Steelers Coach Dick LeBeau Searching For Turnover Answers

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was asked Wednesday following practice if there is one area that he thought his defense needed to improve in heading into 2013, and his response was one that you would expect to hear come out of his mouth based on what has happened, or in this case, what hasn\’t happened enough the last two seasons.

“The first thing, the obvious thing, is we have to get more turnovers,” said LeBeau. “We’ve had years that we’ve been real productive there, but the last couple we haven’t been. I wish I knew the answer to the why, but we’re searching for those answers and we’re working in that direction. We’ll keep stressing it. That’s the most obvious area. We have to help the offense shorten their field and maybe get some more points ourselves. You’ve got to get fumbles, sacks and interceptions to do that. We want to get [production] higher in that for sure.”

Despite being ranked first or second in several defensive categories over the course of the last two seasons the Steelers defense has lacked in the sacks and turnover departments severely. 2012 marked the second straight year that the defense failed to register at least 40 sacks, and their 20 total takeaways was only five more than they registered in 2011.

While LeBeau said that he didn\’t know the answer when it comes to creating more turnovers, safety Troy Polamalu provided some tips of his own.

“First off all, consciously, we have to be really ball-aware, but everything stems from pressure and disguise; we have to pressure quarterbacks into making bad decisions by doing that,” said Polamalu. “You\’ve got to hit him. You\’ve got to get after the quarterback. We\’ve got to get a better pass rush. We\’ve got to cover the one to three seconds better and let guys work that are blitzing. We\’ve got to win one-on-one matchups in order to do that. But, when it comes down to it, when we get opportunities, we\’ve got to seize them. We got our hands on a lot of balls last year, so hopefully we\’ll be able to seize those opportunities this year.”

The Steelers drafted Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft and while he will eventually become the starter at right outside linebacker, and hopefully be a long-term sack and pressure producer, LeBeau hinted Wednesday that he, along with all the other defensive draft picks, still have a lot to learn before any of them will see the field. That being said, LeBeau likes what he\’s seen so far out of Jones.

“We were excited to be lucky enough to get him in the draft,”said LeBeau. “Everything I have seen here, he has really got a great work ethic. He’s a great young man. He didn’t come in here expecting anything to be handed to him. He wants to earn his spot on our roster. It’s just all been positive. Plus, he’s shown us a lot of instinctive football ability. If the coach doesn’t mess him up, I think he’s got a chance to be a pretty good player.”

So is LeBeau thinking about retirement just yet?

“I don\’t think, because of the situation I\’m in, it would be very productive to think about it,” said LeBeau. “I just go one day at a time really and one year at a time, and feel blessed that I\’m still in the game and surrounded with young people that are working hard. I don\’t worry too much about the future. Some of us don\’t have as much future as some of the others.”

  • dgh57

    A lot of TOs come from being more physical with your opponent. Thus the drafting of Thomas & V. Williams!! Both of these guys are big time hitters!!! J. Jones come from behind strip sacks will help also!

  • Jason Brant

    A kitten dies every time some knucklehead says Lebeau needs to go.

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    It all starts up front..Warren Sap just said the Steelers Defense use to be fast and playd at a frenzied pace..the QBs playd under didn’t know who was goin to be where. Now days its a more cautious Defense..they rarely pin their ears back and go into attack mode..They hardly ever blitz the CBs anymore. Like the Raiders said it’s become “Too predictable” and I think that because the lack of pressure from Hood and Hampton mainly. ESPECIALLY Hampton up the middle not allowing the MLBs to do their jobs. I think that will change with Mclendon moving to NT. I think if they playd more Man they would be better off also. If you not getting to the QBs you can’t sit back on the back end and just get ya zone pickd apart..No,they don’t give up the big yards but they more then happy to give up 7yards on 1st down..then play 15 yards off the ball on short yardage situations. its almost like they play scared. Still to date that game 2years ago VS the Patriots was the blueprint for Defense! Physical Man to Man..not letting WRs and TEs off the line with out a hit first..using that BigNickle on 2nd & 3rd Downs..that was Steelers D

  • Guest

    If the coach doesn’t mess him up? Hmm…

  • 2443scott

    with age on def line and injuries its easy to see why plus the guys who were to step up next in line just sat there on sidelines and really didnt prepare them selfs to be ready it was more same i got rookie contract for 4 years they wont cut me mind set so when was time to step up they couldnt i hope lebeau starts lighting a fire under these guys..

  • 2443scott

    just saw sapp was shooting his mouth off again on nfl network bad mouthing steelers def i really dont know what he can look at in his career other then one superbowl to even have a opinion on other teams

  • dgh57

    You spelled his name wrong! It has a ass on the end of his last name, you know like this Warren Sapp-ass!!!!!!!!!!! Other than that I agree with you!

  • Shea Fahr

    I could listen to LeBeau talk about the Defense all day…He is very soft-spoken but I never get bored listening to him.