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Old 11-22-2008, 01:01 PM   #1
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Default The Steelers Defense: Putting on a Clinic

The Steelers Defense: Putting on a Clinic
by Jeff Little (Senior Writer)

November 22, 2008
Football, NFL, AFC North, Pittsburgh Steelers, Editorial

The Steelers started off this season with unanswered questions and something to prove, like every other team that failed to win their last game and hold up the Lombardi Trophy.

The Steelers however had a far more arduous hurdle to overcome, the toughest schedule in the league with a .598 opponents' winning percentage in 2007.

The Steelers are a team whose identity for years has been to run the football and play solid defense. That changed a bit last season when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unleashed a little bit more by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians last season and more so this season.

Big Ben is the most sacked passer in the league and the team will have to do a better job of protecting him, against the Bengals he wasn’t sacked in the game which has only happened twice this season.

The Steelers remain a run first team but Ben Roethlisberger is clearly the team leader.

Every team needs something to hang their hat on and be able to count on when all else fails.

The one constant has been the 'burgh defense. Every year the names might change on the back of the jersey but you can mark them down as one of best defenses in the league year in and year out.

Will the Steelers win the AFC North Division and what will be their win-loss record at the end of the season

In 2007, the Steelers won their 18th division championship since the 1970 merger, which is more than any other team.

That streak was thought by many to be stopped and the AFC North division up for grabs this season with the improvements of the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns and the bruising schedule for Pittsburgh, to include the age of one of the best 3-4 defensive lines.

Second year Head Coach Mike Tomlin deserves credit for having the foresight to retain the 3-4 godfather and the teams defensive identity when he took over. The funny thing was hearing people question whether the team would change their scheme.

A whole lot of praise needs to go to defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau, the man who is in the fifth year of his second tour of duty in Pittsburgh. He has been coaching in the NFL since 1973 a year after his stellar 14-year playing career with Detroit Lions ended.

He was recently honored for logging 50 years in the NFL.

He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection with 62 career interceptions. He played with the likes of Dick “Night Train” Lane, Yale Lary and Lem Barney. He still holds the NFL record for consecutive game appearances by a cornerback with 171.

Coach LeBeau is one of the main reasons the Steelers have been champions and remain perpetual contenders. Some may ask the question, why is Pittsburgh’s defense so formidable?

The answer is simple their defensive coordinator invented the “zone blitz” defense, as well as the “fire zone,” and plays it better than anyone else.

(Youtube video link on an interview with Dick LeBeau - mesa)
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Old 11-22-2008, 01:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Steelers Defense: Putting on a Clinic

Totally JMO here, but this years D ranks right up there with the best in Steelers history.....This bunch gets put in with some impressive company right there when ya talk about D's from the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but ya know what, the #'s don't lie....If we can pull off a Super Bowl win this year, and the D's finishes out the season at the same level as they are now, WOW, you will be able to make the arguement ya know.
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