Former Pittsburgh Steelers legend, James Harrison, has been anything but team-friendly since his departure last season. But his latest comments leave room for concern within the locker room.
On the outside looking in, you put all the defensive blame on Keith Butler. Whether it’s poor play calling, not making adjustments in-game, naming the wrong player when talking to the media or watching his unit give up last-minute lead after last-minute lead, fans young and old want nothing more than to see the defensive coordinator fired.
James Harrison has brought light to that situation. After word spread that Butler wasn’t going anywhere this offseason, but would rather take on more of a role as the outside linebacker coach as well, people began to become upset.
Fans want change. This team can’t get much worse than tying the Cleveland Browns, missing the playoffs and losing control of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. For the first time in a long time, people are demanding something different.
Harrison’s word push concern for this change. Butler is leaving, but it may be more than not losing a defensive coordinator that’s wrong with this team. During his appearance on Undisputed the other day, Harrison gave some insight to what’s really happening on the defensive side of the ball, saying Tomlin may have more control than people realize.
"“I felt like the Dick LeBeau situation was a move to try and, like you say, get him out of there so Tomlin could put more of his hand into it. Coach Butler, he’s a great coach, but I don’t feel like he’s got, at least from when I was there, he didn’t get a chance to D coordinate and actually do the job. He had it in title."
"Mike Tomlin’s hand is in a lot of that and that’s why I believe you haven’t seen a change on the defensive side of the ball too much other that letting guys go whose contract are up, because he has so much of a hand in that defense.”"
If Tomlin really is running the show on defense, it’s easy to see why Butler’s time is still going in Pittsburgh. There was no reason not to move on from the coordinator, after two years of pure disappointment. But if Tomlin is the one running the show, Butler isn’t going anywhere.
It leaves a pressing question to what the interest of Tomlin is. This team is on the down-slide, whether people admit it or not. The Steelers are losing more pieces by the day, will likely move on from their star running back and receiver this offseason, and the only real change any fan wanted to see won’t happen.
The head coach needs to address this immediately. Tomlin shouldn’t have his hand in the defense if the defense is playing this poorly. At some point, there needs to be a realization that he simply isn’t getting his job done and something needs to change. Tomlin shouldn’t be fired, but if he’s the one running the show on D than it’s time to change that.
People don’t want to believe much of what Harrison is saying. Since leaving Pittsburgh he’s been anything but a team player for this franchise. His legacy is pretty much over and anyone old enough to be paying attention won’t remember Harrison simply for his record-breaking sacks.
This time is different, though. Without assuming how true this is, it needs to be addressed and solved. Let Butler run the show if he’s not. Whoever was last season shouldn’t be touching anything. Plain and simple.