Not picking an under-the-radar player here. Going with a big name. Because the Pittsburgh Steelers need a playmaker to counter one of the best rushing offenses in the league.
The Steelers’ defensive line is in a bad place at a worse time. No Cam Heyward. No Javon Hargrave. There aren’t many rotational pieces and will call to action the likes of L.T. Walton, Daniel McCullers, and possibly even Caushaud Lyons. Cast of All-Stars they are not.
That might make life more difficult on Shazier but in a game like this, one that means a lot for the Steelers, there can’t be excuses. He’s had a great season but we’ve seen him be susceptible to some of the window dressing offenses do in the run game.
It’s an aspect I think he’s gotten better at this year, the number one area we looked at during the offseason, but Sunday may be his biggest test.
We broke down the Buffalo Bills’ offense yesterday and it’s as complex as they come. Lots of fakes, reads, arc blocks, all packaged in a physical, gap-schemed with one of the league’s most accomplished runners. Easy to stop, right?
Shazier may also be a factor in bringing down Tyrod Taylor. He won’t be spying on him that often, or according to him, at all (probably a lie), but he’s going to be brought on blitzes and spot drop in coverage. He’ll have to finish any potential sacks and in coverage, he’ll have eyes on the quarterback and be one of the first lines of defense if Taylor tries to flee Alcatraz.
Stop the run, contain Taylor, win the game. It’s that simple. It isn’t easy, my confidence is actually sorta low, but to prove me wrong, it starts with Shazier.