Dick LeBeau Says He Doesn’t Have Many Defenses For Troy Polamalu In His Playbook

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu appears to be the healthiest he’s been in several seasons, and the team will need him to remain that way in 2013 if they expect to make a run at a seventh Lombardi Trophy. With that being said, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Thursday during his talk with the media that just because Polamalu is in the lineup, it doesn’t mean that it will change what the team will try to do defensively from a play calling standpoint.

“Really, believe it or not, we only have a few defenses that are what I would call Troy defenses,” said LeBeau. “It’s just the defense that we call will look a little bit better when Troy’s in there. I would like to say that we do some kind of mastermind scheme, but it’s just Troy’s presence.”

So how important is it to have Polamalu healthy and playing in the season opener? Over the course of his career, the veteran safety has recorded five of his 30 regular season interceptions in season openers with one forced fumble to boot. Two of those five interceptions have come against the Tennessee Titans, who the Steelers just so happen to face in Sunday’s season opener. That’s not too shabby considering that Polamalu has only played in seven season openers since he was drafted in 2003.

During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin refused to compare the 2013 version of Polamalu to previous years, but you could certainly tell that he is happy about his current health. On Thursday, LeBeau shared Tomlin’s sentiments.

“I think Troy’s in good shape, and I thought he played well at the end of last year when he got back in the lineup, and I think we can look forward to a good year from Troy,” he said.

  • Douglas Andrews

    We need the name and number of his Physical Therapist. He’s running around making plays like he did 5-6 yrs ago!

  • StrengthOfVictory

    People have talked a lot about the fear factor that Harrison brought to our defense. And while I get that, in today’s NFL (where it’s all about the QB), I think the REAL fear factor is a healthy Troy. He’s out there roaming in the backfield, running up to the line, making plays all over the field. And running backs? If you make it past the Steelers D-line, guess who’s already flying full-speed your way?

  • PA2AK

    It has been a long time since he’s been this healthy. A healthy Troy should more than make up for the ‘downgrade’ from Harrison. I think the LB’s are thick this year. Will really allow for some spells without a drop in playbook flexibility or effectiveness.

  • Nine

    It’ll be interesting to see how Harrison does this year. I really don’t think he has much left in the tank.

  • Albert Buchheit

    Harrison has always had a hard time when it came to sealing the edge on his side of the field. All too often he would take an inside rush and have either a pass sail over his head to a running back or the back would run on the outside of him for good yardage. Watch the Steelers take advantage of this when we play him.

  • PA2AK

    really? I always thought he used the outside bull rush way too often. Then I realized it was by LeBeau’s orders. His responsibility was outside contain and he rarely lost it. Sailing a ball over his head is not difficult as he was a short guy. The outside run happened every now and then, but Harrison was solid in run support overall. Even Troy gets caught looking! I truly thought he limited his rush style to only an outside move. Leaving it wide open for the tackles to hold/ride him right around to nowhere. I have no issue with Harrison’s past…just don’t think his health will allow him to contribute at the high levels we were used to.