We’ve heard a lot about new defensive back coach Tom Bradley already. And though time will tell how effective of a coach he’ll become, from everything we’ve heard about him from players, he’s a film-junkie and doing everything he can to improve the communication in the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary.
Speaking with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, rookie safety Marcus Allen was another voice to back that up.
“It’s so good that we interlock like this,” Allen said. “He’s just getting into the NFL as far as trying to coach. Coming from college. So we’re both trying to learn. He’s great at explaining things and making things make sense so you can react fast on the field. It’s great having him.”
Asked to follow up on the way he teaches, Allen said Bradley uses a specific technique to get players to remember their assignments.
“One other thing is that he’ll try to find words that rhyme so you’ll remember it. That’s one thing he does good.”
That’s definitely a quick way to help out the rookies overwhelmed by everything else as they make the jump to the NFL. We’ve preached it enough, but it’s always worth repeating and something we’ll have under the microscope until it gets fixed: the Steelers need to communicate better defensively if the team wants to make a deeper playoff push than last year.
It’s not an issue of talent as it is assignment, technique, and being detail-oriented. For Bradley, that is his number one job in replacing Carnell Lake. That will limit the number of explosive plays that doomed the defense, and by extension, the team.
From Week 13 to Week 17 last year, the Steelers tied for the 5th most 20+ yard plays allowed. Only the Jets, Panthers, Texans, and Ravens were worse, not great company to be in. Plenty of that had to do with the loss of Ryan Shazier but the issues weren’t only related to his absence.
Let’s hope Bradley’s Dr. Seuss’s skills are up to the challenge. Or the only thing Horton will be hearing about is another disappointing Steelers’ season.