Steelers defensive ends will get after the passer more in 2013

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

It's not just about the outside linebackers in Pittsburgh this season. Steelers DE Brett Keisel says the ends will push upfield more than just handing the two-gap responsibilities they've had in the past.

Gone are the days of the space-eating 5-technique defensive ends.

Hello, pass rushers.

In a manner of speaking, at least. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is asking his defensive ends to get up the field more, taking on more of the look of a one-gap defensive end, as opposed to the two-gap style they've traditionally had.

Playing the gaps on either side of a defensive lineman requires that player to read both sides. Playing just the one gap means they attack that space and move forward when possible.

It also suggests outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley may have something behind his recent comments suggesting he wants to rush the passer more. The outside linebackers in this defense have typically been the ones going straight after the passer. Now, with the defensive ends pushing, the outside linebackers may have more responsibility to cover the extra space.

"In years past, when we had James and LaMarr, it was mostly just push the pocket, try to collapse the pocket, make the quarterback flush and those guys would be there to clean him up," Steelers DE Brett Keisel told the Post-Gazette. That's what we were taught."

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