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Thread: Should the Steelers force Lebeau out?

  1. #1
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    Should the Steelers force Lebeau out?

    Should the Steelers force Lebeau out?

    BY SCOTT SINCLAIR - JAN 23RD, 2014



    Well, the Superbowl is set and all of the NFL world got the match-up it wanted from the start as the Seahawks will face off against the Broncos. Anyone who watched the hate fest between the 49ers and Seattle in the NFC championship witnessed the two best defenses in the NFL far and away, coached by two of the brightest and most inventive in the league, Dan Quinn of Seattle and Vic Fangio of the 49ers, both of whom are destined for head coaching jobs someday.

    Seattle and San Francisco also have two of the youngest starting defenses, with the Seahawks sporting the more youthful of the two. Both are not afraid to start rookies and incorporate young players in, and because of that, both units play with a passion and intensity unrivaled in today’s NFL.

    Hey, Pittsburgh….are you listening???

    Six months ago I asked if the Steelers DC Dick Lebeau had become a hindrance to the team. And I was met with a mix of venom and support, with some questioning my sanity. Well, here we are and I am no longer asking the question, I am flat out stating it: much as I like him, Lebeau must go.

    For those of us who suffered another playoff-less season, the answer to what ails the team became quite clear with each passing week: the Steelers defense has become a major weakness. Age and poor personnel decisions have hurt what was once the best unit in the NFL. Some of that can be attributed to GM Kevin Colbert for not finding proper replacements for departed starters like Aaron Smith, Keenan Allen, Casey Hampton, etc. However, much of the “blame” can also be applied to Lebeau who seemingly has an allergy to letting rookies or young players play right away. We all know Lebeau’s complex schemes play a role in that, he feels a player needs to sit and watch and learn for three years or so before they can make a contribution. Two examples of this are Jason Worilds and Cam Heyward who barely played their first few years, yet enjoyed solid 2013 campaigns once given playing time. And 2013 first rounder Jarvis Jones did start the season with the first team, but didn’t have the impact the team envisioned. Yes, missing time to injury did not help, but how much did Lebeau hold Jones back?

    At 76, Lebeau has nothing left to prove. He’s a Hall of Famer and deservedly so. I still feel he is one of, if not the most influential DCs of all time. However, at this point, he would benefit the team by stepping aside and letting a younger coach step in (Keith Butler? Carnell Lake?) and invigorate this team. As of this moment, the Steelers front office and Lebeau have been silent on what his status will be for 2014. By all accounts, this silence may mean more of the status quo for a team loathe to change, which is a bad thing if they are to become a playoff contender again. The 2013 Steeler defense was ugly to watch, giving up big plays and big points, including 55 to New England, not creating turnovers until their fifth game of the year against the Jets, allowing too many big plays and so on. Worse yet, they no longer strike fear into their opposition, as Tom Jackson of NFL countdown pointed out this past year when he said “nobody fears the Steelers defense anymore, they don’t intimidate like they did.” Like it or not, Jackson is spot on.

    There are many decisions to be made regarding the defense this off season, namely what to do with the hefty contracts of Lamar Woodley (thanks Colbert!) and Troy Polamalu, who we know refuses to take a pay cut. Add in free agents to be Ryan Clark, Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel and Jason Worilds and there is reason to be concerned about the future of the Steelers defense. The biggest question may be what will Lebeau do and what should the team do about LeBeau. Should they ask him to step down for the good of the team? As I said and as we all know, they do not like to make changes in the staff unless forced to. And even though he turned down the Titans’ offer, how much longer can a guy like Butler stick around? Those in the know have said for a while that Butler would make a good DC, heck even giving Lake a shot would be good. But something tells me that unless something dramatic happens, LeBeau will be back in 2014. And so will a mediocre defense.

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2014/01/23...-force-lebeau/

  2. #2
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    Whether or not Lebeau sticks around next year is likely to have little impact on how this defense performs in 2014. The fundamental problems still exist (Salary Cap, Oldest D in the league, etc). Going to take some time (and a few good drafts) to get this unit back to form.

  3. #3
    So, when LeBeau won't play young players, he's a hindrance...and when he does (Jones) and the player isn't All-Pro, LeBeau is "holding him back"?

    Sure, that makes sense...

  4. #4
    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    The Seahawks and 49ers have not had to pay a franchise quarterback yet. Of course, they drafted well and the young players are shining, we'll see how Seattle handles Wilson/Sherman signings and how the 49ers handle Kaepernick/Smith/Willis/Bowman signings which is what the Steelers had to do with Ben/Troy. When you have two players eating up 1/5 of your cap space it becomes very difficult to keep a young team together, they all want paid.

    The Steelers have bigger problems than Dick Lebeau if he's even a problem. The defensive line has one rising NFL star, the linebackers will be a problem due to cap space and the secondary needs help at corner and FS. Dick Lebeau is the least of the things the Steelers need to be worrying about, talent should be their main concern. Everyone has their reasons for the defensive drop off and certainly Dick Leabeau may be one of them. He has played younger players over the past couple years, Hood, Worilds, Jones, Allen, Lewis (now gone), Sylvester, McClendon, Woods with a mixed bag of results, mostly bad.

    And just to answer the question by the writer of the article, no, I don't think you force out Lebeau, at least be sure not to make it seem like you're forcing him out, I believe he has earned the right to go out with the same class in which he handles his affairs for the Steelers.

    Pappy
    Last edited by papillon; 01-26-2014 at 08:51 AM.


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
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    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
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  5. #5
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    with tomlins players, DL scheme may be whats keeping this team mediocre.
    id hate to see what happens when DL leaves
    1) CB D Dennard
    2) OLB R Shazier
    3) DE J Ellis
    4) WR M Bryant
    5a) OG D Yankey
    5b) OLB J Tripp
    6a) RB D Archer
    6b) NT D McCullers
    7) WR J Janis

  6. #6
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    DL is what is holding the players back and is why we lose players like Keenan Lewis and potentially Worilds who don't get a chance to play until their contract year. You need a defense that can keep a steady flow of young players coming in and getting a chance to produce to immediately to be successful in the salary cap driven league. That means they need to be in a defense that is easy to understand. Just look how young the best defenses are in Seattle and San Fran and the 2 and 3 year players who are staring in those defenses and have been for a couple years.

    Who do we really fool with our complexity other than our own players. The steadily decreasing numbers for sacks and INTs and the increasing number of "big plays" indicate we aren't fooling many of our opponents and haven't for several years now. And if you want to bury your head in the sand and blame it all on the players, ask yourself how good is a system really if it only can work with the exact perfect combination of players? Can you keep that exact perfect combination of players in a salary cap driven league? You need a system that is flexible that can be adjusted to the strengths of the players you really have not the ones you wish you had. DL has demonstrated he can't or won't do that.

    And for those who want to blame Colbert and Tomlin for the players, do you really think that a so-called "legendary" coach, member of the Hall of Fame and cpoach who has the status he does in this organization has no say with regards to the defensive players we draft or sign as free agents. If so, bury your head deeper into the sand Mr Ostrich.
    Last edited by Oviedo; 01-26-2014 at 09:14 AM.
    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!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by squidkid View Post
    with tomlins players, DL scheme may be whats keeping this team mediocre.
    id hate to see what happens when DL leaves
    Yeah, looking at the collection of "talent" on defense last year, or the lack thereof, a mediocre performance was actually quite impressive. If they were in a vanilla 4-3 system, I think the results would have been even worse.

  8. #8
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    a DC who has proved numerous times in the past that he is one of the best ever to coach and develop a defense is alleged 'legendary', but a RB coach that has a poor track record of developing anyone is a 'great' coach and deserves an OC gig.
    1) CB D Dennard
    2) OLB R Shazier
    3) DE J Ellis
    4) WR M Bryant
    5a) OG D Yankey
    5b) OLB J Tripp
    6a) RB D Archer
    6b) NT D McCullers
    7) WR J Janis

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq View Post
    Yeah, looking at the collection of "talent" on defense last year, or the lack thereof, a mediocre performance was actually quite impressive. If they were in a vanilla 4-3 system, I think the results would have been even worse.

    yup, when you are out talented, you need to be able to out scheme to compete
    1) CB D Dennard
    2) OLB R Shazier
    3) DE J Ellis
    4) WR M Bryant
    5a) OG D Yankey
    5b) OLB J Tripp
    6a) RB D Archer
    6b) NT D McCullers
    7) WR J Janis

  10. #10
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    How is Jarvis Jones lack of pass rushing skills the fault of DL's scheme? How is Hood getting pushed around DL's fault? How is Worilds not passing Harrison and Woodley on the depth chart DL's fault?

    I think the DL criticism is just silly. We're just in a transition and we haven't brought in any stud players on the D since Troy or James. Get some talent and DL will be fine.

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