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Keith Sims: Understanding the Steelers’ Defense
By on October 21, 2010 at 11:41 am

Yards do not come easy against this group

When you think of the city of Pittsburgh, you think about black and yellow (or gold, whatever); you think of championships (and the Pirates, too); and you think about a blue-collar town with a football team that has seemingly always had a personality to match the toughness of the city in which they play.

They say defense wins championships, and in Pittsburgh they’ve been putting that theory to work for the better part of four-plus decades. The 2010 edition is certainly in-line with this description, but if you want to understand things deeper: why are they so good, keep reading, because our very own Keith Sims is going to break it down for you…

Guest Blog, by Keith Sims

The Dolphins are home this week to take on the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers “Blitzburgh” defense. The key to having success against this type of defense is to identify the big time rushers on each and every play.

The Steelers use a 3-4 defense with three d-line men and four LB’s. In a 3-4, the guards are “un-covered” on the line of scrimmage. LB’s line up over them about four or five yards deep. Your center, on the other hand, is covered by a NT.

There are natural gaps in this defense over the guards. If the NT can be controlled, either one-on-one by the center, or by a quick double team with one of the guards, the Dolphins can get an easy 3-4 yards per carry between the tackles.

When the Dolphins throw the ball, they need to keep their blocking schemes to “big-on-big”. If you correctly identify the pass-rushing LB’s, you can make sure one of your big o-linemen are assigned to blocking them. When the steelers confuse an offense, they get the mismatches they covet, like LB James Harrison rushing against a RB. This formula equals sacks!

The Steelers also have a huge weapon in safety Troy Polamalu. He was hurt much of last year and this defense was not the same. He is fast like a DB, but hits like a LB. When the balls in the air, he is always nearby to make a big tackle or interception.

Because of all of these issues, protection will be key for the Fins on Sunday.

Which team do you think has the best defense in the NFL?

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