The Pittsburgh Steelers addressed their aging defense early during the 2014 NFL Draft with the addition of Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Ben Roethlisberger thinks his addition to the lineup could result in a dramatic improvement from last year’s unit that finished outside the top 10 in defense for the first time in the new millennium.
The Steelers are famous for their stingy defense under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau but the recent history of the club has been their inability to force turnovers and sack the quarterback. Further, the defense had a number of key contributors north of 30 years old and injuries and ineffectiveness had begun to take its toll.
Roethlisberger joined “The Cook and Poni Show” from his Roethlisberger Foundation Invitational at Treesdale Country Club Monday morning to talk about the recently completed minicamp and the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback raved about the speed of this defense.
“I thought it was a really good camp. This is as fast of a defense I have seen since I have been here,” Roethlisberger said. “Offensively, I thought the O-line played great and Justin Brown had a great camp.”
The additions of Shazier who ran a sub-4.4 forty and has speed that has been compared to Brian Urlacher and last year’s first round pick Jarvis Jones brought an injection of youth to the defense that sorely needed some young playmakers to complement Troy Polamalu in the secondary.
Lawrence Timmons and Jason Worilds should combine with Shazier and Jones, who had a disappointing rookie season out of Georgia, to give Pittsburgh one of the better linebacker units in the AFC, if not the entire NFL, and get the Steelers defense back into the top 1o units in football.
Steelers fans will also feel relieved to hear Roethlisberger’s comments about the offensive line which has also come under fire in recent years, but after a concerted effort to add talented youth in David DeCastro and Mike Adams in teh draft to complement Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers should be much better equipped to keep Roethlisberger upright and healthy.