The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has seen a drastic transition in philosophy and scheme since Dick LeBeau left for Tennessee and Keith Butler took over as the defensive coordinator. Under LeBeau the team remained a 3-4 defense, who ran sub packages, like the nickel and dime defense, when the offensive deployment called for such a change.
When Butler took over, he and Mike Tomlin began sculpting a team which was based on the sub packages, moving to their base 3-4 defense on rare occasions during games. Becoming more of a zone coverage defense, the Steelers focused on rushing only 3 or 4 players with regularity, while dropping everyone else into their unique coverage schemes.
In their 43-14 win over the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, the Steelers continued to run their sub packages, but made a noticeable effort to deploy the base 3-4 defense more than any other regular season game in 2016. When looking at the snap totals, you can tell this simple fact by looking at one position's overall totals -- nose tackle.
Both Javon Hargrave and Daniel McCullers have hardly been used this season, until Week 4. Hargrave played in a career high 26 snaps, with McCullers tallying 8 overall snaps, primarily in short yardage situations. The Steelers used their third round rookie in passing situations, but also used their base 3-4 defense more than they had the previous three weeks.
Doing so also allowed the team to focus on a 3-man OLB rotation between James Harrison, Arthur Moats and Jarvis Jones. Anthony Chickillo would have been a part of the rotation, but he suffered a knee injury and was held to just 10 plays. As for the other trio, Jones registered 45 snaps, Harrison 43, and Moats 52. That is about as even a rotation as you can find, and it just might be the equation the Steelers use for the rest of the season.
The complete list of snap totals are below, courtesy of Pro-Football Reference: