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Pittsburgh Steelers six sacks vs. the Packers a sign of things to come?

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The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to finally apply pressure on the opposition Sunday at Heinz Field when they defeated the Packers 24-19, is the pass rush they displayed a sign of things to come?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I am fully aware the Pittsburgh Steelers six sacks against the Green Bay Packers came in their third preseason game. I am aware the game doesn't actually count, despite the team winning 24-19. I am aware many of their sacks and quarterback pressures came against the opposition's backups. However, despite the aforementioned statements, are the Steelers' six sacks and quarterback pressures a sign of things to come?

Despite the pessimist stating the obvious, count me in the optimist group who sees the glass half full, or should I say sees the pass rush as on the mend. When it comes to getting to the quarterback, it was refreshing to see someone other than James Harrison get to the quarterback.

Let me stop right there and add how impressive it is to see Harrison still play at a high level. In his two preseason games, and extremely limited snaps, Harrison has two sacks, but more importantly two splash plays. A sack/fumble on Blake Bortles against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their second preseason game, and a sack/safety Sunday against Aaron Rodgers in the team's win over the Green Bay Packers. If Harrison is going to play "the closer" role in 2015, it looks as if he will be able to do that with ease.

Most will remind me how Harrison is behind Jarvis Jones and Jones' lack of production should lead to the promotion of Harrison to the starting lineup, but if you've watched No. 95 this preseason you have seen a steady and gradual improvement which finally showed up Sunday when Jones registered his first sack of the 2015 preseason.

How nice it was to see a fresh face register a sack, but the starters weren't done there. Shamarko Thomas, the much maligned safety after his first real game action at safety in the NFL against Jacksonville, registered a sack, along with first round draft pick Bud Dupree notching his first NFL sack of his extremely young career.

There were others who joined the party, but this team took Mike Tomlin's challenge to get after the quarterback to heart, and rightfully so. Rushing the passer is almost as much about attitude as it is about winning your one-on-one matchup. Having the confidence to beat the player opposite you and make a play for your team. Exactly what the Steelers have lacked for the past few seasons re-emerged on Sunday at Heinz Field, at least for one day.

However, is this a sign of things to come? Someone give me tangible evidence on the roster, not the opposition, which tells me different? Watch the play where the Steelers sacked Rodgers in their endzone for a safety. That was a pure team sack with pressure up the middle from Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, pressure off the edge from Sean Spence and Harrison and Dupree coming up the middle to finish the job. If the team can duplicate such dominant pressure, the sacks will come.

What might be even more intriguing is the wide variety of people who registered sacks on Sunday. I have long said if the Steelers don't have one dominant pass rusher, but several great pass rushers, the team will still be okay. You might not have the late 2000s James Harrison who will lead the league in sacks, but if you have Heyward, Jones, Harrison, Arthur Moats, Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier all nearing double digits you have yourself a versatile sack machine, not just one player doing the damage.

Just as the Steelers offense boasts a "pick your poison" approach on how they can burn you, the same could eventually be said about the team's pass rush if it keeps improving. You want to stop Harrison from harassing your quarterback on the blind side? Moats and/or Dupree and Stephon Tuitt will make you pay opposite him. Granted, such a vision is still far from fruition with this young defense, but isn't out of the realm of possibility.

The Steelers pass rushers simply have to keep improving. It might not always be pretty, and they might thrive on a feast or famine approach early in the season. Nonetheless, when the games matter most, and when the Steelers are hopefully playing their most important games, is when this defensive unit should be hitting it's stride. And hopefully that stride is leading them directly to the opposing quarterback.