Steelers All-22: Kelvin Beachum 2014 Sack Recap

As we have already done with Marcus Gilbert, we’re looking back at all the sacks allowed by Pittsburgh Steelers’ left tackle Kelvin Beachum. Our intent is to hone in on the plays that resulted in the biggest sin for an offensive lineman, giving up a sack. It’s not meant to give an overall picture of the player but some specific areas to improve upon based off a pattern of his worst plays.

By my charting, Beachum allowed a team-high six sacks in 2014, down one from the previous year.

The first one given up is a partial sack against the Cleveland Browns in Week One. Simple explanation. He’s beat around the edge by Paul Kruger. Camera angle makes it a little tough to tell but he could’ve absorbed the contact better. Feet seem to stop for a moment on his punch and that’s all Kruger needs. Pressure forces Ben Roethlisberger to climb the pocket, the initial pressure that creates the sack.

It’s tough to see in the GIF but in my original notes, I had written Beachum got hit in the face mask by the initial punch of Carolina Panthers’ end Mario Addison. It, as you’d expect, stuns Beachum for a moment and gives Addison the crease to turn upfield. As I wrote when it happened, I assigned the fault to the left tackle because there was no one else to give it to, but used this as an example of why the sack counter is not the say-all, end-all. Always a lot of variables that go into play.

Week Four against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a particularly tough outing for Beachum, not to mention the team. Three separate sacks were at least partially his fault. One two plays he was given half sack fault and the full fault on another.

When I originally broke down this play, I commented on him opening up the gate too quickly. Reviewing it again, I’ll soften on that stance a tad but stand by the other comment I made – Beachum’s feet stop moving on contact. With his hips opened up, he is unable to stay square to the pass rusher and beat around the edge. Has to keep sliding laterally to seal the edge and run the end up the arc.

He stops the initial rush well on this next sack but loses on the counter. Gets leveraged and loses his whole base when his right leg goes flying into the air. Defensive end sheds and drops Roethlisberger.

The final one is fully his fault. The left tackle struggles to keep his base defending this tackle/end stunt against the Buccaneers, one of the few times you’ll see Beachum double-over this badly.

The next sack given up wasn’t truly Beachum’s fault. Not because it was against J.J. Watt but Le’Veon Bell’s chip that knocks the DE inside as Beachum is kicksliding. Difficult for the tackle to recover.

Like what happened to Gilbert once during the year, the Steelers’ left tackle got out-leveraged by the DL on a stunt. Beachum does a nice job of getting his eyes inside once he sees the OLB twist inward. But he lacks the strength to absorb the punch, again blown back with his leg flying up, and gives up the sack.

That came against a 284 pound – albeit a “listed weight” –  player, too. Not a 320 pound behemoth. You’d like to see your tackle have some better core strength there, admittedly one of Beachum’s issues.

His final sack comes in Week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Again, a little fluky, It’s against the dominant Justin Houston, who is able to counter after an initial bull rush and Beachum is just unable to mirror. Pressure allowed by Ramon Foster doesn’t help Beachum either and I wrote it was a difficult decision whether to give the blame to the tackle or the guard.

I would’ve liked to see Beachum give up less ground here but on playaction with a deeper drop, you’re generally able to give up more than say, on a three step drop.

Following his roughest outing in Week Four, Beachum allowed just 2.5 sacks the rest of the season. One of them being an unlucky break against the inhuman Watt and another coming against the league leader in sacks. In essence, Beachum only allowed one sack that was squarely on him. Dazzling figure for any left tackle.

Two of his sacks were related to T/E stunts. I want to see him get a little better at picking up the looper. He lost both ways – to power and speed – on those twists.

Outside of that, the only other area he could improve in is keeping his lower half moving on contact. Pumping his legs while absorbing a punch; there’s a slight tendency for his feet to go dead on contact.

When we put all of the sacks on tape, there aren’t many ugly plays. A “good” sack reel, if there was such a thing. And hopefully creates additional perspective on why he should universally be though of as the team’s left tackle of the future.

Of course, that high praise comes with an equally high contract.

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