It’s nice when two tales come collectively. Earlier this week, we wrote about new WR Coach Frisman Jackson’s emphasis on run blocking, one in all many weaknesses alongside the Steelers’ offense final 12 months. Speaking to reporters after in the present day’s apply, rookie WR Calvin Austin confirmed how a lot time Jackson is dedicating to blocking.
“Really the biggest thing he’s on is our blocking in the run game,” he said via Steelers.com. That’s one thing that I’m continually making an attempt to work on and enhance on.”
It echoes what we’ve noticed at coaching camp. Run blocking is a element of each coaching camp apply, even below earlier WRs Coach Ike Hilliard. But Jackson has executed extra work there than any coach I’ve seen. Here’s what we just lately wrote.
“More than ever, Jackson has the receivers working on run blocking during their positional/individual drills…Jackson’s taken it to another level. Earlier in the week, the receivers hit the blocking sled, a drill normally conducted by the tight ends. But each receiver, from George Pickens to Tyler Snead, received a rep.”
Pittsburgh’s run recreation was inefficient a 12 months in the past for quite a lot of causes and poor downfield blocking from receivers was a kind of points. Jackson appears hellbent on altering that and has two nice physique varieties to dam in Chase Claypool and George Pickens. But blocking is basically about effort and even small guys like Diontae Johnson, Calvin Austin, and a rookie like Tyler Snead, all 5’6, 172 of him, must do it. Snead proved measurement doesn’t matter, pancaking CB Chris Steele in a stalk block drill earlier this week. Last season, Ray-Ray McCloud make affect performs as a blocker and was arguably their greatest one at it largely as a consequence of his effort. Pittsburgh had a terrific run blocker within the slot in JuJu Smith-Schuster and now will attempt to fill that spot with Claypool. But Austin might want to step up when he performs inside, too.
Austin stated Jackson makes positive the receiver room is being in keeping with their blocking.
“He’s one of the biggest ones where you can’t take any plays off.”
Case in level. Pickens confirmed sub-par effort earlier within the week. Jackson received on him about it and Pickens improved, having a terrific blocking day the next apply. Unless your identify is Hines Ward, receivers usually don’t like blocking. It doesn’t get them paid and no receiver needs to jam a finger inside some cornerback’s chest plate. But the Steelers’ offense will revolve across the run recreation, one which wants splashier outcomes than a 12 months in the past, so receivers must become involved. That a part of their job description isn’t non-obligatory. Jackson’s made the group effectively conscious of that reality.