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It All Comes Down to Blocking and Tackling

Sometimes as people we can make things more difficult than they need to be, in football the same can be said. I was a high school football coach in Texas for 10+ years and one of the most basic but powerful things a coach told me was “Football is all about blocking and tackling, if you can do those two things well, you always have a chance”.

Obviously, there is more to the game of football than just being able to block and tackle, but at its core these may be the most important aspects of the game. On every single snap that takes place throughout a game the offense must block, and the defense must tackle. As fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, over the past few seasons we have seen our fair share of poor blocking and poor tackling. Recently the Steelers have made it a priority to bring in players who can be dominant the simplest aspects of the game.

On the offensive side the Steelers have had to manufacture a complete overhaul of their offensive line. In 2021 the Steelers put together a starting offensive line of Dan Moore Jr, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Trai Turner and Chuks Okorafor. This was not the ideal offensive line for Ben Roethlisberger’s fair well tour as they were ranked 24th in the NFL by PFF. Roethlisberger was sacked 38 times in 2021 and probably should have been sacked many more times if it wasn’t for his decision to and ability to get rid of the football faster than any quarterback in the NFL.

The Steelers recognized changes needed to be made along the line to be a better football team. Over the past few seasons, they have added free agents: James Daniels (2nd rounder), Isaac Seumalo (3rd rounder) and Nate Herbig. They have also drafted: Broderick Jones (1st round), Troy Fautanu (1st round), Zach Fraizer (2nd round) and Mason McCormick (4th round). This complete overhaul will most likely supplant the entire offensive line of 2021 with a bevy of high draft picks and high-profile free agents. Not only should the starting offensive line make drastic improvements, but the depth behind them should also be the best we have seen in years.

Along with the offensive line, the Steelers added pass catching weapons who are also very willing and capable blockers. The most recent addition was Roman Wilson, the Steelers 2024 3rd round draft pick. Wilson is a feisty, physical and aggressive receiver who welcomes the job of blocking. He has been quoted saying “No block, no rock”, a vast difference from former receiver Diontae Johnson. Another receiver that has the capability of being a very effective blocker on the outside is George Pickens. Although Pickens has shown the lack of interest in blocking on a few occasions, the majority of the time he is known to put defensive backs on their backside. Moving closer to the football, the Steelers also added a 6’ 7, 265-pound tight end in Darnell Washington, the self-proclaimed “6th Offensive Lineman”.

Moving to the opposite side of the ball, in the past few seasons the Steelers have added: Elandon Roberts, Patrick Queen, DeShon Elliot and Payton Wilson. Roberts and Queen are proven inside linebackers who love to hunt the football. In three of Queen’s first four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, he has achieved 100+ tackles with one season of 98 tackles. Last season Elandon Roberts was a downhill demon who hit everything moving with aggression. DeShon Elliot is a hard-hitting safety, who played his first three seasons with the Ravens, loves to play close to the line of scrimmage. No matter our feelings towards the Ravens, we know their players will be physical, aggressive, AFC North style players. Lastly, in the 2024 NFL Draft the Steelers drafted a tackling machine in Payton Wilson. Wilson has accumulated 266 tackles while at NC State, with having 138 total tackles in the 2023 season alone. Wilson was the recipient of the Dick Butkus award for the nations best linebacker along with the Bednarik award for the nations best defensive player.

While blocking and tackling may seem like simple routine aspect of the game, they are vital for success. As Head Coach Mike Tomlin says “make the routine plays routinely”.

Continue to check out The Steel Curtain Network for all of your Steelers news and updates.

Stay Blessed and Stay Positive… “Here We Go”


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