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Old 09-24-2012, 12:54 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial: The Difference Makers

Monday, September 24th, 2012
By Tiger Rowan
Steelers Fever Columnist

If one were to scour Steelers message boards, there is one ubiquitous theme: Fire Dick LeBeau. I have heard it time & time again. And, being the defensive coordinator for the Steelers, some culpability should indeed be directed his way. Regardless of blame, the fact is that LeBeau does not have the players to run "his" defense.

Of course, the counter-arguement would be that if LeBeau does not have the players, one might suggest that he simply alter his scheme. Well... hmmm... that is easier said than done (but, I will get back to that idea later on).

LeBeau's defensive philosophy, in its simplest form, is this: keep everything in front of the defense... and after enough plays, the offense will make a crucial mistake. This philosophy has worked for a long, long time... but, not necessarily due to the scheme; I contend that it is the players that have made it successful.

We are all familiar with LeBeau's formula: the cornerbacks play ten yards off; the opposition can have anything underneath/anything short; and after making an opponent drive down the field, taking ten to thirteen plays... at some point, a "difference maker" WILL rise up, and create a "splash" play: an interception, a forced fumble, a momentous sack, and/or a key tackle on third down.

In the 90s, the difference makers were Greg Lloyd, Carnell Lake, and Rod Woodson. In the early part of the 2000s, it was various players, such as Joey Porter, James Farrior, Kendrell Bell, and even Casey Hampton. For the past few years, it has been James Harrison and Troy Polamalu. And, alas, currently... there is NO ONE making "splash" plays on this defense......

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