I think DL's performance as DC this year was much like it was for the entire team. He was great in spots and for stretches, but over the course of the season, his shortcomings were terribly obvious. Teams are no longer mystified by the zone blitz scheme, despite all the fawning the announcers do any time a Steelers sacks the QB (an increasingly rare occurrence). You have to adapt your schemes to the personnel you have, but you also have to push the envelope a little. Every Steeler game I watched this year, the DBs were at least 7-10 yards off the receivers at the line. On Sunday, AJ Green is untouched on perhaps the most important down of the season. You can't have some type of scheme that will allow you to provide a jam at the line with help over the top if you get beat? He's the best receiver on the team and STILL he beats you? Shouldn't he be taken away and we force Dalton to find someone else?
LeBeau doesn't have it any longer. I understand he dealt with a ton of injuries, but if ever there was a meaningless stat, it is our #1 defense ranking. I'd much rather give up a ton of yardage during the course of a game than to give up big plays, red zone touchdowns and key 3rd down conversions. The Steeler D lacks imagination and creativity. I read about NFL coaches who come up with entirely new schemes on D each week so their opponents never know what to expect. I don't think we do that. We are missing something on D and I think it starts with LeBeau. He has been a great coach and an innovator, but those innovative days are well behind him. You think LeBeau could take a wide receiver and make him a D back, as we've seen the Pats do? I don't think so. The Steelers D is too reliant on its stars and when the stars don't perform, we're left wanting. We need a young DC who is eager to make a name and show what he can do. At one point in time, that guy was Tomlin, believe it or not. LeBeau isn't hungry any longer and it is a feeling that's passed on to his players and something you can see on the field.