The NFL is complicated. NFL playbooks are an encyclopedia of playcalls, adjustments, checks, and wrinkles every player must know for all situations.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense is trying to buck that trend. In an awesome Film Session via NFL Game Pass, Minkah Fitzpatrick summed up the defense and how they gameplan on a weekly basis.
“Here, we play what we play,” he said. “We might add a wrinkle here or there. We play what we play. Keep it simple and it allows us to play fast.”
Fitzpatrick noted the Steelers’ are a man coverage heavy defense, a stark contrast to the old Dick LeBeau days. But that change has been obvious to anyone closely watching this team over the past few seasons. Adding elite talent like Fitzpatrick have allowed the Steelers to man-up at a higher rate.
Keeping it simple and playing fast has been something the Steelers have harped on time and time again. That isn’t to say their defense is too easy to figure out but sticking to core principles allows athletes to play, not think.
Fitzpatrick said the Steelers approach is different than what Miami did and a massive adjustment from his time with Nick Saban and Alabama.
“Alabama, it was a new defense every week…in Miami, it was week to week but it wasn’t drastic changes. We were playing our main four, five coverages on first, second, third down.”
Come 2020, the Steelers will have a chance to add more wrinkles from the beginning. Their secondary is unchanged for the first time in nearly a decade, allowing them to hit the ground running from Day One. Contiunity that’s even more valuable in a year where OTAs have been lost. This group of familiar faces didn’t need that and they can add wrinkles and disguises to their defense come Week One, as opposed to waiting until someone gets integrated into their system.