The first note sent to me after the Super Bowl included this sentence:
"It's time to scrap that garbage they call an offense and get back to Steeler football!!!!!"
It was sent by one of my favorite customers, but I had to chuckle because I'm not about to go back to previewing fullbacks before the draft.
I've kind of become comfortable looking at the top-blocking H-backs anyway.
But that's getting off the point here this morning.
What I took from the Super Bowl is something about which nearly every Pittsburgh Steelers fan has been talking since the end of the season: improving the defense.
Specifically, the Denver Broncos on Sunday showed what can be done with four angry and talented men playing on the front line.
I'm not even sure what to call it around these parts. The front four? The front five? The Front?
I'm not sure the Steelers even know what they call their defensive line, or their front seven minus the inside linebackers. I'm not sure what they want, either. But I know what they need.
They need another angry man.
The old Oakland Raiders used to say their defense had "Eleven Angry Men." The Steelers at least say they want to get there with four such angry men. Keith Butler said it repeatedly last season, especially after getting burned using a safety blitz, or, worse, the two-CB blitz/miscommunication that allowed newly crowned world champion Emmanuel Sanders a free and easy touchdown back in the regular season.
And it makes sense. "Getting there with four" was the key to the Steelers' legendary defense of the '70s. And that evolved into "Blitzburgh" in the '90s when they looked for smaller pass-rushers to play the stand-up end positions.
Bill Cowher and Dom Capers may not have invented pass-rushers who had the flexibility to drop into coverage, but they certainly perfected it and were able to find those types at all levels on draft weekend.
Or so it seemed.
Now it seems as if they can't fine one, anywhere, and that may be the signal to evolve once again.
Of course, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, the great Denver pass-rushers, are so-called 3-4 OLBS playing in a four-man front. But they were, and still are, the cream of that positional crop. Miller, the Super Bowl MVP, was the second pick of his draft. Ware went 11th in his draft, and then cost the Broncos $30 million as a 32-year-old free agent.
It's unlikely the Steelers will draft that high or spend that much money anytime soon, particularly as they wait on their own first-round OLBs to do something, anything, and save them from admitting a mistake.
At least one, Bud Dupree, shows the physical skills necessary to one day become nearly as scary as Miller was on Sunday. Bud probably isn't a mistake.
As for Jarvis Jones, he's someone with whom the Steelers probably can win. They won with Clark Haggans. I'm presuming they can win with Jones, and I'm presuming they presume the same, meaning it's unlikely the Steelers will look to replace Jones this offseason.
That rules out two of their front five positions as first-round targets.
Would they draft a 5-tech, a.k.a. a 3-4 defensive end?
Well, they already have two young and talented 5-techs in Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward, and they use them as DTs in the nickel front. A first-round pick there, for a backup, with a deep crop of prospects pushing quality into the latter part of the second round, might not be the prudent move for a team with holes in its secondary.
A nose tackle?
Well, Steve McLendon is a 30-year-old free agent backed up by a guy -- big Dan McCullers -- who didn't show much progress in his second year. And if the Steelers draft a nose tackle with pass-rush skills -- like an Andrew Billings, or potentially a Vernon Butler -- that player could serve as the rotational backup for the two starters in the nickel front.
Of course, we all realize the Steelers play nickel two-thirds of the time, thus making it their base defense. So a choice to draft a nose tackle would be a choice for drafting to fill a part-time position. And this with McLendon and McCullers still available, and I prefer to take a more optimistic view of those two players.
Should they draft to fill their new 4-3 front with more true defensive linemen?
Now there's an idea. But if they draft a 4-3 DE, it's a cue that a still-viable James Harrison won't return (when he easily could) and that Jones won't receive the complete vetting at his position that many in the organization believe he needs. Besides, the Steelers like the ability of their defensive ends to drop into coverage. That's their twist on the "Tampa 2," to which Mike Tomlin has this defense headed.
That's quite a list of excuses for every one of the front five positions. I think I could find an excuse not to draft any one of the technique-slotted draft prospects coming out this year. And this crop is so deep, they could find whichever technique they prefer in almost any round they prefer.
But that gets back to my point: This draft is loaded with big, talented, angry young defensive linemen. The Broncos just won a Super Bowl because they had four of them. Well, the Steelers need another one, and in my opinion they shouldn't dwell as much on the fit as they should the ability.
Because it's time to scrap that garbage they call a DEFENSE and get back to Steelers football!!!!!
That's a text I can get behind.null