Steelers LeBeau Resigns, Takeaway Not So Clear


The Steelers Dick LeBeau resigned from his defensive coordinator duties on Saturday. Scott Brown from ESPN confirmed that this was indeed a mutual decision by both LeBeau and the Steelers front office.

From what I’ve seen through social media, most fans feel that LeBeau was forced out much in the same way that former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians “retired” then quickly redacted that notion when taking OC job over in Indianapolis. That idea is making many angry, bitter, and with the warning of, “Careful what you wish for.”

What if it didn’t really go down that way?  What if this was completely inspired by Dick LeaBeau having enough?

Not from football and coaching because reports specifically state that he’s not retiring.  He’s just done with the Steelers.  What if LeBeau said, “Screw it.  I’m out.”?

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Dick LeBeau is not some two-bit hack of a coordinator that got lucky one year with having a successful season and then fizzled.  DLB’s strong reputation came from numerous seasons of dominating defenses – not these puffed up #1 ranked stats we’ve been hearing about since 2010.

His largest gains came in the Super Bowl seasons of 2005 and 2008 when the Steelers defense dominated the opposing offense on a regular basis.  His complex schemes were brilliant and (just as important) he had the personnel to execute them with precision and consistency.

Since 2010/2011, the Steelers front office has struggled with dumping aging vets, mainly on defense, and draft picks that have not panned out to replace those veterans sooner than later.  The defense began missing major pieces of the puzzle that makes/made LeBeau’s defense so great.

That, obviously, is on Kevin Colbert and his inability to scout and select players that could make an impact within a season or two of being selected. Some of that blame can fall on Tomlin as well who supposedly has a voice in the war room during the draft.

Sep 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a seven yard touchdown pass against Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen (28) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Four years of poor drafts and four years of poor free agent signings (or none at all). Couple that with the organization shelling out big bucks to keep the 30 somethings around to plug the leaks in the dam could have been enough for the 77 year old LeBeau to say enough is enough. If the Steelers weren’t going to improve on how they collect defensive players for him to insert into his schemes, then how was it supposed to get better for him?

That very well could be a possible perception from DLB. Can you blame him?

The other side of the coin is on LeBeau himself and his inability as a coach to develop the talent that was given him. Did he get the most out of the hand that was dealt to him? The argument can be made that LeBeau did a poor job of adjusting his schemes to fit the talent he was given.

The argument can most certainly be made that his play calling and almost refusal to make in-game adjustments was suspect at best.  3rd and long and only three rush the pocket? Even my four year old knows that give a QB enough time and they will find someone open.  The inability to hold 4th quarter leads the majority of the time.  Giveback points.  Allowing a QB to run 90+ yards for a touchdown.

The laundry list of chinks in the armor are long.  Long enough to say that Dick LeBeau, “The Master,” is nowhere near blame free with the overall decline of the defense over the last four seasons.

How about an even wilder theory that this was a planned parting years in the making, which is why the team brought in Joey Porter as an assistant coach. Current linebackers coach Keith Butler is the media favorite and has been for years.  If he gets the nod, Porter seamlessly moves to the LB coach position.

No matter what your conspiracy theory is on the matter, change is happening.  For the better – whether you care to believe that now or not.

Until we hear from LeBeau himself on the matter, we’ll never really know how all this shook out.  The takeaways are unclear as to where this defense will be headed.  Even if Butler takes the gig, no one knows for certain what kind/type of defense will be employed.

For now, all we or I can give at this point is nod of thanks and well wishes for a man who helped deliver two more Super Bowls to the town of Pittsburgh.  The answers will come soon enough.

Next: Steelers Reactions To LeBeau Departure