Aug 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Dri Archer (13) is tackled by New York Giants middle linebacker Mark Herzlich (58) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers emphasizing speed in 2014

The Pittsburgh Steelers have recently battled with a reputation as being an old, slow team, drifting behind the pack thanks to consecutive 8-8 seasons that watched their defense and offense play a game more akin to something found in the 1970s than in 2014. They addressed that this past spring though and it appears their new approach is ready to come to fruition this season.

“These young guys, they’re looking like mutants. You’ve got guys 220 (pounds) running 4.3s,” cornerback Ike Taylor said per Trib-Live Sports. “Usually back in the day, only the smaller guys ran that. Now you’ve got bigger guys running (4.3-second in the 40) times.”

The Steelers have added speed in their small guys and big guys alike. Offensive weapon Dri Archer posted one of the fastest NFL combine times ever en route to being drafted by the team. Linebacker Ryan Shazier has the speed of a defensive back. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, as the team continues to emphasize speed in an attempt to re-tool, rather than rebuild, its roster in a younger mold.

We’ve got Dri, (Brice) McCain, (Markus) Wheaton, Antwon Blake, those guys are exceptionally fast,” Taylor continued.

NFL analyst Solomon Wilcots concurred with Taylor’s take on the roster. “The Steelers are doing two things: By skewing younger, they’re going to become faster,” Wilcots said. “I think they looked at a team like the Bengals, and they saw the usage of (wide receiver) A.J. Green. They looked at the addition of (running back) Giovani Bernard. Now people are starting to get that third-down back or back/wide receiver type of player that can be dynamic and hard to match. Mike Tomlin said, ‘We need to go get one of those,’ ” Wilcots said.

The Steelers will find out how well their new additions match up soon enough as the NFL regular season begins in less than two weeks.

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Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers

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