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BlackGold4vr
06-10-2007, 09:39 PM
LeBeau takes next schematic step


By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Jun 10, 2007

Back in March, DE Brett Keisel told us he's going to play some linebacker for the Steelers, but he didn't tell us he's going to make like Troy Polamalu. That's what Dick LeBeau's been mixing up in his lab of late.

PITTSBURGH – Dick LeBeau will turn 70 on opening day and his gift to the Cleveland Browns that afternoon could be a migraine headache.
The Browns’ center might call it a 1-5-5. The Steelers call it their updated “quarter” defense.

“I love it,” said Brett Keisel.

The 285-pound defensive end will have his chance to be Troy Polamalu in the new set. So will the linebackers. They’ll walk around looking confused, talking to each other. They’ll look like 11 kids in the school yard. Eleven angry kids.

“There’s a method to our madness,” said LeBeau. “We hope it looks like that.”

The players appear confused until the snap, when there’s a well-planned jailbreak. Some drop. Some rush.

“They all know where they’re going,” LeBeau said. “It’s harder for the offense to read, harder for them to get their protections set, their formations set.”

The Baltimore Ravens did it to confuse the Steelers last season. It wasn’t numbers, but schematics and LeBeau liked what he saw, so, he copied.

“Call it whatever you want. If it helps us, we’ll do it,” LeBeau said.

But of course it’s not all Ravens.

“The thing that got us thinking about it a little bit was Brett was our emergency linebacker the last few years,” LeBeau said. “We practiced him there and he did well and he showed the ability to do coverage things. And you have the rare combination there of a strong, big, pass-rushing man who can also get off in space and really play pass defense, and that’s kind of a rare combination, so we thought: Why not utilize the talent with a guy like that? So that’s really how the whole thing got started.”

Keisel pushed for it, too. He’s a linebacker at heart, and in this third-down package he’ll get a chance to prove it.

“I think it’s really going to be an advantage for us,” Keisel said. “We’ve only installed five or six plays that we’re running right now, and I think once we get into training camp and once we get the regular season going you’ll probably see a lot of it … I hope.”

A few seasons ago, LeBeau introduced a “quarter” defense, a 4-1-6 look. Two linebackers are among the front four.

Last year, one of the linebackers -- usually Joey Porter – lifted his hand and roamed among the second level with Polamalu in an attempt to create more confusion on third down.

LeBeau this spring has added a dash of Ravens and now three of his front four walk around as linebackers to create a chaotic scene.

“The only person that they know that’s rushing, maybe, is the nose,” said Keisel. “He’s the only guy that’s going to be on the line. The rest of us are going to be in the back where the linebackers are, just walking around, talking, pretending like we’re doing something, and hopefully we’ll do the complete opposite and screw them up and we’ll get a free sack.

“It’s almost like you’re tricking them. You act like you’re going to do this and then you do that. And Troy is the master of that. That’s where I think all this wizardry comes from. From watching him, watching how he can get up to the line of scrimmage and then get 50 yards back at the snap of the ball. He’s that great of an athlete.”

“It’s real cool, the flexibility that a coach gives you,” said Polamalu. “Every day you’re kind of testing your limits, to a point where, me personally with Coach LeBeau, it was like, ‘Okay, fine they’re letting me do whatever I want to do,’ and I figured that out for myself. So I think Brett’s going to go through the same thing. But once you get in the game situation it’s a little different. You want to study their protections and know what would help them, what wouldn’t help them, or us.”

The genesis of the defense is the mid ’90s when LeBeau at times used sets with eight linebackers and three defensive backs. Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene and Chad Brown were his chess pieces. Polamalu has given him another dimension.

“It started off we were very flexible in how we ran things,” Polamalu said. “We had different packages with those rover-type of guys. But then Baltimore kind of took it to another level, where they started adding more bigger guys. So then we’re kind of taking it to another level.

“When you have a 3-4 type defense and ends like we have, you can use that athleticism. That’s the advantage, why Baltimore and a team like us would be able to do it, and not, maybe, a 4-3 team.”

Considering the direction LeBeau’s taking the defense, it appears Mike Tomlin’s 4-3 is years away. And it’s not as if LeBeau’s looking at one last hurrah this season before retiring, as The Sporting News reported.

“I don’t know where they got that,” LeBeau said in dismissing the idea. “Now, I may not be here tomorrow, but I’m planning on it. You never know.”

LeBeau is like a mad scientist (Dr. Frankenstein) who sits in his laboratory at night concocting up new chaos theory defenses. I just can't wait to see what the mad scientist has in store for us this year!

SteelersWoman
06-10-2007, 09:54 PM
Can you believe that!?!?! The man is just an AWEsome defense guy. I LOVE it, and loved the story!!! lol

BlitzburghRockCity
06-10-2007, 10:04 PM
Hot damn, Im lovin reading this kind of stuff !! We're going to be flat out wicked tough on defense if we can pull all this together this year !! :cope:


“The thing that got us thinking about it a little bit was Brett was our emergency linebacker the last few years,” LeBeau said. “We practiced him there and he did well and he showed the ability to do coverage things. And you have the rare combination there of a strong, big, pass-rushing man who can also get off in space and really play pass defense, and that’s kind of a rare combination, so we thought: Why not utilize the talent with a guy like that? So that’s really how the whole thing got started.”

One wonders how much better we might have been last year had Cowher used Keisel in this role more since he's been practicing it. :nonod:

Black@Gold Forever32
06-10-2007, 10:10 PM
Thats awesome news and its going to be fun watching this defense wreck havoc on offenses.....

BlitzburghRockCity
06-10-2007, 10:17 PM
Hell yeah man, if we can pull all this together this season like Lebeau envisions it, it's just going to be amazing to watch our guys out there just bringing the heat every play ! You know our players are loving these new defensive schemes, it's gotta be a lot of fun !

BlackGold4vr
06-10-2007, 10:26 PM
When you picture 10 guys roaming around looking confused and only one guy truly set.....it's funny. How could a QB possibly read protections or coverages? This should be a great year for the Steelers IMO. Between the "NASTY" defense LeBeau unleashes and Big Ben taking more control over a "SPREAD" offense......should be a thing of beauty! Do the math.

more explosive offense + stingier more chaotic defense + much improved special teams = playoff team with potential to do some damage

:hail: :markit: :steelersrocksign:

Black@Gold Forever32
06-10-2007, 10:33 PM
I just hope this defense beats the living **** out of Tom Brady when we play the Pats in Dec....We beat him so bad that Tom thinks about retiring since he has made millions and won three Super Bowls.....lol

BlitzburghRockCity
06-11-2007, 12:29 AM
The potential is definitely there for us to be successful. Our schedule is far from easy considering it's a 3rd place schedule so it's going to have to take a united effort each and every week starting in week 1 and seeing it all the way through.

stillers4me
06-11-2007, 06:41 AM
Is it September, yet?? :cope:

okiesteeler
06-11-2007, 09:17 AM
The poor brown stains will be the first team to be destroyed by the new and IMPROVED Steelers. It will be a great game to watch

BlitzburghRockCity
06-11-2007, 09:22 AM
Who care if it's French Fry or Brady Quinn, either way they won't know what hit them ! :tt02: I can't wait to see our pass rush bring the heat again really have Blitzburgh back in action, it's going to be something to behold !

steelersgal86
06-11-2007, 09:31 AM
The poor brown stains will be the first team to be destroyed by the new and IMPROVED Steelers. It will be a great game to watch

I cannot wait....:tt02::cope::tt02::cope:

ARKIESTEEL
06-11-2007, 09:53 AM
This sounds awesome...I hope it works well. :clap:

25MVPKing
06-11-2007, 12:32 PM
Longest. Offseason. Ever.

PsychoWard
06-11-2007, 12:44 PM
:ditto: i can't wait much longer

K Train
06-11-2007, 04:08 PM
lol at the 8 linebackers and 3 DB set they were talking about

RckyMtnStlrFan
06-12-2007, 01:10 AM
That's a great story!!! DAMN I can't wait for the season to start!!!!:cope::tt02::helmet::cope::helmet::cope:: helmet:

Stlrs4Life
06-12-2007, 06:13 PM
Pretty wild.Can't wait to see a glimpse of it in pre season, but doubt they useit much then. We'll have a pretty vanilla defense in.