While all sacks are created equal in a game book or on a stat sheet, not all of them really are when you look at why and how each one happened. Throughout the offseason I plan on looking at each of 56 sacks the Pittsburgh Steelers defense registered during the 2017 regular season and attempt to contextualize each of them. This process should help identify which defensive players are earning their sacks more than others.
We’ll now continue this series by looking at and contextualizing the 3 sacks that Steelers outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo registered during the 2017 season.
Sack #1 – Week 1 vs. Browns – 1Q – 1-10-CLV 37 – (10:18) (Shotgun) D.Kizer sacked at CLV 30 for -7 yards (A.Chickillo). – TIME 5.84 seconds
Chickillo’s first sack of the 2017 season came against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. As you can see in the clip, Chickillo attempts to bullrush Browns right tackle Shon Coleman but his failure to convert speed to power ultimately winds up with him bring stymied. To his credit, Chickillo is then able to swim over Coleman and ultimately track down rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer to cap off a coverage sack. This sack took almost 6 seconds to complete and thus isn’t considered a high quality one for Chickillo.
Sack #2 – Week 1 vs. Browns – 3Q – 1-10-PIT 36 – (1:40) (No Huddle) D.Kizer sacked at PIT 44 for -8 yards (A.Chickillo) – TIME 3.53 seconds
Chickillo actually registered two sacks in the season opener against the Browns with the second one coming in the third quarter. On this play, the Browns ran 4 vertical routes all past 15 yards with a running back leaking out to the middle of the field as a safety valve. Chickillo rushed up the arc on the left side against Coleman and once again tried to bull rush with both arms extended. Coleman’s poor footwork results in him flat-backing and that allowed Chickillo an easy opportunity to work back and ultimately track down Kizer as he attempted to escape the pocket. Kizer, as you can see, clearly missed a check down to a wide open running back in the middle of the field. While this ultimately resulted in Chickillo’s best sack of the season, it wasn’t a high quality one. Additionally, Steelers rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness at the end of this play for allegedly hitting Kizer late.
Sack #3 – Week 3 vs. Bears – 2Q – 1-19-CHI 26 – (15:00) M.Glennon sacked at CHI 16 for -10 yards (A.Chickillo) – TIME 3.89 seconds
Not much to see on what would turn out to be Chickillo’s third and final sack of the season that came on the first play of the second quarter in the Week 3 road game against the Chicago Bears. Chickillo is unblocked on this play off the right edge and after first honoring the potential end around hand off and avoiding the tight end coming across the formation to presumably block him, he easily changes direction and tracks down Bears quarterback Mike Glennon for the sack. Once again, this is obviously not a high quality sack.
Summary: Just like Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree, Chickillo failed to register a high quality sack during the 2017 season. Chickillo had just over 100 pass rush snaps during the 2017 season and most of those came during the first four games. The Steelers credited Chickillo with 3 total pressures and our very own Alex Kozora has him down for 5. Chickillo has yet to show that he has the consistent ability to convert speed to power and in addition to that, he still doesn’t possess a large arsenal of successful pass rush moves or counters.