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Old 06-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #21
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Default Re: Dick LeBeau Will Have the Best Defense in the NFL...Again

Originally Posted by Hawaii 5-0 View Post
Steelers News Bulletin: LeBeau vs. Belichick

by Neal Coolong on Jun 4, 2012

Random thoughts often go through my head during the day. One landed today to the point I wanted to scrawl it out and see how it took.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is well known for his ability to put his system first, demand his players follow it to a T and in that, utilize those players to the best of their abilities.

He is dynamic with his defense (serving as the defensive coordinator), presenting multiple looks through several successful seasons.

Dick LeBeau contrasts with that philosophy in a few ways. LeBeau is static in his base approach. There are wrinkles, obviously, but Pittsburgh’s base defense has been a 3-4 for going on two decades now. LeBeau does just fine getting the most out of his players (Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison wasn’t drafted, Joey Porter was a third round pick, Ike Taylor barely even played cornerback when he was selected in the fourth round), but his approach is much more consistent – conservative even.

Yet, both coaches have multiple Super Bowls, and will go down as two of the better defensive minds of their era.

Thinking about it from a bigger picture perspective, it seems Belichick’s philosophy really leans on his confidence in his coaching ability, eye for talent and trusting of his position coaches to execute an ever-changing defensive strategy.

LeBeau’s suggests he trust his players – longtime veterans like Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark – understand the defense he’s coached, and will always be able to adjust when necessary.

Not that either of them are incapable of doing what the other does, they just choose their own way. Lots of different ways to get from Washington, D.C. to Manhattan.

Maybe that philosophy hindered Belichick’s defense last year. They ranked at or near the bottom in yards allowed, and not particularly impressive in points allowed, either. His borderline amazing ability to maintain a quality secondary filled with younger, lower-level prospects hit a bit of a snag last season, and while scoring big on linebackers like Jared Mayo (first round pick) and Rob Ninkovich (very underrated free agent signing), his team’s pass rush was weak at best. And yet, they still made the Super Bowl.

How often will Belichick’s defense, statistically, be as poor as they were in 2011? They put up great performances in two playoff wins (Ninkovich did what the Steelers could not, contain QB Tim Tebow), and it’s tough to label their Super Bowl loss to New York as a defensive breakdown.

While the Steelers’ one-and-out playoff performance wasn’t a shimmering example of LeBeau’s excellence, they led the NFL in scoring defense for the second straight year, and that was with several veterans in the front seven missing extensive time (every week, a starter was missing and each front seven starter missed at least one game, except ILB Lawrence Timmons - but he was moved out of position due to those injuries several times). They led the league in scoring and pass yards allowed, but they were among the bottom half of the league in sacks, and had, I believe, the lowest takeaway total ever for a playoff team. It’s hard to say this defense will be much, if any, less than what it was last year.

Doesn’t it seem as if these two teams – both with reason to believe their offenses will score a fair amount of points this year – are on a collision course? Is this finally the year for two of the game’s best over the last 11 seasons to square off one more time in the playoffs? The Harrisons and the Bradys and the Polamalus and the Wilforks, and the other last-standing members of dynasty-level teams, doing battle to settle it all? Maybe I’ve just wiped the dust off some bad 2001 memories courtesy of Mr. DeFeo’s column on Kordell Stewart, but I think the Patriots and Steelers will square off twice this year.

And the second one will be epic.

First off, we don't play them this season at all unless it is in the playoffs so we won't play them twice.

As for who is the better coordinator, I will stay fair and say that LeBeau has had better players. That said, Belicheck gets most of his credit for what he did while cheating. It's pretty easy to be a DC if you know where the ball is going, all you have to do is put a guy there. The Patriots defense had a lot of good players when they went 18-1, but since then they have lost players every year and only replaced a few, which I'm sure had a role on their terrible defense this year. I don't give Belicheck credit for ANYTHING during spygate and his defense hasn't been that great year in and year out since then. What I will say for Bellicheck is his defense will rise to the occasion in the playoffs and they do have a great ability to stop the run if focused on. LeBeau may have had better players year in and year out, but he never CHEATED, stopping the run has been a guaranteed thing for us, and we rise up in the playoffs AND big regular season games. LeBeau will change things up occasionally when needed but overall he has put the same style of defense (formation, style of players, etc.) on the field every game and with all these years for opposing teams to figure it out, it was still #1 in a "down" year for us. Belicheck is good, but IMO he's not close to LeBeau.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:16 AM   #22
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Default Re: Dick LeBeau Will Have the Best Defense in the NFL...Again

Dick LeBeau Confident That Steelers Defense Will Improve Turnovers

Sunday, June 10th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

In 2011 the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers was good, if not great, in several statistical categories as they led the league in pass defense and scoring defense. While the run defense finished eighth, a category defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau admits that he wants to lead the league in every year, the biggest improvement he would like to see his unit make in 2012 is in the turnover category, and he is confident they will.

"Well I would say upping the turnovers is definitely number one," said LeBeau on Thursday when asked if improving turnovers was more important than improving against the run or putting more pressure on the opposing quarterback this upcoming season. "I think our pressure on the passer was good. We led the league in pass defense," said LeBeau. He continued on, "We led the league in scoring defense, so I always want to be one against the run, but we weren't. I think we were eight, but we were one in scoring. So there's no question in my mind that turnovers are where we've got to give a better number than what we had last year and I'm confident we will, we always have, but we didn't last year. Until we do it, the number is what it is," concluded the Hall of Famer.

It's no wonder why the defensive genius would point to the need of turnovers. Last year the team was last in the league with just 15 takeaways, which consisted of 11 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries, 1 of which came courtesy of special teams. It was the lowest number of takeaways a LeBeau led defense has ever posted in all of his years as a defensive coordinator.

While LeBeau said that pressure on the passer was good last year, it certainly did not help that outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley both missed considerable time last year with injuries. In addition, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was forced to play outside quite a bit due to the injuries. Those aren't excuses mind you, but it is worth noting. The 35 sacks the defense registered last season was the lowest number posted by a Steelers defense since they registered 36 in 2007. More sacks equates to more opportunities for turnovers.

There is no magic formula for creating turnovers, but LeBeau did give more thoughts on it as the team heads into their mandatory mini-camp next week. "Just preach it and practice it," LeBeau said. "Turnovers are funny, one year you're up there, the next year you're not. But I see no reason why we were as low as we were last year. That's not good. We have to improve that number."

LeBeau is confident that they will and so am I.

2015 NFL Sig Mock Draft:

2 trades: our 1(22) to Dallas for 1(27) and 3(91), then our 2(56) and 3(87) to NY Giants for 2(40)

1(27) Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
2(40) Eli Harold OLB Virginia
3(91) Eric Rowe CB/FS Utah
4(121) Gabe Wright DT/DE Auburn
5(160) Sean Hickey OG/OT Syracuse
6(199) Titus Davis WR C Michigan
6(212) Kyle Emanuel DE/OLB N Dakota St
7(239) Cameron Clear TE/OT Texas A&M
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