steeldude
01-08-2013, 05:27 AM
If the Steelers decided to with a 4-3 it would probably look like this...

DE - Heyward
DT - Mclendon
DT - Hood
DE - Woodley

Rick5895
01-08-2013, 05:45 AM
Steelers were 5th in the league on stopping 3rd downs- opponents converted just35.4% of third downs.

Steelers fans have had a top 10 defense for 13 years so we forgot what it looks like to struggle on D.

Steelers were near the bottom in interceptions but were 17th in sacks and 18th in recovered fumbles.

Funny how being 17th and 18th is a calamity for the defense one year; but being ranked 17th would actually be decent for the offense and is acceptable year after year.

This is exactly what ticks me off about some of the folks on this forum. The defense could be pitching a shutout, give the ball to the offense inside the opponent territory 2 or 3 times, but give up 30 yards on a late drive and the Steelers lose 3-0, and people on here would be calling for the defense to be broken up and for LeBeau's head.
That all being said, I think it's time to change some of the faces of the defense, get younger, and give some of these young guys a chance. Seemed to work out prety well in the secondary before all the injuries towards the end of the year, perhaps Heyward will be the stud we need since A.Smith left.

lloydwoodson
01-08-2013, 05:53 AM
That all being said, I think it's time to change some of the faces of the defense, get younger, and give some of these young guys a chance. Seemed to work out prety well in the secondary before all the injuries towards the end of the year, perhaps Heyward will be the stud we need since A.Smith left.

Definitely agree with you. Heyward is going to be the leader on defense I think.

Hood is holding down the LE better than people think.

Sylvester is heading into his 4th year I would like him to be given a shot if he earns it in camp.

The_Joker
01-08-2013, 06:00 AM
LE - Heyward
DT- Hampton/Ta'amu/Hood
DT- McClendon
RE- Keisel

There, shut up. Many teams would die for our D-Line.

FrancoLambert
01-08-2013, 06:32 AM
LE - Heyward
DT- Hampton/Ta'amu/Hood
DT- McClendon
RE- Keisel

There, shut up. Many teams would die for our D-Line.

I don't think too many teams would have Hampton and Keisel as starters.
They're run their course......time to move on to younger legs with stronger motors.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-08-2013, 09:16 AM
LE - Heyward
DT- Hampton/Ta'amu/Hood
DT- McClendon
RE- Keisel

There, shut up. Many teams would die for our D-Line.

So we are switching to a 4-3???

maddog78
01-08-2013, 11:27 AM
If the Steelers decided to with a 4-3 it would probably look like this...

DE - Heyward
DT - Mclendon
DT - Hood
DE - Woodley

How much does Heyward weigh? Maybe if he slims down a tad. I think Worilds would be a more prototypical 4-3 DE.

maddog78
01-08-2013, 11:30 AM
LE - Heyward
DT- Hampton/Ta'amu/Hood
DT- McClendon
RE- Keisel

There, shut up. Many teams would die for our D-Line.

Keisel as a pass rushing DE?

:rofl:

lloydwoodson
01-09-2013, 01:00 AM
How much does Heyward weigh? Maybe if he slims down a tad. I think Worilds would be a more prototypical 4-3 DE.

Heyward weighs about the same as Reggie White.

tanda10506
01-09-2013, 05:00 PM
LE - Heyward
DT- Hampton/Ta'amu/Hood
DT- McClendon
RE- Keisel

There, shut up. Many teams would die for our D-Line.

First off, we're a 3-4 team not a 4-3. If we were a 4-3 team and those were our starters then no, nobody would really want our D line. You have demonstrated a blind following of Keisel in many of your posts, but he is not a pass rusher and went downhill quite a bit this year. Hampton improved as the season went on, but nobody else would take a 35 year old NT who comes into camp over weight and has just had his ACL repaired. Ta'Amu is gone. McClendon played well when he got in, but nobody would be ready to spend much on him to take him away from us. Same as Hood.

As a 3-4 D line, we'll likely be ok if we get one more player. Hood and MccClendon seem to have transitioned to this style of defense well, but I don't see Heyward being able to fill Keisel's shoes. Keisel definitely took a step back this year from the last, but he's a real 3-4 D lineman and Heyward just doesn't seem to be. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I think we still need to add one more starting quality player on the D line.

pete74
01-09-2013, 05:36 PM
First off, we're a 3-4 team not a 4-3. If we were a 4-3 team and those were our starters then no, nobody would really want our D line. You have demonstrated a blind following of Keisel in many of your posts, but he is not a pass rusher and went downhill quite a bit this year. Hampton improved as the season went on, but nobody else would take a 35 year old NT who comes into camp over weight and has just had his ACL repaired. Ta'Amu is gone. McClendon played well when he got in, but nobody would be ready to spend much on him to take him away from us. Same as Hood.

As a 3-4 D line, we'll likely be ok if we get one more player. Hood and MccClendon seem to have transitioned to this style of defense well, but I don't see Heyward being able to fill Keisel's shoes. Keisel definitely took a step back this year from the last, but he's a real 3-4 D lineman and Heyward just doesn't seem to be. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I think we still need to add one more starting quality player on the D line.

From seeing Heyward play, what makes you think he couldn't make it as a 3-4 end?

DanRooney
01-09-2013, 10:08 PM
Move Hood to nose tackle, cut him, or convert to 4-3. He sucks as a 3-4 DE. Heyward will be much better at his spot.

Keisel still plays balls to the wall. Hampton is expendable with McLendon who is every bit as talented.

DanRooney
01-09-2013, 10:11 PM
As a 3-4 D line, we'll likely be ok if we get one more player. Hood and MccClendon seem to have transitioned to this style of defense well, but I don't see Heyward being able to fill Keisel's shoes. Keisel definitely took a step back this year from the last, but he's a real 3-4 D lineman and Heyward just doesn't seem to be. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I think we still need to add one more starting quality player on the D line.

what the ???

I think you mixed up Evander Hood (sucks in our system) and Cameron Heyward (so much potential to be rotting behind someone).

maddog78
01-10-2013, 08:26 AM
Heyward weighs about the same as Reggie White.

He doesn't have RW's skill set. I see him as more of a penetrating DT than a pure edge rusher.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-10-2013, 09:47 AM
He doesn't have RW's skill set. I see him as more of a penetrating DT than a pure edge rusher.

True. Heyward does not have the agility, athletic ablity and array of pass rush moves that Reggie White did. Coming out of college, the NFL scouts didnt peg Heyward at a 4-3 DE because of his skill set.

Its like saying that Stevenson Sylvester is the same weight as Jack Lambert, so he could be a great MLB. :doh:

Fire Haley
01-10-2013, 11:24 AM
Hood, a 2009 first-rounder, will be going into the final season of his rookie-year contract as one of the NFL‘s least-productive players at his position.

Hood was, by far, the league‘s worst-rated pass-rushing defensive end, based on Pro Football Focus‘ every-down grading, yet he was on the field for more than three times as many snaps (833) as Heyward (267).

Their stats were similar: Hood had three sacks and three quarterback hurries; Heyward had 11⁄2 sacks and five hurries.

Hood has been in the NFL for four seasons, yet still hasn‘t forced a single fumble.

Hood is one of the Steelers‘ strongest players, yet questions persist among NFL scouts about his down-to-down effort and the frequency with which he disappears for long stretches.

Heyward, a 2011 first-rounder, has only 21⁄2 sacks in two seasons and, at times, seems to watch plays rather than take part in them after he gets moved off the line of scrimmage.

Hood won‘t be playing in 2013 just for a big contract, but a contract, period; Heyward, in his third NFL season, will be trying to establish for the first time that he is an every-snap player.

The Steelers need to find out if it‘s finally their time — or if it‘s time to move on.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3246072-74/season-steelers-hampton#axzz2HW6zRMUu

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-10-2013, 12:18 PM
[

Hood was, by far, the league‘s worst-rated pass-rushing defensive end, based on Pro Football Focus‘ every-down grading, yet he was on the field for more than three times as many snaps (833) as Heyward (267). [/B]

]

This is why sites like PFF are dangerously stupid. Fans pull stats from there to point out that a 2-gap DE is not a great pass rusher. :doh:

If he is doing his job, then he is commanding a double team on the O line so that the OLB's like Harrison and Woodley get one on one pass rush matchups and win. Thing is that our OLB's didnt apply much pressure this year.

Fire Haley
01-10-2013, 02:06 PM
Oh yeah right - being the league's worst rated DE is a fine thing to achieve for a 1st rd pick.

give it up - he's a bust, cut him and move on

DanRooney
01-10-2013, 06:39 PM
Evander is a TURRIBLE fit for our system. He's not a bad player talent wise, but he'd be much better suited for a team like the Colts.

Steeldude
01-28-2013, 12:22 AM
How much does Heyward weigh? Maybe if he slims down a tad. I think Worilds would be a more prototypical 4-3 DE.

At the combine he weighed 294lbs. NFL.com has him listed at 288lbs. He's light for a 3-4 DE.

Steeldude
01-28-2013, 01:32 AM
Do we all remember Seals, Steed and Buckner? That was a good DL. I believe Seals at 8.5 sacks in one of his seasons there.

BKAnthem
01-28-2013, 10:31 AM
I think it's a combo of Injuries, Age, and decrease in talent, that affects his defense...DL didn't forget how to coach and he lives in the film room....he may not be as quick to adjust to some things as he was 5 years ago..but there are few better

BKAnthem
01-28-2013, 10:33 AM
Do we all remember Seals, Steed and Buckner? That was a good DL. I believe Seals at 8.5 sacks in one of his seasons there.

Yeah! At the time that was the biggest Dline in Fotball

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-28-2013, 10:48 AM
Do we all remember Seals, Steed and Buckner? That was a good DL. I believe Seals at 8.5 sacks in one of his seasons there.

Even Buckner and Roye in that same era. None of those guys were household names or star players.....this is why I dont get the current fans fascination with needing some kind of marquee players on the D line.

SteelersCanada
01-28-2013, 12:04 PM
Steelers Sunday Spotlight: The D-Line

By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a span of three years, the Steelers used two No. 1 draft choices to bolster what they thought was an aging defensive line.

In 2009, after beating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, they drafted defensive end Ziggy Hood with the 32nd overall pick. And, in 2011, after losing to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, they drafted another defensive end, Cameron Heyward, with the 31st overall pick.

The intent was two-fold: To inject some youth into a line that had three starters, not to mention its top backup, over the age of 30. And to rebuild the front line of the defense with eventual replacements for Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel.

Four years later, the Steelers are still waiting for those top picks to have a significant impact on their defense. And the time for them to do so likely is here.

The Steelers likely will lose the anchor of their defensive line -- five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, who is not expected to be re-signed despite starting all 16 games in 2012. He will be the second piece of what defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has called "the best defensive line I've ever coached" to depart in as many years, joining Smith.

The lone holdover is Keisel, who will be 35 in September but is coming off one of his best seasons. He had 41/2 sacks -- all in the final eight games -- and led the team with a whopping 40 quarterback pressures, more than double any other Steelers player. But Keisel likely will be the only player on the defensive line who is over 30.

While other units of the defense are showing signs of age, that won't be the case on the defensive line.

Hampton's replacement, Steve McLendon, just turned 27. Al Woods, a backup defensive end with some promise, will be 26 next season. And nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, their fourth-round draft choice last year, will be 23.

Ta'amu was suspended two games and spent the final six games on the practice squad after he was arrested and charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors stemming from a drunk-driving spree and police chase on the South Side in October. It is still possible the Steelers could decide to part ways with him. If they do, they could seek another nose tackle in the draft.

But the Steelers built the future of their defensive line around Hood and Heyward, and it's time for them to produce.

Granted, it can be unfair to judge the Steelers' three-man line on production because of the nature of their job description. In the team's defensive scheme, the linemen are basically asked to play a two-gap style in which they engage the guard or tackle and keep blockers off the linebackers, allowing them to make the play.

And, for the most part, the Steelers did a good job of that in 2012. They ranked No. 2 in the league in rush defense, allowing just four teams to rush for more than 100 yards. What's more, they were leading the league in fewest runs of 20 yards or more (4) until the Cleveland Browns had two in the final game, one on a fake punt.

But if the Steelers want to generate more pressure on the quarterback -- something team president Art Rooney II suggested is needed if the Steelers want to create more turnovers -- then maybe that style has to be tweaked.

That's why using No. 1 picks -- and having to invest No. 1 money -- on two defensive ends doesn't make a lot of sense. Not if the Steelers are going to strip away the very physical tools that attracted them to Hood and Heyward in the first place and mold them into players whose primary job is to hold up at the point of attack.

The Steelers can find those players in later rounds, as they did so superbly with Smith (fourth round) and Keisel (seventh).

Hood has not been a washout, by any means. In fact, he is one of their most dependable players. He has made 39 starts, including 30 in a row, in his four-year career with the Steelers. And he has not missed a game because of injury.

What's more, Hood is a weight-room fanatic who is the strongest player on the team. But the Steelers have to determine what type of player they need Hood (6-3, 300) to become. Or maybe even what position might be his best.

For all his strength, Hood plays with more finesse than power. If the Steelers want to generate more pressure on the pocket, maybe he needs to use his strength to develop a bull-rush move to overpower tackles. Because he is so strong, Hood might even be better suited to play nose tackle.

Heyward, though, has been less of a contributor. He is naturally strong and more athletically gifted than Hood, and he uses his long arms to gain leverage against tackles. But too often he looks confused and plays tentative in the 3-4. His lack of development from his rookie season to 2012 was disappointing.

McLendon might be the key.

There is little question that if the most important element of the Steelers' 3-4 defense is the ability of the outside linebackers to pressure the quarterback, then the second-most significant ingredient is a nose tackle who is harder to move than a corner cabinet -- a role Hampton performed superbly for 12 seasons after being a No. 1 draft choice.

Hampton played well in 2012, especially in the second half of the season when his knee started feeling better after he missed the offseason and training camp with anterior cruciate ligament surgery.

Hampton took a $3.5 million pay cut to return for one more season and felt so good that he said he plans to play at least one more season -- if not for the Steelers, then for another NFL team. But Hampton will be 36 in September, and it appears the Steelers are prepared to move on without him.

That would turn the job over to McLendon, who played very well in the preseason but, surprisingly, saw only limited playing time in the regular season. Even Hampton has given him his stamp of approval, calling McLendon a "beast" and saying he is ready for the role.

McLendon, though, is a different type of player than Hampton. He is 6-foot-4 and has added nearly 30 pounds since he first joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He now weighs 320 pounds, but still moves like a defensive end.

Maybe the Steelers should consider flip-flopping starters -- moving McLendon to defensive end and Hood to nose tackle.

Maybe that will help develop something that has been missing from the defensive line -- production.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-sunday-spotlight-the-d-line-672199/

-- While I don't agree that Ziggy Hood should be our NT, I think he's overstating Hood's potential as a pass-rusher. Hood just needs to focus and improve his bull-rushing technique to improve as a 3-4 DE.

At one point in the article he talks about how Heyward has struggled and looked confused (something I don't agree with at all, by the way) in a 3-4 system and maybe it's time to use them in a more effective manner. Now, I don't think he's alluding to switching to a 4-3 as that would be a mistake, but I do agree that we should let our guys use their athleticism and skillset to properly apply pressure and disrupt the offensive line. We could've found bigger guys in the later rounds if they're just to be used as space-eaters and because we're using an out-dated and poor defensive ideology (not scheme) they're unable to meet their potential.

Hawaii 5-0
01-28-2013, 02:02 PM
Steelers Sunday Spotlight: The D-Line

January 27, 2013
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://db66abc2c256b763aaef-ce5d943d4869ae027976e5ad085dd9b0.r76.cf2.rackcdn.c om/2013/26/767/casey-hampton_420.jpg

Don't look for Casey Hampton -- a mainstay at nose tackle since 2001 -- to be back this season.

In a span of three years, the Steelers used two No. 1 draft choices to bolster what they thought was an aging defensive line.

In 2009, after beating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, they drafted defensive end Ziggy Hood with the 32nd overall pick. And, in 2011, after losing to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, they drafted another defensive end, Cameron Heyward, with the 31st overall pick.

The intent was two-fold: To inject some youth into a line that had three starters, not to mention its top backup, over the age of 30. And to rebuild the front line of the defense with eventual replacements for Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel.

Four years later, the Steelers are still waiting for those top picks to have a significant impact on their defense. And the time for them to do so likely is here.

The Steelers likely will lose the anchor of their defensive line -- five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, who is not expected to be re-signed despite starting all 16 games in 2012. He will be the second piece of what defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has called "the best defensive line I've ever coached" to depart in as many years, joining Smith.

The lone holdover is Keisel, who will be 35 in September but is coming off one of his best seasons. He had 41/2 sacks -- all in the final eight games -- and led the team with a whopping 40 quarterback pressures, more than double any other Steelers player. But Keisel likely will be the only player on the defensive line who is over 30.

While other units of the defense are showing signs of age, that won't be the case on the defensive line.

Hampton's replacement, Steve McLendon, just turned 27. Al Woods, a backup defensive end with some promise, will be 26 next season. And nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, their fourth-round draft choice last year, will be 23.

Ta'amu was suspended two games and spent the final six games on the practice squad after he was arrested and charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors stemming from a drunk-driving spree and police chase on the South Side in October. It is still possible the Steelers could decide to part ways with him. If they do, they could seek another nose tackle in the draft.

But the Steelers built the future of their defensive line around Hood and Heyward, and it's time for them to produce.

Granted, it can be unfair to judge the Steelers' three-man line on production because of the nature of their job description. In the team's defensive scheme, the linemen are basically asked to play a two-gap style in which they engage the guard or tackle and keep blockers off the linebackers, allowing them to make the play.

And, for the most part, the Steelers did a good job of that in 2012. They ranked No. 2 in the league in rush defense, allowing just four teams to rush for more than 100 yards. What's more, they were leading the league in fewest runs of 20 yards or more (4) until the Cleveland Browns had two in the final game, one on a fake punt.

But if the Steelers want to generate more pressure on the quarterback -- something team president Art Rooney II suggested is needed if the Steelers want to create more turnovers -- then maybe that style has to be tweaked.

That's why using No. 1 picks -- and having to invest No. 1 money -- on two defensive ends doesn't make a lot of sense. Not if the Steelers are going to strip away the very physical tools that attracted them to Hood and Heyward in the first place and mold them into players whose primary job is to hold up at the point of attack.

The Steelers can find those players in later rounds, as they did so superbly with Smith (fourth round) and Keisel (seventh).

Hood has not been a washout, by any means. In fact, he is one of their most dependable players. He has made 39 starts, including 30 in a row, in his four-year career with the Steelers. And he has not missed a game because of injury.

What's more, Hood is a weight-room fanatic who is the strongest player on the team. But the Steelers have to determine what type of player they need Hood (6-3, 300) to become. Or maybe even what position might be his best.

For all his strength, Hood plays with more finesse than power. If the Steelers want to generate more pressure on the pocket, maybe he needs to use his strength to develop a bull-rush move to overpower tackles. Because he is so strong, Hood might even be better suited to play nose tackle.

Heyward, though, has been less of a contributor. He is naturally strong and more athletically gifted than Hood, and he uses his long arms to gain leverage against tackles. But too often he looks confused and plays tentative in the 3-4. His lack of development from his rookie season to 2012 was disappointing.
McLendon might be the key.

There is little question that if the most important element of the Steelers' 3-4 defense is the ability of the outside linebackers to pressure the quarterback, then the second-most significant ingredient is a nose tackle who is harder to move than a corner cabinet -- a role Hampton performed superbly for 12 seasons after being a No. 1 draft choice.

Hampton played well in 2012, especially in the second half of the season when his knee started feeling better after he missed the offseason and training camp with anterior cruciate ligament surgery.

Hampton took a $3.5 million pay cut to return for one more season and felt so good that he said he plans to play at least one more season -- if not for the Steelers, then for another NFL team. But Hampton will be 36 in September, and it appears the Steelers are prepared to move on without him.

That would turn the job over to McLendon, who played very well in the preseason but, surprisingly, saw only limited playing time in the regular season. Even Hampton has given him his stamp of approval, calling McLendon a "beast" and saying he is ready for the role.

McLendon, though, is a different type of player than Hampton. He is 6-foot-4 and has added nearly 30 pounds since he first joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He now weighs 320 pounds, but still moves like a defensive end.

Maybe the Steelers should consider flip-flopping starters -- moving McLendon to defensive end and Hood to nose tackle.

Maybe that will help develop something that has been missing from the defensive line -- production.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-sunday-spotlight-the-d-line-672199/#ixzz2JIJTnQcp

SteelersCanada
01-28-2013, 02:13 PM
Great minds apparently, Hawaii. :drink:

austinfrench76
01-28-2013, 09:49 PM
By no stretch of any imagination do I consider Heyward a disappointment to this point. The guy hasn't had much chance to play. I don't remember when A Smith started to become a name but I recall it being in his 4th season . It's pretty well known that it takes time o learn Lebeaus D. That's tough because we need them to pick it up sooner with our cap situation. I'm sure I'm in the minority here but I think we are okay on the dline. I mean, we did just finish the year with the #1 D. Our biggest problem is lack of turnover creation. No matter how you cut it. Yes, there were some individual failings ie Woodley mainly but TO's or lack thereof killed us. IMO if we don't get better there, we will be in the same situation next year regardless of our dline if we keep who we have minus Hamp.

Hawaii 5-0
05-18-2013, 03:01 PM
Ed Bouchette's Steelers chat transcript: 5.14.13

TUESDAY, 14 MAY 2013 WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE

Dsf: Last week I asked about Cam Heyward playing in a similar 3-4 at Ohio State, and you said that Heyward has not been playing b/c Keisel has been so good, but Gerry has commented that Heyward frequently looks lost and confused. Do you see that in Heyward as well?

Ed Bouchette: I've been told that Heyward is better than Ziggy Hood and will get a chance to unseat him this year.

dave: Do you know if Casey Hampton wants to keep playing? Would he be willing to come back as a backup?

Ed Bouchette: I believe Casey does want to keep playing, at least that is what he said at the end of the year (but then, so did Hines Ward at the end of 2011). I don't think the Steelers want him back.

Zack: If we don't play on resigning Ziggy, because he would be better in a 4-3 scheme, couldn't we look to trade him

Ed Bouchette: First, I don't know that they don't plan to re-sign him and, second, trades don't happen very often in this league, especially by the team you are talking about. I suppose they could trade him, but I don' t think they'd get a high pick for him.

JamesinNYC: Any chance they could flip Hood inside with McClendon moving to DE?

Ed Bouchette: I think Steve McLendon could do that, but I don't think they will at this stage of Ziggy's career.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/121190-ed-bouchettes-steelers-chat-transcript-51413

FrancoLambert
05-18-2013, 05:41 PM
End of dilemma or uncovering a bigger dilemma?

Play McClendon fulltime at NT, play Heyward a lot/fulltime at DE. Give them a chance to show their talent and value as starters.

As for Ziggy, show some big production or say bye-bye.

Steeldude
05-18-2013, 09:46 PM
This is the total non-special teams snaps breakdown of Steeler DL in 2012. If they don't resign Hamp and Keisel to band-aid for one more year, we'd better hope that we switch to more of a one-gap approach. We simply don't have young linemen to play LeBeau's style of 3-4 anymore, otherwise they'd have taken snaps from Keisel and Hampton this year, both of whom noticeably slipped.

Keisel - 939
Hood - 888
Hampton - 497
Heyward - 263
McClendon - 136
Woods - 36
Ta'amu - 0
Fangupo - 0

Letting Hampton go is a fantastic move. They should seriously reduce Kiesel's playing time in 2013

We simply don't have young linemen to play LeBeau's style of 3-4 anymore

Hood, Heyward, Mclendon, Fangupo, Woods and Ta`amu aren't young? If Hood doesn't learn his gap assignments then he needs to be benched.

Hawaii 5-0
05-29-2013, 03:14 AM
Steelers OTAs: Al Woods second team nose tackle

By Michael Uhlhorn on May 28 2013

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/13764821/20120825_lbm_ah3_322.0_standard_500.0.jpg

Four-year pro Al Woods is getting consistent reps as the Steelers second-string nose tackle

Al Woods is still manning backup duties at nose tackle for Pittsburgh according to multiple reports coming out of the second session of OTA's.

This might come as a bit of a surprise to some who expected Hebron Fangupo or Alameda Ta'Amu to be the backup to new starter Steve McLendon, with Woods filling in as a backup DE, the role he played last season. This leaves Fangupo and Ta'Amu fighting not only each other, but Al Woods for a roster spot. Should be interesting to see how this plays out through training camp.

In other nose tackle news today, former-Steeler great Casey Hampton isn't looking to retire just yet, so you have to wonder if a June 1st reunion is in the works if the best backup the Steelers can muster is the very untested Al Woods. I support McLendon being the starter, but it would be nice to have some veteran depth behind him, and Casey Hampton could provide that once the Steelers have $5.5 million freed up on June 1 as the result of the Willie Colon release.

We should know soon if the Steelers are planning to bring Hampton back, and for whatever its worth, the Steelers tipped their hand with Max Starks by signing OT Guy Whimper, and they have yet to do anything in the way of bringing in a nose tackle from outside the organization.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/5/28/4373392/al-woods-playing-as-second-string-nt

teegre
05-29-2013, 08:26 AM
Interesting.

But, as I said in another thread, I still think that Ta'amu is the future starter at NT.

If not for a shoulder injury, he would have been a R2 pick. If not for drinking & driving, he likely would already have moved ahead of McClendon on the depth chart. A healthy (& sober) Ta'amu is one heck of a talented player.

VaDave
05-29-2013, 11:04 AM
T,

We don't disagree much, but Ta'amu? Other than the tape of his highlights from college, and a few plays in training camp that I've seen, I don't see it yet. What I see is a very large person that plays small and isn't particularly quick, and or decisive.

Granted, some of that is expected of a rookie, but for a 2nd or 3rd rounder, he should at least be in the discussion for some snaps. Certainly at this point, with the media straining to come up with ANYTHING at all to write about, you would expect something in print about the guy. JMO my friend. Maybe you've seen something I've over looked. That is always a possibility...

ebsteelers
05-29-2013, 11:22 AM
super bowl tour coming to a town near you,
bring back ward and big snack

Hawaii 5-0
05-29-2013, 03:49 PM
Interesting.

But, as I said in another thread, I still think that Ta'amu is the future starter at NT.

If not for a shoulder injury, he would have been a R2 pick. If not for drinking & driving, he likely would already have moved ahead of McClendon on the depth chart. A healthy (& sober) Ta'amu is one heck of a talented player.

Despite never playing NT, Al Woods overtakes Ta’amu on depth chart

May 29th, 2013

http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2013/05/Al_Woods_American_football.jpg

The Steelers used a fourth-round pick on Alameda Ta’amu a year ago, but it appears that the team is interested in another fourth-round pick to spell first-year starter Steve McLendon at nose tackle this year – Al Woods.

The Steelers moved Woods – a 2010 fourth-round pick of New Orleans out of LSU – from defensive end to nose tackle for the start of organized team activities last week, and has aligned 6-foot-4, 307-pounder with the second-team so far.

“I welcome it and am thankful that I am getting a shot to play all three,” said Woods, who was released three times in 14 months during his first year in the league.

Woods played in 10 games last year for the Steelers at defensive end, but got on the field for only 30 snaps while playing behind Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward.

The Steelers coaching staff approached Woods during the offseason about working him at a thin nose tackle position that featured McLendon as the starter along with Ta’amu and Loni Fangupo – who have seven career snaps between them. The Steelers decided not to re-sign veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton.

“I am working all three positions,” Woods said. “Coach wants me to work all three positions so that’s what I am doing. I am just trying to help the team out anyway I can.”

Woods is very athletic for his size but has to show that he can hold up to the constant double teams by centers and guards. Woods said quickly realized one big difference in playing nose compared to end.

“Your reaction has to be faster,” Woods said. “Things down there, especially with a good center like Pouncey, happen real quick so you have to be fast.”

Woods said he has yet to take many snaps in OTAs at defensive end which means that it is likely that the staff would love to have him as a swing nose/end during game days to be able to provide more flexibility with the game day roster.

“I am listening to my coaches and when I go home, I am staying in my book trying to stay a day ahead,” Woods said. “I am trying to get comfortable with it so I don’t have to think about it and I just react to it.”

And as Mike Tomlin always says … the more you can do.

Moving around

Steelers nose tackle/defensive end has been shipped all around the league since being a fourth-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2010.

April, 27, 2010 – New Orleans draft Al Woods in the fourth round
Sept. 4, 2010 – New Orleans release Woods
Sept. 8, 2010 – Steelers sign Woods to their practice squad
Nov. 3, 2010 – Tampa Bay signs Woods to its 53-man roster
Sept. 3, 2011 – Tampa Bay releases Woods
Sept. 4, 2011 – Seattle signs Woods to its 53-man roster
Nov. 8, 2011 – Seattle released Woods
Nov. 9, 2011 – Steelers sign Woods to their 53-man roster

http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/2013/05/29/despite-never-playing-nt-al-woods-overtakes-taamu-on-depth-chart/#.UaZJxUBzB3A.twitter

teegre
05-29-2013, 04:29 PM
T,

We don't disagree much, but Ta'amu? Other than the tape of his highlights from college, and a few plays in training camp that I've seen, I don't see it yet. What I see is a very large person that plays small and isn't particularly quick, and or decisive.

Granted, some of that is expected of a rookie, but for a 2nd or 3rd rounder, he should at least be in the discussion for some snaps. Certainly at this point, with the media straining to come up with ANYTHING at all to write about, you would expect something in print about the guy. JMO my friend. Maybe you've seen something I've over looked. That is always a possibility...

I followed him in college, because he played in the PAC-10 (so his games were routinely on), and because I was looking at any NT (to replace Casey the Hutt).

He was amazing as a junior, but then, as a senior, he had a shoulder injury... which made him slip down to R4.

After the 2010 season, I had slotted him in as a possible R1 pick for the Steelers in 2012 (if DD were to be drafted before the Steelers could pick). Then, as he started to have a bad 2011 season, I started thinking: DD in R1, and Ta'amu in R2 (followed by Spence in R3). I actually ended up getting all three players, plus Mike Adams (I loved that draft).

Anyway, Ta'amu is an extremly good player. I feel that his biggest obstacle is getting over that court case from last year. It seemed to affect him mentally... and he never even showed any promise. If it is behind him, then he will be good to go, becasue physically, he is the ideal NT.

Steelstoned1972
05-29-2013, 05:14 PM
I followed him in college, because he played in the PAC-10 (so his games were routinely on), and because I was looking at any NT (to replace Casey the Hutt).

He was amazing as a junior, but then, as a senior, he had a shoulder injury... which made him slip down to R4.

After the 2010 season, I had slotted him in as a possible R1 pick for the Steelers in 2012 (if DD were to be drafted before the Steelers could pick). Then, as he started to have a bad 2011 season, I started thinking: DD in R1, and Ta'amu in R2 (followed by Spence in R3). I actually ended up getting all three players, plus Mike Adams (I loved that draft).

Anyway, Ta'amu is an extremly good player. I feel that his biggest obstacle is getting over that court case from last year. It seemed to affect him mentally... and he never even showed any promise. If it is behind him, then he will be good to go, becasue physically, he is the ideal NT.


I hope you are right , T . cause Kaboly I think said today that al woods has overtaken him on the depth chart at nt ..... and Al Woods has never played nt before this years otas.

teegre
05-29-2013, 06:02 PM
I hope you are right , T . cause Kaboly I think said today that al woods has overtaken him on the depth chart at nt ..... and Al Woods has never played nt before this years otas.

Yep. I read that, as well.

I think that they want Al Woods to play LDE, NT, & RDE... that way, like Beachum, come game-day, they can carry one less D-lineman (and suit an extra DB).

Hawaii 5-0
06-09-2013, 02:31 AM
Defensive Line Depth Huge Question Mark For Steelers

Jun 8th, 2013 by Dominic Di Tolla

I was not surprised when I read the news that Pittsburgh’s coaching staff worked out Al Woods at all three defensive line positions during the team’s OTA sessions. Teams can never have too much depth in the trenches, and the Steelers could very well need a “jack-of-all-trades” backup in place to assist if injuries or poor-play strike the team’s four-man rotation of Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward, Ziggy Hood and Steve McLendon this fall. I just hope that the soon-to-be fourth-year player (23 career games, 0.5 sack) can prove himself worthy of extended backup duty soon, especially because the rest of Pittsburgh’s reserves along their defensive line are so raw and inexperienced.

Defensive End

In the seventh round of this April’s draft, Pittsburgh selected the raw and untested Nick Williams out of Samford. Williams, who was focused more on basketball in high school (he only played one year of football), has the size (6’4″ 309 lbs., 34.125″ arms, 10.25″ hands) and athletic tools to be a terrific five-technique some day. Yet as high as the potential ceiling could be for the former Samford star, he is still only playing his fifth year of football. Moreover, he will also have to transition to the defensive end position in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme after he played defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme at the collegiate level.

After the draft ended, Colbert & Co. also added some competition for Williams in the forms of UDFAs Brian Arnfelt of Northwestern and Cordian Hagans of Louisiana-Lafayette. After three seasons of spot-duty, Arnfelt (6’5″ 302 lbs.) finally came on strong during his senior year when he played full-time (25 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks). Like the other backups, the former defensive tackle has some underrated athletic ability (40-time: 4.83 seconds and 225 lbs. bench press: 38 reps), but still will require more development before he sees the field.

Hagans (6’4″ 299 lbs.) actually started his collegiate career on the offensive side of the ball at L.S.U.. In fact, he only began to play defense full time after he transferred to Louisiana-Lafayette three years ago. Much like Arnfelt, Hagans also had a breakout season of sorts as a senior (41 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks) when he was finally able to start full-time. And much like Williams, Hagans will have to get used to a new position in Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme.

While I am definitely intrigued to see how Williams, Arnfelt and Hagans develop over the next year, all three of them will likely be fighting for practice squad spots during the preseason due to their inexperience and still-developing skill-sets. Thankfully, the quintet Hood, Heyward, Keisel and Woods will be in front of them on the depth chart and the likelihood of them seeing the field is much less than the backups at nose tackle.

Nose Tackle

I for one am very intrigued to see how McLendon performs during his first year as a starter. After three full seasons of learning under Casey Hampton, Hoke and his position coach Mitchell, the time will be “now” for McLendon to prove himself and become the anchor along Pittsburgh’s defensive line.

The Steelers are banking on McLendon stay injury-free this year though, because the players behind him on the depth chart possess almost zero professional experience whatsoever. Second-year tackles Alameda Ta’amu and Hebron Fangupo played zero significant snaps last fall, and neither player recorded a single statistic during their rookie campaigns. With their futures still uncertain, the door could be open for Woods or 2013 UDFA Omar Hunter to slide in and bump them down on the depth chart very soon.

Hunter is an interesting prospect, especially because he gained a large amount of experience (31 career starts) as a gap-clogger in the S.E.C. for the Florida Gators. The squat-framed Hunter (6′ 313 lbs.) could earn himself a practice squad spot if he plays effective during the preseason and can anchor himself well against larger and more athletic pro linemen.

Hope for Hunter aside, the lack of experienced depth behind McLendon is a major cause for concern. It is absolutely imperative that McLendon stays on the field as often as possible, because I have little faith that Ta’amu, Fangupo, Hunter (and possibly even Woods) will be able to play effectively this fall and record a significant amount of snaps as early as this fall.

Final Thoughts

Look, I understand that the Steelers have what appears to be a serviceable “four-man rotation” in place heading into this fall. But when the 2013 campaign ends and the spring of 2014 rolls around, the aforementioned “four-man rotation” could be cut in half.

Keisel and Hood are both entering the final years of their respective contracts this year. If the Steelers need to save cap-space, both might even be allowed to walk next spring. Complicating matters is the fact that Heyward will reach UFA-status in the spring of 2015 as well. Thus, if the former Buckeye’s development stagnates or he simply does not live up to his 1st Round pick status like Hood has failed to do as well, he might not be re-signed in the spring of 2015 when his rookie deal expires.

I know that the 2014 season is still a distant thought to most people. Moreover, I have faith that defensive line coach Mitchell can develop at least one of the young and unheralded defensive ends into an effective player down the road. I simply hope that Pittsburgh’s defensive line can stay injury-free this fall, because the lack of experienced depth in the defensive trenches is a problem which must be addressed.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2013/06/08/defensive-line-depth-huge-question-mark-for-steelers/

pczach
06-09-2013, 08:15 AM
I understand that the lack of experience is a concern on the DL. I also think that it's about time we find out if these younger guys can play. I have a feeling we are going to be pleasantly surprised at how well some of these guys can play. This team has gotten markedly younger and more athletic at several positions, with DL being one of them. It may be a difficult transition over the first part of the year, but I believe this team will begin to get their legs under them and become a very formidable force by the halfway point of this year. They just need to get on the field and play. There are many players on this roster that we have never seen play yet that will be the driving force of the Steelers for the next decade.

VaDave
06-09-2013, 07:57 PM
P

I agree we are going to pleasantly pleased how some of these kids work out. The defensive system we run works, and works well. It's worked for decades and with a wide variety of personnel. Will we have a few bumps along the way?? Sure. What D doesn't.

Goldsteel86
06-10-2013, 08:37 AM
I understand that the lack of experience is a concern on the DL. I also think that it's about time we find out if these younger guys can play. I have a feeling we are going to be pleasantly surprised at how well some of these guys can play. This team has gotten markedly younger and more athletic at several positions, with DL being one of them. It may be a difficult transition over the first part of the year, but I believe this team will begin to get their legs under them and become a very formidable force by the halfway point of this year. They just need to get on the field and play. There are many players on this roster that we have never seen play yet that will be the driving force of the Steelers for the next decade.

I think this is what the Steeler faithful have been asking all along, it is time for the young guys to contribute, not just in pre-season but during the regular season as well. Good Post!

Steelcity95
06-10-2013, 01:45 PM
[B]Final Thoughts

Look, I understand that the Steelers have what appears to be a serviceable “four-man rotation” in place heading into this fall. But when the 2013 campaign ends and the spring of 2014 rolls around, the aforementioned “four-man rotation” could be cut in half.

Keisel and Hood are both entering the final years of their respective contracts this year. If the Steelers need to save cap-space, both might even be allowed to walk next spring. Complicating matters is the fact that Heyward will reach UFA-status in the spring of 2015 as well. Thus, if the former Buckeye’s development stagnates or he simply does not live up to his 1st Round pick status like Hood has failed to do as well, he might not be re-signed in the spring of 2015 when his rookie deal expires.

I know that the 2014 season is still a distant thought to most people. Moreover, I have faith that defensive line coach Mitchell can develop at least one of the young and unheralded defensive ends into an effective player down the road. I simply hope that Pittsburgh’s defensive line can stay injury-free this fall, because the lack of experienced depth in the defensive trenches is a problem which must be addressed.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2013/06/08/defensive-line-depth-huge-question-mark-for-steelers/

2014 may be a ways of you're right, but it is worth looking at for sure. I think Keisel is gone, and Hood will have to show something for sure, or if he does get resigned it will be at a decent price, to me he should have to make a huge impact to stick with the team. I know that young guys to not get a lot of playing time if any at all under LeBeau, but maybe its time he lets a couple guys get some snaps in, they really need to see what they are working with, especially with a potential loss of Keisel and maybe Hood. Its going to be a big year for everybody on the defensive line fore sure.

sluggermatt15
06-12-2013, 03:38 PM
I think this is what the Steeler faithful have been asking all along, it is time for the young guys to contribute, not just in pre-season but during the regular season as well. Good Post!

To me it's all about experience and learning from the veterans. Nothing will prepare younger guys like real, in-game experience. They need to get their feet wet in order to gain a sense of what goes out on the field. Practicing with veterans really helps too. Teams with great d-lines like the NY Giants are great for rookies and younger players to practice and watch guys like Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Kiwanuka et al. For the Steelers, Keisel and Hampton are two good rushers Heyward and Hood can learn from. I hope to see growth of the younger guys in camp and pre-season.

Steelcity95
06-12-2013, 04:37 PM
To me it's all about experience and learning from the veterans. Nothing will prepare younger guys like real, in-game experience. They need to get their feet wet in order to gain a sense of what goes out on the field. Practicing with veterans really helps too. Teams with great d-lines like the NY Giants are great for rookies and younger players to practice and watch guys like Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Kiwanuka et al. For the Steelers, Keisel and Hampton are two good rushers Heyward and Hood can learn from. I hope to see growth of the younger guys in camp and pre-season.

The Steelers sure have had the vets around to teach the young guys a thing or two. This year its time for Hood, Heyward and McLendon to really step it up and show the team and fans what they can bring to the table. Hood has shown he can bring pressure to the QB, would like to see him do that more, itd be nice to see him free up more room for Woodley though. They all got to watch one of the most underrated 3-4 ends in Aaron Smith do work, they really should have learned from him.

BKAnthem
06-12-2013, 10:31 PM
They don't need a star on the DLine just a dude strong enough to hold and control his gap...that's why i don't know why they would draft a dlineman higher than thwe 4th round

VaDave
06-12-2013, 10:47 PM
I would love to see Hood control his gaps on running plays.

43Hitman
06-13-2013, 10:04 AM
I would love to see Hood control his gaps on running plays.

Me too, that would go a long ways to improving our D as a whole.