3. James Harrison, Bud Dupree and Cam Heyward
The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their blitzing defense they like to call Blitzburgh. The Steelers run the 3-4 zone blitz scheme invented by Dick LeBeau. The idea behind the zone blitz is to drop a defender into the zone where the blitz is coming from.
The schematic genius of the zone blitz comes from its usage of football jiu-jitsu. Quarterbacks are usually taught to throw the ball into the direction of the blitz. The thought is that the blitzer will leave a hole in the defense. LeBeau’s genius was to drop a lineman into the hole left behind by the blitzing player. The result was a confused offensive line and defensive lineman with interceptions.
The current Steelers continue down this path. They feature some formidable blitzing linebackers. The seemingly immortal James Harrison continues to be their most effective blitzer coming off the edge. Bud Dupree is Harrison’s complement to the other side. As a tandem, they provide speed and power off the edge. Harrison is most effective as a power rusher while Dupree is most effective as a speed rusher.
Up the middle, Cameron Heyward creates significant pressure. The same concept applies, the edge rushers force the quarterback to step up into Heyward’s waiting arms.
The Browns see this scheme twice a year. They should be prepared for the Steelers or any other team who may be running the scheme.