The Pittsburgh Steelers will be facing one of the best offenses in the NFL on Sunday when they square off against the 6-0 Philadelphia Eagles. How can they stop a team that’s gone undefeated so far this season?
On offense, the Eagles look unstoppable. And mainly, it’s because of talent.
A superior offensive line allows them to keep things simple for Jalen Hurts, who’s having a career year while showing significant improvements around a better cast of teammates.
A plus-one quarterback, Hurts keeps defenses in a bind with the threat of the zone read while remaining a dangerous passer out of the pocket. His quick connection with A.J. Brown has been impressive too, and the Eagles will not shy away from 50-50 balls downfield.
But there is one way to slow down Hurts that the Steelers will want to lean on. The blitz.
It’s time for Mike Tomlin to make Dick LeBeau proud and honor the Blitzburgh era by sending the dogs after the quarterback.
This season, Hurts has struggled against pressure packages. His PFF passing grade when blitzed is 21st in the NFL as he completes only 57.8% of his passes (29th) and has an average depth of target of 4.9 yards (37th).
Note: All stats among qualifying QBs with at least 20 dropbacks.
While the Steelers have struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, this might be a timely opportunity to be aggressive. The reason behind Hurts’ struggles goes beyond his own play.
The Eagles have shown their inability to implement hot routes into their system and Hurts consistently lacks answers when blitzed. While he’s built to extend plays under pressure, he rarely has an easy answer to turn to when the defense turns on the heat.
“It jumps off the film,” said JT O’Sullivan from The QB School about their inability to throw hot in a recent podcast interview for The Athletic.
“They will get exposed at some point. It will happen. Whether it’s a bad pick or getting someone smasher or getting Hurts hit,” said the former NFL quarterback.
Although the Steelers haven’t been a very blitz-happy defense this year, they could aim to be the first team that really exposes the glaring problem in Philly’s offense.
Tomlin, do your thing!
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