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The Steelers, and Keith Butler, are emphasizing stopping the run from Day 1

The Pittsburgh Steelers start OTAs this week but, even at rookie mini-camp, the defensive coaching staff was preaching run defense.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Minicamp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One could say the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense took a step forward last year in many ways. Their secondary improved (when everyone was healthy), they set a new franchise record with sacks and saw their overall statistics improve.

Except in one category — run defense.

The Steelers were gashed by the run on several occasions. I don’t have to spit back the stats for you, all you have to do is remember the long runs vs. the Jaguars on two occasions, the overtime winner vs. the Bears and countless others to realize just how poor the team’s run defense was last season.

Thus, it should come as no shock that one Keith Butler is preaching run defense from the very first minute he got the opportunity.

The defensive coordinator, who wrapped up rookie mini-camp last week, talked to Missi Matthews of the Steelers official website and hammered home the importance of stopping the run — and it started from Day 1.

But that wasn’t all he discussed. He talked about how he feels Terrell Edmunds can be the vocal leader in making calls on the field, assuming this role from Ryan Shazier despite the huge shoes to fill in this regard. He also discussed how excited he was with the team’s draft picks, as well as the new coaches on his defensive coaching staff.

It all starts with stopping the run.


Hear what Butler had to say in the player below, and as the coaching staff turns from rookie mini-camp to Organized Team Activities (OTAs) where the rookies and veterans take the field together for the first time this offseason.