Steelers mantra ‘The standard is the standard’ has been pushed to the limit
The Steelers defense was shaky at the outset of the 2022 season but steadily improved
Like the offense, the Steelers defense started the 2022 campaign on unstable footing, so to speak, but finished the campaign ranked thirteenth in total yards allowed. Believe me, the manner in which the season started, I would never have guessed that we would finish as highly ranked as we did.
For decades, we were known for our defense. To finish outside of the top ten was almost unheard of. Again, I think we finished the season strong, but one area where the standard was tested was the pass defense. We finished nineteenth in passing yards allowed.
Finishing inside the top twenty is not bad, but if we want to return to being a defense that teams fear, we have to improve in that area. So, how do we improve our pass defense? Not to make something sound simple that is probably complex, but the amount of man-to-man coverage we played was concerning to me.
I realize we can’t play zone on every play, but we have to play to the strengths of the players who are available to us. We also have to complement the coverage with a consistent pass rush. I think it’s fair to say that the pass rush was anything but consistent in 2022, despite the emergence of Alex Highsmith, who finished the season with fourteen and a half sacks.
If the standard is the standard, that implies that no matter who is available or not available, we will put consistent pressure on the opposing QB so that our DBs are not left alone ‘on an island’ with any frequency.
Let’s see how the mantra has been pushed to the limit on the coaching side of the house.