Joey Porter: Whichever Pass Rushers Are Producing Are Going To Play; ‘It’s That Simple’

The Pittsburgh Steelers have spent the majority of the past decade trying to find and establish their two bookmark edge rushers that they have not had in earnest since 2011, when James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley were still in a semblance of their prime. It was during that season that it all began to unravel, and they haven’t found a conclusive solution since.

The coaching staff has over recent years instead relied upon the platoon approach for the most part in order to get the most out of their outside linebacker position, at times utilizing a loose rotation, while at others relying upon the ‘hot hand’ approach.

But they have been chomping at the bit to end that strategy. The only problem is that in order to do so, it requires that they have those two stalwarts at the position who can not only handle the snap load, but can also consistently perform over that body of work.

We’re always searching to get those two guys, those premier pass rushers”, outside linebackers coach Joey Porter said during the spring in the late goings.

Porter himself was, of course, one of those premiere pass rushers that the Steelers once had the luxury of calling their own.

Over seven seasons as a full-time starter in Pittsburgh from 2001 through the 2006 season, Porter registered at least nine sacks during a season four times. The Steelers have not had anybody reach that number since Woodley and Harrison both did it in 2011.

Pittsburgh was at one time not content unless they got at least 20 sacks from their two starting outside linebackers. Now they are hoping to get about 15 from a group of four or five pass rushers.

Or at least that is how it has been. But they want and expect that to change now.

Bud Dupree is entering his third season now and he showed that sort of potential late last year after he returned from an injury that caused him to miss most of the season.

He had four and half sacks in the final four games of the regular season. And T.J. Watt was their first-round draft pick this year, apprenticing under Harrison this year.

“If we’re getting that production from those guys, they are going to play”, Porter said about any combination of his pass rushers that are putting up the numbers. “It’s that simple. We’re trying to win championships. However we get it done, we’ll take it”.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • CP72

    Joey weren’t you the same guy that said we needed to get Jarvis Jones more snaps? No way that was based on production. The wasn’t any.

  • nutty32

    First sensible thing JP’s ever said.

  • Steve Johnson

    Great Players often do not transpire into Great Coaches. Example, Carnell Lake and Joey Porter. I haven’t seen it, maybe in 2017? Time will tell. Carnell Lake, how many more times will there be confusion in the secondary?

  • It was the same thing with the Oline a few years ago. The talent level was terrible and everyone burned the coaches. The DB room as well as the OLB room were in similar places. Now that the coaches have talent and athleticism in their rooms, we can really see what these coaches can do.

  • StolenUpVotes

    I completely disagree with you about Lake.

  • Andrew Norwood

    Yeah the talent level was so bad in the DB room that it was impossible to know anything about how well they were coached. Same could be said about the O line after Grimm left. Now we have invested in the OLBs, and Porter will have to show his worth. Obviously coaching makes a difference, but the old saying in the coaching fraternity that “You can’t make chicken salad…” rings true.
    And so many fans blast the coaching while at the same time acknowledging that the talent wasn’t there.

  • Michael Conrad

    Then why did we have to watch J Jones for four years. He should have been shown the Latrobe Pike his third year. I hope Bud steps it up and Watt shines.

  • Steve Johnson

    Care to elaborate? I will say this, he hasn’t had that much talent to work with. I agree with HardPunkKore, when you look at the players he was given to work with, it’s probably hard to evaluate a Coach on his players productivity on the field. But IMO, the lack of communication and often confusion, that is a huge problem we’ve often seen in the secondary.

  • Steve Johnson

    Great question for Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert.

  • Andrew Norwood

    You’re right about the miscommunications. That’s always worrisome. But there hasn’t been much continuity in the DB room over the last 5 years. Sure hope we see improvement there this year.

  • Robert E Lil

    After watching Chickillo get pressure, sack – be disruptive and then NOT play

    JPs words are welcome

  • Andrew Norwood

    As a converted down lineman, Chick has improved. As has been noted, he’s contributed consistently on ST and has been a decent depth piece for us. Moreso against the run I think. I’m hoping he keeps improving, but I don’t recall many sacks. How many does he have to his credit?

  • Conserv_58

    I used to ask the same question about Kordell Stewart. For seven years the Steelers kept hoping that he would become their next Bradshaw and for seven years Stewart kept disappointing them. It churned my stomach when as Heinz Field was in the finishing stages, Mr. Dan Rooney made the comment, “We’re hoping that we can say this is the house that Kordell Stewart built.” A year later, 2002, Bill Cowher put Tommy Maddox in for Stewart and that decision ended Stewart’s career in Pittsburgh. I was one happy person to see them end seven years of futility.

  • Conserv_58

    There’s an old saying, ‘garbage in, garbage out’ and Carnell Lake has been given the task of converting garbage into gourmet food. Artie Burns is the best rookie CB he’s had and he had a decent rookie campaign considering he was thrown to the wolves. As for confusion in the secondary, even the players admitted that they need to do a better job of communicating with each other. Sometimes it’s actually the players’ fault for not doing what they’re being taught.

  • Conserv_58

    Yes he was, but what else was he going to say? IMO, the fact that Jarvice was a first round pick is why Joey was tasked to turn him into something he was incapable of being. The Steelers were trying in vein to save face after realizing that they completely whiffed on Jarvice’s pre draft evaluation. It’s not Jarvice’s fault either. Taking Jarvice to play OLB was putting a square peg in a round hole.

  • Conserv_58

    From the time Ike and Troy were drafted it took until the 2016 draft that Kevin Colbert finally addressed the secondary early. Up until then he was content to take DB’s from the fourth and fifth rounds along with signing the Antwon Blake types in free agency. Example: He took two underperforming DB’s from Syracuse, Anthony Smith, (3rd round in ’06) and Shamarko Thomas, (fourth round 2013 draft) whom both failed miserably to live up to expectations.

  • Conserv_58

    This is the correct answer. Good players can make poor coaches look great and visa versa.

  • “WC”

    I have been a Steeler fan for over forty years. Where there disappointments, yes there were plenty of those. There were times when the disappointments tore at you and all you could think about was bad play, bad players, bad coaching, etc.

    If you go to each team’s web site you can see the optimism being displayed by all 32 teams. Most of you want revenge on NE, but there are a lot of teams that feel the same way about the Steelers (meaning they want revenge on them).

    As of now, every team is 0-0-0. I’m sure by the end of this year there are going to be some surprises. Why? Because it is inevitable.

    What you are seeing is the changing of the guards right before your very eyes. Many things were said about certain players by coaches that did not work out. It happens. However to use what was said in the past as it relates to coaches or players as a talking point in an attempt to make it seem as if you are more knowledgeable or what have you is just not the reality as it is in the NFL.

    I enjoy reading the comments on this and other Steelers site very much. The technology has been created for all of us to enjoy. However with improved technology, means patience is oftentimes overlooked. Why, because with this new technology comes a need for instant gratification.

    Drafting players can at times be hit or miss at best. If you’ve watched college football and appreciated the plays of certain players, and then those same players wash out in the NFL. That is unfortunately the highs and lows of the NFL life.

    So with that ride the wave of optimism for whichever team you happen to root for. Have a bit of faith, through this storm. You may get tossed a bit. However keep the faith and get to the other side.

  • Steve

    What Great Head Coach in the NFL was a Great Player?

  • Steve

    Some people here still think Kordell was a very good QB. IMHO – He was average at best.

  • Matthew Marczi

    So you hate Cockrell and love Chickillo?

  • StolenUpVotes

    Where did I ever say Lake was going to be a great head coach?

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Lake did choose Blake over Bokins. That’s was a bad decisions. We looked better when Bokins was on the field. Lake keep putting garbage on the field