Steelers at Seahawks: Coordinators Comments


Greetings, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Coordinators Comments.

Our beloved coordinators will take a brief look back at the Browns win, and look ahead to Sunday’s match-up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler:

It’ll be a familiar challenge confronting the defense when the Steelers resume play on Sunday afternoon in Seattle.

“We gotta stop the run against these guys and we gotta try to limit (quarterback) Russell Wilson in the big plays he makes,” 

That much of the defensive gameplan carries over from the Steelers’ pre-bye, 30-9 victory over Cleveland.

The Steelers held the Browns to 15 yards rushing on 14 attempts, with 11 of those coming on a scramble by quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The Browns wound up throwing for 327 yards but managed just one touchdown.

“The pressure we got on Johnny was good, They have a good offensive line. The previous year they had run for something like 360 yards on us for the two games (349, with five rushing touchdowns). We wanted to make our guys aware of that. We watched a lot of that during the week. We wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. We were glad that didn’t happen again.”

“We tried to put them in a position where they had to throw the ball and then tried to get after Johnny.”

Manziel is a much-less experienced, much-less accomplished version of Wilson, who has quarterbacked the Seahawks to the last two Super Bowls.

Like Manziel and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, Wilson can run. But he’s more decorated than either of those players and he excels as a passer from either inside or outside of the pocket. Wilson will roll out by design or scramble to escape pressure and he can also improvise with the best of them.

Stopping the run and making Seattle a one-dimensional offense would be the first half of the battle on Sunday, but only half.

“We gotta stop the passing game a little better than we have been,” Butler said. “We’re keeping people out of the end zone for the most part. We have to be a little bit more consistent. The week before we gave up five touchdowns (on Nov. 8 against Oakland), that kind of got our attention a little bit.”

“In order to go down this stretch and do what we need to do to get into the playoffs we have to make sure we keep getting turnovers, keep getting sacks, keep stopping the run. We’re going to be challenged this next week with that. If we can continue to do that then we should give our team a chance to win.” 

Seattle’s running game was spearheaded by undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls rather than Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) during last Sunday’s 29-13 win over San Francisco.

Rawls, 5-foot-9 and 215 pounds, rushed 30 times for 209 yards against the 49ers and has 604 yards on 101 attempts (a 6.0 average per carry) this season.

Lynch has 417 yards and a 3.8 average per carry in 2015.

“Rawls reminds me of a guy I played with there, Sherman Smith, good size, very strong, powerful runner and plays physical,” Butler said.

Smith is the Seahawks’ running backs coach.

And Seahawks quarterbacks coach Carl Smith was the QB when Butler was playing linebacker at the University of Memphis.

Those are two of the reasons Butler is excited about returning to the city where he played linebacker in the NFL from 1978-87.

But Sunday will still be more about the circumstances than the setting.

“Even when I was playing, this was the most exciting time of the year for me,” Butler said. “These games really mean something, they really do. Not that they don’t before, but you get in a situation, you get hot at the end, we did that when we won Super Bowl XL.

“There’s a lot of ways to do it, to win a world championship. And that’s our biggest goal right now, to take it game by game, play by play and try to get ourselves in position to go to the party.”  

Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

What does that front four mean to that (Seattle) defense and their overall success? “I think it’s the key, their defensive ends, their inside guys, they obviously move and bend it around. They create penetration and wreak havoc. You play them there at Seattle it’s an even bigger job cause they obviously benefit from the loudness in there. You know I think that’s the key, you know you got our guys up front including the tight ends at times, the backs at times. You’ve gotta do a great job.” 

Are they sort of like Cincinnati that they can create pressure and bring in a lot of extra guys?
“They’re not complicated. They don’t do a lot, they show you what they’re doing, but they’re really good at it, and it’ll come down for us of execution and winning in each spot.” 

When a guy like Markus is maybe not having the production that he expected, do you have to look for ways to get him involved, or is it AB just dominating the ball, and Martavis is back now. What are your thoughts on his involvement so far?
“It’s a tough one, because I think to me it’ll define what he’s going to be. You know, because everybody can’t handle it. You got one the best in the league that you need to be targeting a bunch, makes a lot of plays and the guys that aren’t getting it for chunks of time potentially have gotta stay mentally tough into it, sharp and he’s shown to do that. He’s a young guy, he’s shown a lot of signs of being a true pro.” 

How important is it to get guys good match-ups on Sunday?
“First of all, you’ve seen them do both and I think that’s the issue. There’s been games where he’s (Antonio Brown) matched-up, there’s games where he wasn’t matched-up, there’s games where midway through he matched-up. So for us it’s just being aware of where everybody is. We have to work awfully hard on a weekly basis with a guy like AB that gets so much attention. To make sure that we’re not just leaving him in one spot, that we’re moving him around, forcing the defensive guys to adjust some of there calls. You know because if you don’t, it’s an easy lockdown situation. Obviously AB’s proven he can win versus double-teams and Ben can find him. You know, I think the key is and I gave credit to AB because early on in my time here, he didn’t always handle it, it was a little too much at times, but he studied his butt off, we were able to put him in a lot of different spots, and I think that gives him a chance to succeed.”    

I usually do a ‘my two-cents’ portion in these posts, but I did an article yesterday with all of my opinions, prediction, and more.

Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!