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 Steelers' defense the new Steel Curtain?

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PostSubject: Steelers' defense the new Steel Curtain?    Steelers' defense the new Steel Curtain?  EmptySat Dec 14, 2019 1:22 am

Good article on the Steelers D this year....

Quote :
If you're a longtime Steelers fan who can recall the teams of the 1970s, you might be experiencing a case of deja vu when watching the 2019 version of Pittsburgh's defense. Sparked by an athletic core of defenders with disruptive games and nasty dispositions, the Steelers are playing the kind of ball that evokes memories of the Steel Curtain units led by "Mean" Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Donnie Shell and Mel Blount.

Although I'm not ready to anoint the present-day Steelers defense as the foundation of a budding dynasty like we saw in the '70s, there's no denying the pieces are in place for Mike Tomlin's troops to flex their muscles on opponents. This is a unit with five-star players at every level. Their individual and collective dominance pops when studying the All-22 Coaches Film.

For instance, Cameron Heyward and Javon Hargrave have combined for 12 sacks while anchoring a defensive line that's stuffing the run and harassing quarterbacks at every turn. Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt have quietly become the most disruptive pass-rushing tandem in the league. Dupree has set career highs in sacks (9.5), tackles for loss (13) and forced fumbles (4) while teaming with Watt to rack up 22 combined sacks. Watt's 12.5 sacks are tied for fourth-most in the league, and his 29 QB hits place him in a tie for the league lead.

Rookie linebacker Devin Bush is the team's leading tackler with 88 stops (second-most of any rookie defender). The former Michigan standout has added more speed, athleticism and sizzle to the middle of the defense, providing a spark that's been missing since Ryan Shazier suffered his unfortunate injury in 2017.

In the secondary, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden have become an elite ballhawking duo, utilizing instincts, awareness and ball skills to swipe errant passes. While Haden has been viewed as a top-tier defender at times during his 10 NFL seasons, he has been reborn in the Steelers' scheme. The veteran is back to performing like a CB1 on the island, exhibiting timely playmaking ability in the team's straightforward zone-blitz scheme. Fitzpatrick has emerged as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, settling in as the team's center fielder following a trade from the Miami Dolphins after Week 2. The second-year pro has eight takeaways. He is the NFL's only player with five interceptions and more than 45 tackles. That's outstanding production for someone who didn't participate in training camp with his current squad and is still mastering the nuances of the playbook.

With so many guys playing at a high level, it's not surprising the Steelers lead the NFL in sacks (48) and takeaways (33). In fact, they're on the verge of becoming the second team since the 1970 merger to lead the NFL outright in both categories. The last team to accomplish the feat? The 1974 Steelers, who capped the season off with a Super Bowl IX victory, the first of their six Super Bowl wins.

Full story here:

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers' defense the new Steel Curtain?    Steelers' defense the new Steel Curtain?  EmptySat Dec 14, 2019 4:06 am

Moreover, I can see Tomlin's fingerprints all over the defense when I look at how its performing and the sequence of the play calls. Part of the success of the Tampa 2 philosophy stems from being able to defend the run without stacking the box with eight-man fronts. The Steelers have stacked the box (eight or more defenders) at the lowest rate in the NFL (2.9% of opponents' rush attempts) while surrendering only 3.8 yards per carry (fourth-lowest in the league), per NGS.

What we've all suspected about who is calling the shots. I like that he mentions Dungy as a Tomlin mentor so to speak. I love the job Tomlin is doing this year. Tony Dungy is not only a great coach he is a great guy who was mentored by Chuck Noll. There is not better lineage in the NFL. But I'm biased. Steelers' defense the new Steel Curtain?  1647293567
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