The Pittsburgh Steelers worked all offseason on the outside-zone run blocking scheme, but through their first two games of the 2013, they have hardly used it. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert, however, said Wednesday that’s about to change Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.
“We’re going to use that a lot more,” Gilbert said Wednesday after practice, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We barely used it in first two games. That will really help us out. Teams saw we were a gap, downhill team. Now we can throw different stuff at them and change it up.”
The Steelers have run for an all-time franchise low 75 yards through their first two games of the season, so any change made at this point with an eye towards improving the running game will be a welcomed one.
Running back Felix Jones, who was acquired via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles midway through the preseason, is expected to start Sunday night against the Bears. Until rookie Le’Veon Bell is ready to return from his foot injury, Jones is best suited to run the outside-zone because of his ability to one-cut and read the running the lanes.
“I was encouraged by some of the things that Felix did, specifically – knowing when to bounce the ball to the perimeter, knowing when to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical and take what’s there, and when to challenge people,” head coach Mike Tomlin said about Jones’ performance in the loss Monday night to the Cincinnati Bengals. “I thought he showed some natural run instincts and some things that are exciting and we can build from.”
The Steelers will face a Bears team Sunday night that has allowed an average of 93 yards rushing through the first two weeks of the season and should the Steelers equal that amount, history says they have an 80% chance of winning the game.
In the 86 games that the Steelers have rushed for 93 or more yards that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has played in over the course of his career, they have won 69 of them.