Tony Dungy says Steelers defense 'is old and doesn't have any playmakers'

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone is accountable, young and old, but the problem itself is not representative of only old players. The youth is causing problems as well.

Coming out of Warren Sapp, that's one thing. Coming from Tony Dungy, though, might be another.

Tribune-Review writer Alan Robinson quoted Sunday Night Football analyst Tony Dungy in Friday's edition, saying "I'm not sure they can fix this. I don't know that they have the talent. I think they just have an old defense that does not have any playmakers."

A fair argument can be made, in their most recent game, younger players like cornerback Cortez Allen and linebacker Vince Williams hurt them more than the older players did, but the lack of playmaking ability is unavoidable.

Zero turnovers through four games.

That isn't necessarily an age thing. Younger LaMarr Woodley made a great play on a fleeing Matt Cassel, jarring the ball loose. That ball bounced literally through the hands and off the chest of younger defensive end Cam Heyward and rested at the feet of younger and unknowing outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Old Ike Taylor dropped an interception laid perfectly in his hands by Cassel early in the game.

So chalk up one for the young guys and one for the old guys.

Taylor got his hands on a ball later in the game too, perhaps a stickier-fingered cornerback makes that play. Probably not an age thing, though. When the real kegs of explosives on this defense are being tucked away while having to help newbies in their transition (i.e. Lawrence Timmons spilling over for Vince Williams), a lack of plays is sure to follow.

Think of Larry Foote as the straw that stirs the drinks. He can have Timmons' back should Timmons rush the passer or step into a passing lane. Without Foote's experience in there, Timmons has to shoulder more responsibility. And even that isn't working. The Steelers can expect a healthy dose of the Jets power running game aimed squarely at Williams.

It's odd seeing No. 98 on the field as the target for a running game, but as Williams takes his lumps and builds as a player that's what the Steelers will continue to see.

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