Steelers new defensive back and outside linebacker
Steelers new defensive back and outside linebacker.PHOENIX — It has been more than two months since the Steelers were soundly beaten by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It has been almost that long since coach Mike Tomlin talked publicly about his team and why they failed to get to the Super Bowl for a record ninth time.
Since then, Tomlin said he learned two things about his defense:
The Steelers need defensive backs who can play man coverage and players who can pressure the quarterback. Each were on short — and disastrous — display against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
“Our inability to play man-to-man effectively and our inability to apply pressure on the quarterback without blitzing were issues in that game,” Tomlin said Monday during a break in the NFL owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore — his first public comments since his season-ending news conference more than two months ago.
The Steelers are expected to address those areas, specifically cornerback and outside linebacker, in the early rounds of the NFL draft in April, though Tomlin said it’s not necessarily because of what happened in the game.
“We weren’t good enough. As that road gets narrow, those things become evident at times, sometimes painfully evident,” Tomlin said, sitting on a padded couch near the back patio, the picturesque Camelback Mountain behind him. “Moving forward, as we build our team for 2017, we don’t do that in reaction to that game. We’re trying to strengthen ourselves in all areas, to have the type of depth and balance that will allow us to be team that the confetti rains down on this year. Those were some of the key elements that outed us in 2016.”