Nobody is more aware of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ reputation in recent years against rookie quarterbacks than is defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who was, of course, Dick LeBeau’s linebackers coach during his long tenure here, and in that time, he proved to be a terror against passers working in their first seasons in the league.
The Steelers obviously have a rookie on their plate tomorrow when they travel of Philadelphia to try to get the best of rookie Carson Wentz, whose Eagles are 2-0—though they have not exactly faced the upper echelon of the league quite yet, and Pittsburgh’s defense will clearly be the biggest challenge faced thus far.
The Steelers currently have statistically the best red-zone defensive rating in the league, and their third-down success rate is also impressive. They have allowed just two touchdowns through two games while averaging just 16 points against, and that includes touchdowns in the fourth quarter of each game while Pittsburgh already had a two-possession league.
So Wentz knows what sort of challenge is in front of him, but Butler and the Steelers never want to take anything for granted, especially given the unknowns of this Eagles offense that features a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator.
Butler, in fact, confirmed that the Steelers have spent a lot of time looking at the Chiefs’ offense from last year, whom they conveniently played in 2015, where rookie head coach Todd Pederson was the offensive coordinator from 2013 through last season. conveniently, he was the successor to the successor to Haley’s staff, as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator was Kansas City’s head coach from 2009 to 2011.
It would not be surprising to find that there are many parallels between what Pederson did with the Chiefs’ offense last year and what the Eagles offense has done in four preseason games and two regular season games.
Asked what sort of plays that he has seen translate from the Kansas City tape to the Eagles, Butler pointed to “the zone read”, describing it as “familiar”. He also pointed to a lot of the formations that Philadelphia uses, which were prevalent when the Steelers faced the Chiefs a year ago.
“They’re gonna take shots, they’re gonna mix it up a little bit, up-tempo some a little bit, and then slow it down a little bit”. He also pointed to the Eagles’ use of personnel changes being similar to what the coaches saw from Kansas City a year ago.
“We’ve looked at some things they’ve done in Kansas City last year, we’ve looked at what they’ve done in preseason, and we’ve looked at what they’ve done in the last two games, so we’re building our game plan off of what we’ve seen there”.