Shazier Says Team Focused On Balance, Control To Eliminate Missed Tackles

Week Three against Chicago was about as ugly as it gets. Not just in the final score, an upset loss to the lowly Bears, but in the volume of missed tackles. By our count, the Pittsburgh Steelers missed 23 that day, as high as our Josh Carney has ever tracked.

Last week against Baltimore was much better, missing only 12, with several of those coming late with the win already locked up. Talking about the game, and improvement in that area, several Steelers have said they went back to the basics of tackling.

“When we played Chicago we had a poor outing when it came to tackling,” Ryan Shazier told the media. “And we can’t do that. So we just made sure we wrapped up and took guys to the ground…guys are in the NFL, guys aren’t going to let you hit them as hard as you can if they’re looking at you. I think we did a better job of that and forcing them to do things we wanted them to do.”

Bears game aside, the Steelers have done a pretty good job through the first month of the season. 15 against Cleveland in the opener, not the best number but understandable for the opener. Only five against the Minnesota Vikings, one of the lowest figures we’ve recorded, and then 12 last week.

Not going for the killshot but coming to balance and playing with technique certainly does wonder for a team. It’ll prevent a team like the Bears from killing the Steelers on their outside zone runs, something Butler noted in his interview.

“I thought I saw a little bit more improvement in our tackling,” Butler said via the team website. “That’s the biggest thing we gotta do. If we tackle well, I think we’re in position to make some plays. If we keeping doing that, we’ll be fine.”

They’ll have to continue that upswing in solid tackling against a physical Jacksonville front with a pair of big backs. Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory make their living off broken tackles and yards after contact. If the Steelers can miss fewer than say, ten on the day, it’s hard to imagine them losing to the Jags.

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.

  • rystorm06

    Going for the kill shot = leads to overpursuing plays / missing tackles. And if you make the stick, you may get a 15 yard penalty in today’s NFL. I’m glad they’re at least attempting to address this.

  • 太阳三联

    Tackle tackle tackle tackle and this bxtch is ours + Run Bell 30+ = victory

  • Steve

    Wrapping up is the key to tackling. Hitting a guy with full impact is no good unless you wrap up.

  • CommonSenseGoneWild

    Why are they practicing this now? What did they do during training camp?

  • Alex Kozora

    It’s not beginning it. Just a reinforcing after a terrible week. Just like you would for anything.

  • Dshoff

    Alex, why does this problem seem to rear its ugly head each year? Last year we had pretty bad problems with tackling as well, and I think the year before that.

  • Zarbor

    Doesn’t anyone find it funny that after all the years these players played football on different levels that tackling is still an issue for a number of them? Seems to be an ongoing issue so much so that Steelersdepot track miss tackles. My coach always told us that tackling is a matter of heart and desire.

  • cencalsteeler

    I blame it on the ESPN highlight reel. Now, because of it, we have a new highlight- the leaping over the defender who’s not wrapping up play. Hopefully, that embarrasses some guys and they get back to the fundamentals you speak of.
    Side note: I still think Shazier plays too fast and is his own worst enemy at times. He falls victim to the cutback because he has a tendency to be in front of the rb instead of trailing him. He makes up for it in other ways, but it sure would be nice to see him slow down a bit when it comes to defending the run.

  • Zarbor

    I agree. Unfortunately Shazier greatest asset is his speed and without it he becomes a liability because he’s not that big and can get trucked. He does make up for it but it’s something we will have to live with if we want him to stay healthy.