Brett Keisel

Steelers Re-signing of Keisel is Not a Good Sign

Normally when news breaks from the Steel City I immediately sit down and start writing my opinion of said news. Today I tried a different tactic. When the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they had re-signed 12-year veteran Brett Keisel I stayed away from the laptop.

I did my best to consider why the Steelers made the decision to bring back Keisel and all that I can come up with is that they know they are getting gashed by the opposition’s rushing attack right now.

I wrote about this just the other day following the Bills game. Buffalo rushed for 150 yards and the New York Giants rushed for 171 yards against Dick LeBeau’s defense. You can scream about it being the preseason all you want to but facts are facts. This defense is getting beat up front.

Keisel signed for the veteran minimum earlier today just when it looked as though he was heading to Arizona. He decided he didn’t want to be away from the family in Pittsburgh all season and I certainly can’t blame him for that.

Keisel will bring leadership and experience to a very young defensive line. He will also bring a presence in the locker room that is positive as well. Those are good things and they can’t be dismissed by any of us. Where I find the negative in this move is on the defensive line and with Keisel himself.

The mere fact that the Steelers felt it necessary to bring back Keisel tells me they have very serious concerns about their front three. Maybe not the starters, but certainly the depth. Perhaps Stephon Tuitt isn’t progressing as well as we thought? Maybe Cam Thomas is living up to his reputation as a sometimes ‘lazy player?’ Does the problem sit with Steve McLendon?

It’s obviously something and Dick LeBeau nor Mike Tomlin will ever come right out and say it but there’s an issue with the front three or they wouldn’t be making this move. My concerns about Keisel are this; are we going to get the Brett Keisel we saw at the end of 2013 who had two sacks in the final two games?

Or are we going to see the guy who struggles to stay healthy and is more concerned with his beard than anything else? I know and you know what Keisel is capable of doing, but I hope we get the guy who makes plays and nothing else.

I have great respect for Keisel. A seventh round draft pick who has this type of career is a rare accomplishment in the NFL today and Keisel has more than proven himself but time has caught up with him. It will also be time he is taking away from the younger guys as well.

The problems on the front line must be worse than we thought regardless of how cheap re-signing Keisel was and that’s not a good thing.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at and on You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio

Photo courtesy zimbio

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16 comments on “Steelers Re-signing of Keisel is Not a Good Sign

  1. The past 2 off-season we’ve talked at length about how a zero-technique nose tackle isn’t worth a high draft pick anymore…

    Maybe at some point though, you have to go find a guy to plug the middle, even if it’s only on 2 downs.

  2. I know that steeldad is not happy but what are they supposed to do? Let Tuitt get humiliated on every run play and hope he figures it out or do you try and find a way to make him better. Da Beard will play his share of snaps but he is also the one guy they have that can teach the DE spot in a LeBeau D something Cam Thomas can’t do. So I see it as a good thing and not a bad thing. If you feel differently steeldad by all means reply and tell me why.

  3. A lot of people see the article title and presume I don’t like Keisel. That isn’t the case at all. I understand why they brought him back. The proof has been in the pudding during the first two games as I pointed out in the article.
    Keisel will surely come in and provide leadership and will be a mentor to the younger guys but my greatest concern is on the field, How much better will he be than those he is replacing long term? Because he didn’t have to grind through camp, he should have plenty of gas in the tank,but this is a guy entering his 13th year too. How much does he really have left?
    The Steelers’ D against the run wasn’t exactly good when Keisel was in there last year either. I guess my preference was to just let the new guys have at it. I don’t have high expectations for this team anyway.

  4. Nobody said that you did not like Kiesel it was just the criticism that drew the ire of some people like myself. If they didn’t bring in Kiesel who else was going to help them. I mean your updated version of the 53 man roster had Arnfelt on there and he wasn’t going to do anything either. So tell me what where they supposed to do. Thomas barely understands the defensive playbook and you ask yourself this: What will be the key to this teams success this year Offense or Defense. As far your expectations go there different from what guys like Andrew Filliponi and Mark Madden have said about this years Steeler team.

    • I wasn’t referring to you specifically I just get a lot of flack from the Keisel folks… Obviously had Keisel been part of the equation I would have never had Arnfelt on there. I’ll be releasing my record prediction in a week or two. Let’s just say I have concerns on both sides of the ball.

  5. The only concern on the Offense should be the O-Line and nothing else. Wheaton showed last week he can be a effective No.2 WR along with Moore, DHB, Bryant, Bell, Blount, Archer and Miller how can you have concern with that. The D I can understand your concern but they key is the LB’s getting pressure and from that point they can be effective.

  6. Hey j.hackers this team will not end up as a .500 team. They will end up with 10 or 11 wins and you think less of them is not even fair. They have weapons on Offense and the D while they will struggle will come together and gel as one unit. If they don’t bring in Kiesel then how do you help Tuitt through his growing pains? Don’t even give me Williams or Arnfelt cause they will hardly play at all. They need to learn gap integrity and how to close those gaps quickly and make the opponent one dimensional.

  7. Quite simple a guy like Kiesel will show them how to close those gaps and not get caught in a different direction. By having a vet teach them how to play there position it makes them smarter and in the end it will make those guys better. What more is there? Kiesel may be the starter but lets be real here for a moment they young guys will play significant amount of time for experience. How else would you like me to put it?

  8. It depends on what we believe is the best way to learn. Is it by doing or by watching? Every person is different but I believe there is no better teacher than experience. Yes, Keisel will help during practice and in film study. I can’t deny that, but I also believe that these guys need to play to learn. I’m not against bringing in Keisel, I’m more concerned about the poor run defense which necessitated it.

  9. Well nobody said it would be fixed over night. This is a work in progress no more no less. Heck guys like Tuitt will see action there ain’t no denying that. The backups are fine but can they do what guys like Heyward and Kiesel have done that I find hard to believe at all. Now I did my updated version of the 53 man roster but that was before Kiesel signed now I will do it 1 more time although it will difficult to pick the D players now that the Da Beard is back.

  10. Your a pessimist and not looking hard enough to see this team getting that far. I will completely honest with everyone on this site: This team will succeed this year just you watch, There offense is the hands of Ben so with him in control they will score. For crying out loud how many times has Ben under duress this preseason? Yes the D is a work in progress but eventually they will gel, when that will happen I can’t tell you. The way this season will go will start in Week 1. Think back to the last 3 years: lost week 1 and in 2 of those seasons they went 8-8. That Steeler team in 2011 just could not let go of the Superbowl loss to the packers and I will stick with that statement no matter what you guys say or think. Just trust this team and what there trying to do. Yes I know that difficult for you guys but all I ask is that you try. Is that really to much to ask.

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