During his career, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake played five years under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau so it’s not surprising his coaching style is similar to his. At the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice, Lake talked about his style and how he deals with his players.
“My style is not to really yell, but when I have to, I’ve got to really point out the things that really have to be pointed out and not be afraid to hurt feelings when I have to,” Lake said. “Obviously, I don’t want to belittle any of my players, I care about them tremendously, but at the same time, in order to get them to grow professionally, I’ve got to get them to be very aware and sensitive of the business at hand and sometimes it takes a different approach based on the circumstances.”
The Steelers defensive backs weren’t sensitive of the business at hand Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings when it came to tackling as they combined to miss eight of them in the loss. Lake addressed that poor play as well during his interview.
“Really, it’s just simple, we’re not executing well,” said Lake. “Probably, in my mind, it’s mental focus on the little things. Technique and things like tackling, bringing the ball back and trusting your teammates, it’s pretty basic fundamental stuff and we’re just not executing.”
Lake said he believes the Steelers would have won the game against the Vikings had they tackled better, but it is easy to make a statement like that after the fact. As Matthew Marczi pointed out Thursday morning, the Steelers defensive unit have missed 39 tackles so far this season and 19 of those misses have been by Lake’s unit.
The Steelers are off for the next four days and will resume practice on Monday. Next week, Lake might want to consider hurting a few feelings of his players and belittling them in addition, because as of right now, the Steelers defensive backs aren’t mastering the basic fundamentals that are needed to make the defense one of the tops in the league.