Nine days to Latrobe: Is defense really fixed? ☕


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Devin Bush. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Mark Twain is credited with popularizing the saying that there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

And certainly, you can use statistics to make a case one way or another that the 2018 Steelers had a good defense or one decidedly average.

The Steelers finished the 2018 season sixth in the NFL in total yards allowed. They led the NFL in sacks for the second consecutive season and were ninth in third-down percentage. They were 10th in passing yards allowed and had the league's sixth-best run defense.

On the other side of the coin, they were tied for 16th in points allowed and red zone defense. The Steelers also were 24th in fourth quarter scoring defense and 29th in forced turnovers with 15.

So, while some of the numbers suggest the Steelers were a top-10 defense, others suggest they were more middle-of-the-pack.

The question now is if the offseason additions of Steven Nelson at cornerback and Mark Barron and Devin Bush at inside linebacker will be enough to make the Steelers a top-10 defense across the board.

The Steelers will start to find that out for sure on July 25, when they report to Saint Vincent College for training camp.

Turnovers, or lack thereof, were a big part of the problem in 2018.

Teams that are in the top-10 in the league in sacks also typically find themselves at the top of the list for most turnovers forced. But that wasn't the case for the Steelers.

Their league-best 52 sacks was tempered by just seven interceptions. By comparison, the Chiefs, who tied the Steelers for the league lead in sacks, had 15 interceptions and 27 forced turnovers overall.

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