There’s no denying the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense has come a long way in the last five years. But if they continue not to meet expectations, someone needs to pay for it.
Pittsburgh is a city that loves their football. It’s a family atmosphere for the Steelers. Whether you’re a player, coach or fan, you are a part of a living legacy that has been in the making for generations.
The team isn’t one to bounce from coach to coach, looking for the right man. That’s how you end up with three head coaches over the last 39 years. But that’s only because these men met the level of play they were brought in to obtain.
Six Super Bowl rings wasn’t handed to anyone. Whether you were/are a fan of the coach or not, taking home a Lombardi is nearly impossible. Explaining why Pittsburgh has only had three men leading the charge for as long as most can remember.
But defense still wins championships. Yes, offense is just as important. Even the 1970’s Steel Curtain wasn’t winning four championships without Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris. Your offense can shine, though, but ultimately, if you aren’t earning your stripes stopping your opponent, you aren’t turning wins into Super Bowls.
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The Steelers have come a long way in rebuilding their defense. For a few years, Pittsburgh was on the decline. Their stars retired and they were in a young and developmental stage. With some of their next generation of hopefuls not turning into what they should’ve, it took longer than expected to turn this roster into the heart crushing defense it has been for decades.
Today, the defense is ready to take over the NFL, once again. There isn’t a position on the roster that doesn’t have some sort of fire power. With the additions of Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic, this unit is now completely ready to reign as an AFC monster in 2018.
Some would say they’ve been ready, though. Bostic is certainly a downgrade from Ryan Shazier, and even without Burnett, the secondary was pretty complete, last season.
As improved as the defense has been year after year, they aren’t where they should. Some say it’s due to the lack of contribution from the outside linebackers. Bud Dupree has been less than impressive since being drafted, and T.J. Watt should’ve been a Rookie of the Year candidate last season.
But truth be told, you can’t put the blame on Joey Porter and the outside linebackers. Dupree and Watt were used in coverage way more than they should’ve been in 2017. Yes, that was partially due to the fact that William Gay was half of the slot corner coverage. That’s changing, though.
All the pieces of the puzzle are filled and Keith Butler has everything he needs to succeed in Pittsburgh. Meaning he has one shot left to prove himself. 2018 needs to be the year Steelers football is back, starting with the defense.
The Steelers can continue to find success, but all eyes will be on the defense. This group of players need to find their stride and meet their potential. No more waiting around or talking about next season. 2018 is here, and they are complete enough to be a force against any team.
If they fail to be, it’s time to reconsider who’s running the defense. Butler has had more than enough time to sculpt them. If he can’t this group of guys successful, there’s no point in waiting to see who he can.
The seat is pretty hot at this point. Keith Butler has one more shot at winning over the hearts of the front office and the fans. If he doesn’t impress, his time in Pittsburgh could, and should, be coming to and end.