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SteelDad
02-01-2012, 11:59 AM
I wrote this for our friends over at ESPN970 and if you follow me on Twitter you'll see a link soon. Food for thought I guess.


As the merry-go-round of potential offensive coordinators continues to spin, I have to comment on something I’ve seen on some social networking sites as well as on Pittsburgh Steelers’ message boards. Several individuals have questioned whether or not Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau and his defense are getting a free pass in light of the dismissal of OC Bruce Arians.

This isn’t as easy to say out loud as you might expect because LeBeau is such a revered figure in the Steel City. As much as I want to say that LeBeau and his defense were worthy of their #1 overall ranking this past season I can’t. I continue to find misleading numbers and more importantly, breakdowns at absolutely crucial points of games. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very good defense which did in fact win the team some games when the offense was struggling, but I am seeing cracks in the facade and I’m not the only one.

In the season-opener at Baltimore, the offense turned the ball over seven times so it’s hard to fault any defense for losing that game, but the team looked slow and old and we all know it. The game in Houston really should have been a blowout if it were not for a couple of flags the final score would have had much greater disparity than it did. The second game with Baltimore was right in our hands until the defense allowed Joe Flacco to march the Ravens 92 yards in under two minutes for the victory. The capper however was the ‘Debacle in Denver’ as I call it where our top-ranked D allowed Tim Tebow to throw for 316 yards including the 80 yard game-winner in overtime.

The play in Denver was symbolic of my point for several reasons. One, the play reeked of arrogance by having so many guys in the box and leaving the middle of the field exposed. We certainly believe someone messed up whether it was Ryan Mundy or Troy Polamalu or Ike Taylor, but either way it exposed one of the crucial problems from throughout the season and that was a lack of pass rush. Yes, injuries have a lot to do with it but they are part of the game and if you cannot call your normal defense with back-ups in then they probably shouldn’t be your back-ups.

What happened to the famed ‘X-Fire Cross’ blitz? It disappeared as the season went on and what happened to disguising the fronts especially in passing situations that we saw so much of last season? Where were the corner blitzes that have always been a staple of the Steelers’ 3-4? If we didn’t have the personnel to be doing ‘what we do’ then something needs to change.

I am perfectly fine with Bruce Arians no longer calling the plays in Pittsburgh. I believe he did what he could with this group on offense, but now someone needs to take it to the next level and score more touchdowns in the Red Zone. Who that will be I don’t know, but to say that the defense is completely innocent of the failures of the season would be grossly incorrect. They say defense wins championships and ultimately that is true because whoever holds their opponent to fewer points wins, but being the number one defense doesn’t guarantee a damn thing. Ask the Giants and Patriots if they would trade a Super Bowl appearance for having the league’s best defense and I’m pretty confident you’ll get a swift reply of “hell no!”

This is a huge year for Mike Tomlin for many reasons but it is just as important for Dick LeBeau. He has to get this defense younger, faster and in the right positions more often and that may require change. Is he willing to do it is the question? There can no longer be free passes in this organization as there is too much at risk and remember, success isn’t always in the numbers.

LatrobePA
02-01-2012, 12:06 PM
I thought our defense played slow and with out any anger, I love watching our LB's play pissed! But they just kinda went through the motions all season..

OldSchool58
02-01-2012, 12:16 PM
I can't argue with anything you've written here, but in defence of our defense I gotta say this.

1. Our D did look slow many times this year, but I think it's becuase they were flat *** warn out. When your O consistantly gets 3 & outs the D doesn't have time to even get a breather. A well rested Steeler D smacks people in the mouth and shuts them down.

2. As for playing without anger and emotion, look what happens every time Harrison farts. With Goodells rule changes and fines guys are affraid to touch people any more. Knock somebodys d*ck in the dirt and you get a fine. DON'T knock somebodys d*ck in the dirt and you loose games.

I dunno.......I just get tired of seeing our D play 45 minutes of every game and getting fines for **** that everyone else in the league does every Sunday without even drawing a flag.

BlitzburghRockCity
02-01-2012, 12:31 PM
Another thing to consider along with the age of the defense and the injuries is that teams have seen the Fire zone blitzes for a long time now. They've simply gotten better at defending them.

There was a time when virtually nobody but the Steelers ran a 34 so teams rarely saw those types of exotic blitzes. Now many teams run the 34 and lets face it the more you see it the easier it is to defend.

coldrolled
02-01-2012, 12:34 PM
If i was on defense i would be sick of years of a low scoring offense.

I think the tight scores keeps the defense from attacking more freely.

LatrobePA
02-01-2012, 12:38 PM
After letting Tebow destroy your big bad defense I'd almost want to go into hiding and never come out!

EWWWWWWWWWWWW I can't get that taste out of my mouth!!

connecticutsteel
02-01-2012, 03:02 PM
Absolutly LeBeau gets a pass the Denver game wasn't his fault .It came down to tackling. The WR should have been tackled on the 50 yd line.The second reason is the personel is too old we have to get faster on d.

jnes1216
02-01-2012, 03:08 PM
LeBeau/Defense gave a free pass---from teblows to demarious in OT. That one will be very tough for me for awhile.

I bet LeBeau didn't get a free pass from the Rooneys this past week. This next year is his last almost guaranteed imo. Rooneys came in and prob told those involved we are going to lose Butler if he is not the DC next year. LeBeau probably agreed because he is a class act.

steelchamp204
02-01-2012, 03:22 PM
I was just frustrate with the lack of TO's this season. Pressure on the Qb also.

Steelers_All_Day_43
02-01-2012, 03:48 PM
We need to get a young, fast pass rusher, like a JJ WATT or Aldon Smith. Lebeau also needs to change his blitzes up a little, and IMO blitz a little more often

Zachintosh66
02-01-2012, 04:12 PM
We will reload and be fine...

Did Lebeau screw up (vs Den), sure. But hes been right 10 fold over being wrong. Does he deserve to lose his job as many of you have suggested? Hell no, regardless of age he is the best D Cord to ever wear a headset. Plain and simple...

IMO the lackluster D is the fault of the FO not Dick. The FO didnt weed out the old/slow/incompetent guys on the D side of the ball. Usually we only have those type guys on the OL :lol: The FO tried to squeeze one last ounce of production while trying to be as loyal as a franchise can be to vet players. It didnt work... and know the writing is on the wall for change... check that... a "youth movement". If the like of Sylvester isnt ready to contribute, he needs to go. Likewise with the young DB's.

Bottom Line: STEP UP OR STEP OUT!

JollyRob68
02-01-2012, 04:27 PM
I think they should of forced retired both Arians & LeBeau. Its time for Keith Butler to be the DC and maybe we could get our younger LB on the field.
SOmeone said maybe The Steelers asked LeBeau to stay because they knew they were getting ride of Arians and didn't want to completely change on both sides of the ball in the same off season. I say MAKE THE CHANGE AND LIGHT A FIRE UNDER THE TEAMS A$$.
Carnell lake worked wonders so let Keith Run the Defense NOW and Hire Haley not Alex Van Pelt.

Nolrog
02-01-2012, 08:23 PM
The defense had some major problems this year. Third down conversions were an issue, as was pressure on the QB and they didn't turn the other team over as much as usual.

However, LeBeau is getting a pass, because overall, they were still the #1 rated defense in the league. And that's with injuries to Smith, Woodley, and Kiesel, and Harrioson not being 100% because of his back and not being able to prepare as usual, Troy missing time.

We saw how many games trying to figure out who the OLB was going to be, with Ironhead and Ziggy getting pressed into duty.

He had a bad game in Denver, without question, but overall, he still had a hell of a year. Arians, not so much. His departure was long over due.

elephantman
02-01-2012, 08:48 PM
nothing to complain giving up 14 a game, but it was the (lack of ) turnovers that cost us this yr unequivically.....and thats part why we only scored 20 a game as TO's ussually give field position...and TO's or lack of them are typically abberations and not poor play, as fumble and Fumble rrecoveries are some luck...thats why Betters always say bet AGAINST the team that had the most Turnovers the previous yr. (this yr 49ers +28 TO differential)..and vice versa....so we buck that trend and it may not be as bad as u think next year, albeit losing key D verterans will have its ups and downs

FWIW the patriots were a +17 TO differential ranking 3rd in the league and we
were -13 thats part why their in Indy..along with an easy eschedule and lee evans

Nolrog
02-01-2012, 09:21 PM
nothing to complain giving up 14 a game, but it was the (lack of ) turnovers that cost us this yr unequivically.....

I agree. The lack of turn overs is directly related to the lack of pressure on the QB (so can the 3rd down conversions.) Pressure on the QB was the biggest problem for the Steelers this year, both offensively (stopping it) and defensively (getting some.)

steelspikes
02-02-2012, 12:19 PM
Because of weak offensive scoring, Steelers are more vulnerable than are other teams when inevitable defensive lapses occur. A better offense combined with the consistently elite defensive units is the recipe for success.

Nolrog
02-02-2012, 05:34 PM
Because of weak offensive scoring, Steelers are more vulnerable than are other teams when inevitable defensive lapses occur. A better offense combined with the consistently elite defensive units is the recipe for success.

Oh the other hand, a defense that creates a lot of turn overs makes more scoring opportunities for the team and increases the scoring.

BlitzburghRockCity
02-02-2012, 06:40 PM
I think he does get a bit of a free pass when you think about. He's got the track record to prove he knows what he's doing. I admit the defense wasn't adjusting in that Denver. Honestly the gameplan originally was sound, I had the same idea, you stack the line to stop the run and force Tebow to throw. However when he started to have success they should have backed off more.

I'm not ready to say he's washed up by any means, and I think some youth on defense in the front 7 will help him accomplish what he wants.

CowherPower
02-04-2012, 10:15 PM
Oh the other hand, a defense that creates a lot of turn overs makes more scoring opportunities for the team and increases the scoring.

We sure did suck in the takeaway department this year. The team got behind the 8ball in that opening loss to Baltimore and just never recovered. 7 turnovers in 1 game by the offense, that's just horrendous.

There were times during the season when guys like Polamalu or Gay or Ike Taylor had chances to make interceptions and just couldn't do it. I can also say that it seemed like those chances were fewer and farther between than I'm used to seeing. That could have been the difference in winning another game and maybe things are different now.

xBlitzBurghx
02-04-2012, 11:27 PM
Our d played way better than our o.

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xBlitzBurghx
02-04-2012, 11:28 PM
Our D played way better than our o. Our o=soft

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