The Steelers' defense is not a concern for the fan base heading into 2020. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Steven Nelson helped to solidify the secondary, an area of weakness which plagued the defense for years.
With the Steelers now sporting a top-tier defense, you would think the unit could sit back and just do what they do. After racking up 54 sacks, 20 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and 83 pass-defenses in 2019, this unit is determined to get better. How are they doing this? Players like T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Ola Adeniyi and even Dan McCullers have solicited the guidance of pass-rushing guru Brandon Jordan.
Dupree has worked with Jordan in the past, and it begs the question whether this additional work had anything to do with Dupree's breakout season last year, when he tallied 11.5 sacks. This year, Dupree decided to bring along some teammates to get additional work.
Take a look at some of the work they have been putting in:
Jordan is known as a pass-rushing specialist, teaching techniques which will help pass-rushers get to the quarterback and disrupt plays. But the Steelers' defense is about to embark on a pass-rushing journey which could redefine pass-rushing prowess within the franchise.
Since 2016, the Steelers have tallied 50+ sacks every season.
If this unit puts up 50+ sacks in 2020, it would be the first time in team history a defense has recorded 50+ in four straight seasons. The defense putting in the extra work has them on the right track to get that job done.
This is usually the point at which you talk about the impact a strong secondary has on the pass rush. What comes first? A good pass rush which results in hurried throws? Or a good secondary which causes the quarterback to hold onto the ball longer?
Kind of reminds you of the chicken-and-egg debate.
However you slice it, the Steelers' defense is poised for another big season. Other than Javon Hargrave leaving for the Eagles via free agency, the unit remains largely intact. Barring injury, always the caveat, expect big things from Keith Butler's unit in 2020.