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Steelers Connection: Can the 2016 Steelers defense surpass their 2015 sack total?

On the latest episode of the Steelers Connection I answer the question of whether the 2016 Steelers defense can surpass the 48 sacks posted in 2015.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone who follows the Pittsburgh Steelers knows just how good their offense can be. That was put on display Friday night when the starting unit dismantled the New Orleans Saints defense with ease. However, what about the defense?

There is plenty of room for improvement on multiple levels, but one area the team didn't do poorly in last year was rushing the passer. The 2015 Steelers had 48 sacks, which ranked 3rd in the NFL, but can they do better? Can the current defense best more than 48 sacks next season? I dive into the statistics to find out the answer.

My approach was a three-pronged approach.

- 2015 Statistics
- 2016 Opponents
- 2016 Defensive personnel and philosophy

When looking at last year's statistics, both as a group and individuals, there are several players, Jarvis Jones as a prime example, who are certainly capable of producing more sacks than they did a year ago; however, you have to wonder if Cameron Heyward will be able to best his team-leading 7 sacks from a year ago.

I take a look at their opponents next season, and where they finished 2015 in regards to sacks surrendered, and finally how Keith Butler, in his second season, calls an aggressive style of defense, which could pay serious dividends for the unit.

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