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Old 08-25-2008, 09:06 PM   #1
tony hipchest
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Default Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

pat kirwan has attended many steelers camps. he commented on how they had players moving around and lined up everywhere moreso than any camp he had ever witnessed. there are alot of exotic schemes in the works and many of those were worked on and implimented in the OTA's.

the topic turned to whether cowher held the reigns too tight. kirwan noted cowhers conservative nature both offensively and defensively. now kiwan works with cowher every weekend and we all know bill is a student of "marty-ball" so its not like pat was talking out of his ass.

anyways, i read on this board that lebeau always shows his hand in pre-season and what we see (now) is what we get. i hope all the other teams count on it. the players have noted he is able to open it up due to their experience (all starting 11 have been in the system 1 year or longer). woodley is the virgin of the group having never started.

the consesnus was that tomlin is going to unleash lebeau and his creativity. we saw a bit of that sat. with the 5 men with their hand down formations and 1 man- hand down. weve seen quite a few safety blitzes this pre-season and i expect townsend/or ike will be rushing the qb too (possibly from the safety position).

kiesel and polamalu can both be rovers and a player like timmons can drop into coverage. the only problem addressed with this discussion was a "mad scientist" getting too creative, and outscheming himself by not keeping it simple. i would agree if our players werent so experienced and ready to accept their expanded roles and the study that goes into it.. either way it should be fun exciting football to watch.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

There was an article last year after Tomlin was hired about Tomlin "Turning the Wizard Loose"........I don't know if anybody ever posted this article here...But here it is....

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07263...?cmpid=HBEHTML
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Bill Cowher auctioned off some personal possessions when he quit as Steelers coach and left town for Raleigh, N.C.

One thing he apparently took with him was the leash he held on defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

The Steelers' defense, still conducted by LeBeau under new coach Mike Tomlin, is performing more exotic maneuvers than ever, players say. And they say there is one reason for it -- LeBeau has more freedom under Tomlin to do what he wants than he did under Cowher.

"I think he does way more than he did [before], actually," safety Troy Polamalu said. "I don't think they've put any reins on coach LeBeau from what I know of. I think from the past, I think now he probably has more control of the defense."

Players and coaches, on and off the record, say LeBeau has the freedom to call what he wants, when he wants under Tomlin, a freedom he did not previously have under Cowher.

"I do, I do," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I think he's getting to call whatever he wants, and the call is sticking."

So is his defense. After two games, the Steelers rank third overall in yards allowed -- fifth against the run, third against the pass -- and they are No. 1 in points allowed and first downs allowed.


They also have 10 sacks and rank second in the NFL in sacks per passing play. That gives them a jump on blowing past their 2006 season total of 39, which tied for third-fewest under Cowher.

The Steelers long had a dominant defense during Cowher's 15-year reign, so whether he held more control over what LeBeau did or not may not matter to the bottom line. But there's no denying LeBeau has more freedom to call what he wants this season than he did before.

Part of the reason for the increase in sacks, players say, is the movement of the defenders. LeBeau has players running all over the place, more so than before.

"Yeah, I think we're a lot more active," Polamalu said. "We're not as conservative. We're kind of initiating what the offense needs to do and not reacting to what they are doing."

No one jumped around from place to place more often than Polamalu in previous seasons; now, he's not the only one doing it.

"I think it means more running around for everybody," Polamalu said. "Guys are moving around more, we have new packages. Guys are feeling a lot more comfortable with everything."

LeBeau was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Polamalu suggested one big reason for the freedom his coordinator has this year:

"New coach, I would think."

Among the differences on defense this season are the rotation of the defensive line, the use of Keisel in different spots, a true four-man line of down linemen on occasion, cornerbacks playing safety and safeties playing cornerback, and the movement of various players as Polamalu suggested. For example, one of Clark Haggans' two sacks came in Cleveland when the left outside linebacker lined up on the right side and rushed from there.

"I wouldn't say it's a lot of different things," linebacker James Harrison said, "just putting people in different places than where they were before, moving them around and not seeing the same guy come every time."

That's reflected in the sack total, too. Nine players share the 10 sacks, led by Haggans' two.

"I think everybody's expected to be a pass rusher," Polamalu said.

Linebacker Larry Foote, like most starters, has one sack.

"The first game, a lot of guys were coming free, a lot of schemes were getting to him," Foote said. "But last week, the DBs were doing an excellent job. I remember the one I had, he tried to throw the ball, check down, and Deshea [Townsend] jumped the receiver, so he had to hold it and I got the sack. The DBs are doing a great job back there."

Foote also figures LeBeau has more freedom to run his 3-4 defense, but also received different input from Tomlin, whose previous experience was coaching a 4-3 defense with a cover-2 philosophy.

"I don't really know if coach Cowher used to hold him back like people said, but you never know," Foote said. "This is his defense, and Tomlin's never really been in the 3-4 fire zone defense, so I'm quite sure it's LeBeau's show. He put new wrinkles in that Tomlin helped him [with]. They're both defensive guys so they're putting stuff together.

"Dick LeBeau's the wizard of defense, everybody knows that."

And now, apparently, a wizard unleashed.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

I would love for us to blow away the opposing offensive coordinators mind next season when we do something on a crazy person would do and it be successful.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

i remember that article dan, and i was kinda bummed that alot wasnt seen (although i think tomlin played it a bit conservatively, and we did have the #1 defense for much of the year).

just like we were a year late on ben breaking bradshaws td record, i think that article was just a year ahead of its time!

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

our defense was as good as it gets last year until our guys started dropping like flies. at the beginning of the season, they were on pace for numbers better than the steel curtain.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

Just remember....

we are going to have to take the blown schemes with the great schemes... So either you boo the entire style, or accept it.

Personally, I am a high-risk, high-reward person. So I can't WAIT to see these schemes coming out.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpro11 View Post
our defense was as good as it gets last year until our guys started dropping like flies. at the beginning of the season, they were on pace for numbers better than the steel curtain.
I've got a really good feeling about this defense. I don't want to jinx them, but I'm looking forward to that aspect of the team more than anything else this year.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
Just remember....

we are going to have to take the blown schemes with the great schemes... So either you boo the entire style, or accept it.

Personally, I am a high-risk, high-reward person. So I can't WAIT to see these schemes coming out.
I'm fine with high-risk, high-reward...but does anyone else get nervous when we're at a 3rd and 10+? It seems we screw those up more often than 3rd and short. I'd imagine it's a combination of players not executing and the scheme itself, but we always seem to do something stupid like a five man rush and leave the sidelines open.

That's really been my only complaint over last season and this preseason, aside from sometimes we drop the ball against the pass and give up huge consecutive pass gains, but most teams do that from time to time.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

I'm all for anything that might help out our offensive line in some way, in this case terrorizing the opposing team so Ben & Co. can quickly score and let the D back on to keep up the work.

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Old 08-25-2008, 11:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cowher put "shackles" on LeBeau

As long as they get better defending those third and long plays. Thats my biggest worry.
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