Pittsburgh’s illustrious 3-4 defense serves as the model for Washington’s one-gap version of the 3-4. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was Pittsburgh’s defensive coordinator from 1997-99. His predecessor in Pittsburgh, Dick LeBeau, returned to the Steelers in 2004 and has been their defensive coordinator ever since.
Haslett brought many of Pittsburgh’s concepts to the Redskins when he and coach Mike Shanahan overhauled the scheme in 2010.
“I’d say that’s what Washington does so well is the confusion factor,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said via teleconference Wednesday. “They try and really throw you off and mix it up. The only good thing about that is I have to see it every day – from training camp when we’re playing the Steelers defense. Hopefully, that will help us a little bit compared to if we never saw that at all.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin sees the resemblance.
“I’m sure there are some differences – particularly from a positional standpoint in terms of the techniques that are taught,” Tomlin said. “I’m sure that the coaches are working within their comfort zone there and playing to strength of their men from a technique standpoint. So, it has a potential to be very different. Although, the calls may be the same, the way things are ruled out and things are played technically may create something that looks at times like a different defense.
“Any benefits that we gain from it will be nullified by the benefits that they gain from it. Usually, it’s a wash.”