NFL Week 1: Keys for Steelers defense vs. 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Steelers Can't Take Kittle Lightly Because of His Injury

It's not as if the Steelers would choose to, but banking on Kittle's injury slowing him down considerably and shifting focus to other weapons would be an ill-advised move.

The biggest concern with Kittle being active is the inexperience of the players most likely to face him in coverage, at least in a Steelers uniform. While Patrick Peterson is a tremendous veteran in the slot, his communication with the inside linebackers and Demontae Kazee at strong safety will be paramount to containing Kittle.

It's Week 1 with a ton of new faces in the middle of the Steelers defense. Miscommunication will be frustrating for fans, but it might be safe to expect it as well. Too many miscommunications in coverage against Kittle would prove costly, especially on quick timing routes where the pass rush isn't afforded the opportunity to get home.

Kittle is one of the tougher players in the NFL, regardless of position. He shows that in his blocking and run-after-catch ability. He may have a fun-loving attitude off the field, but between the whistles, he plays like a bully. The Steelers should play rough and tight coverage on him whenever possible.