Loser: Defensive depth
The defensive starters looked good last night, though it is easy to forget because we only saw them for a handful of snaps.
Jurrell Casey and Daquan Jones were providing a nice push in the middle and Sharif Finch held his own while Cameron Wake did some nice things. Behind them Jayon Brown looked solid in coverage and Rashaan Evans looked very good as a situational pass rusher (3-tech not EDGE) and physical off the ball.
The DBs thrived as well. Logan Ryan got some pressure on a blitz that made the RB panic and come over and throw Ryan inside, which looks good until you realize that isn’t how pass protection works. While it may look nice on a highlight tape, in reality that move opened up a rush lane for Wake who pressured Ben Roethlisberger into an incompletion.
Malcolm Butler continues to not be a name you hear often which is a great sign and then obviously you have the safeties who are great.
However, fast forward just one drive and guys like LeShaun Sims, Kamalei Correa, and Amani Bledsoe are getting worked.
It wasn’t even just young guys. Wesley Woodyard‘s first snap of the game was a run to his side which he tried to stop in the backfield, only to miss and allow a huge run along the right side.
The depth has to play up to their talent quickly or else this is going to be an issue sooner than later.