As far as the front 7 goes, I'd say that's our biggest problem right now. None of them are playing great ball. Timmons and Woodley are good, but inconsistent. Keisel's consistent and adequate but not great and aging. Jones and Heyward are developing but unknowns at this point. We don't have a quality starter at NT or ILB next to Timmons.
Our DLine is the biggest problem unit on our roster and I've been saying this before the season began and I still believe it to be true. Our LB play is mediocre. We can't get pressure and we can't stop the run. For the 3-4 to work, the LBs need to be stars and they aren't. The DLine needs to free them to make plays and they aren't.
We've gotta bring in 3-5 new guys to fix the front 7 and the players for this system are no longer easy to find. We'd likely have to use premium picks to upgrade, but we also need to use premium picks on the other side of the ball too. The change needed is so dramatic, I suspect any type of continuity might hold us back a little.
Butler's been with the Steelers for 10 years now. He probably thinks exactly like Lebeau on just about everything. And that might be perfect. Or it could be just as bad.
I almost think if the Steelers went in house, they could convince me that Carnell Lake is going to bring a fresh approach and revamp this D a lot easier than Butler could. I don't know how much Carnell knows about running an entire D, but his approach with younger players and his attitude of making things simple for new players so they can contribute resonate with the type of systematic change we need in this D.
Some guys just have that bigger than life persona and a bit of the IT factor where you know they have bigger things in their future. Lake's one of those guys to me. I never have gotten that feeling about Butler. Doesn't mean I'm right about either one of them. Just a hunch.
1.25 DT Vernon Butler, La Tech, 64 323
2.58 CB Artie Burns, Miami, 511 189
3.89 OLB, Alex McCalister, Florida, 66 240-Jarvis Jones replacement
4.123 S Jayron Kearse, Clemson, 64 216-hybrid type we could use in 3-3-5 defense
6.220 OT Stephane Nembot, 67 322-raw talent with ton of upside
7.229 CB Brian Poole, Florida, 510 210
7.246 WR/KR Ed Eagan, Northwestern State, 5 10 185-need WR depth and returner
On a side note. Given Tomlin's experience coaching D, if DL is really the problem and having issues making calls in game, why hasn't Tomlin taken over for him with the D play calling?
Seriously, guys like Belichick or Ryan get more credit for their team's D game plans than their DCs. I always get the impression that they're calling the shots no matter who they may have on their staff. Heck even with Cowher, I got the impression he was calling the shots. Not with Tomlin. He's like a kid along for a ride with DL letting him do whatever he wants.
I wonder if it's out of respect? Does Tomlin know better, but just won't step on DL's toes? It's gotta be an awkward position if Tomlin knows what he's doing but can't.
The Steelers DBs are terrible. They looked like pop warner kids trying to guard Gronk. Ike Taylor is a fraction of what he used to be, Gay is the absolute worst and Polamalu is constantly out of position. Clark still hits hard but couldn't chase down my grandma. That defense needs huge changes and unfortunately it starts with old man Lebeau.