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Walker: How Will the Steelers Address the CB Spot?

It’s question time in the AFC North on ESPN, and James Walker, AFC North blogger for ESPN, questions what exactly the plan is for the Steelers at the CB spot this offseason, something we talked about just the other day.

As their Super Bowl XLV loss to the Green Bay Packers proved, the Steelers must add quality depth in the secondary. The Packers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints provide the blueprint of how to beat Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense: spread the Steelers out with multiple receivers.

The Steelers simply don’t have enough good cornerbacks to defend three- and four-receiver sets. This also takes Pittsburgh’s strongest players– its linebackers — off the field in favor of players such as William Gay and Anthony Madison.

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Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DrGeorge

    February 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

    We talked about this during the season. In five wides, our ILBs wind up defending TEs or even slots on crossing routes, to our disadvantage. Walker is being kind in listing only three teams who use the 5-wide attack against our defense; every NFL team is aware of our weaknesses, but most don’t have the QB and receivers to make it effective. Warner and the Cardinals almost beat us in Super Bowl XL and the Jets had us on the ropes in the AFC championship game this year using the same approach.

    If teams begin using CBs instead of ILBs on obvious passing downs, it will leave the middle vulnerable to the run. I suspect the solution favored by most defensive coordinators will be to use smaller, faster ILBs. A number of teams have already taken this approach to defensing the 5-wide attack. For that matter, there is also a trend toward smaller, but faster, DEs as speed rushers rather than the big heavy, but slow, DEs of the past. Speed is also at a premium at the Safety spot these days, which is a problem compounded by taller WRs in the red zone. In short, the pass happy bias of the NFL rules make speed more valuable than brawn at virtually all positions on defense.

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