‘Protect the quarterback, get guys coming to quarterback,’ Khan says of roster philosophy
New signing Omar Khan has old-school philosophies. Taking a page from Bill Parcells’ playbook, Khan’s football foundation is built in the trenches. Appearing on the Jerry Hughes podcast, Khan talked about the keys to slate building.
“Without divulging my philosophy too much, I would say you always want to have the guys protecting the quarterback and having the guys coming in at the quarterback,” he told the podcast.
As Parcells used to say, you write first-rounders that fit into one of three buckets: a quarterback, a guy who protects the quarterback, and a guy who attacks the quarterback. opponent. Pittsburgh hopefully made that first by taking Pitt’s Kenny Pickett 20th overall in this year’s draft. Now Khan will help work out the rest.
Of course, the Steelers have players who match those other plays. They improved their interior offensive line this offseason with the signings of James Daniels and Mason Cole. Daniels will likely be the starting right guard on this team, with Cole likely starting at center. Add to that the growth, development and health of guys like Dan Moore Jr. and Kevin Dotson, and the Steelers’ O line should be in better shape than it was a year ago when it was among the worst units in the league. Pittsburgh is unlikely to make it to the top ten in 2022, but even being average would be a huge step in the right direction.
Pittsburgh’s defense has been as good as any past the quarterback, leading the league in sacks each of the past five seasons. TJ Watt is one of the fiercest passing throwers in the NFL, tying last year’s single-season sack record with 22.5 QB kills. Cam Heyward is still playing his best football, while Alex Highsmith has steadily improved and could flirt with double-digit sacks this year. The return of Stephon Tuitt would also be a huge boost to Pittsburgh’s defense, passing rush and running defense.
As we wrote about earlier on Monday, assistant general manager Andy Weidl seems to share a similar philosophy with an affinity for drafting weird athletic big men and regularly rolling the dice during Day 3 rushers.