Can Steelers fix their defense?

Pittsburgh must maintain better gap control, give up fewer big plays

Originally Published: December 14, 2012
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Troy PolamaluJason Bridge/US PresswireThe Pittsburgh Steelers' defense has missed Troy Polamalu this season.

Statistically, the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to be an elite defense in almost all pass and run categories. However, when you break the Steelers down on film, they do not look as dominant as in past years. Injuries have taken their toll this season, and age might be starting to be a factor, but, when everybody is healthy, they are still capable of stopping elite offenses. The question is whether they can do it on a weekly basis.

After watching the film, let's examine the main areas of concern on defense that the Steelers must address.

Pass defense sub-packages

Even when healthy, this does not look like an elite cover group at cornerback. With its best corner Ike Taylor out with a foot stress fracture, Pittsburgh doesn't have a guy who can line up versus the opposition's best wide receiver and take him out of the game. The two starters outside, Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen, are decent players, but they don't always show great ball skills and can be fooled by double moves and pump fakes. However, where the Steelers really get into trouble is when they have to go to their nickel and dime packages.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.