Ryan Shazier Showing Flair For The Dramatic

It’s been a drama-full season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time when the word was used, it was strictly an on the field use. We wrote about Mike Tomlin wanting his team to produce more splash plays – the “drama” – on both sides of the football. Defensively, his best source of that may be Ryan Shazier, who Tomlin praised heavily today.

“Often times, knowledge increases your opportunity for the dramatic. Particularly in situational football. I think that’s why you see a guy like Ryan Shazier having a growing flair for the dramatic. Because he’s coming into his own as a veteran football player. He’s played a lot of ball for us. And I think you’re seeing the cumulative effects of that.”

Few on the Steelers have provided as much splash as Shazier. In eight games, he’s picked off two passes, forced a pair of fumbles, recovered another, and broken up seven passes.

Steelers’ PR man Dom Rinelli had this great stat on Shazier, showing why he’s in a league of his own.

And in a recent interview, inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky lauded Shazier for his advanced football instincts.

While Shazier has shown splash, he’s also shown consistency. He hasn’t missed any time and isn’t stacking the negative plays like he used too. Especially against the run, where he’s played with better technique, taking on blocks instead of ducking around, and staying on his feet. Instead of getting run over, he’s now the one dishing out the pancakes.

With Shazier playing at an All-Pro level and Vince Williams proving why the team felt comfortable letting Lawrence Timmons walk, the Steelers have a strong inside pairing. And if they can produce a little more drama, the good kind, they’ll be tops in the league.


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.

  • letownia

    “50+ tackles (64), 5 passes defensed (8) and 2 interceptions in 2017.”

    Sorry Alex but extremely nit-picky stats like this do not deserve mention in my opinion. Combining stats is a method to come up with pointless/deceptive metrics. Imagine if there was a player X who had 100 tackles, 20 passed defensed, and 1 interception. Player X isn’t included in this statistic, even though he performed much better. Combining multiple statistics like this makes it easy to exclude players who are performing at a similar level, and doesn’t deserve retweeting/mentions.

    I love your work but I have a pet peeve with artificially manufactured/deceiving stats in the NFL.

  • falconsaftey43

    To be fair, it was Dom Rinelli who put that stat out there, not Alex. But valid point.

  • razaard2


  • Alex Kozora

    Eh, Dom used pretty basic benchmarks. He didn’t curve it in a completely arbitrary way. 50 tackles, 5 PDs, 2 INTS, all “normal” stats. If he had said, no one else has 62 tackles, 7 PDs, and 2 INTs, I think your point would be stronger.

  • letownia

    Valid point concerning 50 tackles and 5 PDs but 2 interceptions is pretty arbitrary (Bobby Wagner has 72 tackles, 5 PDs but only 1 interception according to teamrankings dot com). My main point is that combining statistics in such a way is misleading.

    Ryan Shazier happens to lead LBs in PDs and is tied for the lead in interceptions by LBs (with 2). That is more impressive to me than the 3 stats that are arbitrarily selected together in order to make Ryan Shazier #1 in something.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yeah maybe it’s skirting it a little but it’s not THAT bad. Either way, the point remains that Shazier has been one of the league’s best playmaking ILBs, which was the point of the tweet anyway.

  • letownia

    Yeah – I’ll agree that it’s not too bad and that it does lend credence to the fact that Ryan Shazier is an elite ILB ( he is!!!). My only beef is that I see these sort of statistics way too often in the context of the NFL and it annoys me .

  • Joe

    I am a big fan of Shazier. Considering his skill set he should be producing spalsh plays but he needs to be more consistent.
    Case in point – the dropped INT on 4th down against Kansas City and the potential pick six against Detroit. These opportunities may have a major impact on the outcome of the game. In my opinion, those plays are made by an All-pro player and a candidate for DPOY. Luke Kuechly is the best LB in the league and that should be the objective.