Defense wins championships. The Pittsburgh Steelers have proved this theory correct over time, reeling in 6 total super bowls overall, the most of any team, behind a constant array of star studded defenders. With that being said, the current Steelers defense is not quite living up to the steel standard. In fact, the defense wasn’t just not living up to its name, they completely disgraced the titles of Blitzburgh and the Steel Curtain.
Legendary Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau departed the team following the dismal season. The inventor of the zone blitz made an indelible mark in Steeler history, and shall forever remain in the hearts of all its fans. While his exit has left Steelers fans upset, and scared for the future of this defense, there may just yet be hope. There’s a new sheriff in town, folks, and his name is Keith Butler.
Keith Butler has served as the Steelers’ linebackers’ coach for the last 12 seasons, and before that, was the linebackers’ coach for the Cleveland Browns for 4 seasons. He is loaded with experience, and unlike any other candidate the Steelers may have considered, he knows the team, and the defense, more than anyone else. He is the man behind the evolution of Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior, James Harrison, Larry Foote, and so many more linebackers that have graced this defense in the last decade.
The Steelers defense doesn’t need to be the best, it won’t be the best. If the Steelers defense can remain average throughout the season, they can easily make a deep playoff run. With the offense booming, the defense can be the difference between no postseason, and a super bowl run.
The Steelers have used a 3-4 defensive scheme since 1982, when Chuck Noll was still the head coach. People thought that when Tomlin entered the picture, that might change, considering his former works as a Defensive Coordinator working with the Tampa-2 scheme, and other various schemes, but with Dick Lebeau at the helm still, they stuck to the 3-4. Now that Butler enters the picture, there has been talk about a potential switch in schemes, and overall style.
Jul 27, 2015; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) participates in drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Some analysts have pointed toward the potential switch to a more cover-2 scheme, and possibly incorporate more cornerback blitzes, and blitzes in general. Overall, the defense likely won’t look the same as it did last season, and hopefully that’s a positive.
The Steelers will need players like Jones, Shazier, and Allen, who didn’t have the best 2014 campaign, to really step up in 2015, but a lot of the pressure lies with the man at the head of it all, Keith Butler. With the youth revolution going on within the defense, there is plenty to be excited about, but countless concerns as well.
For a team a defense away from paving their way to the super bowl, fans will be holding tightly onto the hope that Keith Butler, and the Steelers defense this year can somehow turn things around.
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