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 Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year

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Hawaii 5-0

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PostSubject: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:45 pm

Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year

Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

Choosing the best-player-available method over fulfilling a need, the Steelers have chosen linebackers in three straight first rounds of the NFL draft. While loading the front seven with talent, the Steelers won games in 2015 with a defensive backfield rotation that included no young draft picks of any kind. The only impact defensive back who was drafted by the Steelers, William Gay, was a fifth-rounder in 2007.

And so Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert approaches this year's draft with the proverbial "need" staring him in the face.

The Steelers didn't mean to neglect the secondary in the past.

"It's just how it broke," Colbert said.

The Steelers don't have to apologize for picking whom they thought were the best available in first rounds -- in recent years, that's meant Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree.

But they do need to upgrade a unit that, despite a few bright spots, ranked 30th in pass defense with 4,350 yards allowed. This much is obvious.

The Steelers pick 25th overall this year, meaning at least the top two corners will be off the board as the team selects.

The Steelers' approach is simple -- the five free agent defensive backs are still under consideration for re-signing and there's motivation to add more pieces.

Senquez Golson, who missed his rookie season to injury, should be a factor for a Steelers secondary that is looking for reinforcements. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
One is Senquez Golson, the second-rounder from a year ago who missed his entire rookie season with a torn labrum.

The free agents are Gay, Antwon Blake, Robert Golden, Will Allen and Brandon Boykin, who was acquired from Philadelphia last year in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Though the Steelers don't want to force things, Colbert seems to recognize there's a window for improvement.

"We haven't written off any of those [free agents]," said Colbert of his secondary. "But we want to be able to add to it as well."

Late in the season, the Steelers often played three or four corners at a time. They also liked sliding third safety Golden into a linebacker spot next to Shazier on some passing downs. Depth is crucial for those looks, which is why they might re-sign at least a few from last year's secondary.

But the Steelers also need playmakers at corner to help the defense get off the field late in games. Most games in 2015 were close in the fourth quarter.

Golson should help, but the defense will need reinforcements.

"We didn't close out games when we had opportunities," Colbert said of his defense.

http://espn.go.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/17772/steelers-didnt-mean-to-neglect-secondary-it-wont-this-year

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:58 pm

Good article. The question has to be asked though: what if Golson doesn't develop into a starting CB? If he doesn't, we are in pretty rough shape. I'm assuming either Gay or Boykin come back (but not both). I don't know what FAs are available, and if we have the budget for them.

I'm still thinking Blake will be back, regardless of what happens. Should be pretty cheap. Hopefully, he isn't lining up against their #1 WR.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:13 pm

jak341 wrote:


I'm still thinking Blake will be back, regardless of what happens. Should be pretty cheap. Hopefully, he isn't lining up against their #1 WR.

Hopefully he is lining up against the BC Lions #1 WR, because he doesn't belong in the NFL unless he is covering kicks.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:15 pm

Colbert hasn't drafted a Decent DB since Troy...why would anyone have confidence he can do so now...good to Premium DB's have been staring him in the face for years while he drafted players who aren't even on the roster anymore...
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:44 pm

BKAnthem wrote:
Colbert hasn't drafted a Decent DB since Troy...why would anyone have confidence he can do so now...good to Premium DB's have been staring him in the face for years while he drafted players who aren't even on the roster anymore...

I'm not gonna go do all the numbers but I think most of the best corners in the league today come from mid to later rounds and less so from the first and second. Aside from Revis, Eric Berry.

I mean Chris Harris was an undrafted FA. Norman in the 5th round. Sherman in the 5th (6th?). Patrick Peterson 5th.

Seems like anyone that looks premium or looks like they aren't ready, either instance seems to have less than or equal bearing on whether they're starting worthy, than intangibles. Everyone touts QB as the hardest position to play but I think Corner has a stronger argument.

I don't think we can blame Colbert for not drafting the right DBs. I don't think there's a DB drafting expert of a GM in the entire league. Some just get lucky and some don't. I'd first blame Coach Lake over Colbert for our secondary woes.

All though, regardless, secondary should have been addressed better in drafts prior to last years (where our draft picks fizzled out).

I have been and will continue to be on record as saying I think Golson will be one of those lucky picks. His measurables might concern people. But if intangibles and football IQ are equally or more important, then I think Senquez will be closer to the Antonio Brown of the secondary, than the Dri Archer of the secondary.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:55 pm

KeepHarrisonTilHes92 wrote:
BKAnthem wrote:
Colbert hasn't drafted a Decent DB since Troy...why would anyone have confidence he can do so now...good to Premium DB's have been staring him in the face for years while he drafted players who aren't even on the roster anymore...

I'm not gonna go do all the numbers but I think most of the best corners in the league today come from mid to later rounds and less so from the first and second. Aside from Revis, Eric Berry.

I mean Chris Harris was an undrafted FA. Norman in the 5th round. Sherman in the 5th (6th?). Patrick Peterson 5th.


Patrick Peterson was drafted 5th by the Cardinals, but not in the 5th round.

he was drafted 5th overall in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:04 pm

Hawaii 5-0 wrote:
KeepHarrisonTilHes92 wrote:
BKAnthem wrote:
Colbert hasn't drafted a Decent DB since Troy...why would anyone have confidence he can do so now...good to Premium DB's have been staring him in the face for years while he drafted players who aren't even on the roster anymore...

I'm not gonna go do all the numbers but I think most of the best corners in the league today come from mid to later rounds and less so from the first and second. Aside from Revis, Eric Berry.

I mean Chris Harris was an undrafted FA. Norman in the 5th round. Sherman in the 5th (6th?). Patrick Peterson 5th.


Patrick Peterson was drafted 5th by the Cardinals, but not in the 5th round.

he was drafted 5th overall in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Well he was a damn good pick

I spaced there thinking he was one of those late rounder gems. I hope that doesn't diminish my overall point though. This current draft has been said to have significant depth at corner, but does it really? I know we need secondary help but I'm wary of using the first round pick on a corner. I'd be a bit more relieved to see a Safety. But I kinda want BPA or Vernon Butler, and see what we can do for the secondary the rounds after, same approach as last year but with hopefully a better outcome. Like Colbert said, that's just the way it broke.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:42 pm

there were decent dbs in last years draft but the steelers were right to go OLB. The 3-4 we run runs off of a run stuffing DT (we don't have) and a strong outside pass rush from our OLBs. If we had that our dbs would not have been so exposed and I think that was their thinking.

no matter who we have in the secondary, if we cant get a rush they wont be able to hold coverage. its not the plan that isn't working, they are building properly and in the right order but its the lack of development outside.

lets hope Jones and Dupree take the next step next year or we could have Revis back there and he will get torched
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:48 pm

steelers5895 wrote:
there were decent dbs in last years draft but the steelers were right to go OLB.  The 3-4 we run runs off of a run stuffing DT (we don't have) and a strong outside pass rush from our OLBs.  If we had that our dbs would not have been so exposed and I think that was their thinking.

no matter who we have in the secondary, if we cant get a rush they wont be able to hold coverage. its not the plan that isn't working, they are building properly and in the right order but its the lack of development outside.

lets hope Jones and Dupree take the next step next year or we could have Revis back there and he will get torched

I agree with this actually (to a point), this is why I want Vernon Butler in round one because he's a run game guy first, but flashes well in pass rush. I think we also have young enough talent in Cockrell and Golson now that if we get a decent pass rush going, then a first rounder cover guy isn't needed. However a FS (and move Mitchell or a SS in the first (if the value is there) I wouldn't worry much about. That would still be nice.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:27 pm

I hope they stick with whatever strategy they've been using. For those hoping we pick a lockdown corner, good luck, those are usually gone by pick #5

Colbert hit the jackpot with troy, but we also had to trade up to get him
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:35 pm

KeepHarrisonTilHes92 wrote:
Hawaii 5-0 wrote:
KeepHarrisonTilHes92 wrote:
BKAnthem wrote:
Colbert hasn't drafted a Decent DB since Troy...why would anyone have confidence he can do so now...good to Premium DB's have been staring him in the face for years while he drafted players who aren't even on the roster anymore...

I'm not gonna go do all the numbers but I think most of the best corners in the league today come from mid to later rounds and less so from the first and second. Aside from Revis, Eric Berry.

I mean Chris Harris was an undrafted FA. Norman in the 5th round. Sherman in the 5th (6th?). Patrick Peterson 5th.


Patrick Peterson was drafted 5th by the Cardinals, but not in the 5th round.

he was drafted 5th overall in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Well he was a damn good pick

I spaced there thinking he was one of those late rounder gems. I hope that doesn't diminish my overall point though.

Pro Bowl CBs Vontae Davis (Colts), Aqib Talib (Broncos), Adam Jones (Bengals), Patrick Peterson (Cardinals), Desmond Trufant (Falcons), Marcus Peters (Chiefs) and Darrelle Revis (Jets) were all 1st round selections.

there are exceptions and a team can sometimes get lucky and find a later round CB gem. however, we've been striking out lately trying to do that with Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne, Shaquille Richardson, Crezdon Butler, Terrence Frederick, Joe Burnett etc.

if there is a good CB available when it's our turn at 1(25) and if he's the BPA we should take him...

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:30 am

steelers5895 wrote:
.  The 3-4 we run runs off of a run stuffing DT (we don't have) and a strong outside pass rush from our OLBs.  

Butler ran more 1-gap run defense this year. Its not quite the same as what LeBeau used to run. Heyward, Tuitt, Walton, McLendon and another DE will all be a solid group on the the D line under that scheme. I don't think a 2-gap NT is as important to the scheme like it used to be.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:30 am

El-Gonzo Jackson wrote:
steelers5895 wrote:
.  The 3-4 we run runs off of a run stuffing DT (we don't have) and a strong outside pass rush from our OLBs.  

Butler ran more 1-gap run defense this year.  Its not quite the same as what LeBeau used to run.  Heyward, Tuitt, Walton, McLendon and another DE will all be a solid group on the the D line under that scheme.  I don't think a 2-gap NT is as important to the scheme like it used to be.

the 1 gap was run based on the personnel. if we had the run stuffer instead of a quick penetrating DT he would run it different. when you have/draft athletic ILBs and rush OLBs you have to have a big DT on downs 1 and 2 to occupy blockers in hopes to put the offense in long 3rd down situations. When you take away the run completely you can pin your ears back and get creative with the blitz as the offense becomes predictable.

Our defense, although good against the run, it could be run on and teams knew why bother run when we can pass all over them. we were off balance a lot last year.

I think a casey Hampton is more important with our defense.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:22 pm

steelers5895 wrote:
El-Gonzo Jackson wrote:
steelers5895 wrote:
.  The 3-4 we run runs off of a run stuffing DT (we don't have) and a strong outside pass rush from our OLBs.  

Butler ran more 1-gap run defense this year.  Its not quite the same as what LeBeau used to run.  Heyward, Tuitt, Walton, McLendon and another DE will all be a solid group on the the D line under that scheme.  I don't think a 2-gap NT is as important to the scheme like it used to be.

the 1 gap was run based on the personnel.  if we had the run stuffer instead of a quick penetrating DT he would run it different.  when you have/draft athletic ILBs and rush OLBs you have to have a big DT on downs 1 and 2 to occupy blockers in hopes to put the offense in long 3rd down situations.  When you take away the run completely you can pin your ears back and get creative with the blitz as the offense becomes predictable.

Our defense, although good against the run, it could be run on and teams knew why bother run when we can pass all over them.  we were off balance a lot last year.

I think a casey Hampton is more important with our defense.  

This is outdated. That is what the 3-4 was until about 5 years ago. The Steelers run their nickel and other sub-packages 75% of the time. That means a NT is only on the field for 25% of the game. And they weren't running 1 gap because they didn't have the personnel to run 2 gap. They ran 1 gap because they drafted the players to play 1 gap.

Finally, the Steelers were actually halfway decent against the run this year. When they weren't, you could see players like Timmons, Blake, etc, etc missing tackles or overrunning the play.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:57 pm

This should help the conversation a bit. It's an old artcle, but still useful.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2007958-nfl-101-the-basics-of-the-3-4-defensive-front
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:23 pm

they'll make a huge splash in free agency by signing brice mccain, lol
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:58 pm

Fire Arians wrote:
they'll make a huge splash in free agency by signing brice mccain, lol

From your mouth to Kevin Colbert's ears.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2016/02/report-steelers-interested-in-cb-brice-mccain/
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:29 pm

they drafted McCullers and signed cam Thomas for 1 gap?
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:01 pm

steelers5895 wrote:
they drafted McCullers and signed cam Thomas for 1 gap?

No, they drafted Heyward and Tuitt to play 1 gap. Kinda funny you're looking at the 3rd and 4th stringers. I believe even if LeBeau were in Pittsburgh this past season, they would have moved to 1 gap. This was something they were building toward for a few years.

McCullers was drafted as a backup for McLendon, who as you might remember, seemed to be injured the prior two years to McCullers drafting. You still need really big bodies for short yardage and goalline and in obvious run situations where you might go back to the standard 3-4 (and away from the subpackage), which as I state, they run 25% of the time.

Cam Thomas was a filler that they thought could play multiple positions. Interestingly enough, he was a 1 gapper in SD and struggled with 2 gap his first year here.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:31 pm

so they are going to 1 gap and drafting and signing for 1 gap and as they have been doing it our defense has gotten progressively worse? where is the logic in that?

you don't draft and hold onto a player for goal line and short yardage in mind which is 2-5 plays a game. that's a waste of a game day roster spot. They were hoping McCullers could be that big bodies 2 gap DT. he isn't.

i'll believe they are transitioning to 1 gap if they don't address the DT with a big body.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:10 pm

I think they will snag a Safety if to many corners get snatched up prior to their round 1 pick. Second round will be the opposite of the other. From their it's a DT then OLB. Just my guess of course they might shock us all and take a TE if no one else has...
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:13 pm

Hawaii 5-0 wrote:
KeepHarrisonTilHes92 wrote:
Hawaii 5-0 wrote:
KeepHarrisonTilHes92 wrote:
BKAnthem wrote:
Colbert hasn't drafted a Decent DB since Troy...why would anyone have confidence he can do so now...good to Premium DB's have been staring him in the face for years while he drafted players who aren't even on the roster anymore...

I'm not gonna go do all the numbers but I think most of the best corners in the league today come from mid to later rounds and less so from the first and second. Aside from Revis, Eric Berry.

I mean Chris Harris was an undrafted FA. Norman in the 5th round. Sherman in the 5th (6th?). Patrick Peterson 5th.


Patrick Peterson was drafted 5th by the Cardinals, but not in the 5th round.

he was drafted 5th overall in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Well he was a damn good pick

I spaced there thinking he was one of those late rounder gems. I hope that doesn't diminish my overall point though.

Pro Bowl CBs Vontae Davis (Colts), Aqib Talib (Broncos), Adam Jones (Bengals), Patrick Peterson (Cardinals), Desmond Trufant (Falcons), Marcus Peters (Chiefs) and Darrelle Revis (Jets) were all 1st round selections.

there are exceptions and a team can sometimes get lucky and find a later round CB gem. however, we've been striking out lately trying to do that with Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne, Shaquille Richardson, Crezdon Butler, Terrence Frederick, Joe Burnett etc.

if there is a good CB available when it's our turn at 1(25) and if he's the BPA we should take him...

Thank You...Colbert Should have fallen Ass backwards into a decent CB with as many 3rd round and lower selections he's struck out on...Can't blame Lake for lack of TALENT
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:13 am

The Steelers should sign him:


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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:26 am

steelers5895 wrote:
so they are going to 1 gap and drafting and signing for 1 gap and as they have been doing it our defense has gotten progressively worse? where is the logic in that?  

you don't draft and hold onto a player for goal line and short yardage in mind which is 2-5 plays a game.  that's a waste of a game day roster spot.  They were hoping McCullers could be that big bodies 2 gap DT.  he isn't.  

i'll believe they are transitioning to 1 gap if they don't address the DT with a big body.

Started a new thread for defensive line scheme discussions. We'll allow this thread to get back on topic. Here's the thread on d-line scheme for anyone that would like to join that discussion:

Defensive Line Scheme by Dr Seuss (1 Gap, 2 Gap, Red Gap, Blue Gap)
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers didn't mean to neglect secondary -- they won't this year   Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:37 pm

Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 3.2.16

March 2, 2016

Steve: Seems like in past few drafts Steelers pick the best athlete available ..if the very top CBs or S's are gone (again) by 25 do you think they may take the "best" athlete regardless of position?

Gerry Dulac: You are correct to some degree. If none of the CBs and safeties whom they have a first-grade on are available, they will go to the next highest grade at a position of need, say, TE or DLine. Now, one thing I've learned with them -- they do not pass up a skill player with a high grade if one of their other need players is not available. But I think their focus this year is the back end of the defense and there should be enough players with first-round grades to appease them.

Guest: I understand why the Steelers didn't use/need free agency around 2008. They brought back proven players, their team returned all 22 starters one year, and their back-ups were starter quality. Do you really think they are good enough talent wise across the board AND deep enough to pretend they can continue this trend? Where would we have been without Mitchell and DeAngelo last year?

Gerry Dulac: No I don't think they intend to do what they did around 2008. I think they intend to sign a free agent to improve their secondary. I think you will see them pursue a CB almost immediately.

kjacksonpgh: Hi Gerry, with the combine now over is there anyone who stood out that you believe the Steelers should select at their 25th draft position?

Gerry Dulac: The two corners who stood out who could be in their range are Eli Apple of Ohio State and William Jackson III of Houston. I think Apple is the better of the two. He has size and speed and is only 20.

me: Do you think they'll be able to re-sign Foster? If not, is there someone one the roster now who could replace him?

Gerry Dulac: I do not think they will re-sign Foster. He will become a free agent and someone will make him a nice offer as a consistent, durable starter on a playoff team. And the Steelers will not match that type of offer. Who will replace him? We shall see. But I think you will see them draft a guard or sign one in free agency.

Tom: If the Steelers do pick a CB in rd 1, how much time will Steelers fans give him before labeling him a bust? How likely will a rookie turn into a shutdown corner before 3 years?

Gerry Dulac: I don't think anybody is viewing any corner they take as a shutdown corner. I think they will be content to get a corner who is worthy of being a starter.

Jake from State Farm: Gerry, what about tearing up c. allen's deal, and then keeping him around on an incentive based deal, because if he can get through his "problems" perhaps he can become what they thought he was. something to justify all that money were giving him haha

Gerry Dulac: I don't see how they can justify keeping Allen after he was benched for poor play each of the past two seasons, especially at his price tag ($5.75 million cap hit in 2016). Even if you restructured his deal, why would you pay him more up-front money after his past two seasons?

My Card says Ace of Spades: There are a ton of high prospect D-lineman projected in the first round? That is a position the Steelers are very thin at but not likely to take high. Is there depth in the draft or all they all high end prospects?

Gerry Dulac: No, I think they can get a DL on second round, maybe even third, who can help. I like the kid from Illinois, Jihad Ward, in that spot. But you might also see a TE in the second or third round.

Tom: Knock on Jackson and Apple seems to be they can cover a guy but don't make the play on the ball. Isn't that exactly what we have in Cortez Allen and Blake, great coverage but allow the catch?

Gerry Dulac: I wouldn't compare either of those players to Apple, especially Blake. Hey, the truly elite impact players come early in the draft, like the top 4 or 5 picks. Not at 25.

My Card says Ace of Spades: Wouldn't signing a starting TE or CB in free agency really open up what the Steelers could do in the first round of the draft?

Gerry Dulac: To some degree, yes. It would ease the urgency, but not the need.

Jake from State Farm: So you don't think that they will resign Foster; Do you think they coukd afford to loose Beachum and Foster? (And yes im a pretty big Villanueva fan)

Gerry Dulac: No I don't. It's the same deal with Beachum. It depends on what type of offer he gets in free agency. The Steelers would like him back but I don't believe they are going to chase him with big money. But I also don't think they are convinced Al V is their left tackle of the future.

Guest: I really think this is the year the Steelers make a big signing or TWO in FA. Delusions or real possibility?

Gerry Dulac: You might have to define big, because they never sign big. Just solid to good.

Renegade: Is FA SS Weddle acquisition a realistic possibility, in your opinion?

Gerry Dulac: I don't know if it's realistic, but it's not far-fetched. Tomlin seems to really fawn all over him when he talks about him

Guest: Gerry, heard you say on radio that you can tell who are Steeler-type prospects and who aren't. Any players you noticed at the combine this year that strike you that way?

Gerry Dulac: I'm not saying I'm prescient, but you just get a sense..so, yes, Eli Apple. He passes my eye and ear test as a Steelers CB

Latrobe guy: Hi Gerry, what's more important for the Steelers, sign a FA safety to play now with Mitchell and draft a CB, or sign a FA corner and draft a safety?

Gerry Dulac: CB is more important than safety right now

to read rest of chat:

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2016/03/02/Gerry-Dulac-s-Steelers-chat-transcript-3-2-16/stories/201603020176

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