Consistency is the name of the game in the NFL on a week-to-week basis as players and coaches preach about never getting too high, never getting too low and refusing to ride the wave of emotions that come with the week-to-week action at the highest level of the sport.
That’s largely what the Pittsburgh Steelers are focusing on one week after going on the road and picking up a huge win over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in AFC North football. The schedule gets a little easier for the Steelers these next two weeks with the Chicago Bears and the winless Detroit Lions, but the Steelers aren’t overlooking the upcoming two games and are instead honing in on consistency, especially in the secondary.
While the pass coverage as of late has been rather solid, the secondary has struggled to tackle in key situations.
Of the 74 missed tackles I have charted through seven games of the Steelers’ season, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden, Cameron Sutton and Terrell Edmunds have missed a combined 30, good for roughly 40% of the Steelers’ missed tackles on the year. That’s…not good.
Early in the season the only one struggling to tackle consistently was Haden, but now — especially after the Seahawks’ game — the starting four are struggling overall to get guys on the ground consistently. They’re going back to the basics though, focusing on consistency first and foremost, starting at practice.
It’s not just tackling either. Mike Tomlin recently praised the secondary for becoming better at leveraging themselves in coverages throughout games, which has led to success defending the pass. It’s all about consistency.
“I think the biggest thing is consistency. Obviously throughout the course of the game, there’s obviously going to be plays where you’re not necessarily as fluid or you don’t get the same result as you want to on each and every play,” Sutton said during his media availability Thursday, according to video provided by the team. “But just being a consistent level of just, obviously our approach each and every day, just attacking our drills and just the concepts and the things that we’re preaching throughout the practices.
“And it just starts out here on the practice field as well. We’re holding certain leverages or holding certain points on calls and certain coverages and we have to be diligent enough or not work to do, you know…just be on top of that. I think that’s just the biggest thing, just honing in on those things, being consistent in our approach and everything that we’re doing. If it really means something to you, you know, really put your focus and all into that. So we just got to keep to keep pushing and keep fighting.”
The Steelers’ secondary will need to keep fighting as the team gets healthy and starts to settle into a groove following the bye week. Things are shaping up nicely for the Steelers schedule-wise, so the key in taking advantage of the fortunate breaks they’ve received from the schedule makers is remaining consistent in their approach, fighting each and every day and focusing on the task at hand.
Fortunately for the secondary, they have the right leaders in place to make sure that mentality is the focus in head coach Mike Tomlin and defensive backs coach Teryl Austin.