Steelers Training Camp Could Be Tackling Camp

Coaches Vow To Address A Major Issue With The Defense

Eric Hagman
June 13, 2018 - 7:55 pm
Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin

93.7 The Fan

Pittsburgh (93.7 The Fan) - Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler doesn't mince words when talking about the struggles of his unit last season.

"We've got to stop the freaking run," Butler said during minicamp on Wednesday.  "It's as simple as you can get.  You look at the whole last year and we missed a ton of tackles."

Unofficial statistics show the defense averaged more than ten missed tackles per game in 2017.   That contributed in large part to allowing a 4.4 yards per carry average, fifth highest of any defense in the NFL. 

Since on-field workouts in May and June are nothing more than football in shorts, Butler hasn't been able to directly address improved tackling beyond technique, but that will change when the players report to St. Vincent College next month.

"Number one, we're going to work (more) on tackling in training camp, try to improve it as much as we can," Butler said.  "If we are able to tackle better all that stuff is going to be cut down.  For us, we have to make sure we're a good run-stopping defense."

Coach Mike Tomlin became more involved with the defense as last season went along.  He was asked if he can quantify the plan for creating a better-tackling defense in training camp.

"No, no I can't," said Tomlin.  "We're going to tackle more"

The Steelers added safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Jon Bostic as free agents.  Both have reputations as solid tacklers.  The same can be said for number one draft pick safety Terrell Edmunds.  He's eager to get to training camp and put the coaches' words into actions.

"My whole mindset is to hit someone before they hit me," said Edmunds.  "I'm just going to bring it all.  When that time does come, I can really put some pads on someone."

The Steelers will report to training camp on July 25.  The first padded practice will be July 28.  Based on what was said on day two of mini camp, it could be a spirited Saturday afternoon.