Vince Williams: Defense Saw 4th-Down Attempts Against Them As ‘Disrespectful’

There was a lot of consternation within the fan base over the Pittsburgh Steelers’ decision to hand the keys of the buck linebacker position over to fifth-year inside linebacker Vince Williams full-time, but once the games started being played, we haven’t really heard all that many complaints.

While he has been taken off the field at times in clear passing situations in favor of a fourth cornerback, we generally have not seen the huge liabilities in coverage that many were expecting, and he has generally served well in his role. He was second on the team—behind Artie Burns, of all people—with eight tackles yesterday, now with 42 tackles on the season, to do along with four sacks.

I think it is fair to say that Williams is a player that Head Coach Mike Tomlin would describe as an “energy-bringer”. It’s something that he has consistently brought on special teams for years, but has not had the consistent opportunities to show that he can do it on defense as well.

But quietly, he is proving to be something of an emotional leader and mouthpiece for this unit, even if he is not calling the plays—something Ryan Shazier insisted on retaining for himself. And he spoke on defense of the defense after they shut the Lions out in the red zone last night.

He told Jeremy Fowler that they felt disrespected by the Lions’ attempts to score touchdowns on fourth down against them. “I felt they were trying us”, he said to the ESPN reporter. “It’s disrespectful. [Matt Prater’s] a great kicker. You better run him out here or y’all ain’t about to get any points”.

Detroit entered the red zone three times, ending up with three field goals to show for it, and two trips that ended in turnovers on downs. Prater also hit two long field goals from 49 and 51 yards to total their 15 points on the night.

Williams also told Fowler that Tomlin gave the defense a message. “The red-zone defense sucks”, the reporter paraphrased via Twitter, “and the only thing saving it is teams aren’t getting down there much”.

As I wrote about last night, the script was flipped in Detroit. They had no trouble getting down the field, but could not capitalized on their deep drives. Previously, teams struggled to sustain drives down the field, but had a good success rate in getting touchdowns when they did.

The Steelers enter the bye week knowing that they still have plenty to work on entering the proverbial back nine of their season, but they do so with a mind at ease, understanding that they are in pole position for both the division and the conference.

Continue building on the situational success on defense, while plugging up the holes that Matthew Stafford poked through on the night, and this defense can really turn into something when it comes time for a playoff push. And who will be front and center in their efforts? Vince Williams.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • I always have been a big fan of 98. I’m glad to see him playing well.

  • FATCAT716

    98 is a player that loves his teammates, he’s a hard worker (tries to keep up with Deebo) & he’s a thumper. He’s humble, instead of looking else where he took the contract he got & remained a reserve behind Law dog & Spence. Became one of my favorite players for saying he want paint the street red with Burflict after injuring Bell

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Defense bent but didn’t break. Stafford…I can see why he is highly paid. A whip for an arm and dead nuts accurate.

  • Big Joe

    Well, maybe if they hadn’t been so pitiful in goal line defense up to this point, Detroit may not have thought it to be high reward potential. They did well last night but they gotta own the past too.

  • Jim Foles

    4th down attempts… Disrespectful not to the defense, but to Ben for not driving the offense very well.

  • NCSteel

    The red-zone defense sucks ?
    I’m assuming he sent the same message to the offense.
    I guess they were too busy to hear him though cause that red zone offense, well in a word,
    Sucks.

  • The Tony

    How does that make any sense

  • Intense Camel

    They aren’t worried about the offense scoring any points.

  • treeher

    A good QB exposed this defense. I think their pass rating was partly because teams did not have to pass to beat them (i.e., Jacksonville, Chicago).

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Stafford is good, no doubt. But the lack of consistent QB pressure was not helping the secondary. I know it sucks not having Tuitt out there, but this D-line needs to collapse the pocket consistently. Anything more than a 3-count is too much time.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Not gonna happen with JV Dupree out there.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Man, the Steelers D really brought it on those short yardage plays. And even while having the ball moved on them, Williams, Davis, Hargrave and others brought the shellac.

    Heart-warming for a long-time Steelers fan.

  • David Shoff

    I wonder why the Steelers didn’t bring Williams more on the pass rush. He has proved that he can get to the QB.

  • Cullen James Riley

    It frustrated me how much people were downplaying VW’s abilities to replace Law Dog. The dude’s locker is in between James Harrison and Antonio Brown. There is absolutely no way he isn’t a hardworker between those two. Haha.

  • Jim Foles

    Pretty simple right.

  • charles

    Yes, that is bewilderment. While letting Watt drop into coverage….

  • MC

    VW is a prototypical buck thumper, and that’s just what we need especially at the goaline.

  • MC

    They seemed to blitz Shazier quite a bit I noticed this game. Confused me too why they wouldn’t switch it up and send vince a cojple times or do the old fire blitz with both.

  • MC

    Dupree is the biggest disappointment on this defense.

  • will

    I hope he sees the Pats “owning” the Steelers as disrespectful too!