Pittsburgh Steelers' Secondary
(Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Ever since the Troy Polamalu era ended, the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to rebuild their defensive secondary. That rebuild appeared to be over in 2019. However, in the 2020 season, the Steelers’ secondary has had several problems. In fact, at times, it appeared useless. Despite the offense and pass rush being excellent, if the secondary does not step up and recover to their 2019 form, the Steelers’ will not keep their undefeated record for very long.

On Sunday against the Eagles, the Steelers defense kept Carson Wentz in check for the entire first half. This was mainly due to the pass rush putting constant pressure on the QB and the running backs. Wentz barely had 60 yards before half-time. However, the pass rush became tired in the second half. Because of this, Carson Wentz had more time, and he shredded the secondary. So much so that Wentz threw for over 200 yards in the second half alone.

During the game former Steelers’ Corner Ryan Clark Tweeted this:

The personnel in the secondary are not necessarily the problem. This same secondary was one of the best and had an excellent year in 2019. However, now quarterbacks and offensive coordinators know how to play against them. In the last few games, quarterbacks have refused to throw in the general vicinity of Minkah Fitzpatrick. This has caused him to become a non-factor defensively.

Overall, Joe Haden has played well. However, faster and stronger players have repeatedly beat him on deep developing routes. Steve Nelson has been getting interceptions, but if Nelson can’t pick off the QB, the receiver is catching the ball; there’s no in-between. Mike Hilton has been getting sacks but has rarely been able to keep up with the receivers across from him.

All of these were problems and concerns in 2019, but they never got out of hand. Why now, when every player is more experienced and more comfortable in the defense, does it all fall apart? The front seven are doing everything they can to keep the defense alive, but if the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary cannot improve, the Steelers’ defense will fall from elite to average.

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