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fordfixer
06-23-2009, 03:46 AM
The Dick Lebeau Effect on Ben Roethlisberger

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... ect-on-ben (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2009/6/18/913369/the-dick-lebeau-effect-on-ben)

There are obviously many reasons why Ben Roethlisberger has transformed into one of the league's best and most clutch quarterbacks. He is incredibly physically gifted, with great arm strength, vision, movement, and a fantastic 6th sense of when to get out of the pocket and play "backyard football." He has a great mind for the game -- maybe not the football smarts of Peyton Manning, but Ben knows where everyone should be at all times and is doing an increasingly better job of dissecting defenses. He is the absolute and undisputed best quarterback at improvising a play when things break down. He is a great teammate and an emerging locker room leader. He is good with media coverage, and is excellent at deflecting praise onto his teammates when they deserve it.


More than anyone, Ben himself is responsible for his climb to the top echelon of NFL quarterback rankings. Not only relying on his wonderful physical gifts, the man has been a tireless worker in the Steel City -- to the point where teammates have been concerned with him overworking his body in the gym. He has spent countless hours in the film room, helped design playbooks, and spent a lot of extra time with his receivers. But he has had some help along the way. Most notably, he was drafted to a team that was a solid mix of talent, both young and veteran. A team with a dedicated fanbase, solid and stoic ownership, and a coaching staff that knew how to breed winners. He also had a series of excellent coaches who have helped him on his journey to the top. Terry Hoeppner, his recently deceased former college coach at Miami (Ohio), was best friends with Big Ben and essential to his meteoric rise. Bill Cowher, Ken Wisenhunt, and Russ Grimm gave him guidance and taught him the position in the NFL, and how his role works around his teammates'. Ken Anderson, his current quarterback coach and former Bengals star, has helped propel Ben onto another level of performance. And, finally, Mike Tomlin has done an excellent job relating to his star quarterback and placing him in a position to succeed.

But I would argue that Dick Lebeau has been as influential to Ben's success as anyone outside of Ben himself.


Here are the reasons:

Dick Lebeau, as we all know very well, is the mastermind behind the zone blitz. This is a defense that, when designed well, executed well, and provided with the right personnel, is one of the most difficult defense to try to beat (as displayed by the Steelers D '08-'09). And Dick Lebeau has done just that. He has built a nearly perfect defense, one that is incredibly physical, fast, smart, and, above all, complicated. A defense where every man knows his job and performs it just as Coach Lebeau wants. A defense that is utterly selfless yet totally ruthless. This provides the best possible scenario for Ben and his offensive teammates in practices. If Ben can move the ball on the league's best defense, you better damned be sure he can move it on the Bengals, Browns, and the like. And while it's no secret that no one is allowed to actually hit Ben in practice, the fact that he gets repeated chances to read, calculate, and practice against this complicated of a defense can only pay massive dividends on gameday. Not only has this assisted Ben's development in recent seasons, but it surely payed off during his rookie campaign. The same logic applies: if rookie Ben can scan and analyze the Dick Lebeau zone blitz defense, he can do the very same against much less complicated defenses on Sundays. Ben's 15 consecutive wins during his rookie season speak for themselves. As do his two Superbowl wins.

Lebeau's effect stretches beyond just his defenders. As stated above, when Ben practices against an elite defense, it can only improve his game. The same can be said for Ben's receivers, running backs, tight ends, and offensive linemen. But it doesn't stop there. Lebeau makes the offensive coaches better, too. Larry Zierlen has to teach their players how to block an impossible-to-stop defensive line and linebacking corps. Kirby Wilson has to teach his backs how to run against a defense that thrives on stopping the run. Randy Fichtner (and co-coach Hines Ward) need to come up with better and more efficient ways for the wide receivers to get open, and do it before Big Ben gets clocked. And what better mind to bounce offensive strategies off of, if you're Bruce Arians, than Dick Lebeau? All this translates to better coaches, making better players around Ben, and more wins on Sundays.

Lebeau brings two other important capabilities to the table. He has the ability to get the best out of his players and he is always changing his strategies and shifting his ideas. When a coordinator (and his fellow defensive coaches) manage to bring the very best out in his players (think late-rounders Aaron Smith, Brett Kiesel, William Gay, etc.), that does two things for your team: it allows players to stick around longer (limits the "Revolving Door" that some franchises have become -- credit to Kevin Colbert as well for an excellent draft record) and it also does wonders for team unity, as players get to know each other over longer periods of time. However, since he is always changing his strategy, it prevents these longer tenured players from becoming static in their growth. He is constantly challenging his players and forces every player to become a thinker, on both sides of the ball. All these things can easily be translated for a better environment for a franchise quarterback to train, practice, and play. Simply put, the legacy of Ben Roethlisberger is built on far more that just his ability to throw the ball.


Dick Lebeau has also been a stabilizing figure during the Cowher-to-Tomlin transition. While many coaches stayed on staff for the new Tomlin regime, the Steelers lost three massive figures in Cowher, Wisenhunt, and Grimm, with the latter two leaving for the Arizona "Steelers West" Cardinals. Though Bruce Arians, the former Wide Receivers Coach, was promoted to Offensive Coordinator, he (as we have all discussed thoroughly) has been learning on the job. With the Dick Hoak's retirement, and a brand new head coach with little to no ties to the organization, Dick Lebeau became an even more important figure in keeping a positive atmosphere and team unity on the Southside practice facility, something that can not be overstated for a player who is quarterbacking a team looking to make deep playoff runs every season. The Jay Cutler Fiasco in Denver is a prime example of what can happen to a franchise quarterback when an awkward transition to a new coaching staff happens. Finally, from his last unsuccessful stint as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, Big Ben (and all of us fans) can take comfort in that he won't be leaving to be a head coach for another team, despite his once-in-a-generation defensive mind.

While Dick Lebeau is 71 years old (young?), he is still mentally and physically potent enough to continue to coach in the NFL. He has stated repeatedly that the thought of retirement has yet to really cross his mind, and those words have been music to the collective ears of Steeler Nation. The way things have been going, they should be for Big Ben Roethlisberger, too.

stlrz d
06-23-2009, 06:36 AM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Chachi
06-23-2009, 07:55 AM
The Jay Cutler Fiasco in Denver is a prime example of what can happen to a franchise quarterback when an awkward transition to a new coaching staff happens.

Awkward doesn't really describe that fiasco and isn't applicable here.

If Tomlin came in here and made a play for his favorite QB from the Vikings or Bucs to come in and replace Ben there would have been no amount of "stabalizing" Lebeau could have done to stop that crazy Crapnado twister.

RuthlessBurgher
06-23-2009, 09:15 AM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

That's the first thing I thought as well. During the weekly practices sessions, Ben is facing the scout team defense, which is trying to mimic the tendencies of the team we are playing next. If the next team on the schedule happens to be a 4-3 Tampa-2 team, then the scout defense will run a 4-3 Tampa-2, not a LeBeau 3-4 zone blitz scheme. At the same time, our starting defense will be practicing against a scout team offense that will be attempting to mimic the tendencies of the offense we are playing next. Outside of a few of those goal line drills that everyone loves at training camp, the starting O and starting D rarely face off against each other in practice.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-23-2009, 03:04 PM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Even this guy who isn't known as the Yoda of NFL by any means knows the 1st team plays against the practice squad.

I'm a little bummed, I was looking forward to reading something pretty insightful, with a lot of "out of the box" thinking. But thanks as always for posting, Fordfixer, u da man!

Who is this author, and should he feel really :oops: now? Or am I missing the boat here?

RuthlessBurgher
06-23-2009, 03:42 PM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Even this guy who isn't known as the Yoda of NFL by any means knows the 1st team plays against the practice squad.

I'm a little bummed, I was looking forward to reading something pretty insightful, with a lot of "out of the box" thinking. But thanks as always for posting, Fordfixer, u da man!

Who is this author, and should he feel really :oops: now? Or am I missing the boat here?

It was written by someone that calls himself "R. Clemente" on 6-18-09. Considering that Roberto died in 1972, I assume that it is just some anonymous schmoe that has taken that name on a message board.

feltdizz
06-23-2009, 03:46 PM
whoa.. sure seems like you guys jumped the gun on this one..

I know I have read a ton of camp talk about the first teams going against each other in practice... but maybe you guys were lying when you reported it. :D

calm down fella's..

whether he is implying it is week to week or not.. I'm pretty sure Lebeau throws in a few wrinkles or talks up the other teams schemes with Ben...

you guys bust the hell out of some ballons :D

ANPSTEEL
06-23-2009, 04:04 PM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Even this guy who isn't known as the Yoda of NFL by any means knows the 1st team plays against the practice squad.

I'm a little bummed, I was looking forward to reading something pretty insightful, with a lot of "out of the box" thinking. But thanks as always for posting, Fordfixer, u da man!

Who is this author, and should he feel really :oops: now? Or am I missing the boat here?

It was written by someone that calls himself "R. Clemente" on 6-18-09. Considering that Roberto died in 1972, I assume that it is just some anonymous schmoe that has taken that name on a message board.

Could be just a screen name- or it could be his son, who would be in his early forties....

fordfixer
06-23-2009, 09:25 PM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Even this guy who isn't known as the Yoda of NFL by any means knows the 1st team plays against the practice squad.

I'm a little bummed, I was looking forward to reading something pretty insightful, with a lot of "out of the box" thinking. But thanks as always for posting, Fordfixer, u da man!

Who is this author, and should he feel really :oops: now? Or am I missing the boat here?
Sorry I'll try to do better, and find a more insightful stuff to post. But thanks for noticing me :lol:

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-23-2009, 11:27 PM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Even this guy who isn't known as the Yoda of NFL by any means knows the 1st team plays against the practice squad.

I'm a little bummed, I was looking forward to reading something pretty insightful, with a lot of "out of the box" thinking. But thanks as always for posting, Fordfixer, u da man!

Who is this author, and should he feel really :oops: now? Or am I missing the boat here?
Sorry I'll try to do better, and find a more insightful stuff to post. But thanks for noticing me :lol:

Fordfixer, dude, I hope you aren't taking me wrong! You are completely the man, one of the prime people on this forum, if it weren't for you I wouldn't know half of what i do about the NFL and Steelers. I wasn't busting on you at all, just that author.

For your awesome work I :Clap you ... no, sir actually I am in :Bow :Bow to you for your excellenceness!!

Thanks, dude! :tt2 :tt2 :tt1 :tt1

fordfixer
06-24-2009, 07:28 AM
I hate to be the one to rain on this blogger's parade, but he is mistaken if he thinks #1 O and #1 D face one another enough in practice to make as much of a difference as he thinks it does.

Even this guy who isn't known as the Yoda of NFL by any means knows the 1st team plays against the practice squad.

I'm a little bummed, I was looking forward to reading something pretty insightful, with a lot of "out of the box" thinking. But thanks as always for posting, Fordfixer, u da man!

Who is this author, and should he feel really :oops: now? Or am I missing the boat here?
Sorry I'll try to do better, and find a more insightful stuff to post. But thanks for noticing me :lol:


SA
Fordfixer, dude, I hope you aren't taking me wrong! You are completely the man, one of the prime people on this forum, if it weren't for you I wouldn't know half of what i do about the NFL and Steelers. I wasn't busting on you at all, just that author.

For your awesome work I :Clap you ... no, sir actually I am in :Bow :Bow to you for your excellenceness!!

Thanks, dude! :tt2 :tt2 :tt1 :tt1
SASF - No worries bro just a sorry attempt at humor, also just driving my post count up :lol: :tt1 :tt1 Man I can't wait for football to start :HeadBanger