Let me start off by saying I have been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan since 2001. So I have seen the great Superbowl wins, bad playoff losses, and missed playoff seasons. After the 2014 season, the Steelers had a rough offseason. safety Troy Polamalu retired after playing 12 great seasons in the league, up and coming talented linebacker Jason Worilds retired at the age of 27 due to wanting to pursue other endeavors, and cornerback Ike Taylor retired after missing 11 out of the 16 games in 2014. They also loss one of the greatest defensive coordinators in NFL history in Dick Labeau, who went to coach with the Tennessee Titans. So with the loss of 3 important players and an important coach on the defensive side, Pittsburgh entered this season with question marks on defense. That being said, Pittsburgh looks forward entering this season with this young defensive core and seeing how good they can really be.
Out of the 26 defensive players on the Steelers active roster, only 3 (linebacker James Harrison- 37 yrs old, cornerback William Gay- 30 yrs old, safety Will Allen- 33 yrs old) are 30 years of age or older. Which means this defense is VERY young. With Cameron Heyward, Steve McLendon, and Cam Thomas holding down the fort at the defensive line positions, Pittsburgh hopes to put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Probably the team’s strongest part of their defense is their linebackers, which features Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, James Harrison, Jarvis Jones, and Vince Williams who expects to be terrors for opponents. Probably the team’s weakest links are their cornerbacks and safetys, which features William Gay, Cortez Allen, Will Allen, and Mike Mitchell, who are susceptible to getting beat down field.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are historically known for being great on defense, it all goes back to the “Steel Curtain” defense in the 1970’s with L.C Greenwood, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, the defense of the 90’s with Kevin Greene, Jason Gildon, Levon Kirkland, and Greg Lloyd, and last but not least the Steelers of the 2000’s with James Farrior, Troy Polamalu, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton, and Aaron Smith. By no means do the 2015 Steelers defense come close to any of those classic defensive teams for this franchise in years past, but hopefully they can get back on track as being scary. From 2004-2012, Pittsburgh has been in the top 5 in total defense statistically 8 out of those 9 years, and out of those 8 years, 4 of those times they were ranked number 1. The last 2 years Pittsburgh have not been in the top 5 in defense.
The Steelers are currently 2-2 on the season. They have defeated the San Francisco 49ers 43-18, and the St Louis Rams 12-6, but they also lost to the New England Patriots 28-21 and the Baltimore Ravens 23-20. The Steelers defense has allowed an average of 25.5 points, 135.5 rushing yards, and 238.5 passing yards per game in the 2 losses and allowed an average of 12 points, 91 rushing yards, and 266 passing yards per game in the 2 wins. So the Steelers have shown they have to fix certain things in their defense, but they also shown they can make big stops on defense when needed. We will just have to wait and see how good this defense can really be. I just want to see the Steelers play all the way to January and host that Lombardi trophy in the end. And it will definitely help if this defense can give them a huge push.
Lets Go Steelers.