I’m not sure how much simpler it can get but the Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly watering things down Monday Night when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to this report/tweet from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Haden says the defense will take a more simplified approach.
Steelers corner Joe Haden hinted the Steelers are simplifying the game plan on defense so everyone is on the same page after too many breakdowns vs. KC
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 20, 2018
The Steelers gave up far too many chunk plays against the Kansas City Chiefs, all through the air. Travis Kelce routinely ran free down the middle of the field while Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill were big play threats on the outside.
From my 30,000 foot view, what the Steelers did Sunday was not complicated. Plenty of spot dropping, two deep zone, and as we’ve pointed out, predictability issues in playcalling that gave the players no chance to win. Unless defenders are being handed coloring books instead of playbooks, it’s hard to see how much basic this defense can get.
Either way, they’ll have to solve last week’s issues in a hurry. The Bucs boast one of the league’s most surprising offenses. Ryan Fitzpatrick has completed over 75% of his passes and thrown eight touchdowns to just one interception in two games. The offense has been vertical and explosive, just like Kansas City, with splash plays coming from Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, and O.J. Howard.
Getting Haden back in itself is a win for this defense. Cam Sutton was benched and then rotated the rest of the game with Coty Sensabaugh against the Chiefs.