Steelers Defense Predictable? Against The Raiders They Were Several Times Pre Snap

The play of Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer this past weekend can not be understated, but the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly helped the veteran quarterback out by declaring what they were going to do several times during the game pre snap.

You are likely reading quite a bit today about how “predictable” the defense was on Sunday, but most of the predictability came from not enough “sugar” pre snap and the defense tipping their hand to Palmer pre snap, especially in no-huddle situations.

The 64 yard touchdown run by Darren McFadden, which I broke down earlier this week, is a perfect illustration of Palmer knowing exactly what the Steelers were going to do pre snap and checking out of the original play and to another one that took advantage of it.

In the animated gif below, the Raiders are in their no-huddle offense with 11 personnel on the field. Although the gif fails to deliver audio, Palmer does a good job with his pre snap cadence so that Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Lawrence Timmons and Chris Carter all tip their hand as to what is coming from each, which appears to be a weak outside blitz by Timmons.

Watch Keisel slap his hands together after knowing he and the others have been caught tipping the defense. If Palmer does not know what is coming, Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer certainly is making sure that he does. Palmer then checks out of the play to one that has his left guard blocking back on Keisel as he knows that Timmons is about to vacate his spot in the center of the field.

When Palmer checks, Larry Foote does not check the defense out of the call. Did he have the time to do it? It certainly seems like he does and I wonder what Foote was hearing in his helmet during the play from defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

This is just one of several examples in the game Sunday where the defense tipped their hand too early and Palmer checked out to different play. The defense has to do a better job at disguising their intentions moving forward, especially in no-huddle situations, as this is where they have been carved up defensively in their first two losses.

  • moderatelysane

    Classic example of the farrior shoes that Foote hasn’t yet filled.

  • Chris92021

    It is true, we are predictable. The only reasons why the Steelers’ defense works:

    1. Troy Polamalu
    2. pass rush from James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley

    Both Polamalu and Harrison didn’t play. When Polamalu comes back healthy, we won’t be as predictable. Back to business as usual.

  • dgh57

    Last year it was Bruce Arians offense that was predictable! Now its the DEFENSE!!! Come on Steelers FIX THIS ALREADY!!!!

  • Buccos9

    I’m really glad to see this article. Some Pittsburgh writers have suggested that being predictable on defense doesn’t matter, it’s execution that matters. Excuse me? If being predictable doesn’t matter, why was there such a hue and cry over Spygate in which the Patriots were caught videotaping the defensive signals of opposing teams? It certainly does matter. Suggesting that being predictable on defense doesn’t matter is like saying its okay to play with one hand tied behind your back because really good execution will overcome the disadvantage. Why would a team not want to maximize its chances of success? This is not to say all of the fault lies with the coaches, because sometimes players may be impatient and reveal too quickly what they are doing on defense. But this is an area that both coaches and players have to clean up.

  • Itisafineday

    The team has mostly average players (especially now that Troy and Harrison are fading) and an average D-coordinator. This team is rebuilding… at least on defense. It seems coach Tomlin lags when there’s a need to realize that things aren’t going well. He’s not alone, most coaches are that way… Cower was. I guess it wouldn’t have been good to replace both coordinators in the same season… but, it is time (past) for coach DL to leave. Although, I believe I heard Atlanta made several coaching changes, and their head coach was given credit for understanding that some changes were needed.

    Here’s a few more… the offensive line needs to get noticeably better/consistent by the last quarter of the season. Otherwise the o-line coaching position should be questioned. This may include, can someone please get Colon to stop from false-starting at least once a game? Otherwise, check his hearing or find someone else. Also, hey Timmons would you please read a play correctly! It would be nice if you weren’t the second to forth person to make the tackle on most plays. Heck your almost as slow looking as Ray Lewis is now. Our player personnel people have their work cut out for them over the next few seasons.