I definitely think it provides a window of opportunity for us to talk about a multitude of things, of rotations and even utilizing all three guys together.
-Mike Tomlin (via Dale Lolley, Washington Observer-Reporter)
Consider me intrigued regarding the potential sight of Jason Worilds, LaMarr Woodley and rookie Jarvis Jones on the field at the same time this Sunday night.
While I am not advocating that Dick LeBeau and his coaching staff make those three players a part of their base defensive sets against the Cincinnati Bengals, the prospect of Pittsburgh employing their top three edge rushers in sub-packages and obvious passing situations definitely peaks my interest.
Sitting with a 5-8 record and their postseason hopes essentially dashed, the Steelers are set to take on one of the league’s least-sacked quarterbacks (T-27th, 26.0 sacks) in the form of Andy Dalton during their upcoming game.
Rattling Dalton and capitalizing on situations in which Cincinnati’s offense is playing behind the sticks will be key for Pittsburgh’s defense this weekend, so throwing Worilds, Woodley and Jones at him at the same time could be a valid option for them if they wish to create havoc.
At this point, it would be silly for the Steelers to take Worilds out of the lineup with the way he has played during his last four weeks (30 tackles and 5.0 sacks). In fact, Worilds played every single defensive snap for the Steelers last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
As far as Woodley and Jones are concerned, providing Worilds (as well as Cameron Heyward) with more reinforcements in the blitz department is never a bad thing. In fact, bringing Jones through the A-Gap while Woodley and Worilds attack the edges could force confusion and indecision along Cincinnati’s front. Even lining two of thei outside linebackers on the same side of a ‘walkabout’ formation would at least force Dalton and his offensive line to account for them.
It does not hurt the Steelers to experiment during their final three games, so the idea that their three best outside linebackers could be on the field together for stretches of time is an interesting one to say the least. I would certainly like to see more productivity from Pittsburgh’s pass rush, and some creativity when it comes to scheme and personnel would not necessarily be a negative thing for LeBeau and his coaching staff to consider with the team set to sit at home for a second consecutive January.
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