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Run defense, Shazier and Arrowhead

Posted Oct 12, 2017

Learn more in this week's edition of Coordinator's Corner.

Each week one of the Steelers coordinators will share their insight in an exclusive interview that can be heard on SNR every Thursday in the 3 p.m. hour.

This version of Coordinators Corner will give you a sneak peek of what to expect, but it just touches the surface. Read what they have to say, but take my advice, listen every Thursday for the full interview. It will be worth your time.

Featured this week is defensive coordinator Keith Butler.

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Ranking game: The Steelers defense is No. 1 overall in the NFL against the pass, but ranked 28th against the run after five weeks of the season. Butler knows that is a ranking that needs to be improved, and improved fast. The Steelers have given up over 200 yards rushing twice this season, against Chicago and Jacksonville, and Butler wants to put a stop to it.

“We need a lot of growth in terms of our run defense,” said Butler. “Everybody knows that. Stat-wise where we are in the league, it’s not where I want to be. I want to be a lot higher in terms of stopping the run. We have given up two games of 200 yards or more of running the football. That is way too much. That is way too much.”  

Read and react: Ryan Shazier leads the Steelers in tackles with 45, and interceptions with two. He also has two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. And according to Butler while he has improved, there is still room for improvement.

“He trusts the defense a little bit more, he understands the defense a little bit more and where his help is,” said Butler. “As the years go by he has learned more and more. He studies the game. He anticipates stuff. That can be a double-edge sword. When you start guessing it can hurt you. He has to stop guessing and anticipate. If his keys meet his anticipation, he will continue to make plays. My biggest thing with him right now is don’t be guessing. Read what you see and react to that. I think he will become a better football player if he does that.”

A tough place to play: The Steelers head to Kansas City on Sunday to face the 5-0 Chiefs in a stadium that can be a nightmare for opposing teams. Arrowhead Stadium is known as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, and Butler knows the challenge it is going to present and what they have to do to overcome the challenge.

“You have to play good team defense,” said Butler. “To do that you have to be in sync with each other. We have to be very aware of what they like to do and what kind of offense they are. They are (one of the top) rushing offenses in NFL right now. We have already gone against Jacksonville, and they are way up there too. We have to stop the run and get our offense the ball back. It’s a very difficult place to play.”