If there is anything I've noticed about Ryan Shazier, it would have to be that he is the defensive playmaker of this defense. Kind of ironic to think that the last defensive playmaker on the Steelers used to be a guy with long flowing hair and now we have a guy with no hair just flying around like a shaved tazmanian devil.
Like that long haired fella though, Shazier has a reckless play style that can lead to him getting hurt but also leads to him missing tackles at inopportune moments. This was a problem for him at the college level and it is still around with him today at the NFL level.
Shazier had some good plays in his 3rd preseason game don't get me wrong but it was missed tackles like this that really grinded my gears.
I get he has help from behind and the play only goes for a minimal gain but when Shazier gets into a one-on-one situation with the RB and he has a chance to get him down for a loss of yards on the play, he has to take advantage of those opportunities.
Case in point this next play against Travaris Cadet.
He does a great job of diagnosing this screen and you can really see just how great Shazier's speed and instincts are on this play. However, Shazier took a very poor angle towards Cadet (possibly underestimating the speed of Cadet) as Cadet was already ready to cut up field and Shazier could only lunge and hope to slow him down. It did not work and Cadet went for a 17-yard gain on the play.
Literally though, the very next play Shazier again fails to make another opportune tackle.
Shazier comes in through the C gap (outside the tackle) and just tries to lay the boom with his shoulder, instead of wrapping up Ingram up in the backfield. Shazier whiffed badly on the play, and Ingram quickly shrugged off the hit to gain 4 -yards on the play. A loss of yards vs. a gain of 4 on a run play is a big difference, missed opportunities/tackles like that are what plagued this defense last year.
Shazier is still a very dynamic player on this defense, and he does so much for this defense whether it's covering TE's, playing in his standard ILB spot, or blitzing off the edge, Shazier is the playmaker Pittsburgh has needed since the long haired anonymous safety retired. The risky play style he has unfortunately will lead to some missed tackles that could drive us insane and could possibly make us want to pull our hair out.
Let's hope he makes more plays then misses or else we could have just as much hair as Shazier by the end of the season. Good thing it's only preseason!