Steelers Rookie LB Ryan Shazier Has Two Traits That Keith Butler Really Likes

Rookie Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier wears the number that previously belonged to Larry Foote and his position coach doesn’t think the similarities between the two players stops there.

“He reminds me a lot of Larry Foote in terms of football intelligence,” said linebackers coach Keith Butler of Shazier after Tuesday’s practice. “He is a very sharp guy. He has a lot to learn, but he is picking it up fast. He understands concepts very well.”

Football intelligence isn’t the only good trait that Shazier possesses, either, according to Butler.

“He is a fine young man in my opinion. He is confident, but not cocky. Those are two good traits to have in this league because sooner or later somebody is going to make you humble,” added Butler. “He knows that. He knows he is a rookie. He realizes he has to earn the respect of his teammates and he is trying hard to do that.”

Shazier has been the starter inside since the first day of OTA practices and baring something totally unforeseen, that job will remain his for several years to come. His athleticism and speed inside is something that the Steelers haven’t seen since Kendrell Bell started during his rookie season way back in 2001.

“A lot of speed,” said Butler, when asked what he’s seen so far out of the Steelers first-round draft pick. “We can move. We’re going to be a faster defense, that’s the good thing about it. Its something that we cant coach as coaches. When you’re fast, it’s a God-given gift of being fast and we’re a faster defense than we were last year.”

During Bell’s rookie year, he recorded nine sacks and 83 total tackles on his way to being named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. Whether or not Shazier can come anywhere close to that season during his rookie year is yet to be seen, but based on the offseason practice reports thus far, he’s definitely headed in the right direction and fast.

  • Jason Brant

    Watching Kendrell Bell that rookie year was a thing of beauty. It was a real shame that he didn’t work out.

  • John C

    Agreed….he would tackle thru people!! I remember him blowing up the center on a play like he was a 12 year old kid and then getting the sack!!

  • srdan

    i’m glad that this guy is turning out to be more than speed. During the draft lead up time, that is all i heard about him. Nobody talked about his intelligence.

    I’m excited to have one of the fastest defenses in the league again.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    As I understood it, the reason Bell had 9 sacks is they almost had no choice but to blitz him. He struggled to grasp the defense mentally, so they let him do what he was capable of doing.

  • srdan

    We need more players that all they can do is get 9 sacks in a season. lol

  • pkeats86

    I’m an OSU fan but, like most of us Steelers fans, I expected a CB in round 1. But, when they called Shazier’s name, it just made so much sense. He is a smart, athletic guy with a great head on his shoulders. I am very excited to see him play again. People who said he had bad instincts baffled me. You don’t get 20+ tackles behind the line of scrimmage with bad instincts.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    You miss the point. Yeah, he got 9 sacks, but he couldn’t cover anyone out of the backfield. He couldn’t help in ANY other way with the D.

  • srdan

    I think you are exaggerating a bit. I looked at his stats.

  • Steel PAul

    I agree with you srdan. Bell was a strong player. He may not have worked out in the end, but he made a difference when he was on the field.

  • Steel PAul

    I don’t know how, but I really think we will see Spence in with Shaz at some point. Perhaps a nickel-dime type package. Along with Timmons, this defense will freakin’ MOVE in the middle.

  • Ike Evans

    Dime more then likely….spence can be the dime linebacker

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s how I remember it too.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Again…I am only repeating what I was told the coaches said about him. He could make plays, but he didn’t know the D.

  • MC

    Man i really enjoyed watching Bell. 9 sacks is pretty unbelievable for an ILB let alone a rookie.
    He did make mistakes as expected but when he hit someone they sure knew about it.