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I-Want-Troy's-Hair
09-20-2007, 12:42 AM
Great Article - To bad Cowher put the cuffs on Coach Dad what a waste. But what a great defensive teacher for Tomlin I'm betting the guy is soaking it up like a sponge.

http://postgazette.com/pg/07263/819027-66.stm

Tomlin turns The Wizard loose
Thursday, September 20, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

Brett Keisel, right, celebrates with Aaron Smith after sacking Charlie Frye in the opener against Cleveland.

Bill Cowher auctioned off some personal possessions when he quit as Steelers coach and left town for Raleigh, N.C.

One thing he apparently took with him was the leash he held on defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

The Steelers' defense, still conducted by LeBeau under new coach Mike Tomlin, is performing more exotic maneuvers than ever, players say. And they say there is one reason for it -- LeBeau has more freedom under Tomlin to do what he wants than he did under Cowher.

"I think he does way more than he did [before], actually," safety Troy Polamalu said. "I don't think they've put any reins on coach LeBeau from what I know of. I think from the past, I think now he probably has more control of the defense."

Players and coaches, on and off the record, say LeBeau has the freedom to call what he wants, when he wants under Tomlin, a freedom he did not previously have under Cowher.

"I do, I do," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I think he's getting to call whatever he wants, and the call is sticking."

So is his defense. After two games, the Steelers rank third overall in yards allowed -- fifth against the run, third against the pass -- and they are No. 1 in points allowed and first downs allowed.

They also have 10 sacks and rank second in the NFL in sacks per passing play. That gives them a jump on blowing past their 2006 season total of 39, which tied for third-fewest under Cowher.

The Steelers long had a dominant defense during Cowher's 15-year reign, so whether he held more control over what LeBeau did or not may not matter to the bottom line. But there's no denying LeBeau has more freedom to call what he wants this season than he did before.

Part of the reason for the increase in sacks, players say, is the movement of the defenders. LeBeau has players running all over the place, more so than before.

"Yeah, I think we're a lot more active," Polamalu said. "We're not as conservative. We're kind of initiating what the offense needs to do and not reacting to what they are doing."

No one jumped around from place to place more often than Polamalu in previous seasons; now, he's not the only one doing it.

"I think it means more running around for everybody," Polamalu said. "Guys are moving around more, we have new packages. Guys are feeling a lot more comfortable with everything."

LeBeau was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Polamalu suggested one big reason for the freedom his coordinator has this year:

"New coach, I would think."

Among the differences on defense this season are the rotation of the defensive line, the use of Keisel in different spots, a true four-man line of down linemen on occasion, cornerbacks playing safety and safeties playing cornerback, and the movement of various players as Polamalu suggested. For example, one of Clark Haggans' two sacks came in Cleveland when the left outside linebacker lined up on the right side and rushed from there.

"I wouldn't say it's a lot of different things," linebacker James Harrison said, "just putting people in different places than where they were before, moving them around and not seeing the same guy come every time."

That's reflected in the sack total, too. Nine players share the 10 sacks, led by Haggans' two.

"I think everybody's expected to be a pass rusher," Polamalu said.

Linebacker Larry Foote, like most starters, has one sack.

"The first game, a lot of guys were coming free, a lot of schemes were getting to him," Foote said. "But last week, the DBs were doing an excellent job. I remember the one I had, he tried to throw the ball, check down, and Deshea [Townsend] jumped the receiver, so he had to hold it and I got the sack. The DBs are doing a great job back there."

Foote also figures LeBeau has more freedom to run his 3-4 defense, but also received different input from Tomlin, whose previous experience was coaching a 4-3 defense with a cover-2 philosophy.

"I don't really know if coach Cowher used to hold him back like people said, but you never know," Foote said. "This is his defense, and Tomlin's never really been in the 3-4 fire zone defense, so I'm quite sure it's LeBeau's show. He put new wrinkles in that Tomlin helped him [with]. They're both defensive guys so they're putting stuff together.

"Dick LeBeau's the wizard of defense, everybody knows that."

And now, apparently, a wizard unleashed.

Preacher
09-20-2007, 04:15 AM
Funny...

I KEEP coming back to this... Our defense HAS improved a good deal... and it has done so because of SCHEME. Our DB's are doing better, and it seems, the scheme is working.

I wonder if Tomlin's idea of cover-2 isn't helping the receivers, thus freeing up the linebackers to spend another second or two coming into the backfield. I could SWEAR there were times when I saw plays devolve into cover two defenses.

Galax Steeler
09-20-2007, 04:56 AM
I am reall excited about our deffense this year they are doing a great job keeping the passes to a minimun and gettting to the quarterback.

rog
09-20-2007, 10:56 AM
10 sacks in 2 games by 9 different players...I don't care who we are playing that is awsome if they keep this up it's definatly going to be a year to remember.

stlrtruck
09-20-2007, 12:37 PM
All I can say is;

LET THE BIG DOGS EAT!!!!!

DACEB
09-20-2007, 01:07 PM
I could SWEAR there were times when I saw plays devolve into cover two defenses.

Great observation, I wonder if that's the case, where they give one look and then switch to a cover-2.

I posted in the '3TE' thread (props Tony) that it seems the shackles are off on both offense and defense. We'll have to wait and see how everything plays out but so far so VERY good.

HometownGal
09-20-2007, 01:25 PM
Part of the reason for the increase in sacks, players say, is the movement of the defenders. LeBeau has players running all over the place, more so than before.

"Yeah, I think we're a lot more active," Polamalu said. "We're not as conservative. We're kind of initiating what the offense needs to do and not reacting to what they are doing."

No one jumped around from place to place more often than Polamalu in previous seasons; now, he's not the only one doing it.

"I think it means more running around for everybody," Polamalu said. "Guys are moving around more, we have new packages. Guys are feeling a lot more comfortable with everything."


This has been very noticeable in the first two games and has obviously confused the hell out of the opposing O and their OC.

Though I understand a HC's position in being ultimately responsible for the whole enchilada, I've always believed that when a team is blessed to have outstanding coaches/coords, as the Steelers have in Dick Lebeau, they should be entrusted with making all of the the decisions and calls as they apply to their unit(s). As the article above states, it is pretty obvious that Coach Tomlin has complete faith in Lebeau and is letting him run the show defensively. :thumbsup: :tt02:

Hines0wnz
09-20-2007, 01:25 PM
As good as Cowher is/was and as much as we loved him, fresh blood never hurts a successful team. Maybe its a good thing to have the dynamics of the 3-4 & Cover 2 mix and mingle. Who knows, maybe by the latter third of the year some great hybrid D will have been born! :tt02:

ShutDown24
09-20-2007, 01:41 PM
Yes it is great - One thing though... Charlie Frye, J.P. Lossman? I know for a fact that the defense has improved, I am just interested to see what happens during the game I go to vs. the Seahawks... I think SF and AZ are pushovers and although Seattle has lost a lot (one game to AZ) I think that will be the hardest test for our defense by far up to that point.

Playing man coverage (Which is his strength) I am not worried about any receiver that Ike has to cover in the next few weeks... We will obviously be stopping the run... I will be watching Deshea to see if he can keep his elevated play this season up or if McFadden really should be in soon...

revefsreleets
09-20-2007, 06:50 PM
And it's likely that LeBeau is too old to be considered a HC candidate by other teams, regardless of his continued success. He should retire as DC of the Steelers and go on to the HOF for his combined contributions as player and coach.

Stlrs4Life
09-20-2007, 07:31 PM
Great story, let's hope it continues.

RoethlisBURGHer
09-20-2007, 08:21 PM
And it's likely that LeBeau is too old to be considered a HC candidate by other teams, regardless of his continued success. He should retire as DC of the Steelers and go on to the HOF for his combined contributions as player and coach.

I think he'll be with Pittsburgh until one of three things happens:

1. He decides to hang em up and retire.

2. He declines in health and the Steelers feel it is best for the team and LeBeau, and he is released from his contract.

3. He passes away (God forbid).

Dick LeBeau has forggoten more about defensive football than most coaches (Especially Marvin Lewis) will ever know.

I-Want-Troy's-Hair
09-20-2007, 08:51 PM
Gotta give kudos to Cowher it was him that brought LeBeau back

Thank you :hug: thank you :hug: thank you :hug: thank you

NV STEELERS 723
09-20-2007, 10:22 PM
As I drove to work this morning , I thought of this article I had just read....it made me think negative about Cowher, and it made me think positive about Tomlin... I remember how sad I was when Cowher left, how I felt the "unknown" when Tomlin got HC....

It brought me back to classes I've completed in college and at work...

Life changes all the time....it WILL not always be the same..It remains to be un-seen how Tomlin would have handled the 06 STEELERS.... maybe we would have made the AFC game????? We still had the same players.....

I'm glad Tomlin gave the freedom to Dick.....maybe during the "Cowher years" he wasn't ready for it!

verks36
09-20-2007, 10:41 PM
great articlte

i dont think billed held him back though

Stlrs4Life
09-21-2007, 10:47 PM
http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/...steelers-back/ (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/09/20/did-cowher-hold-steelers-back/)Did Cowher Hold Steelers Back?

http://www.aolcdn.com/fanhouse/jj-cooper/ (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/bloggers/jj-cooper/)Posted Sep 20th 2007 7:25AM by JJ Cooper (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/bloggers/jj-cooper/)
Filed under: Steelers (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/pittsburgh-steelers/), AFC North (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/afc-north/), Pittsburgh (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/pittsburgh/)
Bill Cowher was respected by his team, but now that he's gone, the players don't seem to be missing him too much. In fact, you're hearing a lot of players spout off about how the new coaching staff has freed up the Steelers to reach the best of their ability.

First it was the special teams players saying that the Steelers have fixed their problems because there is a more focused approach to special teams now that Cowher has been replaced by Mike Tomlin. Now a lot of the defense's stars are saying that their domination in the first two games is because Cowher's no longer around to put the handcuffs on Dick LeBeau, as Ed Bouchette explains in today's Post-Gazette (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07263/819027-66.stm?cmpid=steelers.xml).Players and coaches, on and off the record, say LeBeau has the freedom to call what he wants, when he wants under Tomlin, a freedom he did not previously have under Cowher. "I do, I do," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I think he's getting to call whatever he wants, and the call is sticking."
While Cowher may have been respected by his players, the defense loves LeBeau, and it's also clear that they believe he's a defensive genius who will stay a step ahead of opposing offensive coordinators. We won't know how much of a help unshackling LeBeau will be until the Steelers have faced some tougher offenses, but in the first two games, LeBeau has had the ability to throw out a little of everything. Given that chance he's been quite aggressive. Pittsburgh sent five or more pass rushers on 17 of the 31 Bills called pass plays last week, with a variety of linebacker and defensive back blitzes.



What's also apparent in the first two games is that the Steelers are playing more players on defense. In the past the backup defensive linemen would spell the starters for a few snaps each quarter, but this year they've subbed the entire defensive line for series at a time with no real dropoff. Anthony Smith and Ryan Clark are splitting time at safety and LaMarr Woodley is getting playing time as a backup outside linebacker. In addition to keeping people fresh, it also should help the Steelers depth in case of injury, as Woodley, Smith, Chris Hoke, Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke are playing enough to be ready to simply step in if someone goes down.

steelpride12
09-21-2007, 10:49 PM
I was just watching the NFL network show put up your dooks and the said the nation has voted the Steelers the number one defense in the league. Wow thats crazy, but i have to agree we have created such good plays with our D!

MasterOfPuppets
09-21-2007, 10:53 PM
i'll reserve my judgement untill they play some better offenses.:coffee:

jjpro11
09-22-2007, 01:18 AM
i'll reserve my judgement untill they play some better offenses.:coffee:

we'll know soon enough with the 49ers, cardinals and seahawks coming up. not exactly the colts or pat, but they all have multiple weapons on offense.

Galax Steeler
09-22-2007, 05:07 AM
i'll reserve my judgement untill they play some better offenses.:coffee:

I agree but what I've seen so far looks pretty good.:tt02:

Atlanta Dan
09-22-2007, 11:38 AM
All the adverse comments about Cowher now that he is gone indicate to me that in all organizations there is a tendency to diminish the contributiosn of a former boss once he or she has departed - the stories I have been reading since training camp make the Steelers sound like a NFL version of the office politics on "The Office."

As another poster said, I prefer to wait until at least early November (after the Steelers have gone to Denver, to Cincy, and played the Ravens at home) before joining the chorus of those who are so sure the loss of Cowher is a definite plus.

Steeldude
09-22-2007, 07:20 PM
IMO, the steelers improved QB pressure is a result of porter being let go(finally) and upgrading the spot with harrison.

GBMelBlount
09-22-2007, 09:46 PM
All the adverse comments about Cowher now that he is gone indicate to me that in all organizations there is a tendency to diminish the contributiosn of a former boss once he or she has departed.

Completely Agree. Also, does anyone know if there is a Steelers "Lebeau" shirt? I'd buy it & paint the number "1" on it. It's early this year, but if you look at his complete body of work over the years, and the respect he commands, I consider us very lucky to have him.

Fire Tomlin
09-22-2007, 11:05 PM
Cowher lost more big games than we won for us; games we should have won. As far as the '05 Playoff run is concerned, we won those games in spite of Cowher, not because of him. If you remember it was Ben Roethlisberger who said he finally convinced Cowher to quit playing "turtle ball" and take the handcuffs off so that we can start playing to win games.

Cowher may have been a good motivator early in his career, but nobody will ever accuse Cowher of being a good strategist or someone who made half-time adjustments.

ShutDown24
09-22-2007, 11:14 PM
Cowher lost more big games than we won for us; games we should have won. As far as the '05 Playoff run is concerned, we won those games in spite of Cowher, not because of him. If you remember it was Ben Roethlisberger who said he finally convinced Cowher to quit playing "turtle ball" and take the handcuffs off so that we can start playing to win games.

Cowher may have been a good motivator early in his career, but nobody will ever accuse Cowher of being a good strategist or someone who made half-time adjustments.


This coming from the person who wants Tomlin fired? :wink02:

Fire Tomlin
09-22-2007, 11:31 PM
This coming from the person who wants Tomlin fired?

Tounge in cheek. Many were against Tomlin from the start and are still waiting for a reason to start calling for his head ....


.... ain't gonna happen

ShutDown24
09-22-2007, 11:40 PM
Tounge in cheek. Many were against Tomlin from the start and are still waiting for a reason to start calling for his head ....


.... ain't gonna happen


For sure not, loved him since the start. He is one heck of a guy and coach.

Fire Tomlin
09-23-2007, 12:40 AM
Tomlin was the best guy out there .... bar none.

Haiku_Dirtt
09-23-2007, 04:38 AM
i'll reserve my judgement untill they play some better offenses.:coffee:

It's exactly this kind of negativity that is less than becoming of a...

Worrying about our defense? The next closet team in scoring has twice as many points. I agree about who the teams were until Cleveland backed up the truck and dogrobbed the Bengals of what integrity they had left.

OK "nuff BS. We are going to live and die by the performance of our offensive line period. The absence of Max Starks and the presense of Willie Bronx Colon is something we must judge every freaking game. The weak first half schedule is giving our guys time to gel and understand each other.

And it shows in a big way. And for now Willie looks resilient

Oh..BTW we do have bigger fish to fry so I wouldn't fault reservations...I'm right there.