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DIESELMAN
01-02-2007, 11:23 PM
With a flurry of statistics, Ron Lippock makes a point about pressuring the quarterback, allowing big plays, and winning football games.

Of the top 10 pass defenses in 2006, six are among the top 10 teams in sacks. Of those same top 10 pass defenses, all but two teams get more than 75% of its sacks from non-blitzing personnel, including five of the six NFL sack leaders.
The two exceptions are Baltimore, which is second in the NFL in sacks, and Dallas, which is 26th in the NFL in sacks. Both of these teams average under 70%.

Pittsburgh, by the way, gets 65% of its sacks from non-blitzing personnel (23rd in the NFL) and is ranked 20th in the NFL in pass defense.

Furthermore, of those four top 10 passing defenses that are not among the NFL’s top 10 sack leaders, three are among the top 10 in not letting up big plays (over 25 yards).

Pittsburgh is ranked 23rd in the NFL in big plays allowed.

Of the ten teams that get the highest percentage of their sacks from blitzing, all but one (Baltimore) are in the bottom 10 of NFL teams in pass defense, and seven of those teams are among the top 10 in the NFL in big plays allowed.

The message?

Tying together all of the data, it shows a strong correlation between the success of a passing defense and the frequency in which that defense relies on the blitz to apply pressure on opposing teams quarterbacks.

It further shows that the root of the problem often lies in the fact that those blitzing defenses are leaders in big plays allowed.

In fact, the top 10 pass defenses sport a sack to big-play allowed ratio as follows:

Baltimore – 1.86 Jacksonville – .9 Chicago – 1.3 Dallas - .82 Miami – 1.27 Cleveland - .72 New England - .89 New Orleans – 1.1 San Diego – 1.33 Philadelphia - .91

The bottom ten pass defenses sport a sack to big-play allowed ratios as follows:

Detroit - .65 Indianapolis - .86 Buffalo – 1.1 San Francisco – .73 Tennessee - .46 Houston - .70 Tampa Bay - .50 Denver - .89 Kansas City - .66 Cincinnati - .65

The issue is clear that teams who blitz often get beaten for big plays when the blitz fails – when the players removed from coverage don’t reach the quarterback before he releases the ball, thus allowing for bigger plays to occur in a now depleted coverage unit.

But, what is the answer? What does a coach do when he cannot muster enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks without blitzing?

The answer may be found in teams like Cleveland, Dallas and St. Louis, who are in the top 15 in pass defense despite being ranked 24th, 26th and 15th respectively in the NFL in sacks.

What are they doing right?

Cleveland, Dallas and St Louis are forcing teams into long drives by not blitzing and not letting up big plays. Despite the low sack numbers (or perhaps in part because of them) they are ranked 12th, 4th and 10th respectively in big plays allowed.

While their third-down defenses are all among the bottom 10 in the NFL, they still manage to maintain solid pass defenses by requiring that opposing offenses consistently make shorter plays, rather than getting big chunks of yardage with big pass plays.

2005 Versus 2006 – What has Changed for Pittsburgh?

In 2005, Pittsburgh allowed 38 plays of 20+ yards – 14th in the NFL and had 47 sacks. Their sack to big-play allowed ratio was 1.24 (that would have been fourth in the NFL in 2006). Furthermore, 70% of those sacks came from non-blitzing personnel compared to 65% in 2006.

In 2006, Pittsburgh has allowed 46 plays of 20 yards or more, and their sack to big-play allowed ratio has dropped to .91 – down 25% from 2005. 46 plays of 20+ yards is an 18% increase over prior year, while their 42 sacks are five less than the prior year.

Simply stated, as the Pittsburgh Steelers are forced to blitz more to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they are suffering for those more aggressive, risky strategies by allowing more big plays to occur.

By Ron Lippock
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Jan 2, 2007



We need a damn good OLB in the draft!!!!!

House of Steel
01-02-2007, 11:27 PM
That is a very interesting article, no wonder our season was ****. That explains it in fine detail. :smh2:

BlitzburghRockCity
01-02-2007, 11:33 PM
The zone blitz 3-4 defense is designed to blitz, that's why we use. It's designed to create pressure using countless formations to confuse the blocking schemes and the QB's reads on the defense. We blitz probably more if not atleast as much as anybody in the league.

We blitz because we want too, not because we have too. Our front 3 is designed to get some pressure on the QB as their main job being to clog the middle of the line and the running/passing lanes and force the runners outside where our LB's and up cover guys can make the tackle with their speed; by stretching out the play till there is no more field to move with. Our blitzers are the main reason we get pressure combined with our front 3..when the zone blitz is working like it should, for example in 2005, it's nearly unbeateable. However like this year, when evertything fell apart with the defense and offense and special teams, you can't judge the effectiveness of the scheme overall.

DIESELMAN
01-02-2007, 11:54 PM
I thinnk he was wrong when said
as the Pittsburgh Steelers are forced to blitz more to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they are suffering for those more aggressive, risky strategies by allowing more big plays to occur.

It should be more on the lines that our OLB's weren't getting the job done this year. The DL's clog the middle and take up the OL while the OLB's get pressure on the QB. This year that didn't happen and we were getting burned quite often. Hopefully we can draft a good OLB and get the right pieces in as starters for next year.

Koopa
01-03-2007, 12:07 AM
hopefully at #15 there will be a badass olb there, i think we need to work on our defense in the first 2 rounds

House of Steel
01-03-2007, 12:15 AM
I agree defense and offensive line needs the most attention in the FA and Draft.

BlitzburghRockCity
01-03-2007, 12:20 AM
I thinnk he was wrong when said It should be more on the lines that our OLB's weren't getting the job done this year. The DL's clog the middle and take up the OL while the OLB's get pressure on the QB. This year that didn't happen and we were getting burned quite often. Hopefully we can draft a good OLB and get the right pieces in as starters for next year.


That's exactly correct. The scheme is designed to allow the LB's to get the bulk of the pressure and make the bulk of the plays. The system works great when everything is firing on all cylinders, but this past year, nothing was working. It's not because the scheme sucks or has lost it's potency, its simply because the whole team was in breakdown mode for most of the year till the last month and half.

Some newly instilled confidence, and aggressiveness, along with maybe a couple new faces and we'll be back to blitzburgh.

BlacknGold Bleeder
01-03-2007, 01:07 AM
May be for some reason they had an easier time with the blocking... Kimo not being here ?? When we did blitz it seemed they knew where it was coming from, not as many guys around the line of scrimmage, made it easier to pick up ?

Steelersfan
01-03-2007, 01:28 AM
It seemed to me that we didn't get much pressure from any CB's this year. That is something we use to do more I thought? I could be wrong but it sure seemed that way to me. I thought we tried to get too much with just the LB's and Troy this year and didn't mix it up enough.

BlitzburghRockCity
01-03-2007, 02:17 AM
We get some pressure from blitzing CB's over the years and we had alot of success with it, but with injuries to the backfield and a new safety in Ryan Clark, it took alot of time to adjust and our defense just wasn't it's usual self this year.

AZ_Steeler
01-03-2007, 01:06 PM
I think the big problem this year was a couple teams tried a few things like keeping the TE back to help block (Broncos) plus the Steelers at times didn't do a very good job at disguising the blitz like the did against the Colts last year in the playoffs!

SteelerFan87
01-03-2007, 04:10 PM
"non-blitzers"... seems like he's trying to blame our D-line for not getting enough pressure. But that's not what they're supposed to do, and it's not their fault our defense wasn't as good this year. Hampton was still Hampton, Aaron Smith was still Aaron Smith, and Keisel stepped in and played better than anyone expected him to. Our problem was that our LBs and DBs that were sent on blitzes weren't getting to the QB in time. I think having a new FS did have alot to do with it, because we couldn't have all our exotic blitzes because Clark or Smith weren't experienced enough with the defense to be trusted in those kinds of packages. Plus, Porter definitely looked slower, and Troy had all those injuries keeping him below 100%, which took away some of his ability to blitz. So it wasn't that blitzing automatically gives up big plays, it was just that when we'd blitz, it wasn't effective, so all we were doing was leaving less guys in coverage, without the benefit of a decent blitz, and that's why we gave up big plays. Tim Lewis used a less aggressive defense, and maybe, considering our obvious inability to blitz effectively, we should have gone back to that a little bit. But I still think Dick LeBeau's blitzburgh defense is the best fit for this team, and with a few personnell changes and some guys getting healthy/more comfortable with the defense, we'll be back to 05 form.