The Pittsburgh Steelers defense certainly didn’t play well in their regular season finale win against the Cleveland Browns and while there were a few positive individual performances that took place in that game, defensive coordinator Keith Butler wasn’t ready to highlight any of them during his weekly interview with Missi Matthews on Steelers Nation Radio.
“I didn’t like nothing about the Browns game,” said Butler. “It’s hard to play in that type of game because the human nature. Some guys are playing, some guys not, some guys feel like maybe they shouldn’t be playing, all of that stuff. Feeling sorry for their self. We did not play well at all and we’ve got to play a whole lot better than we did last week.
“I’m glad we’re past that and we won, we got out with a win, I’m certainly glade of that and I’m glad the thing is over with and done and we’re on to the next one. We’ve just got to simply play better, we’ve got to be a lot more in-tuned to what we’re doing and this is a one and done deal, this is sudden death for us and we’ve got to play like it.”
Just because that bad performance against the Browns came in a meaningless game, however, doesn’t mean that Butler is just going to forget about it and move on.
“I’ve always been honest with them and I’m going to be honest with them again and let them know if we do the same thing last week, this guy that ran for 200 yards on us the last time we played them will do the same thing this time, Butler told Matthews. “We can’t do that. We can’t have somebody running for 200 yards on us. That’s not us, we’ve got to be a good defense in terms of stopping the run, forcing people to pass and then getting after them when they pass.”
That guy that ran for over 200 yards against the Steelers in their Week 6 loss to the Dolphins was Miami running back Jay Ajayi and while missed tackles by the Pittsburgh defense played some role in him doing so, Butler told Matthews that it was more than just that.
“Some of it was and some of it was not replacing and getting where we need to be in the running game and stuff like that,” Butler said when asked if missed tackles was the biggest reason why Ajayi had the performance that he had in Week 6.
“We got cutoff a couple of times by with what we call an outside zone team and they do a good job with the running back. He [Ajayi] does a good job of running to the C-gaps and if you give it to him, he’ll take it. And he’s very physical, they were more physical than we were in the game the last time we played them and that’s got to change in this game.”
So, how does Butler plan on explaining to his defense that they must be more physical and how they need to control the line of scrimmage in Sunday’s rematch against the Dolphins?
“I think its very easy when you present them with the evidence of why they’ve got to do that,” said Butler. “And we’re going to do that. We’re going to show them how we played last time and how we’ve got to play this time to advance in the playoffs.”
As I previously posted, the Steelers defensive unit that will play Sunday against the Dolphins at Heinz Field will look a lot different than the one that was on the field in that Week 6 loss. In other words, it will be very disappointing if Ajayi has a repeat performance on Sunday. Ahead of the rematch, Butler intends on preaching several things to his defense to hopefully ensure that doesn’t happen.
“Tackling and getting to the ball and swarming to the ball-carrier,” Butler said.