Keith Butler Says Youth Is The Reason Why Steelers Needed Physical Practices Early

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of depth concerns at numerous positions heading into the 2013 season, and that includes both the outside and inside linebacker spots. Linebackers coach Keith Butler was asked Sunday about the ongoing battles for roster spots, and if he has any more clarity now about the linebacker depth than he did a few weeks ago.

“No, no,” said Butler. “I\’m not going to see any clarity until we start. Who knows? We like where we\’re at right now, we\’ve got to make sure everybody\’s healthy and stuff like that, but we need to get to work and Jason [Worilds], he\’s got to get back on the field and so does Jarvis [Jones].

As far as the right outside linebacker spot goes, Butler was asked if Jason Worilds is currently the starter at the position and Butler, as you would expect, gave a response that he knew would keep his players on their toes.

“It\’s Jason\’s job right now,” Butler said. “Maybe it\’s a competition. It\’s always a competition between all of them. It\’s a competition for Woodley too, for all of them. For Larry Foote, it\’s a competition. Maybe, maybe Lawrence Timmons might not have a competition, but the rest of them do. We want to make it competitive and make sure everybody earns their position, and we\’re hungry a little bit.”

Over the course of the last week, the Steelers have included some live tackling during their practices, and that is the first time that has happened in quite a while. Butler was asked to give his thoughts on why it is needed this year as opposed to previous years.

“We feel like we need to because our youth,” he said. “We\’ve got to find out about our running backs; we\’ve got to find out who\’s going to play at linebacker, who\’s going to play in the secondary. We need to find out about our backup safeties, so there\’s a lot of questions we got to find out, and we can\’t wait until preseason to do it. We\’ve got to formulate a plan before then of what we got.”

So is Butler, a former linebacker himself who played 10 years in the league, in favor of all the physical action this year in training camp?

“I\’m in favor of this for a young football team,” Butler said. “I\’m in favor of this because we got to answer some questions, so it\’s not like we can afford to not do it. I think Mike [Tomlin] is right in saying we got to find out what we got.”

The Steelers will resume the process of finding out what they have when they return to the practice fields on Wednesday.

  • TJimmy

    He said he won’t have any clarity on the linebackers until they start preseason, but then they are doing live tackling because they can’t wait until the preseason to find out about who is going to play?

    Head scratcher.

  • Intropy

    Preseason games provide G data.
    Normal training camp provides N data.
    Physical training provides P data.
    They need X amount of data to make their decisions.

    P < X, so they do not have enough data right now.
    N < P, because physical camp provides more data than normal camp.
    G + N X, so with their physical camp they will have enough data to make their decisions.

  • SteelersDepot

    So this means Ben R. is pretty good, right?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    who is on 2nd?

  • TJimmy

    Ok I see. But then Butler was saying they could get X before the G so maybe he was just supporting the Head Coach’s plan without realizing he slipped.

  • Randy Neff

    Don’t see any slip here. The analysis started in camp and clarity comes according to Butler when they “start”. Which I sure he means when the bell sounds and games count.

  • walter mason

    I love how he says maybe Timmons is the only LB without competition. Hes obviously not happy with Woodleys past performance.

  • Steve

    Competition makes all players better. Timmons had a fine year, last year but all player must remain “Hungry” to be better and make it back to the SuperBowl.