Self-evaluation is one of the most critical traits for anyone in the NFL, player or coach, to have. And Keith Butler was able to admit his mistakes, telling Missi Matthews he should’ve been more aggressive in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16.
“I think I learned that I gotta be a more aggressive defensive caller than I was against Baltimore,” he said in this week’s edition of Coach Speak on Steelers’ Nation Radio. “I think that’s what we do a little bit better. We have to mix it up. We can’t just be one thing all the time. We can’t blitz all the time, we can’t drop everyone into coverage all the time. Be hard to find in what we’re trying to do.”
Butler rushed five only 16.3% of the time in the loss to the Ravens, blitzing only 23.3%. That gameplan was flipped in the regular season finale as he blitzed a season high 54.1% of the time, resulting in seven sacks, and according to Butler, the Steelers could’ve had up to ten.
He drew the ire of fans for being passive but should equally be praised for making the necessary adjustments. Of course, it now matters very little what Butler did or didn’t do in the regular season. The Steelers are in the dance and it’s about responding to Cincinnati.
Butler has been passive against the Bengals in both matchups, failing to blitz over 23% in either game. It’ll be interesting to see how he balances his previous tendencies with his comments on being more aggressive and how the defense plays better when that’s the mindset. Likely starter A.J. McCarron has been sacked 12 times in 119 passing attempts this season.
In case you’re curious, Butler finished the season blitzing 33.2% of the time. 241 of 725 opportunities, according to our charting we do each week. That’s up from 28% under Dick LeBeau in 2014.