The vast majority of what I read yesterday from Pittsburgh-Tribune Review writer Joe Starkey I agreed with in regards to the decline of the Steelers’ defense.
The unit has lost speed, athleticism and is basically a shell of what it once was but Starkey let Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau off the hook. My question is and has continued to be “Why?”
For whatever reason, LeBeau has this ‘bulletproof’ aura surrounding him in the media that even coaches like Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy or Mike Tomlin don’t even have.
No one questions his Hall of Fame resume as a player or his greatness as a person nor should they. But when writers continue to give him the ‘get out of jail’ free card all the time it gets to be ridiculous.
Starkey says this regarding LeBeau:
“The ill-informed want to indict coordinator Dick LeBeau. But you can’t blame the chef when the food’s gone stale. The culprits are poor drafts, poor talent evaluation, age and injury.”
Starkey is absolutely right about the drafts, evaluations and injury. The problem is that LeBeau can’t be totally dismissed from the talent and draft portion of that statement.
While General Manager Kevin Colbert, the scouting department and Mike Tomlin bear a great deal of responsibility, LeBeau has to have input on these players that the Steelers are drafting and signing in free agency doesn’t he?
If he doesn’t have any input in the process then there is and of itself is a serious problem. Don’t bank on that though. Not involving your coordinator in the scouting and drafting process is like the chef not being able to shop for his own groceries.
The point is this; we need to stop leaving LeBeau out of the discussion when talking about the demise of the defense. He bears responsibility too.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.