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Consistency is a key for the 'D'

Posted Oct 29, 2016

Jerry Olsavsky has no doubt the inside linebackers will step it up and be more consistent.

Staying consistent: In their last two games the Steelers have done something they don’t often do, allowed a 100-yard rusher both weeks. In the last game it was Patriots’ running back LeGarrette Blount who racked up 127 yards, and the week prior Dolphins running back running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards.

It’s uncharacteristic of the defense, one that takes pride in stopping the run.

“We need to be more consistent,” said inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky. “We started off, Ryan (Shazier) got hurt, and we got banged up a little bit. We have to get back to where we were in the beginning of the season. The last couple of games has been below the standard. We have to put more work in, more time in. We have to coach better. We have to play better. Those are easy to say. My guys will work and that’s what we are going to do.

“Some of the coverages and stuff, we could have been a little closer to the guy. A detail is a fine thing and that is what we need to polish up on. Sometimes you could be a half a man wide and you are going to miss the play. You are going to make the tackle for a two yard gain. But if you are aligned right you are going to make it for no gain or for a tackle for a loss. That adds up. When it goes from 1st and 10 to 2nd and 7 or 2nd and 10 that is a big thing. Those are little things that I know we can do, we just have to get back and work it out.”

Like Olsavsky said, they are correctable things, and it’s something the team worked on during the bye week to correct.

“It burns you that you make those mistakes,” said Olsavsky. “No one is angrier than the guy who made the mistake. That is just what we have to work on.”

Good problem: Injuries have limited Shazier’s playing time this season, but Vince Williams has stepped up and made a big impact inside.

“When Ryan got hurt he went in there and he played good,” said Olsavsky. “He has been making the checks and things like that. Vince is a very hard critic on himself. It’s something where he has to keep going and working. He has done a great job. He did a great job last year and that is what we expect out of him.”

With Shazier back healthy, the key now for Olsavsky is keeping a balance with playing time.  

“It’s a good thing to have,” said Olsavsky. “You try to get snaps where you can. Ryan is a very talented guy, Vince is a very talented guy. Lawrence (Timmons) is a very talented guy. We just have to put the best players on the field and get a win.”

Quiet leader: Olsavsky has two vocal leaders on the field in Shazier and Williams, but it’s Timmons’ who quietly just gets his job done. Timmons does it without fanfare, but not without opponents noticing him.

“Lawrence is amazingly consistent,” said Olsavsky. “He always brings a lot of power. Guys like playing with him. He does fly under the radar. He is not a loud guy. He does a good job of what he does, which is make tackles and hit people.”