Steelers Defense Has To Get To Quarterback More On Sunday, Cameron Heyward Says

The Pittsburgh Steelers will head to Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday to take on their undefeated in-state rivals in the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia has one of the better offenses in the NFL, and a big reason why is their offensive line, with veterans like Jason Kelce, Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson, as well as 2021 second-round pick Landon Dickerson. On his Not Just Football podcast, Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward talked about preparing for the opposing offensive line and what separates them from the rest of the league.

“I think it starts with stopping the run. They do a great job of getting hands, and really good in the combo blocking game. Kelce does a great job pulling, and he does a great job helping in the pass game. Whether it’s, if one guy thinks he’s open, Kelce’s there to help out a lot. It’s going to be a battle. We gotta make sure we get off blocks, and we gotta affect this quarterback a little bit more.”

Pittsburgh’s defense certainly does need to do a better job of getting to the quarterback. They didn’t log a single quarterback hit on Josh Allen against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, and after a better performance in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they had zero sacks and just one quarterback hit on Tua Tagovailoa in their 16-10 loss on Sunday night. While the defense still played well on Sunday (despite the dropped interceptions), the lack of pressure is a problem that does hurt them defensively and allows an opposing quarterback to get comfortable and get in a rhythm. With his mobility coupled with his offensive line, it’s not going to be particularly easy to get to Hurts with any sort of regularity on Sunday, but Pittsburgh is going to have to if they stand any chance of winning.

We saw the Steelers’ defense struggle against good running teams like the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns earlier this season, and while the Eagles don’t have a star running back or anything Hurts is a major threat with his legs and the combination of Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell in the Eagles backfield is effective. If the Steelers can’t get off blocks and make some plays in the run game, they’re going to get crushed by the Eagles’ rushing attack, and more than likely get crushed in the game.

The number one priority on Sunday is to pick things up on offense, but this is a major test for Pittsburgh’s defense, and if they struggle similar to the way they did earlier in the year, the Steelers don’t stand a chance. They have to keep up the way they played the last two weeks and maybe even exceed that level in order to hand the Eagles their first loss of the year. We’ll see if they can do it.

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