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Thread: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

  1. #1
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    No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    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.
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  2. #2
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    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.
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  3. #3
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    ...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.
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  4. #4
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    ...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.

  5. #5
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    ...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.
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  6. #6
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    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.
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  7. #7
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by MeetJoeGreene
    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.

  8. #8
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    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.
    Steelers Draft
    Rd 1: Mike Evans - WR
    Rd 2: Kyle Van Noy - ILB/OLB
    Rd 3c: Philip Gaines - CB
    Rd 4: Taylor Hart - DE
    Rd 5: Justin Ellis - DT
    Rd 5c:Xavier Grimble -TE

  9. #9

    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    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.

  10. #10
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    Re: No quick fix to this defense and that means trouble

    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.
    Steelers Draft
    Rd 1: Mike Evans - WR
    Rd 2: Kyle Van Noy - ILB/OLB
    Rd 3c: Philip Gaines - CB
    Rd 4: Taylor Hart - DE
    Rd 5: Justin Ellis - DT
    Rd 5c:Xavier Grimble -TE

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