Defense seeks answers to no-huddle

Scouting the Steelers' defense isn't all that complicated of a proposition from strong safety Troy Polamalu's perspective in the secondary.

"What we've shown is if you want to huddle and play against us we'll do fine, but this no-huddle (offense) has given us some problems," Polamalu said. "We have to do something to rectify that. Coach (Dick) LeBeau is the genius of all defensive coordinators, and he'll figure it out."

The Eagles' no-huddle approach confounded the Steelers' defense throughout a 31-21 preseason loss on Aug. 21 in Philadelphia. And the Browns were able to erase a 27-3 halftime deficit on their first four second-half possessions in Sunday's regular season opener by switching to the no-huddle offense.

The Steelers managed stops on Cleveland's final two possessions, the last of which lost 11 yards in three snaps, and they were ultimately able to escape with a 30-27 victory.

"The problems attending (to) no-huddle are the same," LeBeau maintained. "They're never going to change. They're certainly not unsolvable. We have to do a better job keeping our poise more than anything, and that's what we're working on. We'll definitely be better on that."

Coach Mike Tomlin cited a lack of defensive communication as a factor in Cleveland's second-half success on offense.

"Communication is integral to execution and I thought we could have communicated better," Tomlin said.

"It was a big issue," LeBeau agreed. "We became a little bit rattled, and we can't allow that to happen, and we're working on that. To me that was the biggest issue. We didn't give ourselves a chance and it showed.

"More than anything it was the element of uncertainty. I think they heard the call, but it was happening pretty fast and for many of them it was the first time it was at that tempo, (against) that skilled an athlete. We kind of lost our way there for a while. Fortunately, they settled down at the end there, and collectively we got the win."

Polamalu said he didn't feel as if the defense became rattled.

"No, not really," he said. "But if that's (LeBeau's) assessment then I'm sure we were."

Polamalu also confirmed steps have been taken this week to streamline the communicative process on defense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"Yes, for sure, definitely," he said.

Baltimore only ran the no-huddle offense in traditional, two-minute situations at the conclusion of each half in its season opening, 23-16 loss to Cincinnati. LeBeau anticipates seeing it from the Ravens much more often on Thursday night in Baltimore.

"I certainly do," he said. "Our two worst games, no doubt, have been against a hurry-up deal. So we're going to see it until we handle it."

Added Polamalu, "I expect them to do whatever they think is best to win. If that's what they think is best we'll be prepared for it."

PRACTICE REPORT: Not practicing today for the Steelers were Dri Archer (ankle), Lance Moore (groin), and Cody Wallace (finger, hamstring). Brett Keisel, Heath Miller, Troy Polamalu, and Ike Taylor were given the day off by Coach Mike Tomlin. Among the previously injured players returning to practice fully on Tuesday were Martavis Bryant (shoulder), Brice McCain (groin), Steve McLendon (stinger), and Shamarko Thomas (ankle, Achilles).

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.