At 1-4, the Pittsburgh Steelers might not seem like much of a threat, but then again, the Los Angeles Chargers aren’t doing a whole lot better this year. And Anthony Lynn’s team is preparing to host that 1-4 Steelers team, doing his best not to take them lightly.
“I don’t see them as a 1-4 football team. They’ve lost three games by nine points”, he said of the Steelers, as I had previously written. “They lead this league in takeaways, forced fumbles. It’s just a matter of time before that group gets it together, and I know that they’ve gone through a couple of quarterbacks, but the young man who came in last week, I thought he was outstanding”.
While he was complimentary of the quarterback he will be facing—rookie Devlin Hodges, making his first career start—Lynn sounded particularly impressed with the talent that the Steelers have amassed on defense, which now includes eight first-round picks in the starting lineup, plus second- and third-rounders supplementing.
“Their front seven is really good, but their front five is as good as we’ve seen, I can tell you that”, Lynn said, according to the Steelers’ website. “They’re led by T.J. Watt and (Bud) Dupree. They do a good job up front. It’s a good front seven”.
While it may not necessarily look like it, I think both outside linebackers are having career years in terms of their play-to-play performance, particularly Dupree, whose run defense in particular has been strong. He had a big strip sack a couple of games ago as well. The talent on the back end, though, is equally notable.
“In the back end with (Minkah) Fitzpatrick and (Terrell) Edmunds, two outstanding safeties”, Lynn highlighted in his praise. “And then you have Joe (Haden) at the corner, so this is one of the best secondaries we have gone up against this year”.
From the sounds of it, he will get a bit of a break with Steven Nelson not at full strength and questionable to play. Artie Burns should start in his place, and frankly, that could be an adventure. Hopefully one that doesn’t cost the game.
The Steelers are second in the league behind the New England Patriots (who have played one more game) in takeaways so far this year, and they are also in the top five in sacks as well. The defense is overall putting up some pretty good numbers. They’re a talented group, and it’s starting to show.
Has it all come together, and done so consistently? Certainly not. Will it suddenly reach that point tomorrow night? Doubtful. Can they do enough to win the game? Well, we will find out.