Steelers defense debuts new hybrid packages against Ravens
Among many previously unseen wrinkles the Pittsburgh Steelers showed during their loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday were a pair of defensive subpackages: one with three inside linebackers and another that featured three safeties.
“Before, it was just (nickel and ‘base’ defenses),” inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich said, referring to the Steelers’ scheme of just a couple of years ago. “Now, it’s all different. We have (different, new) packages.”
Against the Ravens, one of those new looks was one in which a special “position” was created for Vince Williams, who normally plays inside linebacker. But with the offseason additions of Devin Bush and Mark Barron, finding ways of keeping three on the field became more of a priority.
Perhaps the package was Baltimore-specific, although Williams’ return from a hamstring injury after missing 2 ½ games might have triggered its usage. That it was still deployed after Barron suffered a hamstring injury Sunday – Matakevich played seven snaps – proves the Steelers were committed to it.
He played college ball for @SDSUFootball then he showcased his talent for the @aaffleet and now @kaetwicefrfr is making plays at the highest level! Kam Kelly with his first @nfl INT! pic.twitter.com/6KTYY03Huy
— KUSI Sports (@KUSISports) October 6, 2019
Another different look the Steelers showed the Ravens was a three-safety package that featured the return of Kameron Kelly to the gameplan. Kelly started the opener at New England because of an injury to free safety Sean Davis. But after a 33-3 loss, Davis returned only to get injured again in Week 2. The Steelers, after that, traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Kelly was back on the field for 10 snaps Sunday, alongside Fitzpatrick and strong safety Terrell Edmunds. It paid off, too, when Kelly had an interception.
Kelly, who kept the ball from his first NFL interception, said the three-safety look was something they began to practice last week.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .