Players play, coaches coach.
This age old saying has long been considered a gold standard in the sport of football, but fans have often put the onus more on the players. It makes sense, after all, the players are the ones who have to go make plays. But this shouldn’t underscore the fact coaches still have put their players in a position to succeed. Even the best players can’t succeed without a solid plan in place.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, defensive coordinator Keith Butler is coming off an odd week. He was forced to miss the team’s Week 18 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens, but has returned to the sidelines before the team’s Wild Card Round in the AFC Playoffs. When looking back at the Steelers’ 36-10 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16, Butler doesn’t see the players failing as much as the coaches, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the players are being let off the hook.
“The thing that showed up to me more than anything else is we got to do, a whole lot better job of coaching.” Butler said. “That’s the old cliché, playing and coaching, those two things right there. I mean, we got to do a much better job in terms of fairing our guys. And they got to do a much better job in terms of preparing themselves. So, for us to have a chance that’s what we got to do. Both got to get a lot better coaching and a lot better playing. If we do that, then we’ll have a chance against these guys.”
The Steelers’ defense playing the Chiefs’ offense is a tall task. The loss in Arrowhead, the Steelers’ last loss of the season, remains fresh in everyone’s minds. Giving up 36 points the way they did, not providing much resistance for the Chiefs, isn’t something which invokes much confidence heading into Sunday’s playoff showdown.
“We didn’t slow them down, I know that. The last time we played them they scored whatever points they scored on us, 30 something points on us.” Butler recalled. “So, they have a very good coaching staff. They’re well coached. They got very good quarterback. Very smart. Reads stuff very well. He’s got some good players, quick players. So, it’s going to be again, another challenge for us. We’re going to go out there and play them and try to hopefully hold our own against them this time if we can.”
The thought of shutting out the Chiefs’ offense seems like a long shot, and Butler realizes sometimes the Pittsburgh defense will have to be a bend, but don’t break, unit. Wins can come from different places, and a victory could be as simple as holding Patrick Mahomes and company settle for field goals, not touchdowns.
“Well, hopefully we can do that. And if they get good field position, make them go up by threes and we had a chance to do that.” Butler admitted. “The first touchdown they scored we hit the running back in the backfield and we kind of just tackled each other off of it. And he runs in for touchdown. There’re some things that we got to do defensively and one of them is when they get in position to score, we got to make sure they go by threes and not fixes if we can.”
Facing the Kansas City Chiefs, especially their offense, is a tall task. Could the Steelers find a way to slow them down enough to keep the game close? This season has shown the Steelers defense needs to keep the opposition to around 20 points if they want to win. The Chiefs has failed to put up 20 points or more just three times in this 17-game regular season.
Arrowhead Stadium will be electric on Sunday night, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers and Chiefs heading into the postseason.