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Old 02-20-2013, 03:58 AM   #1
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Default LeBeau bemoans lost season

By Alan Robinson

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Updated 4 hours ago

What still bothers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau about the Steelers' season of unfulfilled expectations is that he is convinced they — rather than the rival Baltimore Ravens — could have won the Super Bowl.

The Steelers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs, yet LeBeau believes there was little to no difference between them and the team that displays the Lombardi Trophy.

“Do I feel we could have done the same thing they did? I do. I do,” LeBeau told the Tribune-Review on Tuesday. “It didn't break that way.”

Watching the Super Bowl two weeks ago was a bit difficult for the 75-year-old LeBeau because, he said, “It hurts to see the Ravens win anything.”

Still, LeBeau was effusive in his praise for the Ravens, citing their back-to-back road wins at AFC No. 1-seeded Denver and No. 2-seeded New England ahead of their Super Bowl upset of the 49ers.

However, LeBeau wonders if the injury situations had been reversed — for example, Ray Lewis doesn't come back to the Ravens but Ben Roethlisberger makes a quick and effective return from his injury — if the Steelers might not have won a third Super Bowl since the 2005 season.

“They got the right people back at the right time, and we continued to have more injuries, it seemed like,” LeBeau said. “Many times that decides it.”

The Ravens (10-6) and Steelers played a pair of three-point games during the season, each winning on the other's home field. The Steelers were without Roethlisberger for both games, with Byron Leftwich playing during the 13-10 loss to Baltimore on Nov. 18 and Charlie Batch leading the Steelers to a 23-20 win in Baltimore on Dec. 2.

“Can I say with a certain amount of credence we can compete with Baltimore day-in and day-out? I know it and I can say it,” LeBeau said. “We didn't have Ben in either one of those games. I know we're a better team with Ben because he's a great player, and that's not a knock on Charlie or Byron. Ben's our No. 1 quarterback, and we didn't have him.”

The Steelers' defense finished No. 1 statistically for the second straight season and the third time since 2008 despite being without star safety Troy Polamalu for a majority of the season or a healthy linebacker James Harrison for most of it.

But while Polamalu sat out nine consecutive games and an injured knee all but wiped out his 2009 season, LeBeau is convinced that Polamalu's career isn't close to being over. Polamalu turns 32 in April.

Polamalu played as effectively as ever once he returned late in the season, LeBeau said. As a result, LeBeau is hopeful Polamalu can play at such a level — and for full seasons — for “several more years.”

“He has a lot of tremendous football talent still in him,” LeBeau said. “Once he got back on the field, I couldn't see any difference in his play than when he was winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. ... I know Troy will do everything he can to get himself physically ready to compete for a 16-game season. And we'll have to wait and see (if he can).”

LeBeau will be honored Wednesday when a plaque recognizing his Pro Football Hall of Fame selection in 2010 is unveiled at his alma mater London (Ohio) High School. LeBeau will speak to the school's students during the ceremony.

“It's not a disadvantage to come from a small town. In many ways it can be an advantage, and I'm glad to share that message with them,” LeBeau said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz2LQpoKSgM
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

"It hurts to see the Ravens win anything."

LOVE IT !!!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrancoLambert View Post
"It hurts to see the Ravens win anything."

LOVE IT !!!!
In other news, the sky is blue
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

and the grass is green.... on the other side of the fence???

Seriously, we had a solid enough D to make a run, but the O was a mess, especialy the OL. I'm not at all surprised Kugler left after a year like that. Actually, I'm surprised Kugler didn't have a nevous breakdown after a season like that.

When you look at the snap counts of all the linemen, noting the position changes, not only in between games, but during games, it's surprising they weren't tying themselves into knots. The lack of continuity profoundly effected the efficiency of the offense as the year wore on. Add to that Ben's injury, that took him from a career year level of play to barely able to muster the skills of a Jake Cuttler...... and that was all she wrote.

LeBeau's comment we could have won the championship is a nice thought, but there were some serious issues with this team, from the FO, to the coaching, to the medical staff, down to the players underachiving. Hopefully the Steelers got this wakeup call and we can look forward to 2013.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

Quote:
Originally Posted by VaDave View Post
LeBeau's comment we could have won the championship is a nice thought, but there were some serious issues with this team, from the FO, to the coaching, to the medical staff, down to the players underachiving. Hopefully the Steelers got this wakeup call and we can look forward to 2013.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

...but mostly injuries did us in.

the 49ers started the same 5 offensive linemen (plenty of 1st or 2nd round picks accumulated in the many years they sucked) for all 16 games.

i dont think that means their coaching staff of FO was any better or that our players underachieved any more than theirs.

i certainly wouldnt call former defensive MVP's james harrison or troy polamalu underachievers. i dont think ben was underachieving when he was off to the best season of his career.

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Old 02-22-2013, 06:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

The underacheivers were our entire group of wide receivers and the entire crew of running backs.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: LeBeau bemoans lost season

As much as I hate to say this, even in our 8 losses last year, there was some really good football played, just not quite good enough to win.

The margin of victory is razor thin in the NFL, we could have been 11-5 just as easily as 5-11 under the same set of circumstances, and that is what makes the game compelling. Seriously, if we lost everygame, how many of you would bother to watch? None right? Well, if we won every game, all the time, why bother to watch?

I'm not saying I condone losing, I'm just saying this is life, where you can't have a front without a back, or an up without a down. As we reload, there are going to be issues. The good news is there isn't another NFL team that doesn't have them. Even if there is a club that doesn't have them, rest assured, they soon will.

Frankly, I'm done with last year. It's over and in the books, never to be changed. Going forward we are going to have more than a few roster spots up for grabs, as this roster spins faster than the early 70s Noll teams. Hopefully, in Tomlin's exit interview with the team went like what Noll said when he took over the team.

He told them that he knew the reason they were not a good team. It was because they were not good enough. Further said that he was going to find players that could thrive in his systems, and that most of them were going to be gone shortly.

Granted, Noll didn't have to deal with cap issues like Woodley and Colon, but he sure cleared out a lot of dead wood, and promptly bought himself a 1-13 season followed by another losing season before things turned around.
Based on the reaction of Steeler Nation today over an 8-8 reacord, Noll would have been sent out in barge loaded with dynamite and set off at Point Park.

Under the circumstances, I think we can afford to be a little more gracious toward the team, especially the coaching staff. The offensive and defensive systems are sound, but execution needs to improve.

Me, I'm looking forward to seeing the new kids come on as well as the annual tweaks. Enjoy these kids while they're here. They'll be gone in a blink of an eye.
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