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Thread: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steelers

  1. #1
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    Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steelers

    Keith Butler: Still Playing the Waiting Game with the Steelers

    AUTHOR: Dom
    Jan 14, 2012



    Butler will be returning for his 10th season as the Steelers' LB Coach

    As I discussed in my last post, legendary Defensive Coordinator D!ck LeBeau will be returning to the Steel City in 2012. In the spirit of continuity, the move itself makes sense.

    Nevertheless, one of the first things which popped into my head when I read that LeBeau would be back in 2012 was the following: Will longtime Linebackers Coach & “D-Coordinator in Waiting” Keith Butler stay with the organization long enough to realize his chance to assume the Defensive Coordinator role? Thus, I thought it would be nice to discuss Keith Butler’s career with the Steelers up to this point, why he is an ideal candidate for the job, and his current situation “playing the Waiting Game.”

    Keith Butler: A Fantastic Resume (2003-Present):

    If you were to list the Top 3 LB Coaches in the League right now, you’d be hard pressed to name two, if not one, that has done a better job than Keith Butler during his 9 seasons with the Steelers.

    Butler has helped to develop and hone the skills of some of the N.F.L.’s most feared pass-rushers and overall LB’s during his tenure with the Steelers. Pro Bowl OLB’s such as Joey Porter and LaMarr Woodley have developed into multiple 10.0+ Sack per season guys. A former UDFA, OLB James Harrison won the D.P.O.Y. in 2008 and has terrorized opposing QB’s and opponents in general since assuming Porter’s old role in 2007.

    Under Butler’s tutelage, late-round picks such as OLB Clark Haggans and ILB Larry Foote have enjoyed a measure of success while realizing their potential with hard work and their overall talent. Lawrence Timmons made the switch from OLB at Florida State to ILB with the Steelers, and has developed into one of the League’s most complete Linebackers since making the switch in 2008. Even then-veteran ILB James Farrior enjoyed his best seasons under Butler’s watch and made both of his Pro Bowls during that time.

    Butler isn’t done however, and now OLB’s Jason Worilds and Chris Carter, along with ILB Stevenson Sylvester will assume to be the next group of “youngsters” ready to step up with Butler teaching them the “ins and outs” of their respective positions along the way.

    The Steelers have always had a tradition of featuring some of the best overall Linebackers on their teams. And with Butler in charge, the franchise hasn’t missed a step. Whether they are 1st and 2nd Round studs, Middle Round (3-6) diamonds in the rough, or overlooked late bloomers (7-UDFA), Butler has illustrated a knack to get the most out of his guys and in turn establish himself as one of the best Linebackers Coaches in the League. This job by Butler hasn’t gone unnoticed, as teams not named the Steelers have showed keen interest in prying Butler away to head their Defenses.

    Butler’s Job Offers/Declines:

    As I have stated before, Butler’s fantastic work in Pittsburgh has put him on the radar of many teams in search of Defensive Coordinators during the past few years. Yet each and every job offer he has received or been in the running for, Butler has elected to stay with the Steelers and stood by their Front Office which has given him votes of confidence while he has played “The Waiting Game:”

    During the 2009 offseason the Miami Dolphins were interested in offering their Defensive Coordinator job to Butler. A 3-4 team with some solid talent to work with, Butler eventually told Miami “No” when they asked him to run their Defense. The thought at the time was that Butler was going to be the Steelers’ future Defensive Coordinator when Dick LeBeau finally left. In fact, the rumor was that the Steelers’ Front Office added a clause in his contract that he would be the “D-Coordinator in Waiting” to keep him on the staff.



    Butler (left) has been on Whiz's radar (right) since he came to Arizona in 2007

    While Miami tried to get Butler only once, the Arizona Cardinals have been barking up the “Butler Tree” for years. With former Steelers coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm in Arizona, Butler’s services have long been sought after by the pair.

    Thankfully for the Steelers, the organization has stood firm with regards to keeping Butler in Pittsburgh. When the 2010 offseason rolled around, Pittsburgh did not allow the Cardinals to even interview Butler regarding their vacant D-Coordinator position, and apparently it had something to do with his “D-Coordinator in Waiting” status according to the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers. And as of right now, it appears that all that stands between Butler and the Defensive Coordinator job is D!ck LeBeau.

    Conclusion:

    Jobs in the N.F.L. are never “guaranteed,” and after a number of “meltdowns” and “dumpster fire” performances in the last couple of years due to strategy and other factors, the D-Coordinator job appears to be LeBeau’s for as long as he wants it.

    Butler in my opinion though deserves his chance to take the reins in the near future. He has waited patiently for his opportunity, turned down others, and the franchise itself has apparently given him a “thumbs up” with his “D-Coordinator in Waiting” tag.

    Thus, I will look at this situation with LeBeau staying for 2012 from a “glass half-full” perspective, and simply be confident that LeBeau will not overstay his welcome and the well-credentialed Butler will eventually and take over in 2013 or 2014. Butler knows the organization, can continue to work with the personnel already on the roster while in turn grooming more talent for years to come, and has a vote of confidence from the Front Office based on their supposed commitment to him. Yet most importantly, you’ve gotta figure that if the guy has waited this long, he might be inclined to play “The Waiting Game” just a bit longer.

    Now it’s time to hear your thoughts readers: Do you think LeBeau should bow out gracefully and let Butler take over? Should Butler even be the next Defensive Coordinator? Who instead should get the job after LeBeau?

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/01/14/ke ... more-11801

  2. #2
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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    Maybe it is best he moves on. Especially if a half decent franchise offers him DC position.

  3. #3

    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    If Butler moves on,...so be it. Carnell is well versed in Coach Lebeau's system. We should concern ourselves with bringing in the proper personnel.
    1) Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington

    2) Miles Burris, LB San Diego State

    3) Jordan White, WR, WMU

    4) Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal

    5) Blake Gideon, F/S, Texas

    6) Matt Conrath, DE, VA

    7) Adam Nissley, TE, UCF

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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    If we would lose a "hot commodity" coach like Butler just to let the "legend" leave on his terms that would be a huge mistake. The NFL is about now and the future, not the past. Look at how coaches step in and fail and when you have a potentially good one you need to keep them.

    When you have multiple teams beating down the door to hire Carnell Lake like they are Butler then I'll consider him equal to Butler. Lake wasn't even working in the NFL until this past season so it is a little early to annoint him ready to be a DC.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    Lebeau seems to be on the Joe Paterno tract where they will have to either find him involved in some conspiracy or drag his dead corpse off the sideline.
    @_Hellgrammite

  6. #6

    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh
    Lebeau seems to be on the Joe Paterno tract where they will have to either find him involved in some conspiracy or drag his dead corpse off the sideline.
    $$$$

    Butler might want to retire before LeBeau will.

  7. #7
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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    Wonder if anyone will bring Butler in for a visit this offseason.
    @_Hellgrammite

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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    Quote Originally Posted by BradshawsHairdresser
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh
    Lebeau seems to be on the Joe Paterno tract where they will have to either find him involved in some conspiracy or drag his dead corpse off the sideline.
    $$$$

    Butler might want to retire before LeBeau will.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    And complacency will be the order of the day on defense because we dare not even discuss let alone question what is done.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  9. #9
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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    I brought this up in another thread and maybe it is just coincidence.....but it still seems odd.....

    Tomlin + Lebeau + Ray Horton = Crappy secondary almost every season, rookies have no hope of contributing on secondary, even all world players like Troy don't do anything.

    Tomlin + Lebeau + Carnell Lake = Top pass defense in league & rookies contribute and young DB's grow like William Gay. Gay had a real good season.

    So, is this all just a coincidence and THESE rookies were different and caught on quick? Did it just click for Gay this year and Lake didn't really change him? Or does Lebeau not really do much 'coaching' of guys and just comes up with the gameplan and the coaches tell the players how to play in that gameplan?

    You would just think that with Tomlin being HC and a former DB coach and DC, and Lebeau being a HOF that played DB and is a DC, that our secondary would be pretty awesome before Lake ever got here but wasn't the case. Makes me wonder who really does what down there.
    @_Hellgrammite

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    Re: Keith Butler: Still Playing Waiting Game with the Steele

    WHY OH WHY CAN'T THESE OFFERS BE COMING TO BRUCE ARIANS???!!!!! Isn't he an equal talent at OC?! I mean, he has to practice against the best defense in the NFL every week, so that should really up his game.

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