Butler, Steelers Preparing To Play Hue Jackson’s Offense

The first game is always a difficult one to gameplan for. Combine that with a rookie quarterback who wasn’t anointed as *the* guy from the get-go and it’s that much tougher. So it’s smart for the Pittsburgh Steelers to gameplan for Hue Jackson rather than DeShone Kizer. That’s a mantra that’s been repeated by the coaching staff throughout the week.

“We’re prepping for Coach Jackson,” Mike Tomlin said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We played those guys twice last year. I think we had a different QB in both games. We’re familiar with facing him with different quarterbacks. We faced him in Cincinnati with AJ McCarron We faced him last year with Kessler. We faced him last year with RG3.”

Since 2014, when Jackson became the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator before taking over the Cleveland Browns last year, the Steelers are 6-1 against him. That included a sweep against the Browns last year, the latter a game in which Landry Jones started and won in overtime.

But Kizer is the most talented quarterback they’ve faced on the McCarron/Kessler/RG3’s of the world. What he lacks in experience he makes up for with his arm and ability to keep the play alive, something Keith Butler noted in talking to the media yesterday afternoon.

“Quarterback does have a good arm,” Butler told reporters. “He is fairly accurate for the most part. He’s got some decent scrambling ability. So we gotta play good defense.”

Like Tomlin, Butler said they’ll lean on the gameplans Jackson has shown in the past.

“I think you prepare for the head coach. Because the head coach has been there. And he’s going to be calling the plays he thinks he rookie quarterback can be successful on. We gotta be ready for the things he’s done in the past. I don’t think he’s going to cut the menu in half.”

For Jackson, that could mean a wide variety of things. Few coordinators in the league throw as much at defenses before the snap of the ball. If you watched the Pitt Panthers’ offense last year, or LSU beat the ever-loving snot out of BYU this past weekend, Jackson has the same idea of pre-snap chaos. His passing attack is vertical and looks for the home run, able to swing momentum and get chunk plays to minimize a rookie QB who probably can’t sustain 12 play drives all game.

That makes a typically underwhelming offense a real threat this weekend.

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.

  • will

    Kiser better than RGIII when healthy ????

  • hdogg48

    Thanks Alex…I’ll be watching for the bomb.

    That is going to mean that the CBs are going to need safety
    help. I got faith in Davis….Golden or Wilcox not so
    much.

    Maybe a pick for Wily veteran “Big Play” Willi Gay
    who reads Kizer’s eyes and gets over for help.

  • Alex Kozora

    RG3 in his 2016 form, definitely.

  • AndreH

    This is one those trap games… First of all you got a rookie QB making his first NFL start, going up against an over confident Steelers defense. The Steelers should win but you never know, given their recent history.

  • derp_diggler

    What on god’s green earth makes you think this defense is over confident? If anything, given the way they were torched and dismantled recently, they will lack confidence and be tentative.

  • WilliamSekinger

    An over confident defense? How does a defense become over confident without even playing the first snap?

  • Jimbo

    This is not a gimme game. But I cant wait to see this offense go..

  • Jimbo

    Yes. Trap game odor.. Time to see what the new secondary can do..

  • WeWantDaTruth

    The Browns spent some big $$ on their O-line this past offseason, and will try to take pressure of Kizer by leaning on Isiah Crowell and the run game…control the clock and keep the Steelers O on the sideline. But Hue will take some shots and try to catch the Steelers keying too heavily on the run. Hue did those funky plays in Cincy, splitting the OT out wide like a WR…so be prepared for the trick plays.

  • Böröndi Krisztian

    I hope Mitchell CAN play (not will play, but can play) Our D is a work in progress in the first half, especially in September. We usually suck communication-wise in the early weeks. We have new pieces (Hayden, Coty, Hilton) so I’d prefer to see Gay starting in slot this game

  • Steel Realist PAul

    These are those set-up games for fans. If the rookie QB in week one has success against the Steelers D, our collective blood pressure will go through the roof.

    And it’s possible. It’s week one and the Steelers D hasn’t had these players together yet. New guys that just came in and guys that have been injured, alike.

    My money is on a close game at half, with a slow but methodical pull away in the second.