Week 16: Saints, Steelers – Observations from the (not so) cheap seats
By Tony Twillie
Observations: Part three
There has been a lot of maligning our defensive backs in this game. I also find it interesting that Eli Apple was the target of everyone’s ire when Marshon Lattimore also had a forgettable game. Facts are facts. All of the DBs would love to have another opportunity to play that game. It was not our finest moment.
That said, I’m flipping spots again on this. Instead of the beat down, I’m going to give the Saints DBs the smallest of passes.
First, the Saints have not played a duo of receivers like that all season. Smith-Schuster has this season absolutely come into his own and forms a formidable compliment to one of the best in the business in
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Brown. Pick any two outstanding corners in the league and put them on those guys, and they’ll have a helluva time keeping up. Those guys are just good. You cover them man-to-man, you almost have no choice but to cheat a safety over the top, leaving the other one in man without safety help. Play zone and they will find every soft spot you have. Put simply, those guys are almost impossible to cover.
Second, Apple has been the target of a lot of blowback. People seem to forget he’s only been on this team a couple of months. He didn’t have training camp or preseason here, so he came in behind and is still just trying to catch up. He’s still better than what we had before. The DB communication has been at issue and that’s why we gave up a wide open TD.
Bad as it’s been, we’re still getting it done when we need to.
Finally, Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball 50 times. Logic would say that if you throw that many times, you’re going to do some damage. So while we’d hope we would perform better, that was a lot of passes to have to defend.