Good Wednesday to you Steelers fans.
One of the more underrated stats in football is the ‘tackle for loss.’ I often refer to it as the red headed step child to the more popular sack. We all love seeing one of our Steelers break through the line or come off the edge to take down the quarterback but as important as those are, the ‘tackle for loss’ is just as crucial. The reason is that like the QB sack, it puts the offense in an “and long” situation which immediate eliminates a lot of the playbook. The Steelers currently lead the NFL in this department. Through five games they have 42 tackles for loss which is the most through five games for any defense since 2008. Vince Williams and T.J. Watt currently lead the team with 10 and 9 TFLs respectively. Remarkably, 12 different players have recorded at least one TFL so far through the first five games. We know this defense is good but this also shows how deep it is too. With two run-first teams on the docket in the next two weeks, this statistic takes on added significance. Putting Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Jackson in passing situations is exactly what Keith Butler wants to do.
Tweet of the Day… Not Steelers related but this is too funny to pass up.
“Whenever I played the Dallas Cowboys, it was always the softest team I ever played.”
–@BartScott57 says Mike McCarthy is not the issue in Dallas
@keyshawn: “Hey, I was on those teams.” pic.twitter.com/UvRCwKeka0
— Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin (@KeyJayandZ) October 21, 2020
Trading for a Backer
If, and I stress “if,” the Steelers are going to go after a linebacker to replace Devin Bush then the most common name that seems to be thrown out there is Avery Williamson. The current NY Jets’ player is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent next year. He currently makes a base salary of $2.75 million so he would fit under the Steelers’ cap. Is Williamson a better fit than Robert Spillane? Well, somewhat. The advantage you have with Spillane is that he knows the defense. So much so that he’ll wear the headset for the defense. Williamson is a better, overall player, there’s no denying this. The major problem here though is that Williamson really isn’t the replacement you need for Bush anymore than Spillane is. His specialty is tackling and run stopping while covering in man to man is not. I think Williamson can be had for a fifth round pick but my gut tells me right now that Kevin Colbert is going to stand pat and see how Spillane does this week.
The One, Best Way to Stop Henry
I don’t think limiting Derrick Henry will be as easy as many Steelers’ fans think it will be but there is one massive advantage they do have. When you lead the league in tackles for loss (see above), it means that you often get ball carriers before they can ever get started and that’s the key with Henry. If he consistently makes it to the second level then we are in trouble. If not, then we should be in good shape.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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