Does Former Steelers DC LeBeau Make Sense For Titans?


The Steelers and Dick LeBeau parted ways shortly after the close of their 2014 season. The parting was mutual, as reported by many, but confirmed by none.

The speculations and rumors started immediately about where LeBeau would go next since it was implied that he was not retiring and wanted to continue working as a coach somewhere in the NFL. Folks immediately pointed to Arizona, and they would be correct.

Bruce Arians and the Cardinals contacted LeBeau and asked for him to join their coaching staff. Not as their next defensive coordinator but as an assistant. LeBeau ultimately declined because at 77 years young, he did not feel like being that far from family. At least, that seems to be the obvious reason why he would turn it down and cite distance issues.

So where to next? Playing golf?

Jerry Dulac of the PPG had Tennessee listed as a potential landing spot for LeBeau even before Arizona became a big player. Now that the Cardinals are ruled out, are the Titans really in play?  Does his presence there even make sense?

I’m on the fence about this one. One thing that does make sense is that Ray Horton is only a year into his tenure as defensive coordinator.  There’s no way that LeBeau would replace Horton. What does make sense about a Horton/LeBeau team is that Horton is a disciple of LeBeau and his 3-4 scheme. LeBeau could play mentor to Horton and groom him to refine the 3-4.

However, it’s been reported that LeBeau may not be interested in being just an assistant and still pines to take the reigns of a defense for another team. Seems highly unlikely for the Titans to unseat Horton after one season, no matter how shaky it might have been.

I think the current personnel also needs to be taken into consideration when weighing a Dick LeBeau hire. The decline of the Steelers defense is evident as early as 2011 in that dreadful loss to the Broncos in the Wild Card.

Since then, the Steelers defense is but a shell of its all out pressure, splash play causing self. The defense sat on its heels, especially in fourth quarters when the team had the lead. The pass rush disappeared at times – who rushes just two defensive linemen on a 3rd and long? The killer instinct seemed but a whisper in the wind down the Allegheny River.

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That’s not all on LeBeau. Steeler GM Kevin Colbert did not readily supply him with superb draft picks. At times it seemed like DLB had little to work with. Yet, he never really appeared to develop those young players into something serviceable. He also never adapted his defense to work to their skill sets.

Fitting square pegs into round holes is never a good idea. Many think he would have been better served to just let the playmakers get on the field and have chances to make plays with a simplified scheme.

Were he to land in Tennessee, I’m not sure to what capacity and I certainly don’t know what kind of impact he would make there. Doesn’t appear to be a great fit despite his connections with Horton.

What’s your take, Steeler Nation?

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