View Full Version : Lebeau says don't worry about the rush defense

12-31-2011, 01:33 AM
One thing about Dick Lebeau, he's forgotten more about defenses than most coaches in the history of the game will ever know. He calls his defenses out of his head, on the fly during the game. He watches as much film as anyone. If he says they will be ok, we should probably take his word for it and hope the team can respond in the post sesaon.

(http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_774406.html#ixzz1i5iqhWXP)One thing about Dick LeBeau: He knows all about statistics, especially when it pertains to his defense. (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_774406.html#ixzz1i5iqhWXP)

The Steelers' Hall of Fame defensive coordinator can just about recite every statistical category regarding his defense, whether it was from this year or any other year.
So when LeBeau says he's not too concerned about the falloff of his rushing defense heading into Sunday's regular-season finale at Cleveland, you tend to take him at his word.

"I think we have done a good job against the run," LeBeau said. "We have done better jobs in the past. But total defense, we are playing pretty good."
Statistically, the aspect that LeBeau prides himself in the most hasn't matched the team's previous standards. The Steelers are ninth in the league in rushing yards per game, allowing just more than 100 on average.

A LeBeau-led defense has never been lower than third at season's end. They are allowing 40 rushing yards a game more than last year, have given up nearly as many 100-yard rushers in 15 games than they have over the previous seven years and have allowed three times as many 15-yard runs this year than they did all of last season.
"You are talking about one little part of the defense," LeBeau said. "You can pick out this little thing or that little thing. You are kicking a dead horse, my friend. We are leading the league in defense. If we have to get better, 31 other teams have to get better, too."

The Steelers are tops in the league in total defense thanks to pass coverage that is 42 yards per game better than last year. That, however, hasn't masked the fact the run defense has been lacking.

"Last year, we were run-stopping aliens," safety Ryan Clark said. "We acknowledge that it does have to get better. We know it has to get better. The time to correct it is over. It has to be done now."

The Steelers flirted with becoming the best run defense the NFL has ever seen in a single season before missing out by a mere 34 yards last year. Such a high standard makes living up to that nearly impossible.

"That doesn't happen. You can't compare anything to last year," Clark said.
Even though LeBeau downplays it, the players know they have to be better at stopping the run.

"It's our style of ball. That's how we make teams one-dimensional, so we can attack the quarterback," safety Troy Polamalu said. "If you don't stop the run, you don't allow guys like James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley to rush the quarterback."
The Steelers are on pace for the fewest sacks since 2003.

"It hasn't been one of our better years against the run," linebacker James Farrior said. "We understand that. We still feel like we have a good defense, though."
Lack of personnel has been a problem, too. Defensive end Aaron Smith has missed the majority of the season, Woodley has missed five games and parts of two others, and Harrison was out for five games.

"It is a combination of everything," Harrison said. "We aren't fitting it up right ... all that stuff."

Giving up long runs also has been an issue. Last year, they allowed three runs of 15 yards or longer. This year, they have given up 15 of those rushes, and that's not including a 76-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice that was called back for holding.
"We haven't been fitting right, guys missing tackles," Farrior said. "Good defenses don't allow that."

Four of those long runs went for at least 25 yards. The Steelers haven't allowed that many long rushes in five years.

"Some of that is because of bad tackling in the secondary, I know a few cases from myself," Polamalu said.

An improvement in rush defense will be imperative, especially if the Steelers go on the road against possible playoff teams Houston, Denver or Oakland -- the top three rushing teams in the AFC.

"If you run the ball in the postseason, you can win," Farrior said. "If you can't stop the run, you are going to be in for a long day."

12-31-2011, 03:31 AM
Wow reading that really put in perspective how great our run D had been in past years. We gotta get back to that greatness this post season if we want to get #7.

12-31-2011, 08:12 AM
Well thanks for the reassurance Dick.

12-31-2011, 10:07 AM
That is kinda' funny, if you think about his name. And, minus the infection of tone as a typed post, it could be taken a few different ways!

Well thanks for the reassurance Dick.

12-31-2011, 11:13 AM
If the Steelers end up traveling to Denver in the first round they'll have a good game to deal with in the Broncos. Should they somehow end up playing the Raiders for example, the run game isn't as much of a concern. McFadden's been hurt and the Raiders are limping into the playoffs on the ground.

The only time they'd really have a big time run game to deal with would be the Ravens and Broncos as of now.

12-31-2011, 01:13 PM
I forgot the oxford comma.

12-31-2011, 04:01 PM
It is 6 of 1 a half dozen of another last year our pass defense was not even average and this year it's #1. So our run Defense has slipped to a god awful 9th in the league like oh my god 9th that's really bad we will never win a super bowl with a 9th rank run defense.Especially now that the league is a passing league.I'm so glad we had the #1 ranked run defense in Dallas last season against the vaunted Green Bay rushing Juggernaut.We give up 4.0 yards a rush this year.If your backs average 4.0 it is considered a little below average. Please stop with the LeBeau negativity. I'll take 9th in a year when our D-line is in transition turning over the reigns from Smith to Heyward and Big snak to Big Mac.