This past offseason, the drafting of rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones brought a lot of excitement to Steeler Nation. Many envisioned the 2013 season to be filled with tons and tons of sacks from the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case during the first quarter of the regular season.
Through the Steelers’ first four games, they only managed to tally four sacks. However, the defense’s pass rush came alive last week and brought the quarterback down behind the line of scrimmage three times. Pittsburgh’s defensive resurgence from Week 6 could be a precursor of things to come in their Week 7 battle against the Baltimore Ravens.
The offensive line of the Steelers’ divisional rival has surrendered 19 sacks thus far this season, which is currently tied for the sixth most in the NFL. Of the three sacks that Pittsburgh recorded last week, two came from linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds. Woodley leads the team with four sacks.
Jones has been steadily improving game by game, and could get his first career sack and plenty more against the Ravens’ porous offensive front. In addition, defensive ends Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood could also get into the mix in the defensive line’s rotation.
More importantly, what really could help the Steelers’ pass rush thrive this week is the play of Pittsburgh’s secondary. Baltimore’s passing game will be up against the Steelers’ fourth-ranked pass defense, and their coverage could result in a number of sacks, hurries and quarterback hits.
The long wait for Pittsburgh’s dominant pass rush could be nearing its final days. From Weeks 8-12, four of the next five opponents for the Steelers have offensive fronts that are currently ranked near in the bottom eight when it comes to surrendering sacks. For Pittsburgh’s sake, hopefully this is could be the key ingredient in completely turning their season around.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+