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Steelers Film Room: Landry Jones vs. the Patriots secondary a key to victory

The Patriots defense brings many challenges to the Steelers offense, but Landry Jones will have to dissect this secondary.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers lack of execution vs. Miami, and how they allowed Miami's defensive talent to control the Steelers offensive line, was definitely one of the biggest reasons the Steelers lost to the Dolphins.

Roethlisberger wound up paying the ultimate price for the Steelers inability to control the Miami defensive line, and now he is out potentially 2-6 weeks with a meniscus injury.

Now it's Patriots week and Landry Jones will have the honor of facing a tough Patriots defense. Their secondary in particular will be under the microscope in this preview as Landry Jones will have to figure out how to attack this secondary.

Let's get this started.


Devin McCourty is going to be the player Landry Jones will want to watch closely in this game. The patriots free safety is the leader in that secondary and is generally tasked with making adjustments.

The Patriots like to employ using two deep safeties a majority of the time with Duron Harmon and Devin McCourty. The two from what I've seen don't bite on many fakes and stay with their assignment.

Harmon does a nice job of helping over the top and not allowing Will Fuller to beat them deep. McCourty helps the CB on the other side bracket Deandre Hopkins.

McCourty is also used a decent amount when the Patriots play bracket coverage when necessary.

Here against A.J Green you can see that they respect Green so much that they'd play two guys on him which is what I expect to see on Sunday against Antonio Brown.

This is a clinic on how to play bracket coverage. Green can't get open because of that bracket coverage.

Generally I sometimes see the Patriots employ a 3rd safety on the field in form of Patrick Chung, who they mostly use underneath and in the box, kind of like a LB.


The Patriots basically should rename their defense to the nickel defense because they use their nickel package a lot.

I'd like to say that the Patriots like to use Malcolm Butler almost exclusively on a team's best WR, but that isn't always the case however as I see Logan Ryan, who's listed as the right corner back cover the oppositions best opponents as well.

Malcolm Butler is a heck of a CB though, that goes without question. He's always showing that relentlessness and pursuit to not give up even when he is beat.

I want this from my CB. Even if you get beat, I want to see you go full speed all the time to try and make a play, despite being beaten. I like that so much about Butler, his closing speed is also quite evident on this play.

The Patriots secondary brings a tough task for Landry Jones, but Todd Haley can definitely make it easier on him.


The Patriots secondary will be a tough task for Landry Jones because they'll do their best to take away guys like Antonio Brown and even quite possibly Sammie Coates over the top.

The Patriots did an excellent job of taking away speedster Will Fuller because of their 2 deep safety looks that emphasize taking away the big play.

To counter this the Steelers are obviously going to look to run the ball often, but at the same time I wouldn't be surprised to see Eli Rogers get heavily involved in this game. The Patriots have had a rotation at nickel which includes Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Justin Coleman. It's definitely an area of uncertainty for the Patriots that could be attacked by Pittsburgh if the Pats do indeed decide to go with some man coverage looks.

That's the thing, man coverage is something they trust their CB's with and I definitely expect to see it in the game on Sunday. Todd Haley could find creative ways to move around Antonio Brown and possibly get some rubs to get him separation if he has trouble getting open.

The Steelers are going to have a tough task ahead of them, and Landry Jones will no doubt have to capitalize on his opportunities. If the Patriots don't respect him in the passing game, it'd be much more likely to see the Pats stack the box to stop the run.

Landry Jones is going to have to make the Patriots respect him or this game could get out of hand.