Steelers Preseason Charting: Defensive Notes

Our defensive charting now that football is back. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been on the field for 208 snaps through the first three games.

T.J. Watt leads all Steelers’ defenders with 117 snaps.

– Breakdown of defensive personnel usage.

Nickel: 101 (48.6%)
3-4: 99 (47.6%)
Dime: 7 (3.4%)
Goal Line: 1 (.5%)

– 36 of their 99 base snaps have used their over front. That’s over 36% of the time. You’ll see it a lot against heavy (12/21) personnel.

Keith Butler has blitzed on 33 of 135 opportunities. That’s 24.4% of the time. Compare it to Butler blitzing 39.7% of the time in the regular season last year.

28 rushes have brought at least five rushers.

– Butler has chosen to stay in base vs 10/11 personnel 31 times of 108 chances. That’s 28.7% of the time.

It’s been less frequent after the opener against the New York Giants, done just over 11% of the time. Still up from the 6% they did it in the 2016 regular season.

– Position by position.

Defensive Line

Tyson Alualu leads the group with 100 snaps. L.T. Walton close behind with 96.

– Defensive line pressures:

Lavon Hooks: 1
Roy Philon: 1
Javon Hargrave: 1
Stephon Tuitt: 1
Tyson Alualu: 1
Cam Heyward: 1
Daniel McCullers: .5

Johnny Maxey’s snaps on a steady decline.

Week 1: 26
Week 2: 13
Week 3: 10



Arthur Moats: 5
Anthony Chickillo:
Farrington Huguenin: 3
Steven Johnson: 2
James Harrison: 2
L.J. Fort: 2
Tyler Matakevich:
Bud Dupree: 1
Vince Willilams: 1

For the OLBs, coverage percentage

Farrington Huguenin: 31.5%
T.J. Watt: 25.6%
Arthur Moats: 24.2%
Anthony Chickillo: 22.4%

Matt Galambos has out-snapped Keith Kelsey 59 to 22

– Chickillo has put his hand down as a pass rusher 17 times. Comfortable out of a three point stance since he worked as a DE at Miami.

He has 40 snaps on the left side. 35 on the right.

– Moats similar story with his left/right splits. 49 on the left, 52 on the right.

– Ditto Watt. 56 on the left, 61 on the right.

– The two both have bigger resumes but Steven Johnson’s injuries have limited his snap count. 37 for him while L.J. Fort has 84.


– Of Butler’s 33 blitzes, a defensive back has been sent on 15 of them.

– New wrinkle to Butler’s scheme. Stand-alone outside corner blitzes. Already run four of them in the preseason. Just two all of last year.

– Target numbers

Cam Sutton: 1/2 8 yards
William Gay: 1/3 11 yards
Coty Sensabaugh: 1/3 10 yards
Artie Burns: 2/3 73 yards
Sean Davis: 1/2 11 yards
Ross Cockrell: 3/6 110 yards
Brandon Dixon: 1/3 14 yards
Jordan Dangerfield: 0/3 0 yards, 2 INTs
Mike Hilton: 0/1 0 yards

– Cockrell and Dixon each have two penalties each. Rest of the secondary has one, and that was Artie Burns after the whistle.

– Artie Burns has only played on the right side. No shadowing but of course, it’s the preseason.

Jacob Hagen leads the safeties with 88 snaps…Jordan Dangerfield right behind with 87.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Jacob

    After exploding on the scene with a couple of easy sacks, Watt seems to have quieted down. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come and he will start to get after the quarterback.

  • Michael

    During most game chats, fans commented Watt being gassed easily; comment?

  • Michael Mosgrove


  • Bryant Eng

    Alex, any chance Hagen pushes for a roster spot, he seems to have had a great camp, and if Dangerfield can be our third safety, Golden may be expendable (don’t worry, I know it’s a long shot).

    Second, I haven’t heard Brian Allen’s name a lot, which at his position, seems like a good thing, but do you have any thoughts on his Preseason Game 3 performance?

  • jconeoone C

    A couple things. Watt doesn’t have any pressures? And, the cb targets section you have reception allowed and yards. This obviously don’t add up to the total yardage given up in the games. So are the linebackers getting abused out in coverage

  • NickSteelerFan

    Really seems like they are cooling on Maxey and taking a longer look at Hooks

  • CP72

    Great stuff Alex.

    Ross Cockrell you are making increasingly difficult for me to defend you.

  • CP72

    We need to keep things in perspective. If TJ has 5-7 sacks that will be a success.

    If he and James combine for 10 total that’s a homerun.

  • Roger Wesley

    still think they might sign somebody. every team is going from 90 to 53 players thats a lot of people and there are always suprise cuts. i think they sign db could be interesting

  • SilverSteel

    That was me. Last game he was panting in the first half pretty good. Noticed same in game before that. May be he gives everything he has every play and that’s hard to keep up for a rook with his rep counts.