By Alex Kozora
Breaking down the snaps of Pittsburgh steelers outside linebacker Chris Carter versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
Vs Run: 0
– 1st and 10, 7:41 3rd. Working at LOLB. The ball comes out pretty quick. Carter at the tail end tries to spin to the inside against the RT.
– 1st and 10, 7:15. Another quick throw. Power/bull rush but the play is over too quick for anything to materialize.
– 2nd and 3, 6:46. Starts a speed rush but the right tackle seals it and is able to get into his shoulder. Counters with an inside spin and actually does get past. No pressure through with Chase Daniels sliding away from Carter’s side.
– 3rd and 5, 6:39. Again tries to get around the edge but stymied. Starts to go with an inside spin but the ball is out at this point.
– 1st and 10, 11:05 4th. Odd assignment here, not entirely sure what is going on. Freezes on playaction then starts to rush. FB in to pass protect but after a few steps in, Carter bails and drops into a hook zone. Don’t know if he forgot his assignment or what occurred here.
– 1st and 10, 10:36. First run he faced. Base blocked by TE Tony Moaeki. Holds him until the RB is past and then lets Carter go. Wasn’t too interested in finishing the block because it’s safe to assume that Ross Ventrone broke Moaeki’s shoulder the play before. The fact with a bum shoulder Moaeki was able to sustain any sort of block against Carter is troubling in itself.
– 2nd and 4, 9:59. Playaction boot to the right. Carter drops to cover the flat with the FB releasing. Gets a small piece of Chase Daniel when he scrambles and is credited with the tackle but Daniel really went down on his own accord.
– 1st and 10, 9:22. Run. TE base blocks and pushes him back a yard. In control.
– 2nd and 10, 8:51. Does shade out wide to protect the “C” gap and forced the RB inside. But after the RB is past, Carter can’t come off the block vs the RT, who stays with him as Carter tries to work his way to the back.
– 3rd and 5, 8:13. Looks like an attempted power rush. Right tackle absorbs it well. INT by Jarvis Jones but negated because of Josh Victorian’s pass interference.
– 1st and 10, 8:04. Moves to ROLB following Jones’ injury. Camera cuts to the play late (one of my biggest pet peeves) but Carter tries a speed rush, starts to get pushed up the arc and then spins inside.
– 2nd and 10, 7:58. Lined up in and rushes “A” gap where he meets the FB head on. Ball out quick on a curl so not much else can be determined.
– 3rd and 2, 7:22. Rush. Does actually initiate contact with the left tackle, trying to throw his hands away. Doesn’t work and Carter tries to dip under him which also fails. Goes back to the inside spin.
– 4th and 2, 7:18. Man coverage on the RB. Ball out quick on a slant on the opposite side of the field.
That was his last defensive snap. Carter was replaced by Terrance Garvin after that. Did not play on special teams the rest of the game either. Not sure if that was by design or if there’s an injury going on. Was odd to see Jason Worilds run down one punt late in the game, usually a job reserved for an OLB like Carter. Though he wasn’t specific across the board, Mike Tomlin did not indicate an injury in his press conference.
As stated, unless there’s an injury, it can’t be a good sign for Carter to only receive 14 snaps even considering the mitigating circumstances (the 3rd preseason game where starters get a lot of playing time, the Davis KR for a TD).
Despite the small sample size, the trend is obvious. Carter shies from contact and his pass rushing moves are predictable. Of his eight rushes, he tried the speed/inside spin counter half the time. He uses his spin move as a crutch more than Linus did his blanket.
Having counter moves are great but the downside of the spin is the time it takes to pull off. To try and dip around the edge, spin, and then work back to the QB is tough to pull off if the QB is only holding the ball for three seconds. To be this far along in his career and barely use your hands to shed the block is unacceptable.
Facing the run only happened a few times but it was obvious in this game and the past that isn’t his strong suit. Lacks functional strength to take on blocks.
A quick first step which is still tantalizing “if” the light ever turns on and being a decent special teams player is what is keeping Carter on this roster.