View Full Version : LeBeau: Steelers defense will be fine

06-08-2012, 05:37 PM
LeBeau: Steelers defense will be fine
June 8, 2012 12:00 am
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Three months from tomorrow, the Steelers will open the 2012 season where they ended their 2011 season five months ago today.

Denver! Slowly they turned, step by step, inch by inch. They do not wish to replay that old Niagara Falls trick of theirs in Denver when they open this season Sept. 9.

It hit particularly hard a defense that finished the regular season as the best in the NFL in several important categories, but one that was shredded by Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. If he could do it, what might Peyton Manning do to them this time?

"I sure hope we do a little bit better out there than we did the last time, and we will," coordinator Dick LeBeau promised. "I think we're playing a pretty good quarterback, though."

LeBeau was quick to note that 2011 team ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense. Yet, he said he still has no answer for the 316 passing yards Tebow struck them for on 10 completions, including the only play from scrimmage in overtime, his 80-yard touchdown strike to DeMaryius Thomas.

"If I had an answer for that, it wouldn't have happened. But I can tell you this, in the National Football League, a game like that can happen every Sunday, and does happen somewhere around the league. And I don't care what your stats are,

"I don't care who you have out there, the other people have skilled people, too. It only takes a couple plays as we saw, and it's a lot of yards and a lot of points and you end up losing."

LeBeau's defense also took some hits after the season when the Steelers cut linebacker James Farrior, defensive end Aaron Smith, cornerback Bryant McFadden -- all 2011 opening-day starters -- longtime backup nose tackle Chris Hoke retired, and cornerback Willliam Gay signed with Arizona.

Yet there isn't much competition for starting jobs.

Ziggy Hood replaced Smith at left end and stayed there last season, although he will be pushed by Cameron Heyward. Larry Foote takes over at the buck linebacker spot for Farrior, yet he has another big talent behind him as was the case when Lawrence Timmons pushed Foote all the way to sign with Detroit in 2010. LeBeau raved about rookie Sean Spence, a third-round draft choice from Miami.

"I don't have any concerns about Larry playing the buck, but we're going to have to replace numbers there. Somebody is going to have to step up in there. We have some guys who are experienced and some who are not. But I do like our draft choice. He's done everything any first-year player could do in coaching sessions without pads. I think we're in the right direction there."

The most intense competition comes at left cornerback, where Keenan Lewis and two draft picks from 2011, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown are competing to replace Gay, who replaced McFadden after the first game last season.

"I definitely feel good about Cortez and Curtis," LeBeau said.

What he did not feel good about last season -- aside from the stunning loss in Denver -- was the number of turnovers his team produced. It managed only 15, including just four fumble recoveries, their fewest since they could find records starting in '66.

"That's something we have to get better at,'' LeBeau said. "Just preach it and practice it. Turnovers are funny, one year you're up there, the next year you're not. But I see no reason why we were as low as we were last year. That's not good. We have to improve that number."

Remembering Max Starks

As he did once this time last year, Ben Roethlisberger wore Max Starks' No. 78 at practice. He said it was to honor him. Starks remains an unrestricted free agent as he rehabs from ACL surgery in January. It is possible the Steelers will re-sign him; they did that last year after the fourth game of the regular season.

Hawaii 5-0
09-07-2012, 07:01 PM
LeBeau gets 18 on his 75th birthday

Posted by Mike Florio on September 7, 2012


On Sunday, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will celebrate his 75th birthday. And Peyton Manning will be jumping out of the cake.

As explained by Peter King of SI.com in his Friday “Game Plan” column for SI.com, LeBeau will commemorate the diamond anniversary of his birth by facing a quarterback who has been playing in the NFL for one-fifth of the time LeBeau has been alive.

“That’s not a real appetizing part of this birthday, trying to defend one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time,” LeBeau told King. “But honestly, playing the game Sunday soothes the fact that it’s my 75th a little bit.”

The fact that Manning is getting older doesn’t make it any easier to face Peyton.

“I don’t see much difference in him, quite honestly,” LeBeau said. “I had a chance to play Bobby Layne, Y.A. Tittle and Norm Van Brocklin late in their careers, and the reason they stayed so dangerous as players is because they knew how to play the position. I believe the quarterback position is more how you manage the game anyway. And I saw that with Peyton in the preseason: He did everything he needed to do to show he still can play the position at a high level.”

He’s played at a high level against LeBeau over the years. Despite Manning’s notorious struggles against the 3-4 defense, he’s 6-1 when facing LeBeau’s version of it.

LeBeau will try to keep Peyton from going 7-1 on the day the Hall of Famer turns 7-5.


Hawaii 5-0
09-08-2012, 02:18 AM
On the Steelers: Playoff loss still has LeBeau talking

September 7, 2012
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://d4493f2df0d1b95cfc62-773cd17a86049dd672fafb96394debed.r5.cf2.rackcdn.co m/2012/250/754/manning_420.jpg

The Steelers will open the season with a rematch of last year's playoff game against Denver, except this time the Broncos have Peyton Manning under center.

The Sunday night spotlight in Denver no doubt will shine brightly on Peyton Manning's debut, but the air of Tim Tebow's throw on the first play of overtime Jan. 8 still hangs over Pittsburgh.

As many times as he tried Thursday, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau could not turn the clock to 2012. So he put the topic to rest by taking the blame for the defensive strategy that helped allow the 80-yard touchdown catch by Demaryius Thomas (pictured left) that sunk the Steelers, 29-23, in that playoff game.

He said they were in what he called "cover 9," which others have called an "inverted cover 2." Basically, it was nine defenders crowded around the line of scrimmage to stop what they believed would be a running play on first down.

LeBeau was asked if the defense planned something on that play specifically because Tebow was at quarterback that they might not do against Manning.

"I doubt if we'd be in that particular defense again because the coordinator didn't call a very damn good defense,'' LeBeau said.

Only two in the secondary defended for a possible pass, and there was no deep safety. Tebow hit Thomas on a quick slant over the middle that he turned into an 80-yard touchdown.

"Let me tell you something," LeBeau said. "Over the years I've made a lot of bad calls and I'm man enough to step up and say it and when a play ends the game, ends your season, that can't be a very good call."
He did not let his players off the hook, either.

"That's a big, talented wide receiver. The thing was, we have to get the guy on the ground. You're not going to stop every pass, but you got to tackle the catch and that's something we didn't do on that play and, consequently, we're talking about 2012 now."

And now, instead of Tebow, they're talking about Manning throwing to players such as Thomas, Eric Decker and Brandon Stokley. The Broncos also have a good ground game with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.

Some Steelers defenders spent more time preparing for the Broncos by watching old video of Manning's Colts. Larry Foote said the players have not watched video from their playoff loss in Denver.

"There's no need to watch it. It's a different system. You're not going to study what they don't run."
They're running the same offense Manning ran in Indianapolis, LeBeau said.

"Let me be the devil's advocate. If you had Peyton Manning, how much of a different offense would you put in? You're going to get Peyton Manning's offense."

And, yes, LeBeau has watched video of the playoff loss in Denver several times.

"You learn from your mistakes,'' he explained. "You look at it, you look at everything, This isn't a business where you stick your head in the sand and hope it gets better. ... And there is some carryover because the coaching staff hasn't changed. And the running game, I don't think the running game is going to change."

One thing may change, though. Don't look for too much of that plain, old "cover 9" call Sunday night.

"It wasn't a very good call,'' LeBeau said.


09-08-2012, 02:29 AM
It's nice to see you back mesa. :cheers:

09-08-2012, 03:38 AM
It's nice to see you back mesa. :cheers:

Been drinking? This thread is from June. :chuckle:

09-08-2012, 09:16 PM
Been drinking? This thread is from June. :chuckle:

How did you know? :alcohol:

Kid was gone for the night so yes, yes I was drinking. :laughing:

Hawaii 5-0
09-08-2012, 09:57 PM
Must Go Down Hard

By Jim Wexell
Posted Sep 8, 2012


Peyton Manning

Pressuring Peyton Manning has paid off for the Steelers in the past. They'll need to it again tonight in the opener at Denver. Here's how:

Larry Foote wasn’t on the field for the last Steelers snap that mattered. So there was nothing he could do about the 80-yard catch and run by Demaryius Thomas that ended the Steelers’ season in Denver.
Foote said he didn’t wake up to that fact until he was on the plane heading home.

“Then it’s ‘What the heck just happened?’” said the Steelers’ inside linebacker. “And the trainers start going up and down the aisle talking about exit physicals. That’s when you knew it was real and the season was over.”

The Steelers head back to Denver to open the 2012 season, but there will be one big difference: Peyton Manning will be playing quarterback for the Broncos and not Tim Tebow.

Surely the Steelers would rather face Tebow, now a backup with the New York Jets, wouldn’t they?

“As a competitor I want Peyton Manning,” Foote said. “Everybody in the world’s going to be watching. You get a big stage to show your talent. As a competitor you want to play Peyton.”

That’ll require a bit of a different defensive game plan from the wildcatting Tebow – a radically different game plan.

“Night and day,” said Troy Polamalu with a laugh.

Polamalu laughed because the answer is that obvious.

Even though Manning is 36 and just-recovered from a neck injury that forced him to miss the 2011 season, the Steelers are expecting the same Manning who quarterbacked four games against them while he was with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Steelers are 2-2 against the future Hall of Famer, including an upset win in the 2005 AFC playoffs on their way to winning Super Bowl XL.

Manning has a passer rating of 85.9 against the Steelers, nine points below his career rating. He was a bit better than that in the playoff game (90.9) but the Steelers sacked him five times. James Farrior had 2½ sacks and Joey Porter had 1½.

“There was constant pressure up the middle, on the edges,” said Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel. “That’s what it takes to beat great quarterbacks. You’ve got to constantly pressure them and constantly let them know you’re coming.”

The Steelers must do so tonight without their best pass-rusher, James Harrison. He’ll be replaced by Chris Carter, a second-year pro who’ll make his first NFL start at right outside linebacker. Not that it will change the Steelers’ strategy.

“Our nature is we’re going to attack,” said Foote. “That’s just the nature of Pittsburgh and we’re going to definitely do that. But it is a chess match. A lot of offenses, to slow us down, they don’t send that many receivers out, so (defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau’s not going to keep hitting our head up against the wall. So we’ll play that game a little bit, but ultimately we’re going to bring pressure.”

In the past, Manning has beaten pressure with his brains and his quick release. And he does have a couple of his former receivers with him in Denver: slot receiver Brandon Stokely caught 5 passes for 56 yards this preseason and tight end Jacob Tamme caught 4 for 43.

The Denver starters are Thomas and Eric Decker, a pair of thick 6-foot-3 wide receivers, and former Houston Texans tight end Joel Dreesen.

A familiar face will be in the Denver backfield. Willis McGahee, the 235-pound tailback, has faced the Steelers 11 times in his career, but has yet to top the 79 yards he gained the first time in 2005. McGahee averages 3.3 yards per carry against the Steelers, but the Steelers have always respected his power and speed.

“They’re a good team,” Foote said. “I think their defense is getting overshadowed by Peyton Manning. I’m sure our offense knows they’ve got a lot of good players over there. On Wednesday, Mike Tomlin highlighted those guys, and they’ve got some guys on that defense who can play.”

The key Broncos to block are pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.

Dumervil has 4½ sacks in four games against the Steelers. The right defensive end made the Pro Bowl last season after missing the 2010 season with a torn pectoral muscle.

Miller, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with 11½ sacks, plays strong-side outside linebacker in the Broncos’ 4-3, but lines up as the end opposite Dumervil on passing downs.

Miller struggled with a thumb injury against the Steelers in the playoffs last season, but the two pass-rushers each sacked Ben Roethlisberger once. Robert Ayers sacked Roethlisberger twice as the Broncos got to him five times.

“They’re going to be a challenge for us,” said Steelers left tackle Max Starks. “You can focus on one and that’s when the other one gets off. That’s why the Steelers have been so successful because the second you try to isolate James, LaMarr (Woodley) is going to have a three-sack day. It’s a balancing act. The onus is on us as tackles to make sure we do our job and we keep our technique and we play sound, and also beat them up when we get the chance to be aggressive and more proactive instead of reactive. So in the run game we have to take advantage of those opportunities, and also do some different things passing.”

No doubt the Steelers would like to keep the 260-pound Dumervil and the 237-pound Miller out of the blocks and worrying about running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer instead. Starks is optimistic that can happen.

“I think we have a good game plan to go against these guys,” he said. “And we’ll attack them instead of sitting back and waiting for those guys to come and force us to combat the rush. We have to bring the fight to them, play aggressively, and control the tempo.”

Taking the fight to them on offense and rushing the passer on defense. It was the Steelers’ prescription for the 2005 playoff win against Manning, the one that ended a whole lot better than the last one.