Steelers scrapping the 4-3 experiments

After toying with the 4-3 defense in training camp and early in 2001, the Steelers figure to scrap that portion of their preparation in 2002.

Unsure of what they were going to get from Mike Jones and, most notably, Kendrell Bell in 2001, the Steelers spent a good amount of time working on the 4-3 defense in training camp.

But the 4-3 won't see the time of day when training camp opens July 24 at St. Vincent College. The Steelers are sold on their 3-4 defense and the people they have in place to run it.

After all of that practice on the 4-3 in 2001, the Steelers used it in a game for exactly two plays.

The strength of the defense remains the linebackers, and the team is trying to find ways to keep those guys on the field more rather than sending out an extra defensive lineman. Thus the move of outside linebacker Joey Porter to middle linebacker and Bell to a rush position when the team goes to the dime.

Keeping Porter, Bell and Jason Gildon on the field at all times will be more of the focus in training camp than working on a defense the team won't use unless it has a rash of injuries at linebacker.

One downfall of this defense could be teams running at Bell, who will consistently be matched up one-on-one with an offensive tackle for the first time in his young career.

If Bell is unable to win those matchups, the Steelers will be forced to adjust.

Steel City Insider Top Stories