Look, there is a bright side to everything. If they bring LeBeau back we can keep talking about who to take with our high draft picks for next couple of years because we won't be a championship team with the defense he is putting out on the field wishing and hoping the players he had were Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, James Farrior and James Harrison. Then again maybe he does think that is who is on the team
- Charles Harris-OLB, Missouri
- Rasul Douglas-CB, West Virginia
- Chris Godwin-WR, Penn State
- John Johnson-S, Boston College
- James Conner-RB, Pitt
- Nazair Jones-DT, North Carolina
- Garrett Sickels, DE/OLB, Penn State
Read this and decide if it is coaching or the lack of talent:
When a defense cannot even execute from a base formation, it is on the players. What is scary is the Steelers have had a full season to find the heir-apparent QB for the defense, and they have not found it.
Last edited by NorthCoast; 12-15-2013 at 04:08 PM.
Hell, I've been saying this since we lost Farrior. It's exactly why I wanted to draft either Hightower from 2 yrs ago or even Teo this year. We have a huge hole at ILB.
6- Time Super Bowl Champions......
IX X XIII XIV XL XLIII
2012 MNF Executive Champion
Ron Cook: Blame falls on players, not coaches, for Steelers' collapse
December 14, 2013
By Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Dick LeBeau's defense has been a sieve this season, but it may not be the defensive coordinator's fault.
I spent hours and hours last week trying to come up with reasons why the Steelers should replace one or both of their coordinators, Todd Haley and Dick LeBeau. Someone has to pay the price for this miserable season, the team’s second in a row. It’s not going to be head coach Mike Tomlin, who is blessed to work for the most patient and supportive owners in all of sports. But why not Haley? LeBeau? Both?
I wasted my time.
I didn’t come up with a single legitimate reason to get rid of either man.
Change just for the sake of change makes no sense.
The Steelers’ problem is personnel, not coaching. That’s especially true with their defense, which has been so bad this season after being so good for so long. LeBeau still is one of the best defensive minds in the game. It’s not as if he started taking stupid pills a few months ago. His players still respect him — adore him — and play hard for him. The trouble is they aren’t getting it done on the field. There is nothing wrong with LeBeau’s schemes, but there are major problems with the execution of those schemes.
Say it after me:
“The players aren’t good enough.”
LeBeau will be 77 at the start of next season and laughed at the reminder that he’s much older than he used to be. “I’m older than just about everybody used to be.” But he made it clear retirement isn’t in his immediate plans. “I feel great. I’ve got my strength. My health is good. I don’t see any part of the job that I can’t do. … We’ve got a lot of good men here on both sides of the ball. I’d be honored to continue working with them.”
Tomlin figures to welcome LeBeau back. When asked a few weeks ago why he still has confidence in the old coach, his answer was firm and telling. “Because he’s Dick LeBeau.”
A Hall of Famer.
This sort of massive failure by his defense is new to LeBeau. Initially, he dismissed questions about how he’s dealing with it by saying his ego isn’t what’s important. “It’s all about trying to get better each day.” But when pressed, LeBeau became a bit more expansive about all of the big plays and points the defense has allowed. “It gives you a different perspective. It makes you realize how fortunate we’ve been. We’ve never had these types of questions around here in a long time.”
LeBeau described himself as “a competitor by nature.” Late in the 2009 season, after the Steelers had a number of late-game defensive breakdowns that contributed heavily to the team finishing 9-7 and missing the playoffs, he said he wouldn’t abandon his players when they were down and promised to lead them back to better times. “I remember saying that. I think we came back to lead the league the next two seasons,” he said. “I still feel that way. I want to be with these players.”
There will be plenty of turnover on the Steelers defense for the third consecutive offseason. Good, high-priced players who made tremendous contributions to the team’s success for many years will continue to move on. The unit lost Aaron Smith, James Farrior and Chris Hoke after the 2011 season. It lost Casey Hampton, James Harrison and Keenan Lewis after last season. It could lose Brett Keisel, LaMarr Woodley, Ryan Clark and even the great Troy Polamalu after this season, although LeBeau didn’t sound as if he’s ready to give up on anyone.
“I don’t think we’re far away. I really don’t. I definitely don’t think this defense needs rebuilt. I think we still have players who can get it done. But we need to get better to be able to say that. So you just go to work every day and try to get better.”
Unlike the Steelers defense, Haley’s offense is trending up. It is playing its best football of his two-year run. Consequently, criticism of Haley has eased even if many people still think they can call the plays better than he does.
“I think the offense has been as good as it has been in a long time,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We have some guys doing some great things.”
Roethlisberger is one. He’s having his best season, a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Antonio Brown was the NFL’s leading wide receiver most of the season. Le’Veon Bell is showing signs he’s going to be a big-time back. Heath Miller will be healthier next season. So should the offensive line, which has had a frightful injury season since Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey went out for the season on the eighth play of the first game.
But until the Steelers do the right thing and announce Haley will be back next season, there will be speculation about his relationship with Roethlisberger. Haley said he has no reason to believe the relationship isn’t just fine. Roethlisberger, clearly tired of talking about it, became emotional when asked about it again Tuesday on his radio show on 93.7 The Fan. “It’s unbelievable … I have absolutely no issues with Coach Haley. I love where this offense is right now.”
There will be minimal personnel change on the offense. Only wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders appears certain to be gone. That shouldn’t be much of a loss considering the many important passes he has dropped this season.
Firing Haley would be a much greater loss. The last thing Roethlisberger and his offense need is having to start over with a new coordinator and new system.
Sometimes, no change makes perfect sense.
Yet some will still insist they know better than the Hall of Famer...kind of as if they themselves would be better DCs than him.
Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of their women.
BIG PLAY MALADY
Last season, the Steelers allowed only one run and two passes of 40 yards or longer. Through 13 games this season, they've allowed five runs and 12 passes of 40 yards or longer.
"The biggest malady that we have experienced this year is significant, big-yardage plays, which we have to eliminate," said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. "I definitely don’t think that the defense needs rebuilding. Maybe their coach is getting a little old. I think the players can still get it done. I do."
LeBeau, who said he will return next season, added that "I don’t believe the problems that we’re experiencing there are age related. I really don’t. They’re positional, sometimes communicative, all things that we can handle and should handle."
LeBeau was asked if he's been frustrated, confounded, disappointed, or all of the above this season.
"None of that is what this is about," he said. "This is about getting better every week, putting up enough wins to get in the playoffs and trying to get better every day that we come out here. If a coach is applying his profession steadfastly, he won’t have time to even think about that kind of question that you asked. I just work on what I see and trying to get us better. What can I do better? What can I help our players do better? And we’ve been plenty busy doing that."
The argument that we don't know as much as Lebeau, so we should STFU, is preposterous. I'm not questioning his knowledge. I'm questioning his ability to work the way a professional football coach these days is expected to work (work til exhaustion or heart troubles). I'm being facetious there, but that is the truth. Younger guys dropping like flies because their bodies can't keep up with the grind. It is very physically taxing profession... my gosh, look at the shoddy body profiles of these obese coaches. Yet we are supposed to ignore the fact that our guy is 77 years old?