The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been shy about adding wrinkles to their defense as the season goes along. The latest in the line was the addition of the third safety in their 3-4 defense in order to counter the Jacksonville Jaguars’ one-receiver sets, which resulted in Jordan Dangerfield logging 10 snaps, mostly in the second half.
The first of those plays came about five minutes into the second quarter, the Steelers making the adjustment after the Jaguars had continued success early on running the ball. Dangerfield didn’t directly factor into this play, which went for a two-yard loss, but you can see him playing contain on the right side of the defense.
The second-year veteran did factor into two tackles during his playing time, including this three-yard solo tackle on third and five. Leonard Fournette was forced to bounce the run outside, and he tried to bulldoze his way right over the safety as Javon Hargrave cleaned up from behind.
Toward the end of the third quarter, he combined on a tackle with rookie safety Terrell Edmunds, making the stop against Fournette for no gain on first down. This was a total defensive effort with the outside linebackers containing and providing the initial penetration before the two safeties were able to narrow the margins and finish the play.
Though he wasn’t credited for a tackle on this play, Dangerfield did get on top of the pile after the whistle blew, Anthony Chickillo making the stop following a two-yard gain. It was an easy read once Chickillo swatted the tight end to the ground. Good play by the backup edge defender.
Fournette was able to bounce a couple of runs to the outside early, but he seemed much less hesitant to do that against a safety. Some of that is the late-game factor, as on this play at the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, but nevertheless, you have to appreciate his discipline and persistence in following the play, a one-yard gain on second and six.
Both Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler mentioned this Dangerfield package during the week, both of them essentially calling him the man for the job (the former literally), so it seems likely that we will continue to see this look when teams run up the heavy personnel.