Sunday’s game against the Falcons was supposed to mark the much-anticipated preseason debut of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ intended next great pass rusher. For whatever reason, we didn’t get that, as Bud Dupree never took the field despite being in full pads.
We did get the 2017 debut of the other outside linebacker the Steelers drafted in his class, Anthony Chickillo, and the third-year player put on a pretty good show, including a pair of sacks, as he pushes for possible playing time this year.
Yet the first play I want to take a look at is actually a coverage rep. late in the first quarter, Matt Simms wanted to look for his tight end short down the middle as he began to break toward the sideline, but Chickillo, lining up at the second level, read the route, and the play, and was able to break up the play.
His first sack fo the game came midway through the second quarter. Initially lining up in coverage a few yards distant from the box across from the tight end, the edge rusher instead did just that, using his speed and the advantageous angle—with a quick shoulder bluff inside—to win the outside edge. He showed finishing instincts in order to complete the sack, attacking the quarterback’s lower half and wrestling him down.
Toward the end of the first half, with the Falcons sitting on the Steelers’ 26, Chickillo was able to get the defense off the field by working inside and getting pressure on the quarterback, in fact registering a hit, duping the left guard to slip into the A gap and hit Simms as he threw, incomplete.
But the half still wasn’t over, and he still wasn’t done having his fun with the left side of the Falcons’ line. This was a screen pass, but it still seems as though Chickillo ‘beat’ the left tackle here, as did Arthur Moats on the other side. They rushed the play, and the pass, which helped limit it to a short gain of just two yards.
The former sixth-round pick’s second sack of the game didn’t have to wait long in to the second half of the game, and it came on third and 14. You’ll note that Chickillo, a college defensive end, had his hand in the dirt on this play.
Just his slight hesitation, showing that he might possibly drop, seemed to catch the left tackle off-guard. That let him get the corner around him, but he showed nice bend, shortening the angle around the arc, and then once again showing great closing instinct in bringing the quarterback down.