Blocking and tackling.
In football, especially the January variety, that’s what it comes down to.
Our own David Todd asked Mike Tomlin in today’s press conference if there is still an emphasis placed on that, especially after a Browns’ game with some ugly missed tackles, even by veteran players.
“Absolutely. Guys work at it daily. Formally and informally. We got a group of guys that you’ll see tomorrow, post practice, that does form tackling on the pop up sleds,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin noted there is plenty of teaching into creating a good tackler, beginning with the approach
“We continually talk about the approach to tackling. Often times, being an effective tackler isn’t about the tackle itself. It’s about the approach to the tackle. The position that you put yourself in order to effectively tackle. You get an opportunity to do that every time the ball is snapped in practice regardless of how you are dressed or the attire you are in or the tempo of the drill. We coach the approach and coach it in great detail.
I think guys coach each other in terms of pursuit of the football and not pursuing behind the same color jersey and things of that nature. Those are some of the things we do formally and informally to stay sharp in that nature.”
Missed tackles have hindered the team throughout the year, led by Antwon Blake’s 28 misses. According to PFF, that is a cornerback record for as long as they’ve been tracking stats. Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns was another example. Duke Johnson stiff-armed Lawrence Timmons and Will Allen on a 20 yard catch and run at the end of the half, helping to set the Browns’ up for a field goal before the break. Vince Williams and William Gay missed Johnson again on another third down, letting Cleveland convert.
For the Steelers to win Saturday, they’ll have to tackle well against a talented Cincinnati Bengals’ offense. Some of the team’s most impressive defensive performances, the win over the Arizona Cardinals comes to mind, were unsurprisingly their most sound tackling performances.