I don’t need to tell any of you how disappointing the pass rush of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been so far through the team’s first three games and I certainly don’t have to tell defensive coordinator Keith Butler that, either. During his weekly segment on Steelers Nation Radio, Butler talked about how his defense is failing to get the job done so far this season when it comes to not only getting sacks, but applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks as well.
“Last year we were third in the league in sacks and we’ve got to really come on,” Butler told Miss Matthews. “Were behind right now in terms of sacking people at the rate we want to sack them and putting pressure on the quarterback, making him make decisions he don’t want to make. And we’ve got to do a better job of that and well try to do a little bit better than we have been.”
Something certainly does need to change moving forward when it comes to the Steelers defensive pass rush and while it sounds like Butler is actively addressing that issue this week in practice, he’s not willing to say what differences we’ll see schematically this Sunday.
“I’d rather not right now because I don’t want to tell anybody what we’re doing in terms of trying to improve it and stuff like that,” Butler said. “So, there are some things schematically we can do a little bit better, but it really comes down to beating guys one-on-one and stuff like that.
“Sometimes guys are double-teamed, it makes it tough for them, but not everybody’s double-teamed. Everybody that rushes is not double-teamed and when you’re not double-teamed, you’ve got to produce.”
When Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media on Tuesday, he indicated the same thing that Butler did as it relates to defensive players needing to win their one-on-one matchups while rushing the passer.
“We have to do a better job of putting these guys in position to win those one-on-one (pass-rush) matchups, and they in turn have to win those one-on-one matchups,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers have registered just one sack so far this season and even that one left a lot to be desired as it was recorded by outside linebacker Arthur Moats after he had originally dropped into coverage in the Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. To nobody’s surprise, that one sack currently has the Steelers ranked last in the league in that statistical category.
If it’s any consolation, the Steelers will host the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night at Heinz Field and their quarterback Alex Smith enters the game having already been sacked 9 times so far this season. While the Chiefs are expected to have an offensive attack Sunday night somewhat similar to one the Philadelphia Eagles used against the Steelers defense this past Sunday, Butler knows he can’t use the same scheme he used last Sunday for several obvious reasons even though he will have studied the upcoming opposing offense for two straight weeks now.
“We’re doing stuff different in this game than we did in the last game,” Butler said. “Obviously, we don’t want to show them the same defense as we showed Philadelphia because it didn’t work. So we’ve got to do a little bit better.”
Hopefully they can do a lot better against the Chiefs as a little bit better might not be enough.