Steelers’ Defensive Charting: First Six Weeks

As usual, our charting for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense. This is out of 372 snaps, excluding the ones that didn’t involve a snap.

Personnel groupings.

3-4: 147 (39.5%)
Nickel: 130 (34.9%)
Dime: 90 (24.2%)
Goal Line: 4 (1%)
3-5-3: 1 (.3%)

Add up the nickel dime and the Steelers have been in subpackage 59.1%. Compare that to 70.5% last year. So seeing that number come down though games like Jacksonville have skewed the numbers a bit.

In the first month, the Steelers used their “over” front 35 times. That’s 8.8 times per game. In the past two weeks, they’ve done it just three times. Hasn’t been as effective as Keith Butler hoped, allowing 4.3 YPC.

– Butler has blitzed (our definition) 28.7% of the time, down over 10% from last year. This is similar to what Dick LeBeau did his final year. By his definition, sending 5+, he’s blitzed only 16.1%. Again, that’s down about 10% from last year.

Let’s dive in position-by-position.

Defensive Line

Javon Hargrave has just nine nickel snaps over the past three weeks. 31 on the season. Number has to rise this week with Stephon Tuitt out.

DL Pressures

Heyward: 13
Tuitt: 11
Hargrave: 6
Alualu: 1
LT Walton: 0

Snaps Per Pressure

Tuitt: 8.3
Hargrave: 12.5
Heyward: 14.6
Alualu: 101

Tuitt’s numbers were certainly helped out by last Sunday’s game. Had a position high six pressures against the Chiefs. Walton and Alualu continue to prove they’re ineffective pass rushers.


Ryan Shazier has missed only two snaps all season. Even more impressive are the numbers when he’s targeted. Like a shutdown corner.

4/11 32 yards 0 TD, 3 INTs (includes the one he tipped that Mike Hilton picked).

Vince Williams has lined up as an OLB 23 times this season. Led to one of his four sacks. Shazier’s done it 26.

The big ones, pressure numbers.

Total Pressures

Dupree: 10.5
Watt: 7
Harrison: 3
Chickillo: 4

Snaps Per Pressure

Harrison: 4.3
Watt: 11
Dupree: 11.2
Chickillo: 21

– Coverage/drop percentages

Watt: 45.8%
Harrison: 31.6%
Chickillo: 27%
Dupree: 26.1%

– Watt’s number is still absurdly high. Never seen anything like it. You can see the right side dropping much more than the left which is in-line with how the Steelers have operated over the past several years.


Mike Hilton has more pressures (six) than the rest of the secondary combined (four). Of course, he’s been blitzed a ton, too, 29 times.

– Target numbers.

Joe Haden: 2/6 36 yards 0 TD, 0 INT
William Gay: 1/3 13 yards
Mike Mitchell: 2/4 56 yards
Artie Burns: 8/17 131 yards 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Sean Davis: 6/9 66 yards 1 TD 0 INTs
Mike Hilton: 3/6 22 yards 0 TD 0 INTs

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