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Steelers defense in need of change

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The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers defense looks like a mirror image of their 2013 selves, except this unit could be worse. The time has come to make some changes.

Patrick Smith

Soft coverage, surrendering big plays and can't defend against the run.

Sound familiar?

That was the theme of the 2013 season, and it looks to have carried over to 2014 with a new cast of characters. Gone are Ziggy Hood and Al Woods, enter Cam Thomas. Gone is Ryan Clark, enter Mike Mitchell. Gone is Larry Foote, enter Ryan Shazier. You get the picture.

The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers season very well could be defined by the team's ability to change. Not scheme, but personnel.

I've seen enough of Cam Thomas to know that I've seen too much. If you're going to trot out a large human being to just get pushed around, you might as well put someone out there having a little bit of upside. That's where Stephon Tuitt comes in.

Tuitt might not be any more effective than Thomas, but he sure does have the ability to improve throughout his rookie campaign and better himself for the future.

Mike Mitchell very well could be a ghost on the field, because the only time he's seen is when taking bad angles or drawing penalties. Possibly a bigger issue is his counterpart in the secondary, Troy Polamalu, who hasn't been much better.

In my humble opinion, it's time for Shamarko Thomas. I'm not suggesting Thomas replace either safety as the full time starter, but the young man needs to see the field. He plays the run better than both safeties and has the speed that seems to be lacking in the back half of the defense.

Ryan Shazier hasn't been awful, but it's time to spell the rookie in games every now and then. Asking a rookie to step in and play every down isn't easy for anyone. The preseason showed that Sean Spence is more than capable of stepping up to stop the run and play this role on the team.

Change is necessary to success; It's a pretty simple concept.

The Steelers now have 10 days until they play another football game. Ten days for them to implement this change. Ten days for the coaching staff to put something together resembling a functional defensive unit. Ten days to at least put a band-aid on the gaping hole the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens left through the middle of this defense.

Ten days to put the first two performances behind them and start fresh with some new personnel eager and ready to go to make a difference on Sunday Night Football.

The time for change is now.