PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers coordinator Keith Butler isn't about to divulge his game plan for Thursday night.
"That's something that [Bill] Belichick never does," Butler quipped when speaking to reporters this week.
But Butler confirmed at least some of the Steelers' preseason work will be part of the defensive repertoire for Week 1. In five preseason games, the Steelers blitzed inside linebackers and safeties, ran some 4-3 sets (not common around these parts) and sometimes stood up defensive linemen instead of the traditional three-point stance.
But for a first-week opponent, especially one with this offense, you know the Steelers have been scheming for a while. Lots of disguises and blitz packages will be rolled out. Expect the Steelers to get creative with their pass coverages, mixing in zone and man.
The Steelers looked uneven in pass coverage during the preseason, but several defensive starters sat for various stints in August. Everyone's back together now, including Lawrence Timmons, who recovered from turf toe.
"We’ll do some different things," Butler said. "Schematically, we’ll be different, yes...but ya'll won't notice it. He will."
"He" is Tom Brady. And Butler seems ready to battle wits with the four-time Super Bowl winner. Butler expects Brady to mix three- and five-step drops throughout the game. Butler remembers the Patriots ran some play action that "gave us some problems" in a 55-31 win in 2013.
If the Pats surpass 50 points again? "Lord help us," Butler said.
"The thing you have to do is stay patient," Butler said. "They will dink and dunk you down the field if that’s what you give them. They are going to take what you give them.”