So, now we’ve come to the side of the ball where the Steelers’ bread is buttered. For years, the Steelers’ defense has instilled fear and respect in opponents. From the days of the Steel Curtain, through the years of Blitz-burgh and the Zone Blitz, to this latest incantation, defense has been the hallmark of Pittsburgh Steelers football.
The most natural place to start this conversation is with the play of the line.
The Steelers finished the season with the number 2 ranked rushing defense, allowing 90.6 rushing yards per game. That’s not bad. However, they were 14th in the league in sacks. That’s not great.
The problem is, as with so many other areas, the line is getting older and the younger guys are not playing up to their potential yet.
For the most part, Casey Hampton (age 35), Brett Keisel (34), and Ziggy Hood (26) did what defensive linemen in a 3-4 defensive scheme are supposed to do: Occupy offensive linemen so the linebackers can make plays.
But you do need some production ...