In an era in the NFL where speed on defense is much more prized than power, the Pittsburgh Steelers have adapted to this. That doesn’t mean they won’t face running attacks and good running backs.
Saturday night in New York, errrr, New Jersey, the Steelers will get a nice glimpse of this sort of offense when they play the Giants who already have a preseason game under their belts. They defeated the Buffalo Bills 17-13 in the Hall of Fame Game last week in Canton, Ohio.
The star of the Giants’ offense was rookie running back Andre Williams who last season at Boston College ran the ball over 300 times for over 2,000 yards. At 5′ 11″ 230lbs, Williams is a load who has a nice burst and he’ll be challenge for the revamped and younger Steelers’ defense.
Last week against Buffalo, Williams came in to spell starter Rashad Jennings and promptly rushed five times for 37 yards on a drive that resulted in his three-yard TD run. The highlight of this drive was Williams’ 21-yard rush to the outside and that is something that should concern the Steelers. Williams finished with 48 yards on seven carries.
While it’s just the preseason and the starters for both teams may already wearing ball caps and talking about the weather. The point is that Dick LeBeau has seen his defense get younger and they’ll need as much action in the preseason to get acclimated to the NFL as possible.
As of right now, we may not even see Ryan Shazier who continues to recover from his ‘boo-boo’ on his knee as Mike Tomlin called it. Either way, LeBeau and Tomlin want to see urgency and speed from this defense. It’s why they drafted Jarvis Jones and why they brought in safety Mike Mitchell.
This is how they’ve built it and now it has to start showing that it can become a defense that relies on speed and less on power. The first test begins in MetLife Stadium this weekend.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio.