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Man or Zone coverage? New Steelers secondary coach Tom Bradley is a ‘man guy’

The new secondary coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers perfers man coverage over zone, but with a caveat in the details.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers hired new defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, it wasn’t normal protocol for the black-and-gold. Unlike when the team hired Karl Dunbar or Darryl Drake, there wasn’t an immediate post on the team’s official website. Sites like this, and every other major Pittsburgh media news outlet, broke the news, but the official announcement lacked the fanfare of the other additions.

Nonetheless, since being hired, no one has heard anything from Bradley — until now.

While sitting down with’s Missi Matthews, Bradley was asked several questions regarding his first tenure as a coach in the National Football League. He talked about how he got the job, the keys to success for the team’s defensive backs, but also answered the most important question on fans’ minds entering the 2018 season.

Does he prefer man or zone coverage?

Here is what he had to say when posed the question in the interview:

“There is no right way to answer that question.” Bradley told the Steelers official website. “I think over the years I was predominantly a big zone guy. Over the years I was what I was because of what I had. I didn’t have people who could play a lot of man. I couldn’t do it, so we played more zone and got creative on zone. At this level, you constantly have to be changing and have different variations, a lot of different things. Anything you do they are just going to pick it apart. So, we will do a lot of different things, but I guess the way it is kinda going now, as good as many of them are, I guess I’m a man guy.”

To some, this will be music to their ears. As most know, Mike Tomlin is a coach who was brought up in the coaching ranks teaching the ‘Tampa 2’ zone scheme in the secondary. It was this defense which got him a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and what he has tried to implement since the departure of Dick LeBeau.

The one aspect of Bradley’s comment which should be highlighted is how he understands and expects the defense to do a lot of different things. In today’s NFL you can’t just play zone, or man. You have to be able to infuse concepts from both, at multiple aspects throughout the course of the game.

Can the Steelers do that? Absolutely, and for once they have some athletes to really sculpt a great secondary with. Joe Haden, Artie Burns, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton and several others, including potential draft picks, will be looking to improve their craft under their new position coach this year.

For the full interview with Bradley, just click the play button below!