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Steelers' pressure on Blake Bortles key in Week 5 matchup

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dick LeBeau are known for confusing rookie quarterbacks, but if the Steelers don't put pressure on Blake Bortles, he could have a field day against the Steelers' secondary.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Dick LeBeau-led Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been known to take advantage of rookie quarterbacks. LeBeau's 17-2 record against rookies speaks for itself, but this 2014 Steelers defense is different in many ways.

The biggest difference might be the lack of pass rush the Steelers have generated in the past four games. The Steelers have registered only seven sacks in this young, 2014 NFL season. Those seven sacks have them in a tie for 18th in the NFL, only half of the New York Jets' NFL-leading total of 14 sacks.

Even the winless team the Steelers are playing on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars, has 12 sacks to their credit so far through four games.

The Steelers' inability to get to the passer is hanging a questionable secondary out to dry on the back-end of the defense, and even though they're facing rookie Blake Bortles this Sunday, he's more than capable of making plays if given the time to do so.

In his last start, a 33-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers, Bortles went 29 of 37 passing for 253 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked three times, but also rushed five times for 24 yards.

The comparisons between Bortles and Ben Roethlisberger are undeniable, but fans shouldn't look at Bortles' last start as the true tale of the tape. He gave the Jaguars leads on two separate occasions in the first half, only to have his efforts blown away by the Chargers' big-play offense in the second half.

If the Steelers are unable to get to Bortles, as they were against Mike Glennon in the 27-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, the secondary very well could be exposed again.

Steelers fans should expect to see a more-conditioned James Harrison this week, which could help provide some heat on the quarterback, but the real disappointment of the team's pass rush has been Jason Worilds. Worilds' one sack and zero tackles for a loss have been a glaring deficiency on the edge of their 3-4 defense.

Arthur Moats, Jarvis Jones' replacement while he rehabs a wrist injury, has the same amount of sacks in half of the time that Worilds has been on the playing field.

It has been the Steelers' defensive line that has been pressuring the quarterback. Cam Heyward's two sacks tie him with the team lead alongside the inactive Jones, but Steve McLendon also has a sack to his name.

At this point, it doesn't matter who or where the pressure comes from, as long as the Steelers are able to dial up pressure when it matters most.

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