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The Steelers, who routinely have ranked at the top of the league in run defense, struggled again Sunday to consistently stop opposing runners, a sign that this needs to be a bye week focus.
This really isn't as puzzling as it seems on the surface.
The Steelers defense has some things working against their effectiveness against the run.
Here's a list:
1. Casey Hampton playing scared. He's afraid of getting chopped. That's valid, but it ruins their rush up the middle and keeps him from taking up blockers and opening gaps for rushers.
2. Age. Warren Sapp was premature when he said the Steelers were done, but they are older and they aren't as fast. James Farrior doesn't get the penetration he's used to. Larry Foote has lost a few steps. The Steelers aren't as fast as they were a year or two ago.
3. Injuries. It's that simple. Lamarr Woodley is out. Farrior is still a little dinged up, and so is Harrison. The injuries play a role. This group has been hit hard. They've also got some guys who are still learning playing a major role right now in Ziggy Hood and Jason Worilds.
Those three things are what's keeping the run defense from being as effective.