Lebeau's record speaks for itself over the years. A couple of down years doesn't mean that Lebeau has forgotten how to coach football or that football has passed him by, there are other factors in play that seem to be conveniently overlooked.
1.22) Dante Fowler, OLB, UF
2.56) PJ Williams, CB, FSU
3.87) Ben Koyack, TE, ND
4.120) Kurtis Drummond, FS, MSU
5.152) David Johnson, RB, North Iowa
6.183) Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon St.
7.214) Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk St.
"Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll
JJ needs to gain strength and the good news is he knows it:
PITTSBURGH -- What must happen for Jarvis Jones over the next eight months can be distilled into about as many words -- something the rookie outside linebacker did earlier this week.
“I’ve got to get big and strong, man,” Jones said.
A significant part of the Steelers’ 2014 pass rush depends on it.
Coach Mike Tomlin says players make the most improvement from the first to their second NFL season, and the Steelers especially need for that to happen with Jones given the potential moving parts they have at outside linebacker.
Jason Worilds is going to be an unrestricted free agent. LaMarr Woodley makes too much money relative to his recent production to return at the current rate. He will at least have to accept a pay cut to be back in 2014, and the offseason uncertainty at outside linebacker is such that there is a chance, albeit a remote one, that Jones could be among the most experienced players at his position when the Steelers convene training camp.
Jones didn’t bite when asked about that possibility, and that is because he knows how important this offseason is for him regardless of what happens with Worilds and Woodley, who has a salary-cap hit of $13,6 million in 2014 and is a candidate to get released.
“I’ve got to work harder than I ever did before, physically and mentally,” said Jones, who had just one of the Steeles' 34 sacks this season. “Get in the best shape I’ve ever been and I’ve got to continue to try and learn and grasp this game of football the best way I can.”
Jones is listed at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, and he said he isn’t as concerned with bulking up as much as he is simply getting stronger. Just as significant for Jones is strengthening his grasp on the defense.
He learned enough to become the first rookie outside linebacker to start for the Steelers since they went to a 3-4 defense in 1982.
But Jones had to cram, like most rookies, and his goal during the offseason will be gaining a better understanding of the nuances of his position.
Perhaps most encouraging about Jones is he has already exhibited plenty of growth.
The former Georgia All-American started eight of the 14 games he played in this season, missing two of them because of a concussion and an illness. He played his best game of the season last Sunday, leading the Steelers with nine tackles in a 20-7 win over the Browns and looking a lot more comfortable at right outside linebacker than he had earlier in the season.
When asked to assess his rookie campaign, Jones said, “I think things went well, could have been a whole lot better for me.”
That last statement is among that reasons why the Steelers are so high on Jones.
He doesn’t assume his success is preordained simply because he is a first-round draft pick – one that the Steelers were elated to make last April.
“There’s nothing given in this league, and I understood that from Day 1,” Jones said. “So whatever you want in this league, you’ve got to go take it.”
I view Lebeau like Larry Brown in the NBA. Brown refused to play rookies and benched contributors based on nothing more than a gut feeling. Lebeau doesn't hate rookies... but he hates to play them early and if given the option he will probably put experience before talent regardless of the gap.
This worked for years... but it hasn't worked lately and it won't work moving forward. We have seen records fall left and right with this D. We missed on a few in 2008 or 09 but regardless, we weren't ready for the transition because we put faith in old vets.
I love Lebeau but I think his time is up. We don't have the luxury of waiting for years and hoping a few guys pan out in year 3 or 4.... and is it really that unrealistic to want to see a rookie make splash plays his rookie year? I talked to a friend the other day and we had the same question. Why the hell can other teams field a rookie who makes an impact while ours takes a year or 2 to bulk up, speed up, catch up. People say rookies don't make impacts their first year but that is OUR history... not the history of rookies around the league. No reason why we have to go back to Kendrell freaking Bell to point out a rookie defender who made a name for himself.
People generally paint themselves into a corner to eat crow when they state or believe, "this worked for years...but hasn't worked lately and it won't work moving forward." Remember losing great players and transitional phase.
The BIGGEST reason why records of any sort are falling is due to the emphasis the league has place on offensive football/scoring over the years. Player mistakes in execution/responsibilities were generally responsible for the defensive lapses that took place for the Steelers.
What's missing in your thought process is that it isn't about a rookie making a name for himself but the overall success of the defense. The fact remains that this defense has been CONSISTENTLY been one of the best since Lebeau has been DC. The defense is going through a transitional phase where they lost several good/great players. Just last season the defense was 6th in ppg. How soon you forgot.
2004 defense 1st in ppg (playoffs)
2005 defense 4th in ppg (SB winner)
2006 defense 11th in ppg
2007 defense 2nd in ppg (playoffs)
2008 defesne 1st in ppg (Historic Defensive, SB winner)
2009 defense 12th in ppg
2010 defense 1st in ppg (SB loser)
2011 defense 1st in ppg (playoffs)
2012 defense 6th in ppg
2013 defense 14th in ppg
Damn and spoiled fan base is all I can say about some of the defensive efforts that we've witnessed under Leabeau.
It will be difficult to find a team to match the consistency of a Leabeau coached defense since he returned as Steelers DC. The Steelers haven't made the playoffs without a top 5 ppg defense since 2004.
One of the biggest issues on this team has been the offenses inability to score points with the best offenses in the league on a consistent basis. For that I lay at the feet of the QB for refusing to adjust his style of play. Ben showed signs of changing his style during this season. We will see what happens next season.
Last edited by BURGH86STEEL; 01-03-2014 at 03:45 PM.
When he was drafted, the dilemma surrounding his slow 40-time, was whether there was ever a guy picked that high ever posted such a slow 40. A lot of people mentioned Suggs, but discounted the comparison because he weighed significantly more. Interestingly, there is a comparable player that I found, in my research. (Basically, my "research" consists of me having the draft books over the years, in my bathroom. And while I'm on the hopper, I read them.)
Anyway, Aaron Maybin from PSU was the #12 pick in the '09 draft. Like Jarvis, he was coming off a big year, and was touted as a fast, pass-rushing prospect. He showed up at the Combine (he bulked up), and proceeded to run a 4.88. He did significantly improve on that time at his Pro Day, but I think it is noteworthy because it struck me as similar to JJ. He was considered field fast, yet he timed so slow. He also quickly realized that he wasn't strong enough--and he's now out of the league. I wonder if any of you remember Maybin (from his PSU days), and how you would compare/contrast him to JJ.
I hope it doesn't say anything about our guy... I just thought it interesting, during my "research".