- The blitz is on: Ryan Shazier's smile got a little bigger when he started talking about it. Because quite honestly, it's what every linebacker, every defender wants. They want to blitz, they want to attack, and they want to set the tone, not have it set by the offense.
And under defensive coordinator Keith Butler this year, that's exactly what they did.
"Coach Butler, he had a blitzing mentality," said Shazier. "We did more of that this year. He is bringing that back to this defense.
"I definitely like that style. I would much rather attack people than be sitting back and waiting."
Sky is the limit:** Shazier admits he has had his ups and downs in his first two seasons, much of it due in part to injuries. But as the 2015 season ended there was no doubt he was on the upswing. That doesn't mean he feels like his game is where he wants it to be, though.
"I still don't feel like I am performing the way I can perform," said Shazier. "I had a few good games, but I definitely want to be more consistent. I can do more and more. I think the sky is the limit and I haven't reached the ceiling."
Keep working hard: Shazier has made it to the postseason in his first two NFL seasons, going one step further this year than the team did in 2014 and getting a better feel for what is expected when the postseason hits as well.
"It's a lot better understanding," said Shazier. "I understand what is needed, what we need to do as a team, what is needed from me. There are a lot of variables. We worked our tails off, but we have to work harder. You have to work hard to show nobody is working harder than you."