PITTSBURGH — The Steelers linebackers will be tested by Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers skill players on Sunday. An elusive player, McCaffrey is one of the best players in space in the entire NFL. So, inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry must not only train his players to tackle in space, but to limit the explosive plays and opportunities that the 49ers could get with McCaffrey. Mike Tomlin was heavily complimentary of what McCaffrey brought to table on film and throughout his career.
“I think it just starts with Christian McCaffrey, man,” Tomlin said. “We just got to respect the dynamic playmaking ability that he has both in the running game and in the passing game. It’s very evident how significant his addition has been for them. I think prior to his addition, they were averaging 20 points a game, with him in 2022, they averaged 30 points a game. And so, 10 points with the addition of one man, he’s dynamic in the run game, he’s dynamic in the passing game, we better be really careful about being matched up against him in space. He’s a one-on-space winner.”
So, the Steelers linebackers are on high alert, along with the defensive backs who will have to tackle a player like McCaffrey in space. It will not be easy, and the entire rotation for the Steelers will have to embrace the challenge of slowing down McCaffrey.