The Pittsburgh Steelers will likely welcome back both running back Le’Veon Bell (foot) and cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) this week for their match-up against the Minnesota Vikings. While this development could be a positive step, only time will tell what kind of impact the two players make.
There are many reasons why this phenomenon is occurring, with lack of pressure from the front seven and an inability to catch by the secondary being first and foremost. However, there may be another issue at work, an issue that many fans may see and think about, but often dismiss. The Steelers’ defense is stale and predictable.
Yes, statistically the defense has been tremendous ranking near the top for multiple seasons. Why, because of the talent of the players and not the play calling and scheme as many realize. In re-watching the Sunday night loss to the Chicago Bears, it was clear that the Bears play calling was spot on for the plays being called by the Steelers’ sideline.
When the Steelers blitzed up the middle, they had a quick hit to the outside dialed up. When the Steelers would overload, they already had the protection set in that direction. The disturbing thing to think about is the fact that the Bears were an NFC opponent and one that is relatively unfamiliar with the Steelers on a seasonal basis. If they can predict what defensive calls the Steelers will make, it is no wonder why AFC opponents have success.
Sure, all of this could be a coincidence, but that is highly unlikely. What is no coincidence is that defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau often gets a pass because of his history and place in NFL lore as the father of the Zone Blitz scheme. In reality, the exotic blitzes are down and the defense plays more like a passive Tampa-Two scheme, than the famed Blitzburgh defense of years gone by. In reality, maybe it is time to question the lack of creativity coming from the defensive side of the ball.
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