Interview: Robert Golden Says Steelers’ Defense Making Big Transformation

Bringing you back another Pittsburgh Steelers’ interview courtesy of our good friend Ron Lippock of the Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin. Today, we bring you his interview with safety Robert Golden. Golden speaks extensively about the rookies and scheme changes Keith Butler has made.

First, let us know how OTA’s and mini-camp went this year versus last?

The addition of more Cover 2 is a good thing with these new defensive backs. These new corners and Coty Sensabaugh are really making this defense better.

Tell me more about the changes and how they affect you as well.

We’re playing as a team. No individuals – it’s a team thing. We’re playing all together and coming as one to get number seven this year. The guys behind the starters – the guys behind us will be ready. I like where our defense is at. These cornerbacks can cover the backs out of the backfield and play bump and run – the whole lot.

What specifically about the rookies do you like?

They’re gonna be good. I’m watching them – they are committed to the game. They’re listening and watching a lot of film. We’re at the point where we’re all on the same page. Coach talks to us a lot about us thinking the same way as the scheme.

I spoke with Demarcus Ayers who said the defense was much better at disguising looks in camp. Tell me more about that.

Over the years a whole lot of teams matched up against us and saw what we were doing. Now we’re stacking guys behind each other more – we’re not letting the offense see what we’re doing. And behind that the Cover 2 makes us better.

We’re moving to the ball faster, too. We’re not lining up at the last second and not moving into position until the last minute. We’re also not allowing anything up the middle. People said our defense was soft last year, but that was just because teams changed the pace on us and ran the ball in pass formations. But we’re ready for that now and we’re much faster on defense.

And how do you fix the slot issues?

The short pass killed us last year – the slot is where teams beat us. We’re taking away the inside and forcing teams to beat us on the outside. We played a lot of taller, faster receivers and teams didn’t really stretch the field against us. Now, we’re going to force them to try – make them go downfield. We have longer, lankier cornerbacks to cover those guys and can use those new guys to cover the slot guys better. We can bring the safety up or let the corners play the slot. This year we got the slot guys we need in the draft – both guys are exceptional.

Tell us about the offensive side of the ball – changes there and how that helps the defense?

With Bryant coming back, he takes up the middle and lets AB run free by himself. He’ll win those battles every time. If they back off we can run a lot. The running backs are exceptional – Bell, and Conner can catch the ball really well out of the backfield too. I watched him a lot in college – his career is really gonna pay off for him. He could start. This could be our year. I thought last year was our year. But with no AB and losing Bell versus New England… With Bryant back and all the guys we have now on offense…and our running backs catching the ball better than any backs in the NFL…

How does that offense make you better?

Our offense definitely makes our defense better with Martavis and AB – lining up against those and the whole offense in practice. That offense is all speed and Ben releases quickly now with the focus on protecting him. Those looks and playing against those guys makes us better.

This could be our year…we could go undefeated!

Be sure to check out Ron’s book, Steelers’ Takeaways: Player Memories Through The Decades, featuring over 400 interviews with players and coaches, past and present. You can buy it on Amazon through the link provided here.

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