A guy named ‘Meat Loaf’ once sang a song called ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ and for a baseball hitter, that’s pretty damn good. For an amateur prognosticator like myself, it isn’t too bad for me either. Last week I called out three guys on defense who I said had to play better if this defense was going to improve. As I look back on the game and check the stats, Lawrence Timmons and Ziggy Hood were definitely guys that raised their play to another level on Sunday while Brett Keisel was better, I’m not ready to say he was that much better.
In addressing ‘Diesel’ first, I though his play was a little more inspired. I thought he was able to move the line of scrimmage left and right despite being double-teamed many times throughout the game on running plays. His occupying of two guys on a couple of plays allowed Timmons to make some of the great plays that he did against Philly.
The issue for me regarding the Keisel is that I feel like he can do more and should be doing more. At his size, there is no reason he isn’t getting his hands up more to block more passes or at least alter the QB’s throwing lanes. He had a couple of decent pushes on Sunday and certainly did his job in terms of helping to disguise the defenses at times, but I still expect more from a guy of his size and ability.
Hood entered the game with four total tackles and no sacks. He left Heinz Field late Sunday having doubled his tackle total to eight and adding his first sack to boot. You could argue his sack was the product of pressure by others and he was there to clean up Mike Vick, but he was doing exactly what he supposed to be doing so that’s a step in the right direction. His run defense was better as well as he forced plays to the sideline or collapsed the middle when needed.
As far as Timmons goes, where has this guy been? I’ll tell ya where he’s been…. Ten yards off the line of scrimmage running sideline-to-sideline rather than attacking the opposing offense as he was allowed to do on Sunday. If you listen to the BlitzBurghRadio Podcasts then you know that we have been begging for Dick LeBeau to get more creative in both his pre-snap defenses and the blitz schemes overall. Sunday, we noticed he took our advice.
No one benefited more than Timmons who collected nine tackles and forced a fumble. It was clear that LeBeau and Head Coach Mike Tomlin allowed Timmons to be more aggressive and they seemed to design more blitz packages to take advantage of that.
The trick now is for not just Timmons, but Hood and Keisel as well to build upon good performances. With the opponent this week being the Tennessee Titans, the rushing defense will need to be at its’ very best. Giving Chris Johnson even a crack could mean big gains and long runs for the Titans. Let’s hope the Steelers get hats to the ball at an even faster and more aggressive rate than last week. Perhaps this way, I can bat three for three.