The Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to be faster in 2019. They wanted to show the athleticism and speed they had when Ryan Shazier roamed the middle of the field for the black-and-gold. While they might have achieved this type of athleticism on defense, you have to wonder after Week 1 if they are second guessing the amount of speed they put on the field at once.
What I’m saying is after the Week 1 debacle vs. the New England Patriots, a game where the team used Devin Bush and Mark Barron, 76% and 69% snap percentages respectively, far more than they used Vince Williams, 31%, will they try and mix it up more in Week 2 when Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks come to Heinz Field?
Snap totals are just like most statistics in sports. You can manipulate them in many different ways, but the difference with snap totals is not how they will impact the future, but how they impacted the game that was.
The Steelers were expecting the Patriots to do what they always do offensively, rub routes, shallow crosses and intricate route combinations, and they wanted to combat that with Bush and Barron in the middle. When you see Cameron Sutton playing 24% of the plays on defense, you can see how they prioritized speed and coverage ability by playing their dime packages.
While the plan for Week 1 clearly failed, will the way the Steelers utilize their inside linebackers change in Week 2? Will Vince Williams earn more playing time against a Seahawks team who still values running the ball, and has a mobile quarterback in Wilson? Wilson is a tremendous talent, but is no Tom Brady when it comes to knowledge of defenses, ability to remain one step ahead and overall understanding of how to exploit a defense.
The Steelers want to stay fast at all times, this was obvious in the preseason, and was obvious after looking at the snap totals in Week 1. But is it the best course of action, at least for the majority of the game? Should Williams play in different spots other than just the base defense? Are Bush and Barron too “light” to stop the run?
Those answers will be much clearer in Week 2 when the fans get to see what changes, if any, were made to the game plan.
If you want to check out the complete list of snap totals, you can click HERE, or check the chart below. What stood out to you? Were their players who played more, or less, than you expected? Let us know in the comment section below!