Could Steelers utilize Cover-2 D more in 2015?

As we sit in July, the biggest impediment to the Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl dreams is a weak secondary.

Coach Mike Tomlin spent Monday's practice session conducting some hand-on teaching to his remade group.

"We're going to build this but we're not going to build it all today," Tomlin told the cornerbacks as they broke up for a team portion of the practice, per the Observer-Reporter's F. Dale Lolley.

According to multiple reporters on hand, Tomlin was working on teaching the corners proper technique to play Cover-2 defense, a scheme the Steelers might attempt to play more this season to help cover their weakness on the backend.

"We've always run it as a mixup," said veteran safety Will Allen told Lolley. "Who knows how much more we'll run it or what we will do. We'll see what happens. We've always kind of run it, even with (Dick) LeBeau, but it depends on how much more we want to do with it. You have to work on certain techniques and things, like we do with all of our coverages."

Under LeBeau, the Steelers typically employed a three-deep or four quarters coverage behind their 3-4 front. With LeBeau gone and -- perhaps more importantly -- Troy Polamalu's retirement, the Steelers could look to utilize more Cover-2 under new coordinator Keith Butler.

Tomlin worked in the scheme under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay, after Dungy picked it up while he was a reserve safety with the Steelers in the 1970s.

How much Pittsburgh decides to run Cover-2 depends on personnel, game situation and growth of young players. Cover-2 is usually married with a 4-3 front, aimed at getting pressure on the quarterback with only four rushers. As former Steelers safety Ryan Clarkpointed out to, Pittsburgh does boast some personnel that would match up with the scheme.

"You didn't pay Cam that money to be a two-gapper. He's a penetrator. That's what he does. That's what he's good at," Clark said. "You have to get pressure if you're going to play Cover-2. You drafted Bud (Dupree). You have Jarvis (Jones). You have those guys. Those guys have to be able to rush the passer, and I think what's going to make this team still good is if they can perfect Cover-2 to a point to where it's something they can play throughout the game."

We don't expect Butler and Tomlin to morph into a full-time Cover-2 team overnight, but they could use it more in 2015 to try and help mask weaknesses in the secondary.

*The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses what coaches are on the hot seat heading into 2015. *

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