Film Room: Javon Hargrave Effective Against The Run Despite Overall Chaos


Who wants to hear about the performance of a nose tackle in the run game on a day on which the Pittsburgh Steelers defense allowed the Jaguars to rush for over 200 yards? Well, hopefully there are at least a few, because today I want to take a look at some of the work that Javon Hargrave did on Sunday.

What struck me when looking at the stat sheet after the game is that the second-year nose tackle was credited with no fewer than 10 tackles. While the majority of them were assists, it shows how active he was against the run—which was aided by the fact that the team actually stayed in the 3-4 front quite a bit.

Hargrave was credit with a number of run stops, including one early in the game, about five minutes into the second quarter. With the Jaguars facing a second and seven, the Steelers countered a 21 look with their 3-4 over front, the nose tackle tilted over the left shoulder of the center.

The line tried to stretch right, but Hargrave was too quick for the left guard, first cutting off the cutback lane, then chasing down Leonard Fournette for no gain when he had nowhere else to go.

There was a play late in the first quarter on which I noticed him lose. He was driven out of the hole by the center, turning him to the side, which left a hole up the gut for 12 yards. Not entirely his fault, but he didn’t help.


In the second quarter, with Jacksonville backed up at its own four, Hargrave and Cameron Heyward swapped gaps, and the nose tackle—through a bit of a hold—was able to come off his block and drive to his right to make the tackle for a gain of just two on first and 14.

Jumping ahead to the fourth quarter, the Jaguars were again back on their four-yard line on first down. He and Heyward pulled the same stunt, with the same results, only this time Hargrave made the tackle for a gain of just one.

After a bad turnover late and desperate for a stop, Hargrave and Stephon Tuitt delivered it on second and eight, limiting Fournette to a yard, immediately gaining the outside shoulder and controlling the play of the center.

I don’t fault Hargrave for any of the other plays of 10-plus yards in the game. On the 13-yarder that got the Jaguars’ final field goal drive going, he was held pretty clearly by the left guard, but it wasn’t called.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • falconsaftey43

    Hargrave is a beast. He is close to being their best defensive player.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    He was held in the 2nd gif too, and really all day.

    Hargrave is a baller – top 2 or 3 on the D. TJ too, already!

  • Iulo

    last year he was playing mostly as a DE due to the absence of Heyward and lack of depth. This year he is only playing NT, what a waste… I mean, Yeah, Tuitt and Heyward are your starters at DE and Hargrave at NT but if he plays so few snaps, why he cannot also play some other snaps as DE?
    I know thats why Alualu is there, but you need to rest both Tuitt/Heyward not only one. Ok, thats what I think.. so far, I agree with all here, Hargarve is a real player!

  • Mark Cole

    Agree on Hargrove as for the holding calls I think the refs were one sided on a lot of those.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Got to find ways to keep his ass on the field

  • Matthew Marczi

    Based on play-to-play productivity, you’re absolutely right. He may even be there already.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He has started to play more snaps the past couple of weeks, actually, seeing more time in the nickel. I think he played about 60% of the snaps on Sunday.

  • Matthew Marczi

    To be fair, they’ve begun to do a better job of this the past couple of weeks. It was definitely a big issue at the start of the season.

  • John

    We have Hargrave, Tuitt and Heyward. If they are as good as the Club and fans claim, no team should ever run on us. And yet we are having big problems stopping the run.

  • Taylor Williams

    Here’s the thing. Dupree hasn’t been able to set the edge. Watt is ok, but Chick isn’t a run stopper.
    And we have no true box safety. I have no idea what Davis role is in this defense. Should also have Mitchell in the box where he belongs.

  • Steve

    Look at the 2nd Gif. Steelers had a stunt going, with Hargrave going to the left and Heyward also to his left. Tuitt ran to his right. The same Gif had shazier going to his left, taking himself out of the play completely.

  • pittfan

    Ryan gets the splash plays but that tends to cost us at times with gaps not filled. #79 is solid.