While most of the focus of Steeler nation has been very driven toward the return of the suspended Martavis Bryant, and rightfully so, the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier may be just as vital to the success of a Steeler team coming off a disgusting loss to the Ravens.
Currently, the Steelers are sitting at 2-2 and it still burns to know that the Steelers could easily be looking at a 3-1 record, something that could be looked at as important in the long run.
With growing powers in the AFC, including the Jets, Bills, Chiefs, and some might argue some more, there’s no room for last minute break downs, missing important field goals (By the way, Welcome Chris Boswell!), and disgusting division losses, especially lacking star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
On the bright side, the Steelers defense hasn’t looked as awful as some thought it might the last couple of weeks. In Week 3 against the Rams, the Steelers defense held St. Louis to just 6 points, and no touchdowns, a rare sight in Pittsburgh now a days.
In both the game against the 49ers and the game against the Ravens, the Steelers got the the quarterback 5 times, sacking Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick a total of 10 times, showing signs that the defensive line might be improving.
The Steelers have been leading a youth revolution on the defense, bringing in loads of young defensive talent year by year in the draft, and it’s very likely that Ryan Shazier may just be the face of this revolutuon.
It’s definitely somewhat concerning that Ryan Shazier has already missed games this season, given his track record last year with injuries, but it’s not time to start screaming injury prone quite yet. Analysts look at Ryan Shazier and compare him to future hall of fame player Brian Urlacher who is known for his speed, and his vision.
It’s never shocking to see Shazier soar through the opposing line, and blow up a run, or fly after a quarterback. His blazing speed, and his ability to read a play has been exciting to watch in his short career.
It’s perfect that the defense’s likely leader, Lawrence Timmons, is paired up alongside the leader of the before mentioned revolution. They serve as the forefront of a very strong, and deep linebacking core.
With Shazier returning in a pivotal Monday night game against the Chargers, he has the chance to help the defense pick up where they left off, and add even more speed and power.
With the Steelers’ pass defense struggling, as expected, Shazier might be able to help a little bit in the pass defense game, though it can’t be expected that he’ll be too much of an impact in that department.
With all that being said, Shazier’s return is huge for the defense if they wish to stop an offense that has been doing fairly well, with quarterback Phillip Rivers currently leading the league in passing yards, and rookie running back Melvin Gordon starting to get some action.
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