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.
Making calls:** Having Ryan Shazier at the game on Sunday was something that made everyone in the Steelers organization happy, because first and foremost, it was what Shazier wanted. Butler has been in regular contact with Shazier since his spine injury, visiting him and even making a special delivery.
"I am glad he could come," said Butler. "I know he has been chomping at the bit to get there. He stayed up on everything. I took him a copy of the game plan. Both games he's missed he had a copy of the game plan. He knows what is going on out there on the field. He was probably up there in the press box making all of the calls."
Communication a key: With Shazier, who is the 'quarterback' of the defense as far as making calls, out for the season Butler has been depending on others to pick up the slack on the communication side of things, and it's coming together despite a few bumps in the road.
"I think they have all tried to pick up the slack in terms of getting us in the right defenses, getting the calls in, the execution of the defense," said Butler. "Trying to bring it back up to where it was. They are doing a good with it thus far. The communication is a big deal in the National Football League, especially defensively. I always thought the teams that were going to communicate the best were going to play the best, especially in terms of defense. We put a high priority on that with our guys to make sure we know what everybody is doing. We want to make sure we are all on the same page."
No ordinary Joe: The defense has a chance to get Joe Haden back on the field this week, after he returned to practice a week ago, and Butler knows that could be a huge asset for team, as well as give him a taste of what to expect with postseason football.
"Just think about how our defense was before and how our defense was after," said Butler of missing Haden. "That is all you have to do. Joe is a big time player. He is definitely a number one corner. You want him on your team. He wants to be on this team.
"I don't know if he has ever been to the playoffs. This will be his first time to experience it. He has to get ready for it. There are a lot of parts to the season. The first part everybody is trying to make the team. Then the start of the season is a high because you are hoping for a good season. Then you get in the middle of the season where you are trying to win games. Then the last part is when you pick it up. All of these are stages of adrenaline, thinking faster, and trying a little bit harder. As you finish the season you get in the playoffs and every game you play, the intensity raises. That is something Joe hasn't experienced yet and he will when we get in the playoffs."