Shazier staying in his lane

Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier leads the Steelers in tackles but even he can't make every tackle.

He isn't supposed to, and Shazier knows it.

But he still has to fight back the urge to try.

"It's definitely a tough temptation to resist sometimes," Shazier admitted. "Sometimes you just feel like you can always make the play, it doesn't matter how far away the guy is. Everybody out here feels like they're a play-maker, or they can make the plays."

But when the attempt to do so compromises the defense, long runs result.

"Sometimes when you go underneath blocks, you're cutting off the rest of your teammates from getting there," Shazier said.

Defensive coordinator Keith Butler isn't a fan of his players running under blocks.

He understands why it happens, and more importantly why it can't.

"I did the same thing when I played," Butler said. "I tried to run under blocks every now and then and make plays.

"I know this, if I ran under a block I better make that play. We didn't and they got some yards on us. It was a valuable lesson learned, though."

The reference was to Ravens running back Alex Collins' 23-yard burst to open what eventually became a 26-9 Steelers victory last Sunday in Baltimore.

Collins also had a 50-yard run in the third quarter on which the Steelers' front five ended up on the ground.

"One went down and it was a domino effect and everybody kind of went down," Butler said.

These are the types of details the Steelers are emphasizing as they prepare to host Jacksonville and the NFL's

No. 2 rushing offense on Sunday.

Stay off the ground, stay in your gap, take on blocks rather than running under them when necessary, and, last but not least, tackle.

Shazier's been working on all of the above well enough to have almost twice as many tackles as anyone else on the defense (37, fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams is second with 19).
Shazier was especially on his details against the Ravens and finished with 11 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one interception and three passes defensed (one of which was tipped to and intercepted by cornerback Mike Hilton).

"I feel like when I'm making my tackles I'm helping out the team as best I can," Shazier said. "I know when I make my plays, it definitely affects the team a lot. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help.

"I try to maintain good position, get great alignment so I don't have to go underneath blocks. I feel like I've been doing a lot better job just getting in better position. If we get in the right alignment we don't have to go underneath blocks. We can just fit it the right way."

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