The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 2-1 after their first three games of the 2016 regular season and their first three opponents shared several similarities when it came to how their defenses attempted to defend quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and company. During his weekly talk on Steelers Nation Radio, offensive coordinator Todd Haley talked a little about those similarities and trends that he observed in the team’s first three games of the regular season.
“Those three teams, the way the schedule fell, we got 4-3 teams, so you’re generally going to see a lot of the same things against those teams that play that way,” Haley said. “They’re going to play very similar defense with some of their subtle differences, but we haven’t seen a lot of pressure from the teams this year. That you could call a trend. We’re always going to see a lot of double-coverage on Antonio [Brown] and in situational football, especially. And we’ve seen that, but we were expecting it. So as far as that composite of three games, I would say that there were similarities.”
This coming Sunday night at Heinz Field the Steelers will host the 2-1 Kansas City Chiefs and just because their offense will be similar to the one that Pittsburgh faced last weekend in their road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, their defense will be totally different and Haley talked about that during his weekly interview with Bob Labriola.
“No, I mean this is Coach Bob Sutton, who I’ve known a long time. They’re a 3-4 defense, a little more of what we’re used to seeing within our division and in practice, obviously,” Haley said. “They’ve got some big-time outside rushers. Fortunately for us, Justin Houston is not playing, but you’ve got Tamba Hali and Dee Ford. Derrick Johnson, in my opinion, is the best inside backer in the game, just a play-making machine. So totally different from what we just saw, but a very good defense.”
In the Steelers first three games of the 2016 regular season, Roethlisberger has been sacked a total of 6 times and intercepted four times. Additionally, while the Steelers did win two of their first three games, their running backs have combined to average just 3.82 yards per carry and just 2.93 yards per carry in their last two games. Against the Chiefs, however, the Steelers will have starting running back Le’Veon Bell back on the field now that he has served his three-game suspension and Haley certainly is looking forward to his return.
“We’re excited to get Le’Veon back, both for his running ability, his blocking ability and his receiving ability,” said Haley. “He’s a unique talent that will definitely add to the group and we’ve got to move forward.”