There is quite a bit of speculation being made by the fan base this week that Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will not, or should not, be back next season and there is nothing to suggest right now that he won\’t return.
Nose tackle Casey Hampton was asked by the media today about the status of LeBeau next year and he stated that he believes the Steelers coach will be back in 2013 and that LeBeau hasn\’t said anything to him to the contrary, according to Mike Bires on Twitter.
The Steelers defense heads into the final week of the regular season ranked first overall in yards allowed per game, yards allowed per play, passing yards allowed per game and first downs allowed per game. In addition to those top rankings the unit is currently ranked second overall in rushing yards allowed per game, rushing yards allowed per play and passing yards allowed per play.
If there were two areas of the defense that certainly suffered again in 2012 it was sacks and turnovers. A lot of that goes on the personnel, however, as much as it goes on LeBeau. Let\’s be fair here, outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley both never seemed completely healthy all season for starters. Turnovers in the LeBeau system are a result of good consistent pressure and we haven\’t seen that for two seasons now. These players are just not getting home and winning their battles up front.
The defense also only managed to have Harrison, Woodley, Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark on the field at one time this season for less than 30 defensive snaps all season due to injuries.
The Steelers offense didn\’t help the defense out this year as well as several turnovers gave opponents short fields to work with. Several times this was even inside the Steelers own 20 yard-line.
Keep all of the above in mind before you run off to get your pitchfork and join the mob in trying to get LeBeau run out of town. The problem is not him or his scheme but instead the players executing it below the standard.