When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the first thing that comes to mind is the defense. From “The Steel Curtain” to “Blitzburgh,” the defense has been the foundation for the team for over 40 years.
That was not the case last season. Actually, it was far from it.
Since 2000, Pittsburgh’s defense finished in the top seven on nine occasions, including six times as the best in the league. It finished 13th last season, its worst ranking since 1992. Even the great Dick LeBeau couldn’t mask the issues that the defense had.
It could not stop the run. It allowed big plays left and right. It could not generate pressure on the quarterback. It could not rush the quarterback.
A defense that perennially has some of the best talent in the entire league had been drained of its personnel. It was no longer good enough, and it showed on the field. That led general manager Kevin Colbert to make some significant changes.
Colbert released LaMarr Woodley and allowed Ryan Clark, Ziggy Hood, Al Woods and others to walk in free agency. He replenished the roster with size and strength along the line and speed at linebacker and in the secondary.
Now that the dust has settled, the Steelers will enter the 2014 season with three new starters who will upgrade the overall toughness and speed of the defense. These new additions should help the Steelers get back to their aggressive nature.
With so many new faces in place, here is a position-by-position breakdown of the defensive depth chart heading into training camp.