Art Rooney II: 2017 run defense was “not Steeler football”

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The Steelers had a couple of rough early season outings against the run and then closed the year by allowing 102 rushing yards or more in five of their final six games, including the playoff loss to the Jaguars that ended their season.

That didn’t cause them much harm when it came to their final ranking in the league. Pittsburgh finished 10th in the league against the run, but it was still something that team president Art Rooney II believes the team needs to improve in 2018.

“Last year, there were some games where we were kind of soft against the run,” Rooney said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s not Steeler football or Steeler defense. … We have to start by making sure we are strong against the run and try to put the other team in a passing situation so we can get after the quarterback.”

The Steelers didn’t have much trouble getting after opposing quarterbacks in the regular season as they led the league with 56 sacks, but there’s one clear area the Steelers will look to address as they build next year’s defense. Their rocky end of the season against the run coincided with the loss of linebacker Ryan Shazier and, given the severity of Shazier’s injury, they’ll need to plan for someone to step into his role on a full-time basis.

52 responses to “Art Rooney II: 2017 run defense was “not Steeler football”

  1. I was going to ask if there was a correlation to the injury and their fall off against the run, because that is to be expected. It also suggests that their fall off isn’t worthy of the snide comments that will come – a guy got injured. But to me it is clear that this should be a primary focus in the upcoming draft and FA period, because without a defense the Steelers aren’t going anywhere. While they have some of the best playmakers in football in Brown, Schuster, and Bell (and I’ll even throw Big Ben in there, still), they can’t always play from behind and hope to win.

  2. What is the difference between Steeler football and Everyone-else football?

    Just say the run defense sucked and be done with it.

    This “Steeler” football crap sounds like a strongman boss who demands allegiance and obedience rather than good tackling.

    Good players make the great plays.

    Not the uniforms.

    If you want to understand this very simple idea, ask James Harrison about it.

  3. In a 3-4 defense linebackers have to stop the run and two of their No. 1 recent picks were busts… Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree. The two others were Ryan Shazier, a pro bowler they lost and T.J. Watt, a rookie who flashed. James Harrison was terrible against the run.

    Interesting, after the 2016 season AJR2 said they needed to get to the QB and they led the league in ’17 in sacks.

    They should use every pick on a linebacker this year.

  4. Along with the run, their coach needs to manage the clock, time outs, inside 2 minutes and situational football. This falls 100% on the head coach. The play calling & decision making was also 2nd grade -ish when the game was on the line ( and I’m not talking about the Patriot game)
    With out improvement here, the steelers will continue to lose close ones that otherwise should be easy victories.

    The Shazier accident was extremely unfortunate, but like a lot of players in the secondary on many teams at times become more focused on the “hit” rather than wrapping a guy up with their arms and tackling correctly. Far less entertaining for some, but far safer too both for Shazier and the recipient of the hit.

  5. The 3-4 defense is outdated and antiquated! Get back to basics and start by drafting athletes with basic assignments! Like anything else, Football strategy can be over-thought. Draft Rush ends who can get after the QB, a NT who can stuff the run, stop this crap with outside LB’s dropping into pass coverage and draft speed in the secondary who can cover. Trying to make these players constantly think about what they have to do slows them down! TJ Watt should NEVER be dropped into pass coverage! Let him get after the QB, which is what he does best. The great Steeler Defense of the 70’s did just that! But when you draft small, undersized muppets in the secondary – especially when WR’s are well over 6′, is just asking for trouble.

  6. You want Steelers defense? Give Dom Capers a call. He’ll give you Steelers football. The Packers personnel dept just couldn’t give him Steelers type players.

    The Steelers personnel dept + Dom Capers defense = Dominance:

  7. “In a 3-4 defense linebackers have to stop the run and two of their No. 1 recent picks were busts… Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree. The two others were Ryan Shazier, a pro bowler they lost and T.J. Watt, a rookie who flashed. James Harrison was terrible against the run.

    Interesting, after the 2016 season AJR2 said they needed to get to the QB and they led the league in ’17 in sacks.

    They should use every pick on a linebacker this year.”

    Jarvis was a bust, yes. Dupree is far from a bust, he’s just inconsistent. TJ Watt more than flashed, through his first 10 games he had the second best run stop percentage for rookie edge defenders in the past decade. They also had a CB with the highest run stop percentage in the NFL last year in Mike Hilton. The issues aren’t necessarily personnel as much as discipline and trust. Too many guys not covering gaps, playing off, missing tackles – or just being out of position. The loss of Shazier exacerbated things because he wasn’t there to use his speed to cover. They need to find a replacement at ILBer for Shazier and get guys disciplined over the offseason. That’s up to Coach Butler.

  8. Tomlin was hired as a defensive guru specializing in the secondary.
    Not only has our defense been crap since he’s been here his coaching decisions have been worse.

    Until they find a d-cord and a head coach this team will continue to under achieve.

  9. The Steelers are really soft on defense. Most of their cap space is tied on offense. It shows where their priority is and it has been a dysmal failure so far.

  10. Blake Bortles incinerated that defense and rang them up for 38 points, just a week after the Bills held them to 10. I think it’s the whole defense that’s the problem.

    The bigger problem of course is Coach Trippy. 🙂 Even Dr Rydze can’t fix that one.

  11. When Shazier went down the run defense crumbled. It all starts with personnel. The Steekers need to go heavy on defense. They need a new inside lb, another outside lb and another nose tackle in the draft. Mike Mitchell replacement would also be good.

  12. The Steelers defense was spotty even with Ryan Shazier. And as for the sacks, 13 of them came against the 0-16 Browns, and the pass rush too often failed to show up in big games against top opponents.
    The defense needs better coaching, and a big NT that is also a good overall athlete, to clog the middle and help generate more inside push. That’s not all it needs, but it would be a good start.

  13. The major reason for the Steelers poor run defense was losing Shazier.
    But there were other contributing factors :

    – Shazier’s back-up, ILB Matakevich was also injured in the same game
    as Shazier , and didn’t play again the rest of the season.

    – a back Injury to the NT, Hargrave who plays in front of Shazier also contributed.

    – DE Tuitt also played the season with a torn bicep.

    – these injuries and lack of depth, mixed in with some poor play, all contributed.

    They’ll be better and healthier next season.

  14. jjackwagon says:
    February 15, 2018 at 9:09 am
    Apparently losing to the Patriots in the playoffs IS Steeler football.

    ———————
    What’s really wild is how they still think that is what happened because the fixation is so strong.

  15. reddzen says:
    February 15, 2018 at 8:04 am
    I was going to ask if there was a correlation to the injury and their fall off against the run, because that is to be expected. It also suggests that their fall off isn’t worthy of the snide comments that will come – a guy got injured.

    One guy gone and the defense falls off a cliff?

  16. imadirtyskunk says:
    February 15, 2018 at 10:53 am
    Wait a minute. Isn’t defense Tomlin’s thing?

    ————-

    Tomlin’s things are cheerleading and making excuses

  17. Looked exactly like “Steeler” football to me. Over rated coach, over rated QB and a swiss cheese defense.

  18. The Steelers D wasn’t up to par for sure in the divisionals but the patriots gave up 41 points to backup Nick Foles en route to a sb victory. I’d rather lose in the divisionals then then be embarrassed on the big stage. Pats fans don’t have no room to talk.

  19. What kind of defense can you afford when all your money is invested in Little Ben and Mr. Stutter Step? Bell is going to bankrupt this team. Oh well, at least they’ll put on their usual garbage time show so the fans won’t really know the difference.

  20. nhpats says:
    February 15, 2018 at 8:41 am
    The Steelers inability to stop the run is the reason Mike Tomlin fired the offensive coordinator. Tomlin logic.

    46 20 Rate This

    Hey, contract was up. Didn’t get resigned back. Maybe keep your attention on The Pats, you know, the team that got beat by a back up QB in the Super Bowl. :), and just admit you are a closet Steeler fan for how much you post on their articles 🙂

  21. steelcurtainn says:
    February 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    The Steelers D wasn’t up to par for sure in the divisionals but the patriots gave up 41 points to backup Nick Foles en route to a sb victory. I’d rather lose in the divisionals then then be embarrassed on the big stage. Pats fans don’t have no room to talk.

    ———————
    So what you’re saying is that it’s not better to be AFC Champion than to be…not AFC Champion. Tee hee 🙂 That’s funny.

    The back to back AFC Champion and 5 time World Champion Patriots of course have beaten the Steelers 5 times in a row including an absolute clownstomping in an AFC Championship game barely more than a year ago. The Steelers have won just 3 games in 15 tries against the Patriots in the last 20 years and have gone 0-3 in AFC Championship games. The Pats have also won more championships in the past decade than the Steelers.

    Looks to me like plenty of room to talk, yes?

    🙂

  22. LyinRogerMustGo says:
    February 15, 2018 at 9:22 am
    Blake Bortles incinerated that defense and rang them up for 38 points, just a week after the Bills held them to 10. I think it’s the whole defense that’s the problem.

    The bigger problem of course is Coach Trippy. 🙂 Even Dr Rydze can’t fix that one.

    20 12 Rate This

    Hey, I know you got a computer, so look up when Rydze left the team. Never mind I’ll do it for you, he left in 07. And as soon as he left we won a Super Bowl, so thank you for pointing out the problem for us :). Also Thr Steelers have a record of 106-54 since then, so your theory is crap 🙂 take care

  23. “We’d rather lose to Blake Bortles at home in the playoffs than Nick Foles in the Super Bowl.”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Tomlin Era.

  24. onemorethentherest says:
    February 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    nhpats says:
    February 15, 2018 at 8:41 am
    The Steelers inability to stop the run is the reason Mike Tomlin fired the offensive coordinator. Tomlin logic.

    46 20 Rate This

    Hey, contract was up. Didn’t get resigned back. Maybe keep your attention on The Pats, you know, the team that got beat by a back up QB in the Super Bowl. :), and just admit you are a closet Steeler fan for how much you post on their articles 🙂

    ———

    Ha! One of my best friends is a die-hard Steeler fan….it has been a rough past few years for him. Even he believed Tomlin isn’t the answer.

    As for the Pats getting beat….I have confidence that BB will right the ship. Can you make the same claim about Tomlin? My friend cannot…

  25. xavier179 says:
    February 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Mr.Rooney, sorry but the other defenses in the league have caught up. Steeler defense is feared no longer.

    —————–
    The Steelers defense hasn’t been feared since the Steroid curtain in the 70’s. Hard to take any of those titles seriously when your own HOF QB admitted on national radio that he and the rest of the team used steroids “what they did was wrong”.

    Funny that once Dr Rydze left and the cheating stopped they got absolutely destroyed by Tim Tebow of all people. I still giggle at that one. Never gets old!

    🙂

  26. @LyinRogerMustGo and also, steroids were finally illegal in 1987 🙂 remind me when those Super Bowls were won?

  27. As for the Pats getting beat….I have confidence that BB will right the ship. Can you make the same claim about Tomlin? My friend cannot…
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    Of course, Mike Tomlin has been to 2 superbowls and won one. Why couldn’t he? Despite making a few bonehead decisions in his career. Mike Tomlin is fully capable of taking the Steelers to the superbowl and winning again. As far as the patriots, they aren’t going to the sb ever year. They had their chance and backup Nick Foles foiled their plans. That might as well be the last time you see them in again for a long while.

  28. steel curta inn says:
    February 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I’d rather lose in the divisionals then then be embarrassed on the big stage.
    ———————-

    Then you picked the right team to be a fan of.

  29. steelcurtainn says:
    February 15, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    As far as the patriots, they aren’t going to the sb ever year.
    ————————–

    They’ve been to 3 of the last 4, and it doesn’t look like anyone will keep them out of it anytime soon.

  30. onemorethentherest says:
    February 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    @LyinRogerMustGo and also, steroids were finally illegal in 1987 🙂 remind me when those Super Bowls were won?
    —————–
    Steeler apologists love to say that but sadly that is a disingenuous statement. 🙂

    What was legal at the time: I go to doctor, doctor prescribes me steroids for a medical condition, writes me prescription, I purchase and use them to treat it.

    What was NEVER legal: A bunch of “prescriptions” were created from dubious doctors for the purpose of obtaining a large amount of steroids so they can be abused in order to gain an athletic edge on the field.

    One was use, the other was abusing a prescription drug. One was legal, the other was most certainly not legal and never has been at any time in the NFL or this country. Yes, other teams cheated too but there is plenty of evidence the Steelers not only cheated with them but they used them a lot more than others and pioneered their use.

    Glad I could help. 🙂 And besides, if Bradshaw had nothing to apologize for, why would he say “what we did was wrong”?

    #IKnowWhy

  31. I think it goes down to the Steelers organization spending too much time deciding whether or not to expose themselves to the national anthem and the best way to shame their own Army Vets on their team who respects the country.

  32. LyinRogerMustGo says:
    February 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm
    onemorethentherest says:
    February 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    @LyinRogerMustGo and also, steroids were finally illegal in 1987 🙂 remind me when those Super Bowls were won?
    —————–
    Steeler apologists love to say that but sadly that is a disingenuous statement. 🙂

    What was legal at the time: I go to doctor, doctor prescribes me steroids for a medical condition, writes me prescription, I purchase and use them to treat it.

    What was NEVER legal: A bunch of “prescriptions” were created from dubious doctors for the purpose of obtaining a large amount of steroids so they can be abused in order to gain an athletic edge on the field.

    One was use, the other was abusing a prescription drug. One was legal, the other was most certainly not legal and never has been at any time in the NFL or this country. Yes, other teams cheated too but there is plenty of evidence the Steelers not only cheated with them but they used them a lot more than others and pioneered their use.

    Glad I could help. 🙂 And besides, if Bradshaw had nothing to apologize for, why would he say “what we did was wrong”?

    #IKnowWhy

    2 0 Rate This

    If you could provide a link to back up your story 🙂

  33. So what you’re saying is that it’s not better to be AFC Champion than to be…not AFC Champion. Tee hee 🙂 That’s funny.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    What I’m saying is if you don’t win your a loser like the rest. If your not first, your last. No one cares about afc championship tshirts and regular season moral victories pats fans seem to gloat about during the regular season. Before Tammy Brady where was the patriot fans, the steelers practically owned them for 3 decades in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s before tammy, belichik, spygate and deflategate came along. Not that I care but Head to Head its 16-15 if you wanna count regular season wins. No pats fans don’t hardly have no room to talk if your talking history.

  34. steelcurtainn says:
    February 15, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    So what you’re saying is that it’s not better to be AFC Champion than to be…not AFC Champion. Tee hee 🙂 That’s funny.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    What I’m saying is if you don’t win your a loser like the rest. If your not first, your last.

    ——-
    Whatever you say Ricky Bobby. 🙂

    ————————————————–
    No one cares about afc championship tshirts and regular season moral victories pats fans seem to gloat about during the regular season. Before Tammy Brady where was the patriot fans, the steelers practically owned them for 3 decades in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s before tammy, belichik, spygate and deflategate came along. Not that I care but Head to Head its 16-15 if you wanna count regular season wins. No pats fans don’t hardly have no room to talk if your talking history.
    ————————————————–

    Sure we do. If the Patriots win it all in 2018 – and they have as good a chance of doing that as any other team in the league – that is ring #6, an accomplishment that took half the time it took the Steelers to accomplish. Of course the Patriots accomplishment is far more impressive, because it was done in a much shorter timeframe. It took just 10 years to win our 4th ring while it took you guys nearly 30 years and you know as well as I do that shouldn’t really count cause the refs handed it to you. Also it’s reigning and 3 time league MVP Tom Brady to you. Get it right!

    And you shouldn’t really go there about cheating, given your history. Yours is actual cheating with illegal performance enhancing drugs, the kind that compelled your HOF QB apologize for cheating…not the fabricated and embellished kind of “cheating” that the Patriots are accused of doing.

  35. It took just 10 years to win our 4th ring while it took you guys nearly 30 years
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    I won’t even talk about the taintedness of spygate with the pats and their sb wins. I’ll skip right over that subject. The Steelers won 4 superbowls in 6 years. Thats more impressive then any team in History including the patriots. That record may never be broken. Might want check your math again. 4 superbowls in 6 years> 4 in 10.

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