Coming off of a rather disappointing 2021 season defensively that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers struggle to stop the run down the stretch and create enough splash plays to help win football games, a veteran group that added some big names like Myles Jack, Levi Wallace, Damontae Kazee and Larry Ogunjobi are aiming to be a top 5 defense once again in 2022.
To do that, according to veteran defensive end Chris Wormley, who is coming off of a career-high seven-sack season, the Steelers will need to stop the run at a much higher level in 2022 than they did last season, especially down the stretch. Last season, Pittsburgh was one of the worst run defense in football, allowing a league-high 2,483 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground.
Though those struggles against the run came without the services of Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, not to mention a very poor version of Devin Bush and Joe Schobert at inside linebacker, the Steelers are out to prove last season’s issues were just an aberration, at least according to Wormley.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday following practice at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe on Chuck Noll Field, Wormley stated that the defense’s goal is to get back to being a top 5 defense in 2022, and to do that, they’ll have to stop the run.
“We talk about what we wanted to do this year and that was to be a top five defense. And I think being a top five run defense is gonna be a major part of that,” Wormley said to reporters, according to video via Steelers.com. “The adjustments we made this year, the guys we brought in this year, I think are gonna be a major help for us to make that goal a reality.”
Stopping the run, returning to their physical ways and creating a bit more splash defensively has been the focus all offseason for the Steelers from the top down. Defensive captain Cameron Heyward has talked about stopping the run a ton all offseason, stating the Steelers need to focus on their run fits, figure out why what went wrong last season happened, and correct it.
They won’t be able to figure out if those issues are corrected for 2022 just yet, as games haven’t quite started yet. But as Wormley points out, the caliber of players added to the mix ahead of this season should certainly help the Steelers shore up some issues in the run game department.
Fixing those issues and playing at a high level once again will return the Steelers to a top-5-caliber level, which will only help the Steelers win game and return to the playoffs once again.