Dick LeBeau Confident That Steelers Defense Will Improve Turnovers

In 2011 the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers was good, if not great, in several statistical categories as they led the league in pass defense and scoring defense. While the run defense finished eighth, a category defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau admits that he wants to lead the league in every year, the biggest improvement he would like to see his unit make in 2012 is in the turnover category, and he is confident they will.

“Well I would say upping the turnovers is definitely number one,” said LeBeau on Thursday when asked if improving turnovers was more important than improving against the run or putting more pressure on the opposing quarterback this upcoming season. “I think our pressure on the passer was good. We led the league in pass defense,” said LeBeau. He continued on, “We led the league in scoring defense, so I always want to be one against the run, but we weren\’t. I think we were eight, but we were one in scoring. So there\’s no question in my mind that turnovers are where we\’ve got to give a better number than what we had last year and I\’m confident we will, we always have, but we didn\’t last year. Until we do it, the number is what it is,” concluded the Hall of Famer.

It\’s no wonder why the defensive genius would point to the need of turnovers. Last year the team was last in the league with just 15 takeaways, which consisted of 11 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries, 1 of which came courtesy of special teams. It was the lowest number of takeaways a LeBeau led defense has ever posted in all of his years as a defensive coordinator.

While LeBeau said that pressure on the passer was good last year, it certainly did not help that outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley both missed considerable time last year with injuries. In addition, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was forced to play outside quite a bit due to the injuries. Those aren\’t excuses mind you, but it is worth noting. The 35 sacks the defense registered last season was the lowest number posted by a Steelers defense since they registered 36 in 2007. More sacks equates to more opportunities for turnovers.

There is no magic formula for creating turnovers, but LeBeau did give more thoughts on it as the team heads into their mandatory mini-camp next week. “Just preach it and practice it,” LeBeau said. “Turnovers are funny, one year you\’re up there, the next year you\’re not. But I see no reason why we were as low as we were last year. That\’s not good. We have to improve that number.” LeBeau is confident that they will and so am I.

  • Albeto Flores

    i hope soo irealyy dooo

  • RIP

    IF Woodly and JH are healthy for most of the year the picks and fumbles will come.

  • DoctorNoah

    I’d like the turnover stat to be something more than serendipitous – I.e. a clear representation of not getting enough pressure on opposing QB’s or not confusing them and the WR with our misdirection. I don’t know that it is.

    LeBeau basically said, “we’re statistically phenomenal and this is the only blip, and despite there being no way to really change it, we’re gonna tell you we’re gonna work on it so you’re happy.”

    The real questions for LeBeau: what do we have to do to be able to effectively and consistently quash 4th quarter drives that, for some reason, always seem to make our vaunted defense look like Swiss cheese? What are our answers going to be for new double tight end passing looks and how do we get our defense to force formation/personnel changes in the offense instead of the other way around? I.e. how do we provOke fear ad confusion when we’ve been doing what we’re doing for so long?

    If the QB and receivers aren’t confused about the coverage and intimidated by their matchups or surprised by the blitzes, turnovers aren’t going to happen.

  • Jprankster2005

    I think with Lewis as the other CB he will have more INT’s….. But I see more fumbles than any thing….When you have most of your D rushing the QB you have more sacks and fumbles and that is what this team does best and one of the main reasons there are not more INT’s….. I think if we had more INt’s then we wouldn’t be rushing the QB as much……. I don’t think we need more TO’s, If we can harass the QB then we will be good enough to win alot of games..

  • Guest

    See the game versus the Pats for how we deal with the two tight end sets I think well be fine injuries were our biggest issue on d last year and our corners will be faster and will have had a full offseason with Lake coaching them not too mention Spence is basically a bigger safety who does good in coverage our defensbis gonna great, what answers do you him to give in June anyways? You should know by now he isn’t gonna give specifics out.


    With the infusion of youth and the many injuries hopefully resolved, this team has improved in every area over last season. (except PK; hopefully Colbert has something up his sleeve) Expect good things.

  • Intropy

    Turnovers are one of the least consistent stats year-to-year. It’s almost a given that we’ll see large improvements there even if nothing at all is done to address it.

  • PoKey21

    I think turnovers come when players just react instead of thinking about the coverage. Its something that could also bight you. I think the reason why the steelers struggled in the TO category last year was because the injuries led us to play a lot of young guys and people in different positions. As you said its no excuse, but I think players felt uncomfortable. The experience last year will pay dividends this year. Players will have better knowledge and more confidence in the scheme. In turn this will lead to players reacting faster, thus more turnovers.

  • SammyDog

    Troy must of had at least 6 INTs go right throught his hands last year. All of which he usually catches!