Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin are leaning on efficiency.
Why time 40 yards when 10 will show more of what a player can do - especially players who exist in that area five yards in front of and behind the line of scrimmage?
The fact Colbert and Tomlin brought along assistant defensive coach Joey Porter speaks volumes about their particular interest in Notre Dame's Pro Day held Wednesday. As Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm tweeted, Colbert and Porter are specifically timing players in 10-yard splits.
That time is as strong an indicator of how fast a player is off the snap as it gets, and that initial burst is a huge part of a pass rusher's ability to gain immediate leverage on a blocker. It's sort of confusing why it isn't reported more regularly.
If Louis Nix needs to run 40 yards down the field to make a play, then something went wrong that likely had nothing to do with his speed (and arguably anaerobic endurance).Nose tackle Louis Nix and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (who is not participating in drills due to foot surgery last week) are two players that may have stood out on film. They'll at least get a look at Nix, who reportedly weighed in at 331 pounds.
A main concern with Nix was his weight, but he looked more solid than chubby in photos taken at the event.
"What was his 10-yard split?" is the new "What was his 40 time?" Hopefully the Steelers find a few more who can bridge the 10-ish yard gap between themselves and where the quarterback ends up on a play, because their declining sack numbers are reaching an alarming level.