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Chase Claypool: Defenses Keeping Players in Middle of Field against Steelers



PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have plenty of struggles in the middle of the field. Whenever the topic of improving the offense comes up, one of the first things to be noticed is the fact that the Steelers are anemic at attacking the middle of the field beyond about five yards. There are many reasons why the Steelers can not unlock this area of the field. Some of it may have to do with longer developing routes that the offensive line can not block for. Maybe, it’s Ben Roethlisberger’s arm strength.

However, Chase Claypool often feels that there might be a tell. Even though the Steelers are trying to attack the middle of the field, he continuously fails to see any open looks to that area when he runs a route there. Specifically, he commented on the coverages teams are using.

“I think they are playing some hole players in the middle of the field,” Claypool said. “I know the outsides are pretty covered up, but it feels like every time we try to attack the middle, they play single-high.”

The intermediate and deep middle part of the field is the richest and prosperous place in the NFL. Teams routinely open this up via shot plays and other ideas, however, the Steelers have not run them enough, and when they have run them, they have been blanketed to no end. Claypool sees this and knows defenses are seemingly not threatened by anything the Steelers actually do.

“I think it’s weird because when we try to go outside, they play two-high, and then when we try to go to the middle of the field, they play single-high,” Claypool said. “We just have to time it upr ight and anticipate what they are going to do.”

Thus far on the season, Roethlisberger has one total target past ten yards in the middle of the field. If there is something that could help this offense, running more shot plays to open up that area of the field is going to have to be something they do.

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