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View Full Version : No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble



Oviedo
01-05-2010, 12:14 PM
Going forward it looks like LeBeau and the 3-4 defense is staying but it would be dangerous to assume a few tweaks will fix this. My thoughts:

1. NT is a major area of need with both Hampton and Hoke up in age and no potential replacement on the roster. This is the major achilles heel of the 3-4 defense.

2. Everyone wants to assume that drafting a CB or Safety will help the secondary. Wrong. When was the last defensive player that LeBeau allowed to contribute his rookie year let alone start. If a talent as unique as Troy can't do it then don't expect anyone we draft this year will. Translation: Unless Keenan Lewis or Joe Burnett can take a major step forward don't expect the secondary to be any better next year.

3. As long as we play the 3-4 the one to two year "LeBeau redshirt" will still be in place. That means no immediate help at ILB with Farrior's position. No help soon with the aforementioned NT position.

4. LBs are the key to our success in the 3-4 defense. Our back ups except for Key Fox are weak and there is not a potential starter in the bunch. This is a major issue if we lose any of the starting four foe an extended time. Problem is it will be a couple years before we develop players who could push for a starting psotion because our OLB are conversion projects from college DEs. Perhaps help could be more immediate at ILB but it took a very talented Timmons two years to learn the scheme.

5. Is there a way for LeBeau to improve his schemes. Was it as obvious to everyone else this season exactly when our OLBs were going to rush and when they weren't? Can we really afford to have our CBs play 10 yards off receivers? Can we rely on a OLB pass rush when holding is not being called? LeBeau really needs to do a complete reevaluation of what this defense does and how it does it.

I think all the above are problems and will result in next year's defense having the same problems as this season and I'm a defense first and foremost fan Hope the offense can pile up points like never before because we are going to need them.

steelblood
01-05-2010, 12:42 PM
Those are valid points. I agree with most of them.

A few thoughts.

1. I think FS in our system is tough for a rookie. But, I don't think corner is. I think a rookie corner could come in and fight for a job if he is smart.

2. At FS, we may need to go out and find a free agent with more NFL experience. Ryan Clark came in and got up to speed in his first season. If not, we'll need to find a rookie and really simplify things for him early in the season.

3. NT. I don't believe there is a red shirt necessary for a NT. Especially if he played NT (either in a 3-4 or a 4-3) in college and is used to occupying blockers.

4. i think a rookie ILB who is very smart could start the season splitting snaps with Farrior. This would mean that someone else would have to make the defensive calls. Either way, we can't rely on Farrior to play every snap next season. This is the most complicated, problematic position we have.

5. This defensive may have to take a step back before they move forward. If we start more young players next season, we may have to simplify things at first. This seems logical to me. Playing more cover two and less off man 3 deep might help. We could move the corners up a few steps and even play a little bump and run to throw off the timing/rhythm passers. There are ways we can make this work. We'll need a key FA or and a very intelligent high draft pick (or two). We'll also need this defense to make itself a little more accessible which is certainly possible. Lots of teams are switching to the 3-4 and zone blitzing schemes and having immediate success (see Denver and Green Bay). If they can start from scratch and have success with rookies and vets that are new to the system, I see no reason why we can't tweak our system. Tomlin and LeBeau have some work to do, but it is certainly possible to make this system more user friendly.

Oviedo
01-05-2010, 12:49 PM
...We'll also need this defense to make itself a little more accessible which is certainly possible. Lots of teams are switching to the 3-4 and zone blitzing schemes and having immediate success (see Denver and Green Bay). If they can start from scratch and have success with rookies and vets that are new to the system, I see no reason why we can't tweak our system. Tomlin and LeBeau have some work to do, but it is certainly possible to make this system more user friendly.


I couldn't agree more. The Packers just started the 3-4 this season and they got their rookies into the line up and they did great. Sometimes a coach/coordinator can outsmart themselves and make things overly complicated.

I can understand rookies having a hard time on the offensive side of the ball but never could figure out on the defense.

feltdizz
01-05-2010, 12:56 PM
...We'll also need this defense to make itself a little more accessible which is certainly possible. Lots of teams are switching to the 3-4 and zone blitzing schemes and having immediate success (see Denver and Green Bay). If they can start from scratch and have success with rookies and vets that are new to the system, I see no reason why we can't tweak our system. Tomlin and LeBeau have some work to do, but it is certainly possible to make this system more user friendly.


I couldn't agree more. The Packers just started the 3-4 this season and they got their rookies into the line up and they did great. Sometimes a coach/coordinator can outsmart themselves and make things overly complicated.

I can understand rookies having a hard time on the offensive side of the ball but never could figure out on the defense.

GB struggled early with the 3-4 but that is expected... Denver had early success but they faded. KC put up 44 in a must win... so maybe certain teams know exactly how to beat it. Cassell saw it up as a Pat*

I do agree though.. drafting a rookie CB means 2 more years...
I wrote somewhere how I hope Gay had his Lebeau baptism and will react instead of thinking next year.. probably wishing for too much but I don't see any other options at this point.

With a healthy Troy, Gay is not as bad a liability.... I think our D is much better last year but if we lose Troy again our D has to be better than this year. I don't mind a drop off but total collapse is not acceptable.

Oviedo
01-05-2010, 01:06 PM
...We'll also need this defense to make itself a little more accessible which is certainly possible. Lots of teams are switching to the 3-4 and zone blitzing schemes and having immediate success (see Denver and Green Bay). If they can start from scratch and have success with rookies and vets that are new to the system, I see no reason why we can't tweak our system. Tomlin and LeBeau have some work to do, but it is certainly possible to make this system more user friendly.


I couldn't agree more. The Packers just started the 3-4 this season and they got their rookies into the line up and they did great. Sometimes a coach/coordinator can outsmart themselves and make things overly complicated.

I can understand rookies having a hard time on the offensive side of the ball but never could figure out on the defense.

GB struggled early with the 3-4 but that is expected... Denver had early success but they faded. KC put up 44 in a must win... so maybe certain teams know exactly how to beat it. Cassell saw it up as a Pat*

I do agree though.. drafting a rookie CB means 2 more years...
I wrote somewhere how I hope Gay had his Lebeau baptism and will react instead of thinking next year.. probably wishing for too much but I don't see any other options at this point.

With a healthy Troy, Gay is not as bad a liability.... I think our D is much better last year but if we lose Troy again our D has to be better than this year. I don't mind a drop off but total collapse is not acceptable.

Do you really think we can keep Troy healthy for an entire season. I don't in LeBeau's current scheme. he is just asked to do too much. Howver, I hope they are smart enough to get him off kick teams.

MeetJoeGreene
01-05-2010, 01:12 PM
Kendrell Bell started as a rookie and so did Casey Hampton.

I think drafting those 2 positions could have immediate impact.

Safety - We may be screwed unless Mundy makes a leap.

CB - I am torn on. I hope one of our 2 draft picks from this year steps up but am not optimistic.

feltdizz
01-05-2010, 01:17 PM
Kendrell Bell started as a rookie and so did Casey Hampton.

I think drafting those 2 positions could have immediate impact.

Safety - We may be screwed unless Mundy makes a leap.

CB - I am torn on. I hope one of our 2 draft picks from this year steps up but am not optimistic.

Bell never learned the D and only did one thing well... he was terrible after his first year.

I hope we find a way to keep Clark, he is great when Troy is healthy...

Part of the problem is our D makes it hard for rookies to jump in on day one.. thus we have some great track record vets... who are too damn slow.

grotonsteel
01-05-2010, 01:22 PM
Can't D.C or Tomlin make Steelers D simple for the rookies to understand??? Steelers need 2010 draft to make an impact ASAP. This year Steelers don't have luxury of keeping rookies on bench.

phillyesq
01-05-2010, 01:24 PM
Going forward it looks like LeBeau and the 3-4 defense is staying but it would be dangerous to assume a few tweaks will fix this. My thoughts:

1. NT is a major area of need with both Hampton and Hoke up in age and no potential replacement on the roster. This is the major achilles heel of the 3-4 defense.

NT is undoubtedly an area of need, but this issue isn't exclusive to the 3-4. Whether 3-4 or 4-3, any defense is much more effective with a strong NT/DT to clog up the running lanes.

2. Everyone wants to assume that drafting a CB or Safety will help the secondary. Wrong. When was the last defensive player that LeBeau allowed to contribute his rookie year let alone start. If a talent as unique as Troy can't do it then don't expect anyone we draft this year will. Translation: Unless Keenan Lewis or Joe Burnett can take a major step forward don't expect the secondary to be any better next year.

I agree that drafting a CB or FS wouldn't immediately fix the defense. I'd like to see a mid-level FA signing if not two. It seems that corners in all schemes take at least a year to really develop. Hopefully Burnett and Lewis contribute next year.

3. As long as we play the 3-4 the one to two year "LeBeau redshirt" will still be in place. That means no immediate help at ILB with Farrior's position. No help soon with the aforementioned NT position.

Wrong. As mentioned by MJG, Hampton and Kendrell Bell both started as rookies.

4. LBs are the key to our success in the 3-4 defense. Our back ups except for Key Fox are weak and there is not a potential starter in the bunch. This is a major issue if we lose any of the starting four foe an extended time. Problem is it will be a couple years before we develop players who could push for a starting psotion because our OLB are conversion projects from college DEs. Perhaps help could be more immediate at ILB but it took a very talented Timmons two years to learn the scheme.

Timmons has potential and athletic ability, but that doesn't necessarily translate into an ability to learn the scheme. Talented LBs start quickly. Woodley contributed as a rookie on passing downs, and going back to Gildon and even Carlos Emmons, those guys contributed as rookies on passing downs.

I completely agree that the Steelers need depth, especially at OLB. The failed Bruce Davis experiment was a setback. I'd like to see an OLB drafted in the 4th - 5th round. A low-level vet FA wouldn't hurt either. This should improve not only depth on defense, but also the special teams.

5. Is there a way for LeBeau to improve his schemes. Was it as obvious to everyone else this season exactly when our OLBs were going to rush and when they weren't? Can we really afford to have our CBs play 10 yards off receivers? Can we rely on a OLB pass rush when holding is not being called? LeBeau really needs to do a complete reevaluation of what this defense does and how it does it.

Based on his track record, I'm not worried about his schemes at all.

I think all the above are problems and will result in next year's defense having the same problems as this season and I'm a defense first and foremost fan Hope the offense can pile up points like never before because we are going to need them.

grotonsteel
01-05-2010, 01:37 PM
Steelers D was a failure this season and i see Steelers D getting worse next year. They don't have a NT, ILB, CB and a FS.

Casey Hampton,Hoke, A Smith and Farrior will all be 1 year old. The way Troy plays i can't expect him to be healthy all season long.

Only way Steelers can win in 2010 is if Big Ben and co. put 30-40 points a game.

feltdizz
01-05-2010, 01:53 PM
Steelers D was a failure this season and i see Steelers D getting worse next year. They don't have a NT, ILB, CB and a FS.

Casey Hampton,Hoke, A Smith and Farrior will all be 1 year old. The way Troy plays i can't expect him to be healthy all season long.

Only way Steelers can win in 2010 is if Big Ben and co. put 30-40 points a game.

Hampton is still top notch.. he doesn't chase anyone so as long as he is fat he has a few years left....

A.Smith is a problem.. he is up in age and has missed 2 out of 3 years.. but Eason and Hood have that covered.

Troy is the question mark.. with him we are fine but if we lose him we need better DB support..

grotonsteel
01-05-2010, 02:42 PM
Steelers D was a failure this season and i see Steelers D getting worse next year. They don't have a NT, ILB, CB and a FS.

Casey Hampton,Hoke, A Smith and Farrior will all be 1 year old. The way Troy plays i can't expect him to be healthy all season long.

Only way Steelers can win in 2010 is if Big Ben and co. put 30-40 points a game.

Hampton is still top notch.. he doesn't chase anyone so as long as he is fat he has a few years left....

A.Smith is a problem.. he is up in age and has missed 2 out of 3 years.. but Eason and Hood have that covered.

Troy is the question mark.. with him we are fine but if we lose him we need better DB support..

Hampton does not want a franchise tag and i don't think Steelers would want to sign him for 3-4 years deal. I am not sure how Hampton will play if he is unhappy.

Maybe Steelers sign Jamal Williams for 1-2 years and draft a young 3-4 NT in the draft.

Steelers definitely need a CB. Ike Taylor is No. 2 CB . Ryan Clark is fine when Troy is healthy.

Mister Pittsburgh
01-05-2010, 02:55 PM
Our D will be improved just by Aaron Smith & Troy getting healthy and ready to roll. I think Hoke can play a damn good NT for a season while you groom a draftee. Have the rookie mix in with Hoke to give him some breathers. Hoke doesn't have a decade of play on his body so his body might not be banged up like a typical older NT. He has shown he has more than enough to play NT when Casey was injured for a long stretch before with I think the knee issue.

If I were the Steelers I would heavily consider moving Troy to FS and just let him worry about covering folks and look at a solid SS in free agency.

With a year of experience under his belt, and a full offseason of working out and doing the right things, I think Ziggy Hood will be good to swap in and out with Aaron Smith to keep them both fresh.

At CB, we need Ike to come back solid next season which he has shown he can, and we need to draft a CB near the top of the draft (2nd or 3rd rounder) to come in and compete with Gay, Burnett, Lewis and let the winner come out in camp.

Key Fox has been training to wear the earpiece and make the calls behind Farrior and Fox has shown he can play. I don't think he will be real dynamic like a pro bowl caliber ILB or anything, but he doesn't really have to either. He is no spring chicken either though so we should look to draft an ILB in the front end of the draft, maybe even a couple in the draft.

I would look to draft a NT-CB-ILB high in the draft. I would look at a SS or FS in free agency...preferably SS so Troy can play FS and just ball-hawk. I bet Troy at FS picks off 7 to 10 passes in a full season. How many has Clark dropped though this season?

NW Steeler
01-05-2010, 03:04 PM
How many has Clark dropped though this season?

I don't think he dropped many at all. He just simply failed to make a play on far too many that he had an opportunity to do so.
You may be right though, maybe the Steelers would be better off moving Troy to FS and signing someone to play SS.

Oviedo
01-05-2010, 03:07 PM
Our D will be improved just by Aaron Smith & Troy getting healthy and ready to roll. I think Hoke can play a damn good NT for a season while you groom a draftee. Have the rookie mix in with Hoke to give him some breathers. Hoke doesn't have a decade of play on his body so his body might not be banged up like a typical older NT. He has shown he has more than enough to play NT when Casey was injured for a long stretch before with I think the knee issue.

If I were the Steelers I would heavily consider moving Troy to FS and just let him worry about covering folks and look at a solid SS in free agency.

With a year of experience under his belt, and a full offseason of working out and doing the right things, I think Ziggy Hood will be good to swap in and out with Aaron Smith to keep them both fresh.

At CB, we need Ike to come back solid next season which he has shown he can, and we need to draft a CB near the top of the draft (2nd or 3rd rounder) to come in and compete with Gay, Burnett, Lewis and let the winner come out in camp.

Key Fox has been training to wear the earpiece and make the calls behind Farrior and Fox has shown he can play. I don't think he will be real dynamic like a pro bowl caliber ILB or anything, but he doesn't really have to either. He is no spring chicken either though so we should look to draft an ILB in the front end of the draft, maybe even a couple in the draft.

I would look to draft a NT-CB-ILB high in the draft. I would look at a SS or FS in free agency...preferably SS so Troy can play FS and just ball-hawk. I bet Troy at FS picks off 7 to 10 passes in a full season. How many has Clark dropped though this season?

I like the positions you generally lay out for the draft but I would go:

ILB (prefer McClain but more likely Brandon Spikes will be available)
CB/Safety
NT

There are no top end CBs in this draft that will be available at #18 in Round 1. Earl Thomas out of Texas would be worth considering but he is more a Safety.

SteelTorch
01-05-2010, 03:17 PM
Exactly. We should just move to the 4-3. That will solve all of our defense's problems. After all, it's not like teams ever see the 4-3. :stirpot

papillon
01-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Exactly. We should just move to the 4-3. That will solve all of our defense's problems. After all, it's not like teams ever see the 4-3. :stirpot

Torch all I have to say to you is :moon

:P

Pappy

ikestops85
01-05-2010, 03:43 PM
I think we should go with the a 7-4 configuration. That way if we find a good NT we could use them but it won't eliminate the college DE players. The 3 inside line players would have the same skillset as the linemen in the 3-4 but we would bracket them with DTs and DEs on both sides.

We will still employ 4 linebackers so they will remain the strength of the team. As for the DBs ... we can't stop the pass anyway so why bother with them. This should make everyone happy. :Boobs

papillon
01-05-2010, 03:48 PM
I think we should go with the a 7-4 configuration. That way if we find a good NT we could use them but it won't eliminate the college DE players. The 3 inside line players would have the same skillset as the linemen in the 3-4 but we would bracket them with DTs and DEs on both sides.

We will still employ 4 linebackers so they will remain the strength of the team. As for the DBs ... we can't stop the pass anyway so why bother with them. This should make everyone happy. :Boobs

and one for you also :moon

:P

Pappy

SteelAbility
01-05-2010, 05:04 PM
I think Troy is a pretty quick fix for our D. Anyone else? :?:

stlrz d
01-05-2010, 09:23 PM
Troy stayed healthy in 2008...LeBeau used him a bit differently. This season started out the same way. He was injured on a freak play this season and it was a knee...not something you come back quickly from.

I think Fox will be Farrior's eventual successor. With a young backer drafted (or picked up) to learn from watching and practicing with them.

Sorry if this stuff was mentioned already...I didn't want to read every post.

Chadman
01-06-2010, 01:07 AM
Ok, Chadman's early take-

NT- Hampton is STILL GOOD. If he can be re-signed, he should be. He is the PREMIER 3-4 NT in the NFL- pay him as such- after all, it's an uncapped year. IF Hampton leaves, the Steelers will be forced to draft a NT early. Many have said they'd avoid Mt Cody, but honestly- if he was there, the Steelers could grab another potentially dominant NT for 10 years- he's worth the shot. If a rookie has to start- it will need to be a highly drafted rookie- can't see a 5th rounder being able to contribute, and Hoke is solid, but will need rotating if he has to start.

ILB- Chadman will say it- SIGN JOEY PORTER BACK. Farrior was shown up as being slow this year- he ain't getting faster next year. No point holding him in because you like the guy- that doesn't make the D better. Porter is a solid tackler, good coverage LB, great team leader & loves the Steelers. Why not? Again- uncapped year makes it possible. Also- he has 2-3 years on Farrior, gives the Steelers the option of drafting a mid to late round LB to learn for a couple of seasons. So Joey is an OLB- so was Farrior before coming here. His role will change, but he is smart enough, and athletic enough, to handle it. And Chadman believes it upgrades the D right away. Also- he can become the instant back-up OLB too.

FS- BIG NEED. Clark is ok, but with zero playmakers at CB, the Safties need to be the danger guys for the QB. If Troy moves to FS as has been suggested, Taylor Mays might fit. If Troy stays at SS (Chadman's preference), there are several options in Rounds 1-2 at FS. Darrell Stuckey from Kentucky is a very solid character guy, and has plenty of pass break-ups to his name. Major Wright, Earl Thomas- there are options. Draft 'em & plug them in the way Detroit did with Louis Delmas.

CB- Another big need. Plenty of young CB's on the roster, so drafting another kind of seems a moot point. Signing a CB like Stanford Routt, or Fabian Washington might be the better angle to take.

OL- Improved? Yes. Good enough? No. That being said, Stapleton is back next year, Ramon Foster looked decent & Urbik was drafted last year. How does this effect the RT position, where Colon has shown to be not so athletic? Might need another option there. OR- do you give Foster a shot at it?

RB- Don't be fooled- Mendenhall was good this year, but the Steelers running game is incomplete. Chadman was bagged slightly for suggesting CJ Spiller on an earlier thread- but think about it- if added to the roster, is there another player that can have as high a potential impact as Spiller to the Steelers next season? Back-up RB, splitting time with Mendy- split out to WR, KR/PR...3rd down...either way- another RB is required. And a FB/short yardage guy, a la Fu from years past. The FB from Utah looked ok...

Small changes, not big changes, are required. Smart moves to instantly upgrade the roster- thinking with the head & not the heart. Steelers could be back in the SB next year with only a tinker here & there.