Before he signed, linebacker Myles Jack knew what the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense was all about. Now, he’s part of it. Carrying the torch of being the next fast, physical, and hopefully, wildly successful unit. One full summer with the team, Jack spoke to reporters following Sunday’s preseason finale to discuss with time so far with the Steelers.
“It means you’re playing fast, hitting hard,” he told reporters as tweeted out by The Trib’s Chris Adamski. “It’s just physical. That’s the main thing. Just imposing your will on opposing offenses and living up to that Steelers’ pedigree.”
Jack’s put in a strong summer with the team and offered much-needed stability at inside linebacker. He’s brought those traits, still an athletic linebacker who didn’t let a serious and potentially long-term knee injury coming out of college hinder his career. He’s brought physicality too with a couple of big blows, including one on a fourth-down stop in the first half of Sunday’s win over the Lions.
With an impressive camp and preseason showing, Jack figures to be the team’s everydown linebacker heading into the season. He worked as part of a three-man rotation during camp alongside Devin Bush and Robert Spillane but Jack’s contract, play, and need for new blood in this defense should make him the all-situations guy. He’s not Ryan Shazier nor James Farrior but he’s the best off-ball linebacker this team has had since Shazier’s career ended.
As a whole, the Steelers’ defense will look to get back to their roots starting Week One against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh’s run defense was gashed to a league-worst five yards per carry last season while the secondary didn’t make enough splash plays. Pittsburgh will rely on their defense to keep the score down much like they did today, shutting Detroit out in the first half as the offense could only walk away with field goals before finding the end zone late in the half.
If Pittsburgh plans to be competitive, they’ll do so in low-scoring slugfests. Old-school Steelers’ football that harkens back to the last time the team ran with a new quarterback, 2004, when their defense finished #1 in the league allowing under 16 points per game.