LATROBE, Pa. — The Steelers secondary learned a serious lesson on Friday night via George Pickens and the other defensive backs. With the pads on, the team decided to bust out the one-on-ones and see what they could find out about their units. For the secondary, the biggest takeaway ended up being the amount of laundry thrown on the football field.
The defensive backs were holding and committing penalties like no one’s business. In the period, there were 12 defensive pass interference flags thrown. Those DBs started to complain and yet, assistant defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander applauded the referees and told them to make the DBs learn how to guard guys. It was not just a group of players. 9 different players got hit with a flag from the referees.
It’s just a tough reality of life in the NFL. But that was only the first part of the lesson. Throughout the rest of practice, wide receivers would draw defensive pass interference, holding, and illegal contact six more times. I can not remember a more heavily flagged day for the secondary but they did seem grabbier than usual, and that is something the coaches have continued to try and coax away from them.
So, when the Steelers are going back to the film and looking at it, those penalties will be something that Mike Tomlin and others will not be happy about from the older veterans or the young guys. There was no constant. And overall, the Steelers generally are not a heavily penalized team from the defensive pass interference perspective. A season ago, they were only called for five of them, with 77 yards allowed as a result of those penalties. However, the secondary is all new, and secondary coach Grady Brown has work to do to clean up a secondary that had a lot of penalties on Friday and gave up too much yardage.