Watch: Steelers Run Defense Not Always In Position To Succeed Sunday

Back at it talking to the tape. Because it’s such an important topic and the Pittsburgh Steelers struggled so poorly Sunday, wanted to go back and look at their run defense problems now that the All-22 has been released.

We go through eight plays and examine a variety of issues. Bad run fits, bad tackling, and schematic problems from Keith Butler. It’s impossible to pin the woes on one person but Butler definitely didn’t do his run defense any favors.

As always, let me know your thoughts below. If you have any issues with the video/audio, I tried to fix my audio since it’s been low, let me know.

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.

  • 太阳三联

    Bad ideas mixed with biased refs = 200+ rush yrds and an L

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Alex on the 1st play you bring up questioning Butler I had a question on responsibility.

    Vince Williams moves to get past the linemen and was successful at it moving towards the sidelines. The run looks to be stretching out that way so he continues to go outside instead of stopping to fill the gap that was created. Is it all instinct at that point or is there something they teach for which spot he should choose? Because it looks to me like if he tries to angle into that gap he lets the linemen get back on him with leverage and most likely wash him out anyway. So is it better for him to get outside and ensure the play forces back in to other guys or take his chances inside despite his chances with the linemen being poor?

  • Steeldog22

    Alex. In the 6 on 3 play where you say nobody is there from a personnel perspective, what the heck is Sean Davis doing on that play? I thought this was a poor game out of him BTW. Out of place at times and not seemingly going full speed.

  • Steeler Nation!

    It was unsound at times. We were beat before the snap in terms of being outnumbered. There were also instances of shoddy tackling. Vince Williams looked bad at times, and obviously Burns did too. Of course, there were some glaring holding no calls.

  • cencalsteeler

    Loggains outschemed Butler, and you can tell, he did his homework and it payed off. Gotta tip your cap to him.

  • pittfan

    Wow, quite revealing. Another excellent job of showing what really happened and why. Hopefully Butler is breaking this down and the troops are learning. Lotta guys on the ground too.

  • treeher

    My conclusion is that we miss Timmons. I don’t see Williams being the field general that he needs to be.

  • nutty32

    Great stuff. Getting run on is completely demoralizing.

  • Steeler Nation!

    It shows in tackling too. Law Dog was a very good, consistent tackler. Vince doesn’t mind popping you, but he misses a lot more tackles than Timmons did.

  • Edjhjr

    So that 4th play. That s a definite hold on 72.

    But this is very good break down

  • Edjhjr

    Plus is that Williams who over ran play 4 . Took himself out

  • Flip Fisher

    Now you are seeing why I bashed so much on VW, whom you stuck up for in the offseason.

  • falconsaftey43

    Williams has to play his gap, he can’t go outside. That’s a classic example of “everyone do your job” if you don’t do your job because you think someone else will mess up, you’re just creating a bigger problem. Williams has to stay in his gap, and ideally, squeeze it inside to decrease the size of the gap back inside.

  • Alex Kozora

    No, I don’t think the issue is Timmons. After all, he was on the field for those 200 yard games last year.

  • falconsaftey43

    Timmons wasn’t really a vocal guy. that was more Shazier.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yeah that one is tough. Like I said in the video, you can’t get reached by those linemen climbing and you have to work over the top. From there…I’m not sure what exactly he is supposed to be doing, it does look like he drifts too far outside, but it’s hard to be gap sound when you don’t have enough players to fill the gaps. I think it was doomed from the start and hard to fault the players oveall.

  • Alex Kozora

    Good question. My *guess* based on what they’ve done before, is that the safeties should’ve rotated on the motion. Usually what they do if the DL doesn’t shift over. So Davis should’ve been single high, Mitchell come down into the C gap, and that would’ve created the run fit.

  • Alex Kozora

    I don’t know how you can watch this and point the blame directly on VW. It’s on everyone.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Like Alex says though, I don’t think Williams was necessarily capable of doing his job. They were outnumbered and he beat his guy but because of how it broke down if he stuck to the gap he likely just gets washed out but by going outside he ensured the play stayed inside. So there are both positives and negatives to it.

    I am more curious as to what the coaches might prefer there.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    That is something we will have to wait until down the road to confirm. Timmons was 4th on the team in missed tackles last year and 2nd most missed tackles in 2015 so it isn’t as if he were stellar at. Truth be told I don’t think there is much of a difference between the 2. Ryan Shazier lead the team in missed tackles by a large margin last season.

    Too many people create too many false narratives with Williams simply because he hasn’t been the guy. Or more accurately, it seems like most flaws people try and pin on him you could equally apply to the other guys. Williams isn’t a great cover guy? Timmons wasn’t really either and Shazier doesn’t necessarily wow anyone. Williams struggles tackling? Shazier lead the team by a wide margin last season and continues a bad trend this season.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Williams is the easy target because everyone loved Timmons and overrates Shazier so he is the easy one to pick on.

  • Flip Fisher

    Sure there is more blame to go around but the ILB is the run stopper in a 3-4. How many times did he get off his block? How many times did he over persue? How many times did he not even sniff diagnosing a play early?
    @Phil@philbrennemanii:disqus, VW is a easy punching bag because of his play that stands out on film

  • Phil Brenneman II

    But they all have bad play on film and you can look at the numbers. Shazier is constantly overpursuing and missing tackles so why aren’t we talking about him in the same way? I am not knocking Shazier because I think they are both good but we have to be consistent about calling them out.

  • Flip Fisher

    Why look at the stats when the tape shows it? I am not saying that Shazier does not have his issue and personally do not think he is worth his 5th year contract either.
    Timmons made Shazier look better, VW accentuates Shazier’s liabilities with his play.

  • Alex Kozora

    Shazier missed more tackles than VW against the Bears. I don’t hear you talking about him.

  • The Chin

    I’ll say again, I’d prefer another in the box safety. Get VW off the field.

  • Michael James

    They definitely need to go safety, ILB and CB high in the draft next year.
    I have to say, safety play is the most disappointing thing to watch on this defense. Davis doesn’t look improved at all and while I always defended Mitchell, he had a poor game, too.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    He was decent tackler. He missed just as many tackles as anyone on the team. I’d say he’s a slightly better tackler, but much better at diagnosing plays than VW.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Don’t count on it.

  • pittfan

    I trend toward optimism till evidence tells me otherwise. It’s just more fun

  • Kevin Artis

    Pathetic…..

  • Steeler Nation!

    If you just look at #s on paper, but you know better. Shazier is flying around so fast and making some plays that no one else on the defense can make. In some instances, saving us from giving up big gains. Playing at that speed also lends itself to Over pursuing at times. And all missed tackles are not the same. Sometimes a guy missing the tackle MAKES the play. Causes ball carrier to redirect and allows the pursuit to get to him. And some misses are just bad football. The problem with stats.

  • Amante Da Prez

    Alex thanks for the video, and giving fans like me insight on the details of defending the run. You guys do a help of a job! Hopefully, the run defense improved by leaps n bounds lol