Something has been (largely) lost in the clutter of the Pittsburgh Steelers first 0-3 start since ’00.
The poor play of the offensive line, absence of a running game, Todd Haley’s supposed incompetence, cut blocking, regressing of Ben Roethlisberger and prolific turnovers have all been discussed ad nausea. One point has receive comparatively less discussion:
- Opposing teams can now run against the Steelers.
Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense is founded on stopping the run. The idea is to limit damage on 1st and second downs and force the defense into 3rd and 7 or better. This then allows LeBeau to bring pressure from odd angles via the Zone Blitz.
No opposing running back has yet dominated the Steelers.
- But the Steelers have not played anyone like Adrian Peterson.
The apparent decline of the Steelers run defense could have any number of causes.
- Steve McLendon could simply not be the run stopper that Casey Hampton was
- Likewise, the Steelers can’t be quite as strong with Kion Wilson and Vince Williams playing where James Farrior once dominated and Larry Foote played ably
- LeBeau’s adjustments to get more pass pressure out of ends Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood could also be hurting the running game
Which makes sense, because the man is a beast.