On top one day, a bottom feeder the next. Steelers defensive coordinator Tim Lewis is intent on making sure his unit doesn't see a similar slide in its play in 2002. With only one new starter on this year's defense, the common theory is that the Steelers defense will be just as dominant this season as it was last.
Lewis isn't buying into that assumption just yet. He doesn't want the players to think that all they need to do is throw their black and gold uniforms out on the field.
"We don't sit on our laurels and think that what we did last year will be good enough," Lewis said of a defense that allowed just 74.7 yards rushing and 183.9 yards passing per game last season. "Last year is over. It's over. I want everyone to know that. It's over."
Much like how other teams spent countless hours during the off-season breaking down the Steelers' defense and searching for weaknesses, Lewis and the rest of the defensive coaching staff spent the off-season addressing their own weaknesses, looking at other teams, and coming up with fresh ideas.
"It's a chess game. I think we have certain strengths. We're not going to get rid of those. We're not going to change what we do best," said Lewis, who is entering his third season as the Steelers defensive coordinator.
"We obviously have to keep things fresh and keep things new, yet still stay innovative and creative. As a staff, during the off-season we also study other people. We look at everyone, the teams that did some things better than us in certain things and some that were not as good as us in certain things."
"We also add, change, delete, assess techniques and defenses that we need or think we need in order to get better."
--- Dale Lolley