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Breakfast with Benz

Rod Woodson calls out Steelers for lack of defensive playmakers

| Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 6:45 a.m.
The Steelers defense celebrates Ryan Shazier's interception against the Colts in the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers defense celebrates Ryan Shazier's interception against the Colts in the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

This one slipped through the cracks over the weekend.

But when one of the best Steelers of the modern era says the current team has “no playmakers” on defense, that really drives the point home, doesn't it?

Appearing on the NFL Network, Hall of Fame Cornerback Rod Woodson was asked about all the offseason drama surrounding the Steelers offensive stars. But he quickly redirected the conversation back to the defense.

“I can't remember the last time that they had a playmaker on the defensive side,” Woodson said. “(Ryan) Shazier was going to be that guy, and unfortunately, he got hurt, but I'm just trying to figure out who's going to be. The last time I've seen a playmaker on that side, Troy Polamalu was suited up for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Geez, Rod. You didn't need to be so — you know — right about it.

Actually, Woodson exaggerated a little bit. I'd say Cam Heyward is a playmaker. Stephon Tuitt could be one if he stays healthy. T.J. Watt may turn into one, as well. Plus, I like the idea of flipping sides of the ball between him and Bud Dupree.

But Woodson has a point.

The bigger concern is, it's not just one playmaker magically appearing that will turn a defense around. The Steelers need to get better in terms of scheme, collective team effort and winning on first and second down so that the guys attempting to be playmakers could be put in easier positions to do so.

Finding more playmakers like the ones Woodson teamed up with on those Steelers teams of the 90s will be a multiyear task. So, the Steelers in 2018 need to do one of two things:

1. Everything listed above on defense.

Or ...

2. Drama or not on offense, win a lot of games 40-something to 30-something.

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