Does new Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach Tom Bradley prefer zone coverage or man-to-man coverage? He was asked that very question during a recent interview with Missi Matthews of steelers.com.
“There’s no right way to answer that question because I know whoever watches this interview is going to say, ‘What’s he talking about? We never did that,'” Bradley replied. “I think over the years, I was predominantly a really a big zone guy. Over the years I wasn’t what I was because of what I had. I didn’t have people that can play a lot of man, I couldn’t do it. So we played more zone and got creative on zone. I think on these levels you constantly have to be changing, have variations, a lot of different things. Anything you do, just, they’re going to pick it apart. So we’ll do a lot of different things, but I guess the way the game is kind of going now, I think as good as a lot of them are, I probably would be a man-guy.”
2018 will not only be Bradley’s first season with the Steelers, but his first as an NFL coach as well as his entire coaching career to date has been at the collegiate level. Because of that experience at the college level he’s acquired since 1979, Bradley was asked to discuss how exactly he fits in with the rest of the coaching staff as it relates to him helping bridge the gap between today’s college game and the NFL.
“In the NFL right now. I think everybody’s a little bit concerned about RPOs, the run-pass option stuff that you see in college,” Bradley said. “Probably not to the extent of seeing mid-lines and things of that nature, but everybody’s going to indoctrinate some of those things into the pro game. Obviously, this league’s a little bit different to that with quarterbacks worth a lot of money. So, how much you’re gonna really run them. And it’ll be different, but something will seep into this game that they maybe haven’t seen as much.
“Most of the time in football everybody’s kind of a copycat. You look at this, ah that’s good, let’s try that. So, it’s going to get in. some variation of it is going to get into the NFL. It’s already gotten into the NFL. To the extent of college? No, you know you’re not seeing all the hurry up things. A lot of it has to do there with you only dress 46 [players] for games. You don’t have the numbers that you have in college where you can rotate people and do a lot of different things. You don’t see the speed, number of plays being run, like you see in college. You see a lot of games where there has been over a hundred plays on offense and so that’ll be a little bit different. But you will see some of the, by nature, some of the things that people watch in college that work will get into this level.”
With Phase One of the Steelers offseason program about to get underway soon, Bradley will finally get a chance to start working with his group of defensive backs and he was asked by Matthews what the primary thing is that he wants to get across to them as a group when that finally happens.
“I think the biggest thing for me, you know on defense, you’ve got to do a couple of things, you’ve got to be able to tackle, you got to be able to communicate, you gotta be able to stop the big plays,” Bradley explained. “Those are the three things we’ve got to emphasize. You know, I think sometimes everybody tries to make it more complicated than it really is, but if you take care of the little things, the big things will always take care of themselves. And so it starts out with doing all the little things right from, as minute as some details are, that’s going to make the difference when you get into those clutch situations.”