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Numbers Crunch: Preseason Charting Takeaways

By Alex Kozora

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason has finished up, here is a final look back on the defensive side of the ball before we jump into Week One of the regular season. Random assortment of tidbits below from their 304 snaps.

Snap Counts

Defensive Line

Cam Heyward: 111
Josh Mauro: 103
Stephon Tuitt: 103
Daniel McCullers: 100
Cam Thomas: 88
Ethan Hemer: 56
Steve McLendon: 55
Brian Arnfelt: 41
Nick Williams: 35
Hebron Fangupo: 22
Brett Keisel: 19
Roy Philon: 19
Al Lapuaho: 3

Linebacker

Arthur Moats: 127
Lawrence Timmons: 127
Ryan Shazier: 121
Chris Carter: 112
Terence Garvin: 112
Jason Worilds: 103
Jarvis Jones: 101
Vince Williams: 99
Howard Jones: 92
Dan Molls: 76
Vic So’oto: 59
Sean Spence: 44
Jordan Zumwalt: 25

Cornerback

Antwon Blake: 132
Ike Taylor: 127
Isaiah Green: 116
Cortez Allen: 114
William Gay: 109
Brice McCain: 94
Devin Smith: 27
Shaquille Richardson: 19
Lew Toler: 18
Dayonne Nunley: 8

Safety

Mike Mitchell: 130
Shamarko Thomas: 127
Robert Golden: 107
Troy Polamalu: 101
Ross Ventrone: 62
Jordan Dangerfield: 45
Will Allen: 32

– One of the chief concerns to the defense this year is the Steelers’ ability to stop the run out of nickel. The Steelers used nickel on 161 of 304 snaps, 52.9%. Of those 161 snaps, they allowed 5.52 YPC against runs – 44 carries for 243 yards.

Compare that to the team’s run defense in its base 3-4 of just 3.50 YPC – 82 carries for 287 yards (different numbers than what I had on Twitter, found an error after the fact). Numbers are to be expected and match up with the intuitive thought that nickel is worse against the run but no we have data to back the assertion up.

– Combined, fifth rounder Shaquille Richardson and sixth rounder Jordan Zumwalt played 44 snaps in four games.

– The Steelers rushed 6+ defenders on just seven of the 304 snaps. A defensive back was blitzed on 29, or 9.5%.

– Pittsburgh recorded six sacks during the preseason. One every 27.5 dropbacks.

– The Steelers allowed seven plays of 20+ yards. Six passes and one run, Rashad Jennings’ 73 yard touchdown.

– Opposing quarterbacks completed only 56.7% of their passes against the Steelers. Obviously need to keep in mind playing second and third string quarterbacks will create a lower number. Oddly, if you adjust it to include just the first two quarters, taking away a lot of the backups’ playing time, the completion percentage actually dips to 56.4%.

– 45.4% of opponents’ plays were run in Steelers’ territory. Numbers are all relative but I don’t consider that to be a promising number.

– Arthur Moats played 102 snaps along the left side. 101 as an OLB and once with his hand in the ground as the DE. He only played 25 at ROLB. Felt like and wish he would have received more.

– Howard Jones saw 22 snaps at LOLB and 68 on the right side. 58 at ROLB and an additional ten with his hand in the ground.

– Brice McCain played 61 snaps as the nickel corner. 33 on the outside. 32 at RCB.

– Eleven of Shamarko Thomas’ 16 preseason tackles came within four yards of the LOS. Talk about a box defender. Additionally, he forced a fumble on a tackle 18 yards downfield.

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