By Alex Kozora
A play-by-play breakdown of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Brian Rolle versus the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
– 1st and 10, :50 2nd. Drops into hook zone (read curl, drive on flat). No one in the area. On checkdown to the back, Rolle doesn’t make the tackle but closes quickly and flies in at the end of the play.
– 1st and 10, :32. Drops. Falls out of frame but looks like another hook zone with a slight reroute on the slot receiver.
– 1st and 10, :25. Shows “A” gap pressure and then drops on the snap. Watches the Trips Bunch group of receivers across for him for anyone running any short, inside breaking routes. Fred Davis runs a curl, Rolle reads it, and closes quickly. Davis goes to the ground on the catch and the linebacker rolls over top to down him.
– 3rd and 2, 11. Man coverage on Fred Davis on a curl with a jam. Rex Grossman throws a dig to Aldrick Robinson.
– 1st and 10, 14:56 3rd. Toss right. Rolle plays is conservatively, staying back and not getting caught up in the train tracks of the zone blocking offensive line. Once the back makes his cut upfield, Rolle rallies downhill and helps to make the tackle.
– 2nd and 6, 14:20. Blitzes the “B” gap. Picked up by the back. As soon as they make contact, the ball comes out.
– 1st and 10, 14:00. Starts to fill one of the playside gaps vs the run but sees the RB cut back and follows. Doesn’t make the tackle but a heady play.
– 2nd and 8, 13:27. Run. Spins off the second level block from Niles Paul. Good job to get off of it but I’d rather him be square and shed with his hands than spin. Never want to turn your back to the play, even for a moment.
– 3rd and 4, 12:49. ILB “A” gap blitz with him and Marshall McFadden (no Fire Stunt). Gets picked up by the center pretty easily but does throw a hand up to try and knock the ball down. Doesn’t but again, heady play and the little things that are nice to see.
– 1st and 10, 11:00 3rd. Drops into zone coverage. No one in the area.
– 2nd and 11, 10:31. Takes on the FB thinking it’s a Lead Strong run. Upon seeing it’s playaction, he follows the running back (playing man coverage) who is releasing over the middle.
– 1st and 10, 10:01. Zone run. Tries to shoot a gap but the left tackle, with the advantage of the angle (Rolle moving from left to right from the defensive’s POV) is able to get into his shoulder, gets his arms extended, and seal him off. Picture. Tough to see because of the double boxes but still good enough.
– 1st and 10, 9:21. Zone under in pass coverage. No one in the vicinity. Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith picks off Grossman on the play.
– 1st and 10, 5:52 3rd. Good burst off the line. Probably reading the key of the WR being motioned in right next to the right tackle, lining up in a two point stance. The RG is able to get a piece of him at the last second, just enough to stop Rolle from knifing into the backfield clean. Dives for the back but misses.
– 2nd and 7, 5:23. Sees the running back cutback, follows him. Helps chip in on the tackle.
– 1st and 10, 4:37. Zone run to the right. Fights through TE Jordan Reed’s block. Play blown up by Brian Arnfelt in the backfield.
– 2nd and 12, 4:02. Shows pre-snap “A” gap blitz but drops into zone on the snap.
– 3rd and 12, 3:55. Zone under, Rolle lines up a step outside the far hash due to the slot receiver being motioned to that side. Falls out of frame on his drop. Grossman throws to the other side of the field incomplete.
Like the article on Cameron Heyward, 18 snaps won’t tell you all the information in the world. And it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see more of Rolle in coverage like we did last week against the New York Giants. Dropping back into empty zones tells you little. But he appears to be a pretty heady player that reads his keys and makes quick decisions out there. As it stands today, there’s a great chance he makes the team. He entered the game before Vince Williams, Kion Wilson, and Terrance Garvin.