The Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 defense is ”supposed” to struggle. Based on what Steelers Nation saw in the season opener vs. the New England Patriots, that is one prediction that looks to be coming true.
- However, Steel Curtain Rising has argued that the Steelers defense need not struggle in 2015 (click here to see why.)
But that prediction was made on the caveat that players need to step up, most specifically the members of the Steelers 2013 and 2014 draft classes. Pittsburgh invested heavily in defense during those drafts, and 2015 is the year when the Steelers need to begin reaping those dividends.
- Ideally all of the players would develop into All Pros and join with Cameron Heyward to form a dominant defense.
It happened in the 1974 when Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, and L.C. Greenwood, among others, joined and already dominant Joe Greene to coalesce into the most dominate defense in NFL history. But as Shamarko Thomas’ benching illustrates, there are bound to be disappointments.
At the beginning of training camp, Steel Curtain Rising asked Steelers Nation to speak out on which players development was most critical to the success of the Steelers 2015 defense. The results were somewhat surprising. Ryan Shazier led the voting and that is no mystery, neither is Thomas. Neither is it a surprise that Jarvis Jones came in 3rd, but 1st round draft pick Bud Dupree also tied for 3rd which is a bit of a shock.
Given the struggles of the Steelers secondary, it is a surprise that Cortez Allen only gained 9 votes. Likewise, given the Steelers lack of depth at defensive line, the low vote totals of Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers are also a bit unexpected.
While Ryan Shazier’s development is critical important to the Steelers defense, one way or another, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler will need to find a way to get the most out of all of these players. Steel Curtain Rising thanks everyone who participated in our poll.