Pittsburgh Steelers rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier has started alongside Lawrence Timmons since day one of the offseason practices and he believes playing in a defense at Ohio State that is somewhat similar to the one used by the Steelers has helped him make the jump quickly
“Especially some of the things that we did at Ohio State, they’re similar to some of the things that we do at Pittsburgh,” said Shazier Thursday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio from the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium in Aurora, OH. “The terminology is a little different, but I feel like it’s really helping me learn the defense a lot better. I feel like I pretty much know everything I need to do and I’m still learning the defense as a whole. But for the most part, most things I know what I’m doing.”
This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard this from Ohio State players. Just because Shazier has some familiarity with the defense, however, doesn’t mean that this head won’t be spinning at times during the 2014 season. The biggest thing with him is that he has “mistake speed”, which will hopefully enable him to recover during a play if he carries out the wrong assignments.
“I knew I was a pretty fast player,” said Shazier way back at the conclusion of the Steelers first set of OTA practices. “People always told me the speed of the game is fast, and wherever I went I was pretty much as fast as everybody or faster, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. But now, everybody’s fast on this level, so one little mistake on this level can make a big difference. So it really makes a difference [to be fast].”
Barring something totally unforeseen, Shazier will be the first Steelers defensive rookie to begin a season as a starter since linebacker Kendrell Bell last accomplished the feat back in 2001.
“I feel like it’s going really good,” Shazier said Thursday. “I feel like I’m really earning a lot of respect from my teammates and coaches.”