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Old 02-16-2007, 02:38 PM   #1
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Default Different but the same

Cool article

http://news.steelers.com/article/74065/

Different, but the same
Friday, February 16, 2007
By BOB LABRIOLA

Steelers.com


They are perceived to be so very different. Both of them are coaches, yes. Both defensive coaches even, but in today's NFL style can trump substance, and style is supposed to be where Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin are polar opposites.
One is the father of the zone blitz, while the other was raised as a professional coach on a steady diet of Cover-2; and the common perception is that these two schemes cannot live together in the same locker room.

The Steelers started lining up in a 3-4 defense when Mike Tomlin was still in elementary school, and they have been zone-blitzing since Dick LeBeau joined Bill Cowher's first staff in 1992. Their roster was built with those things in mind, and it has been the way of life for every defensive player and coach to work for them during that span.

But since Tomlin is the head coach now and LeBeau is his defensive coordinator, well, it has to be one or the other, right? Cover-2, or 3-4. Pick one and forget the other.

Not necessarily, because despite common perception, no NFL team lines up the same way and plays the same scheme all the time. At least, no successful NFL team does that, and all Tomlin and LeBeau really are interested in is being successful.

"Everybody in this business knows of Dick LeBeau," said Tomlin. "I have a great deal of respect for him, and as I start to work with him on a day-to-day basis, he's exceeded my expectations in terms of what he's capable of. He's a detail guy, a humble guy, all he wants to do is win. It's been refreshing, and not only him but the entire defensive staff. It's been fun. We're in there every day hacking away at it, trying to find ways to get on and off the field."

As they go about that task, they do so seeing eye-to-eye on a couple of significant points: good defenses are aggressive and physical, and the only scheme that ever works is the one that puts your players in position to make plays.

"I like to evaluate players in terms of what they're capable of, from a potential standpoint," said Tomlin. "See what they do well individually, see what they might struggle with fundamentally, and that's why I'm looking at tape. This way, as we put our plan together we can build around the strengths of our men."

Change is to be expected with any new head coach. But Tomlin is just the third in the franchise's last 39 years, and he's coming to a team where 20 of the 53 players on the end-of-season roster had spent five-plus years years with the Steelers, where 35 had known no other NFL coach but Cowher. There will be change, but the Steelers will manage it with their own sense of stability.

"It's never cut-and-dried. There are certain things that are obvious," said Tomlin. "You have to use common sense -- Alan Faneca is a starter. The big thing is you can't be close-minded in terms of potential change. Change is part of football, and that's if you've been here one year or 15 years. You have to have an open mind, and roles change on any given team from year to year.

"Roles change from year to year as players emerge and players fade. That's part of football. I expect some things to change, because they always will and they always do, but it also does involve some common sense in understanding the known commodities."

On the Steelers' current defense, two of the known commodities are Troy Polamalu and Casey Hampton, and Tomlin has no intention of scheming them, or players like them, into mediocrity.

"The elite players defy scheme. They do," said Tomlin. "Troy Polamalu is going to be an excellent safety regardless of what defensive scheme he's in. Casey Hampton is going to be a dominant interior defensive lineman regardless of what scheme he's in. We're not going to get enamored with (scheme)."

As for what scheme the Steelers actually have been using since LeBeau returned for his second sting with the team for the 2004 season, "We've always been a pretty big Cover-2 team," said LeBeau. "At one point, we probably were a Cover-2 team. For the last three years, we've been close to a 50 percent Cover-2 team."

Cover-2 often is thought of as almost a passive defense designed to eliminate big plays at all cost, but the Baltimore Ravens play Cover-2; nobody perceives them as passive; and the Ravens do so much of it from a 3-4. The Indianapolis Colts are considered a pure Cover-2 team, but they certainly did some aggressive things around the line of scrimmage with safety Bob Sanders during the playoff run.

Indeed, great players defy schemes, and great teams seldom are a slave to just one scheme.

"What we're going to do is continue to shape our package to do what our players do well," said Tomlin. "That will be a constant evolution, just as players are constantly evolving."


~Polamalufan43
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Old 02-16-2007, 03:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Different but the same

Nice read. Sounds like we will be pretty good defensively.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Different but the same

Quote:
Originally Posted by polamalufan43 View Post
As for what scheme the Steelers actually have been using since LeBeau returned for his second sting with the team for the 2004 season, "We've always been a pretty big Cover-2 team," said LeBeau. "At one point, we probably were a Cover-2 team. For the last three years, we've been close to a 50 percent Cover-2 team."

Cover-2 often is thought of as almost a passive defense designed to eliminate big plays at all cost, but the Baltimore Ravens play Cover-2; nobody perceives them as passive; and the Ravens do so much of it from a 3-4. The Indianapolis Colts are considered a pure Cover-2 team, but they certainly did some aggressive things around the line of scrimmage with safety Bob Sanders during the playoff run.
Don't know if anyone else keyed in on this, but based on Lebeau's comments all this fret over 3-4 vs 4-3 cover 2 looks like it's pure hype. At the end of the day, these guys will align the scheme to the players' talents. I don't think we have to worry too much about a drop off in performance due to a shift in defensive philosophy. IMHO if anything we'll see more emphasis on fundamentals, precision and discipline.
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Different but the same

we are playing the 3-4 for sure next year,(it was announced today) but we will start playing a little 4-3.
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Different but the same

Quote:
Originally Posted by yinzer-inseattle View Post
At the end of the day, these guys will align the scheme to the players' talents. I don't think we have to worry too much about a drop off in performance due to a shift in defensive philosophy. IMHO if anything we'll see more emphasis on fundamentals, precision and discipline.


Well said, I see our D improving even with the same players including our pass D.
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Old 02-18-2007, 10:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Different but the same

Like I said in another thread, if anyone can't see we're going to a "HYBRID" Defense to mirror Baltimore, is kidding themselves.

Hybrid = ability to switch from a 3-4 to 4-3 at any given moment.
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Old 02-18-2007, 10:29 AM   #7
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Cool Re: Different but the same

See my post on the "shopping defferently this year" thread:

http://www.steelersfever.com/forums/...ad.php?t=15067
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