Defenses, especially those in an established system with veteran players, love nothing more than to go up against a young and inexperienced quarterback and try to show him as many different looks as possible in an effort to confuse him and force him to make mistakes.
That strategy worked exceedingly well against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago, for the most part. They so mixed results going up against second-year Josh Allen last week with the Buffalo Bills. They have two more young guns coming up over the final two games, including Lamar Jackson, who is bound to be named MVP this year, though they forced him into three interceptions the first time around.
But before they get to Baltimore, they face the third-overall pick in Sam Darnold, also known as Le’Veon Bell’s new quarterback with the New York Jets. There were those who believed Darnold was the best quarterback coming out of last year’s class. He has shown signs of that at times, but not enough.
On the season, in 11 games, Darnold is competing 61.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 2642 yards in 11 games with 17 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. He has generally gotten better as the season has progressed, however. He missed time earlier this season due to illness, but has been back since Week Six.
Somewhat infamously, he was caught saying that he was “seeing ghosts” during his second week back in a blowout loss to the New England Patriots. That sparked a round of criticism from many angles, including the decision to broadcast that clip. But the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is looking to get him to see some more on Sunday.
“That’s the plan”, Terrell Edmunds said, according to Tim Benz. “Just put a lot of people in his face. And hopefully make him make some false throws and get turnovers. That’s our game plan. That’s just how we play the game every week. So that’s how we are trying to carry it out”.
Hopefully Edmunds can play the role of one of those ghosts. He is the last primary starting defender without an interception or a forced fumble after Steven Nelson got his pick against Allen. If not him, however, the odds are that somebody else will. They have 19 interceptions on the season and 35 takeaways overall.