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Porter teaching young LBs how to get to the QB


Joey Porter has adopted a familiar tactic when trying to drive home a point while coaching the Steelers' outside linebackers.

"I always mess with them," said Porter, a defensive assistant last season who was given a position after former linebackers coach Keith Butler was named defensive coordinator. "I tell them, 'You could put all your sacks together and you won't have as many as me so you're going to listen to me. You can put all your sacks together and I'd still have more than you, so why wouldn't you listen to me when I'm trying to tell you how to get to the quarterback?'

"That was a Dick LeBeau thing."

LeBeau often reminded players about his 62 career interceptions during his days coaching defensive backs and coordinating the Steelers' defense.

"It makes you feel like, 'Well, he's not making anything up, it's for real,'" Porter continued. "And I'm not just saying that if I can't back it up. I'm telling you, 'This is what I did to get there and I'm going to show you that it really works.'"

By now the outside linebackers are probably aware Porter had 98 career sacks.

The rest of what Porter is trying to teach them includes:

THE RIGHT MINDSET: "I look at the pass rush as if it's a fight within a fight. You're one-on-one with that guy. You're trying to beat him. He's trying to stop you. Getting off the ball is definitely a key because if you don't have a fast get-off you're not going to get there. Sometimes you can get the fight over quick, like a knockout punch. If your first step is wicked you might just beat the guy before he gets out of his set, now you have him."


THE IMPORTANCE OF VERSATILITY:** "What happens when you have a (Kelvin) Beachum (at offensive tackle) that has good feet and you get off the ball and he gets off the ball? Now it comes into what kind of move are you going to put on him? Are you a spinner? Are you a bull rusher? Do you have an inside move?

"I think the best pass rushers have more than one move. Now some pass rushers just have one good move that's so good you can't stop it anyway. (Miami's) Cameron Wake has a good get-off. He's been surviving in the league long enough because it's that good. Some guys just have a mean bull rush and it's that good and they can live on it. (San Diego's Dwight) Freeney had a sick spin move. But what made Freeney good, he also had a first step to where if he beat you around the corner held just take it, but he gets off so fast when a guy goes to jump him (outside) he rolls off of him. So I think the real good pass rusher has to have a complement to his best move.

"So if your best move is speed what are you going to do when you meet a guy that's going to jump you out there for speed? You gotta have an inside move. He gets you for speed, you hit him with the inside move. Now, you've beaten him with speed, you've beaten him inside, now he doesn't know what you're going to do. That's when you bring the stutter, the bull. You try to have enough moves to where you're playing a game within a game just with this guy."

THE PATH TO 98 SACKS: "My thing was, I'd take the guy with a speed rush, put him in the deep end of the pool and just keep beating him with seed. And once I get him jumping out because he's worried about speed, now you're leaving the inside move for me. I beat a lot of guys with the inside move. If I beat you on the inside move the play before and I go to take the inside, you're going to crash down hard and when you go in I come out.

"What I'm trying to teach my guys is if you're going to be a one-trick pony you better have a damn good trick. You gotta have a complement to your favorite move."


Take a look at some of the best photos from the career of Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

THE PROCESS:** "The young guys, they want to learn how to become a good pass rusher. Me and 'Debo' (James Harrison), he sees it his way and I see it my way. When you have a guy of his age you don't mess with him. He's going to get the quarterback how he knows how to get the quarterback. But my young guys who haven't made a play in this league yet, when I tell them this philosophy I have of pass rushing they're like, 'Oh, that makes sense.' So they want to learn more.

"I try to give it to them in stages. I don't try to make you learn three moves all at once. We're gonna master one, then we're gonna master the next one and then once I get you to your third move now it's for you to play the game with the tackle, when to use that move.

"I'm talking about (Bud) Dupree, (Anthony) Chickillo, (Arthur) Moats is still in that stage where he wants to be a better pass rusher. It's everybody in that room except Harrison. He's a separate issue because this guy is a former Defensive Player of the Year. He's done it, he's proven. So you don't mess with a guy that already has sacks in this league.

"My other guys, they're like sponges that want to get better."

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