Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II is now beginning his after the season media interviews and in a recent sit-down on Steelers Nation Radio with Bob Labriola, he identified one main area where the team needs to improve next season.
“Certainly on defense, said Rooney “I thought we got better as the year went on, but we still ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of passing defense and that’s not where you want to be. We know that we need to try and improve there. Certainly some areas of progress. We got pressure on the quarterback, something we know we have to do. We did produce turnovers, so there definitely were some positives there. But I think when you look at overall, we know we need to be better on defense, particularly on pass defense.
As I have pointed out all season with the net passing yardage differential stat, the Steelers pass defense certainly suffered during the 2015 season even though the unit was able to increase their sack and takeaway totals. Later in his interview with Labriola, Rooney again said that the pass defense needs to be the main focus during the offseason.
“To win a championship, you need to be solid on defense, even though you do have to score a lot of points these days,” said Rooney. “So I think that’s an area we’ve got to focus on. We drafted some players last year that will hopefully be able to come on and help us this year and then obviously we have the draft and free agency coming up. So, we’ve got some personnel decisions that we’ll have to make in that regard. But I think we made progress in a lot of areas, but certainly if there’s one area that sort of sticks out, at least statistically, it was our pass defense.”
So there you go, not that didn’t already know it.
One would think that the Steelers will be drafting a lot of defensive players again this year as the offense is currently in pretty good shape. The team will also need to decide whether or not to re-sign soon-to-be unrestricted free agents William Gay, Steve McLendon, Will Allen, Robert Golden and Antwon Blake as well.
As far as free agency goes, if the Steelers do add a starter via that route, one would think that player will be either a cornerback or safety. Additionally, I would expect them to draft a cornerback and safety in the coming months in addition to at least one linebacker and a defensive end.