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Old 06-12-2014, 04:04 AM   #1
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Default Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

By Alan Robinson

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 9:30 p.m.
Updated 6 hours ago

A single play during June non-contact practice accelerated the Steelers defense's transformation from old, slow and mostly reliable to young, fast and unpredictable.

Backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski dropped back and attempted to loft a pass into the flat. But rookie Ryan Shazier read the play, sprinted to his left toward the pass, leaped at the right moment and made the kind of interception a Steelers inside linebacker hasn't made in a long time — practice or not.

Shazier showed off not only his 4.38-in-the-40 speed, but the kind of rare athleticism that made the Steelers invest a first-round draft pick and $9.5 million in him.

“I had a zone drop and read the quarterback's eyes, and I knew he thought he would be able to get it over me a little bit,” Shazier said Wednesday. “I knew it was a little high, but I can get up there.”

Yes he can.

Shazier also can cover a lot of ground in a little bit of time, one reason why, on a day the Steelers began opening up the bag of tricks that their newly acquired players provided them, Shazier was a younger version of Troy Polamalu — lining up everywhere and anywhere.

Once, he was assigned outside coverage on Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Todd Haley's offense was countering, too — Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount showed off a two-back power set, and another time Bell flanked out wide.

It was one more glimpse into the reshaping of a team that relied on a long-proven cast for an extended period. But now the Steelers are trying to catch up in a hurry as fast, innovative offenses keep speeding up the game.

“You never know with coach (Dick) LeBeau, he can do anything,” Shazier said. “Maybe one play I might be on Antonio Brown. The next play I might be on Le'Veon. The next rep I might be on Heath (Miller). Whatever he wants me to do, whatever he wants the defense to do, we'll go in there and do.”

In a spring/summer of adjustment for Shazier, this was just another transitional phase.

He is adjusting from mostly playing outside linebacker at Ohio State to playing inside linebacker in the NFL, and in one of the league's most complex defenses.

But Shazier said the shift isn't as complicated as it sounds, partly because LeBeau — himself a former Buckeyes player — still consults with the Ohio State defensive staff.

“A lot of stuff we learned at Ohio State is from this defense,” Shazier said. “The coaches came over here every now and then and learned some stuff. Some of it has different terminology, and (is) more complex, but it has a little bit of what we knew.”

New Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats knows what Shazier is experiencing; he played inside and outside in Buffalo but, so far in Pittsburgh, he's playing outside.

“The biggest thing is here, inside, you're definitely having to think about a lot more because you have more coverage responsibilities, your run fits are going to be different,” Moats said.

“Outside, you're just flying off the ball and, sometimes, you can make a mistake because you have the guys behind you who can cover for you. At inside linebacker, you can't make that mistake because a 10-yard gain turns into a 20-yard gain.”

But when athleticism and anticipation combine on a single play, as on Shazier's, an apparent 10-yard gain for the offense can turn into a 20-yard interception return by the defense.

“I'm still learning a lot right now — probably on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm about a 6 or a 5,” Shazier said. “I still have a long way to go.”

With his speed, it shouldn't take him long to get there.

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz34PjOSUlS
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

Another read on this

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/06...ade-wednesday/
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

Looking forward to see Shazier next to Timmons. If Jarvis turns it into the next gear we will have a very good LBing core for years.
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

Ryan Shazier shows off his athleticism


PITTSBURGH -- The most interesting sequence of the Pittsburgh Steelers' organized team activities took place late Wednesday morning.

Rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier made a breathtaking interception during an 11-on-11 drill, leaping high to pick off a Bruce Gradkowski pass and drawing oohs for the display of athleticism.

And the action was just getting started.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward and rookie center Wesley Johnson started fighting at the end of the play and it took coaches and teammates to break the two apart. Heyward was still fuming at the end of the 11-on-11 drill, though it is not clear what set him off.

The Steelers' next-to-last OTA session produced its share of good catches but none beat Shazier's after he dropped into coverage. Gradkowski tried to throw a pass over the first-round pick's head, but Shazier snagged it out of the sticky air after making a standing leap.

“He has a high vertical because I was right behind him,” Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell said. “I was coming from the backside hash(mark) so I was just tracking the ball and then I saw it get snatched out of the air and I said, 'Wow.' He's a rookie but I came over to him and said, 'Good play young fella.'"

As for Shazier's take on the play, he said, “I had a zone drop and I just dropped over top and just read the quarterback's eyes and I knew he thought he could get it over me. I just jumped up and did what I could. Any time you can get a turnover that helps the offense get more points.”

Also of note from the Steelers' ninth OTA session:

Outside linebacker Jason Worilds, who is nursing a calf injury, did not practice again but he did some work on the side. Cornerback Ike Taylor was a no-show for the second consecutive day. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton fielded punts and caught passes after practice but he did not take part in 11-on-11 drills. Not sure if there is some kind of injury issue but it appears Wheaton has been limited to drills in which he doesn't have to do much running.
Justin Brown has been getting extensive work with the first-team offense. The Steelers' sixth-round draft pick in 2013 showed why on Wednesday. Brown made a difficult touchdown catch in a seven-on-nine drill, outfighting two defenders for the ball in the corner of the end zone. More on Brown's development in a post that should go up later today.
Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount lined up together in the backfield though only for a couple of snaps. Look for the Steelers to try and find ways to get the two on the field together in different packages this season.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/po...is-athleticism
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRooney View Post
Looking forward to see Shazier next to Timmons. If Jarvis turns it into the next gear we will have a very good LBing core for years.
Agreed can't wait to see these young players in action
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

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Looking forward to see Shazier next to Timmons. If Jarvis turns it into the next gear we will have a very good LBing core for years.
Only 5 worse teams than us in sacks last year, so we certainly need an infusion over there. Should be interesting to see the back side pass rush this year with Thomas, Jones, and Shazier. Now if we can just get Tuitt into the mix on the strong side, we might be back up in the better half of the league.
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

worilds is pissing me off, is this guy always injured unless he's in a contract year?
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

its may i wont worry about injuries until august unless its serious

but isnt worldis in a contact year of sorts this year too
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

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worilds is pissing me off, is this guy always injured unless he's in a contract year?
Um . . . he is in a contract year . . . but I get your point. I just hope we don't have another Woodley if we extend him.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers rookie linebacker Shazier showing plenty of sizzle

Looking forward to seeing this guy destroy all opposing teams this year! Can't you tell by my new sig?
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