Steelers Secondary Must Find Less Hands-On Approach To Covering

All in all, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ cornerbacks got off to a reasonably good start last night before their hands-on approach to the position began drawing the ire of Ed Hochuli, whom the clock operator learned is not somebody you want to get angry.

As the Philadelphia Eagles worked their way down the field on their opening drive, Ike Taylor climbed over the back of wide receiver Riley Cooper on third down to knock the ball out of his hands, ending the initial threat.

On Philadelphia’s next drive, a defensive holding call on William Gay on third down kept the drive alive, but Cortez Allen made a nice diving pass deflection down the field on the following play, and it seemed all was well.

But all was not well. In fact, it was just peak of the hill that the defense spent the rest of the game tumbling down.

Taylor was flagged for pass interference early on the Eagles’ third drive, but Cooper made the third-down reception over him anyway, so the penalty was declined.

Allen was flagged for illegal contact later on the drive, but it too was declined because the play was made. But he was flagged again three plays later on first and goal, which this time was accepted, moving the ball to the two-yard line.

Later in the third quarter, a defensive holding call on Gay negated a Steelers sack on third and four. The Eagles’ second-team offense scored a touchdown two plays later.

Five minutes into the fourth quarter, both Brice McCain and Isaiah Green were penalized for defensive holding on the same play. It was, of course, second and 22 on an incomplete pass that was nearly intercepted.

This was a performance following a victory over the Bills that nonetheless was also subject to several illegal contact penalties from the Steelers’ secondary. It seems a distant memory now that the Steelers defensive backs played penalty-free against the Giants in the preseason opener.

Of course, the new point of emphasis on illegal contact between receivers and defenders goes both ways—not just for both teams, but for both sides of the ball. The Eagles’ receivers were flagged twice for illegal contact against the Steelers.

But after last night, it’s becoming clear that the Steelers will have just as hard a time as anybody adjusting to covering without fouling, even if NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino recently said that he expects penalties to be reduced when the regular season arrives.

Will the Steelers’ cornerbacks be able to make the adjustment in time for the regular season, which is just two weeks away?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    For some reason it seems like the Steelers Always have issues with penalties at the worse time like they lack disclipine

  • Jacque Strappe

    When the league has games that last 4+ hours and the Television networks and advertisers start getting peeved, it’ll stop.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    No, they will have problems but it won’t be as bad as last night.

  • SteelCitysFinest

    They never call illegal contact against the offense and rarely call offensive pass interference. The NFL is giving a huge advantage to the offense because they think scoring more points will attract more fans. IMO I don’t want to see cheap first downs and penalty flags thrown on every passing play. This has gone too far and unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about it.

  • Lewis

    Goodell’s NFL…ruining the game imo.

  • ApexSteel

    The whole scheme needs to be changed. Playing 7 yards off makes no sense in today’s NFL.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    You cannot play press coverage without a reasonable amount of contact. I can’t stand the way defenses are being handcuffed more and more. It’s a physical game. Let them play physical.

  • Steve

    JFootball fined $12,000 for middle fingering skins.

  • SteveM2

    This no-touch bs should be re-named the Peyton Manning rule.

  • Michael Briscoe

    I agree with SteveM2, after Seattle manhandled the Broncos denying the golden one another ring this really awesome rule was put into place! No help for the D

  • Reno

    Goodell is ruining the game. It’s bad enough he controls the fines given out but now he is having an even more direct affect on the game

  • R1ddl3_0f_$t33l

    To be perfectly honest– I do not think we have the raw talent in our secondary for them to play any other way.

  • Matthew Marczi

    To be fair, I believe Steelers’ opposing offenses have been flagged at least 3 times this preseason already for offensive pass interference.

  • srdan

    Follow the $

  • srdan

    I agree. The one freedom cvs have is to jam within 15 yards to disrupt timing. Our defense gives that up

  • srdan

    I disagree. Out corners are big, they can jam. You give an offense like the eagles based on timing no jam, and they’ll take advantage of you like its a walk thtough

  • Dan

    27 accepted penalties, so probably 40-ish times the game was stopped to talk about yellow laundry. This has got to stop. Let them play! I’d rather watch curling than the zebras go blah blah blah for 4 hours.

  • Louis Goetz

    The NFL is now run by a bunch of people with IQs less than 5. If the VP of Officiating announces that there are going to more penalties in preseason, but they’ll relax once the regular season starts WHAT THE @#%$& IS THE POINT? That’s about as stupid as the 33 yard extra point. I was praying a team would be down 7-3, get a TD, miss the 33 yd. extra point to go up 9-7, and then watch the other team go down and kick a 22 yd. FG to win 10-9. Then maybe they’re realize how asinine it is when a 33 yd. kick is worth only 1 point and every kick LESS than that is worth 3. Then again, with IQs south of 5 would they really understand it?

  • Burgh Ball

    News Flash – NFL just announced new rule change for the 2015 preseason – CB’s will play with one arm tied behind their backs for the first 3 preseason game.. They are calling it the “GODell” rule

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Seems like the tge game gets more unwatchable every year:(

  • Steel PAul

    Seriously cannot stand that guy. Anyone see how much he made last year?? Anyone, anyone? Beuller?

    50 million.

  • Steel PAul

    This is a concern of mine. LOVED the Shazier pick and wouldn’t change it. But I feel like we are thin at CB and don’t have a true #1cover corner.

    This new rule makes things a little worse. Hopefully none of our top three CB’s get injured or this could get a little ugly.

  • richard

    This is the exact reason I didn’t like the Shazier pick, the NFL is doing everything it can to make defenses irrelevant. Why not be proactive ? Build a strong offense that can outscore their opponents, it is what the NFL wants. The offense has gotten worse by subtraction, and the defense hasn’t gotten any better, it may have even gotten worse.

  • SfSteeler

    its just gonna be a long year watching the NFL with a flag every other play…or maybe the refs are being told to flag everything in pre-season and then pull back a bit in the regular season…

    or maybe the defenders should just put there arm in there shirts like we used to do as kids in winter when it was cold just to fool around…